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Shalvis’s newest doesn’t scrimp on the drama or the heart!

*****

Almost Just Friends

Wildstone #4

by Jill Shalvis

Blurb:

Piper Manning’s about as tough as they come, she’s had to be. She raised her siblings and they’ve thankfully flown the coop. All she has to do is finish fixing up the lake house her grandparents left her, sell it, and then she’s free.

When a massive storm hits, she runs into a tall, dark and brooding stranger, Camden Reid. There’s a spark there, one that shocks her. Surprising her further, her sister and brother return, each of them holding their own secrets. The smart move would be for Piper to ignore them all but Cam unleashes emotions deep inside of her that she can’t deny, making her yearn for something she doesn’t understand. And her siblings…well, they need each other.

Only when the secrets come out, it changes everything Piper thinks she knows about her family, herself…and Cam. Can she find a way to outrun the demons? The answer is closer than she thinks—just as the new life she craves may have already begun.

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*****

Excerpt:

“Well?” he asked.

She grinned. “That was possibly the most thrilling ride of my life.”

He pulled off her helmet, the look in his eyes saying that he knew he could give her an even more thrilling ride.

She had no doubt. But she hadn’t managed to raise her siblings and get them all a relatively decent life by following a whim, sexy as that whim might be. She’d been afraid of commitment with Ry because … well, she still wasn’t one hundred percent sure. But she thought it had something to do with the knowledge that committing to him would mean becoming something she wasn’t – a person capable of further dividing her heart, handing another chunk of it off to someone, and in turn giving them power to hurt her.

But looking into Cam’s gaze, she couldn’t see him ever trying to make her into something she wasn’t. Life with him would only get better.

But they weren’t going to go there. And if that caused a little teeny tiny spark of sadness, she shoved it aside. This wasn’t the time to dwell. She needed to live in the moment. And that needed to go into her journal. She had it in her purse in the truck. “Do you have the keys?”

“Sure. What do you need, I’ll get it for you.”

Okay, so she could admit her crazy here, or she could keep it to herself. But maybe to prove that this wouldn’t – couldn’t — last, she gave him the truth. “I need to write something in my journal.”

“Okay,” he said without blinking an eye and turned toward the stairs to get to the parking lot.

Just the fact that he’d do it made it okay to stop him. “I can wait.’ Then she stepped into him and pressed her face in the crook of his neck to just breathe him in for a moment, willing herself to remember. Live in the moment. There was no sense in thinking about the future, because as she knew all too well, not everyone got one. So there was no use in spoiling the here and now by running ahead of herself. Besides, she thought as his arms came around her, the here and now was pretty damn amazing. “Thank you,” she whispered against his skin, and then, unable to resist, kissed his throat.

*****

Review:

I think that this one should probably fall more into the woman’s fiction category than romance. There is a sweet and fun love story between Cam & Piper, which I don’t think that Shalvis does any kind of disservice to. Cam is the perfect mixture of steady and calm that Piper needs – because that poor girl can be a bit of a mess personally. She’s had a whole lot put on her shoulders, ever since she was little, and not a lot of support for it. And she feels like she’s finally getting to the end of it only to have her siblings back with their own lives in tatters.

This, the family drama, is the heart of the story and I really enjoyed it. Piper has to learn to see her siblings as people with their own lives, making their own decisions (and mistakes), who needs a sister to support them instead of a mother figure. But they also need to learn to see her for the supportive person that she can be, instead of the heavy that she’s had to be to get them through their childhoods. All while discovering the people they want to be moving forward. It’s not easy for any of them to find a new dynamic but with a little help (and some influence from Mr Steady himself) they surely can figure it out … with a minimal amount of bloodshed.

There were moments that made me laugh (Winnie with her tool belt and YouTube videos is awesome), moments that made me cringe (things were definitely going to go badly for Piper when she found out everything), and quite a few times that I felt sorry for all of them. And that’s what makes any book a worthwhile read in my mind.

(Part of a series but definitely can be read as a stand alone.)

*****

Author Info:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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