Title: What Happens Between Friends
Series: In Shady Grove Novel
Author: Beth Andrews
Blurb: Friends…with benefits?
For Sadie Nixon, life is one big adventure with something new around the corner. And anytime she needs a break, she can always rely on James Montesano-the best guy she knows. This time when she arrives in Shady Grove, however, something is different. There’s a little extra between her and James that has them crossing the line of friendship into one steamy, no-holds-barred night.
Afterward, no matter how hard she tries, Sadie can’t erase the memories of James that way. He’s so hot, so tempting…. But his life is here and hers isn’t. She needs his friendship, but she doesn’t do commitment. So where does that leave them? Suddenly what happens between friends is more complicated than ever!
Thoughts: James has had a crush on Sadie all of his life, but unfortunately Sadie is oblivious to his feelings. James has always been the best bud she comes to whenever her life takes an unexpected turn. James has resigned himself to that role – but when they experience an unexpected night of passion, James refuses to go back to just being Sadie’s friend! For him it’s all – or nothing. But will Sadie realize what she has before she sets off for a new adventure?
While I usually love storylines involving best friends in which one is in love with the other, this one just really had a lot of issues for me. First off, while I could understand James and his frustration with being resigned to a “friendship” role with Sadie, I had issue with how he just expected her to fall in line with his wishes. While he had been crushing on her for years, her ‘new’ feelings for James has been a shock to Sadie. Wow – I mean, give the girl some time to adjust! He didn’t switch tracks, or try to ease her into a relationship, but just decided to completely cut himself out of her life if she told him she didn’t want to be with him. I was very frustrated with him throughout the story – I wanted him to pull out the stops and win her over! Not just write her off, and sever all ties! And for someone who supposedly knew Sadie so well, he was surprisingly clueless on the effect her father’s death had on her, and why she feels the way she does about things. And Sadie, for the most part, seemed sort of childish.
I also thought the whole idea of Sadie’s sister pursuing James as a prospective husband was just creepy. She already had their whole life together planned out, and kept thinking of every moment as one they would tell their children about when they were old – even though the whole town knew James was in love with Sadie. Even blaming Sadie for ruining it for her by telling James how she felt about him. Not only did it seem weird, but it just didn’t fit in with the story for me – it just seemed like something to waste some pages on and make the story longer.
The romantic scenes in the book were very sweet, and what really made the book. Seeing Sadie eventually embrace emotional ties, and not avoid them was inspiring. I love to see characters grow and change throughout the course of a book, and you could really see that in Sadie. Overall, it was a pleasant romantic read, but not a “stand-out” book.