Today’s review is Lauren Layne’s Blurred Lines, with Netgalley again providing me with a free copy in exchange for this honest review. There’s a giveaway, too, for two mugs and several great ebooks!
In a novel that’s perfect for fans of Abbi Glines and Jessica Sorensen, USA Todaybestselling author Lauren Layne delivers a sexy take on the timeless question: Can a guy and a girl really be “just friends”?
When Parker Blanton meets Ben Olsen during her freshman year of college, the connection is immediate—and platonic. Six years later, they’re still best friends, sharing an apartment in Portland’s trendy Northwest District as they happily settle into adult life. But when Parker’s boyfriend dumps her out of the blue, she starts to wonder about Ben’s no-strings-attached approach to dating. The trouble is, even with Ben as her wingman, Parker can’t seem to get the hang of casual sex—until she tries it with him.
The arrangement works perfectly . . . at first. The sex is mind-blowing, and their friendship remains as solid as ever, without any of the usual messy romantic entanglements. But when Parker’s ex decides he wants her back, Ben is shocked by a fierce stab of possessiveness. And when Ben starts seeing a girl from work, Parker finds herself plagued by unfamiliar jealousy. With their friendship on the rocks for the first time, Parker and Ben face an alarming truth: Maybe they can’t go back. And maybe, deep down, they never want to.
My sophomore year of high school, I had a short-lived friendship with this girl named Korie Hamilton.
She was nice enough.
A little too much purple eyeliner, a few too many likes sprinkled throughout her constant chatter, but we had every class together our first semester, so we kind of became friends by default.
Anyway, Korie was forever yammering on and on about how her best friend on the entire planet was Stephen Daniels, a boy she’d known for all of four weeks before promoting him to BFF status.
Apparently it was, like, ohmigod, like, the best thing ever to have a guy she could talk to without complicating things with romantic entanglements.
Real best friends can generally go more than a couple hours without mentioning each other’s name, but Korie found a way to fit Stephen’s name into every other sentence.
Just friends my ass.
I guess technically they were platonic for a while. Stephen had a girlfriend named Libby Tittles, or something unfortunate like that, and Korie had this on-again-off-again thing with her junior high boyfriend.
But anyone who’s ever seen a movie, or watched TV, or just had basic awareness of human interaction saw exactly where Korie and Stephen were heading: Humpville.
Even though Korie swore up and down that she didn’t like him like that, both of their significant others were long gone by Thanksgiving of sophomore year.
By Christmas vacation, Korie wasn’t uttering quite so many likes. Why? Because Stephen’s tongue was in her mouth before school, after school, and every freaking weekend.
But we all know how this ends, right? Just a few short months later, not only were Korie and Stephen no longer dating, they sure as hell weren’t best friends.
Their short-lived romance and ensuing breakup barely even registered a blip on the gossip chain, but I’d like to think it taught some of us high school girls a valuable lesson:
Guys and girls can’t be just friends. Or not best friends, anyway.
Shit gets too complicated.
But let’s fast-forward a few years, shall we?
I’m now twenty-four, and I have a public service announcement to make: I was wrong.
Guys and girls really can be best friends.
It is possible to have a platonic relationship with a guy where there are no romantic inklings, no sexual fantasies, and no naïve proclamations of I don’t like him like that in a torturous attempt to hide an agonizing unrequited love.
How do I know this? How do I know that a guy and a girl can be best friends without romantic entanglements?
Well, let’s see, I’ve been on the female end of one such platonic relationship for six years now.
Ben Olsen and I met the summer before our first year at University of Oregon during freshman orientation. We were assigned to the same group in one of those terrible ice-breaking activities where you have to put a sticky note on your head and guess what kind of safari animal you are, or something, and we just . . .
I don’t know why we clicked in the Hey, you’re cool but I have no interest in boning you kind of way, but we did.
Maybe it was because I was in stupid insta-love with another guy in our group. Or maybe because my ovaries were hyperaware that Ben’s ridiculous good looks would lead to heartbreak. But whatever the reason, we did the implausible.
We became best friends.
And, yes, every single one of my female friends has given me the exact same warnings I gave Korie Hamilton way back when: It won’t work.
My friends are split down the middle on how it will actually go down, but they’re all convinced that it will go down.
Half think that Ben and I are soulmates who are just biding our time until marriage and babies.
The other half think that we’re going to have too much to drink one night, have awful sex, and never speak again.
Ben and I proved them wrong when freshman year ended and our friendship was still intact. Sophomore year? Repeat.
Junior year, we really upped our game. Not only were we closer than ever, but we became roommates. It happened sort of by accident when one of his housemates backed out at the last minute, and I belatedly realized I couldn’t bear one more year of dorm food, so I moved in. And it worked. So we did it again senior year.
Here we are, two years after graduation, still living together, although we’ve upgraded from crappy off-campus housing in Eugene to a slightly less crappy two-bedroom house in the Northwest neighborhood of Portland.
And yes. Still platonic as ever, with not so much as a hint of change in the air. I’m crazy in love with Lance Myers, my boyfriend of five years, and Ben . . .
Well, Ben’s on a rather awe-inspiring mission to seduce the entire female population in western Oregon.
Find Blurred Lines on Goodreads.
As the description says, Blurred Lines delivers a sexy take on the age-old question of whether guys and girls can be “just friends.”
Parker and Ben have been just platonic friends for years – there’s been no sexual or romantic interest of any kind between them in all that time. Parker’s been dating Lance for the last five years, and Ben is rather proud of his string of one night stands. But when Lance dumps Parker and she realizes how much she misses sex – and how hard it is for her to go out and be the female version of Ben – she makes the wild suggestion that she and Ben become friends with benefits.
The first thing I noticed, and loved, about this book was the fact that their friendship was well established. Too many times, books that take on this idea do so with a relatively new friendship that makes it hard to believe that there’s not an already existing underlying attraction that one or both people just isn’t admitting to. Parker and Ben are clearly established as friends, having known each other for years, been roommates, and settled into many of the relaxed behaviors of good friends. She’s not jealous of his one night stands when she meets them in the kitchen, and he’s friends with Lance (though it is clear that his loyalty is unwaveringly for Parker). I enjoyed seeing that firm establishment of that friendship, and how close they were as friends.
I loved all the humor, too. There were so many things that had me laughing out loud and giggling at the awkwardness or silliness of a situation. There were moments of seriousness, and situations that called for a more somber tone, but I really enjoyed the way the author managed to balance it with humor and keep the book light and fun for the most part.
The awkwardness as Ben and Parker tried to go from just friends to friends with benefits was perfectly done. Enough to be believable, but not so much that it made it unbelievable that they could move forward with the idea.
I also enjoyed the progression of their feelings. Seeing how each of them dealt with the burgeoning feelings, their denial and acceptance, their willingness to do what they thought was right or what they thought was best for the other person, was a real indication of love for me.
It was also great to see that the author didn’t try to write this as a “you can go from friends to more and back with no problem” kind of book. There were clear problems when Ben and Parker decided to end their experiment, and it nearly ended their friendship.
Overall, this book was a perfect balance of humor, seriousness, fun, love and sex. It answered the question of whether men and women can be just friends (or whether this particular man and woman could, anyway), and what happens when you try to be more than friends and then go back.
I loved Blurred Lines and am now a fan of Lauren Layne!
Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance.
Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three). Since then, Lauren’s gone on to publish ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.
Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway to win:
One Loveswept Mug
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Ebook copies of:
- JUST A LITTLE CRUSH by Renita Pizzitola
- CRUSHED by Lauren Layne
- AGAINST THE CAGE by Sidney Halston
- POSSESS by Laura Marie Altom
- AFTER MIDNIGHT by Kathy Clark
- MAKE YOU BURN by Megan Crane
- MY HIGHLAND LOVER by Maeve Greyson
- BREAKING NOAH by Missy Johnson and Ashley Suzanne
- A FASHIONABLE INDULGENCE by K.J. Charles
- FORBIDDEN by Jacquelyn Frank
Follow the rest of the Blurred Lines blog tour for interviews, guest posts, reviews, and more with Lauren Layne.