Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Say You're Mine - Diane Alberts (Shillings Agency #5)

Rating: 3 stars
Published: December 2015
Many thanks to Netgalley and Entangled Publishing for providing an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Steven has regrets, big regrets, and he's leaning on alcohol and women to get him through each day. He has three people he cares about, his brother Hoyt, Hoyt's wife Lydia, and his best friend Lauren Brixton. She's the girl he can count on and he'd never do anything to ruin it, until one night he starts seeing her in a new light. Lauren promised to be there for Steven always, but she's tired of ignoring her attraction and watching him go home with women who don't care for him and drown his sorrows in alcohol. Using a situation to her advantage, she convinces Steven to spend some time with her and when the attraction becomes too much for them, it tests their relationship as friends. They could become more or they could become nothing at all.

"He'd die for her. Kill for her. Fight for her. But not love her. He didn't do love. Didn't want it. Hell, he didn't deserve it. Guys like him didn't get to be loved."

This is one fast read, this can be a positive or a negative for you, in my case it was just right. This is a fairly predictable story of friends to lovers, however it's the man who needs convincing after he's sworn of love. I was glad for that, because I am so darn tired of the girls not going after a guy friend because of his history. Get over it! Lucky for us readers, Lauren is a confident female character who takes risks and puts herself in situations that could work for or against her. I liked that the multiple POV allowed us to see each character as an individual and get to know them, similar to the other books in the Shillings Agency series. In this case, I liked knowing Steven's thoughts a lot, there's more to him that meets the eye. His willingness to risk everything for Lauren shows he had suppressed feelings about her all along and I like that Diane gave us a glimpse of their promises before war and who they became at thirty, after the war.

Unfortunately, this one suffers from several cliches and while the short length works for this book, it takes away from the romance that Lauren and Steven could have shared. I think a lot more could have been done between them on the transition from friends to lovers, however their smutty-sex scenes were certainly fun. The good news is, the drama isn't over done and is cleaned up in a good way. I didn't feel like it pushed under the rug like a lot of best friends to lovers books do, so that's a big plus.

If you're a fan of quick romances with some plot and a lot of sexy, the Shillings Agency series is absolutely for you. It can be read as a standalone, however characters from previous novels are main players in the plot line. I, personally, am looking forward to Mark's story, because the quick glimpse you get of him in Say You're Mine was just enough to hook me.

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