National Day of Friendship is right around the corner on July 30th. In the world of romance, friendship can take us down many paths. We could explore the glorious girlfriend groups we love to read about. We could go down the friends to lovers path. We could also take a look at the somewhat troublesome, brother’s best friend trope. I say, this is not a case of less is more, I’m going to tackle this as a more is more situation and stroll down #TBT lane by touching on all of these fun topics!
Love and Lists by Tara Sivec
Love and Lists is a spin-off of Tara Sivec’s popular Chocolate Lovers series. In this new series, Chocoholics, the kids get their day in the spotlight. Gavin, the adorable, smart-mouthed kid from Seductions and Snacks is all grown up and desperately in love with Charlotte whom we also met way back in the day. Charlotte and Gavin grew up together because their parents are best friends. In Love and Lists, Gavin sets out to win the woman of his dreams, in spite of some incredibly questionable love advice. Love and Lists is a hilarious romp through Gavin’s “get the girl to-do list” that just might be the end of him! Sivec has a unique way of getting to the serious heart of matters while peppering in laugh out loud funny parts that will leave you wondering how much of this she might actually be pulling from her own real-life experiences. A true friends to lovers romance that can trace its roots in the womb!
The Standby Guy by Natasha Moore
Natasha Moore’s seasoned romance, The Standby Guy is one of my all-time favorite friends to lovers stories. Katie Dixon and Carter Colburn have been friends and next-door neighbors for many, many years. Carter was there for Katie fifteen years ago when her husband tragically died, and he has remained a strong male influence in her son’s life. After years of dedicating her life to her son, he is now off to college, and Katie finds herself eyeballs deep in an empty nest. To say Katie’s dating skills are rusty would be an understatement. Carter is the town’s confirmed bachelor, and as the story progresses, we learn that might be because his heart is already full of Katie. The Standby Guy gives us a friends to lovers, fake relationship story that’s ripe with layers of respect and love and new beginnings that left me all swoony on the inside.
Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley
Let’s switch gears to Kristen Ashley. She writes female friendships better than most. She also gives us a cast of characters that are crazy, outspoken, loving, flawed, and unwaveringly loyal. Her Rock Chicks are a prime example of squad goals, minus the copious amounts of kidnappings and shootout, of course! We need only look at book one, Rock Chick to get, lifelong friends to lovers, best friend’s brother AND tight girlfriend bonds which can only be described as Rock Chicks. Just as Kristen Ashley has her own brand of alpha man, she also has her own brand of heroines, and that sisterhood is sacred. Indy Savage and Lee Nightingale were basically written in the stars, a no-brainer couple that was destined to happen. As important, Indy and her friendship with Lee’s sister, Ally. Everything in this entire series is an exercise in friendship in all of the best possible ways. The cast of characters in this series and the multitude of crossovers are some of the most endearing characters out there. From social workers to drag queens and all of the bookstores, cops, and baristas in-between, the Rock Chick series is friendship 101!
Brother’s Keeper by Elizabeth Finn
Finally, let’s throw it way back to 2012 and Elizabeth Finn’s Brother’s Keeper. Rowan is a young woman in danger, and the man hell-bent on protecting her is her best friend’s older brother. Rowan’s alcoholic father is physically abusive, one night after an especially harrowing incident, Rowan calls her best friend for help but her older brother, Logan answers and saves the day. There is a bit of an age difference between these two, adding to the taboo aspect but Rowan’s maturity is never questioned, nor are Logan’s motives. He simply wants to protect her from more violence, falling in love with her was never in the cards. He’s about to graduate law school and move out west to start his career. Finn does a fabulous job putting Rowan in charge of her emotions. She doesn’t end up in love with Logan because of some unspoken obligation or savior syndrome, he’s just a really good guy. Also, on a personal note, he’s the best kind of hero, smart and cerebral with a majorly dirty mouth in the bedroom! Three cheers for this particular best friend’s older brother scenario!