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Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Blog Tour & Review - Crossing the Friend Zone by Kelly Eadon

Title: Crossing the Friend Zone
(Belmont Beach Brides #3)
Author: Kelly Eadon
Publication date: March 7th, 2017
Category/Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Forever Yours
From the author of The Wedding Date and The Family Man comes the final book in Kelly Eadon's Belmont Beach Brides series.


Fresh off a painful break-up, wedding planner Ainsley Slone is suffering from an acute case of "always the planner, never the bride." And she's over it. It's time for a break-to figure out how to let everything go and just have a little sexy fun. And she knows the perfect person to teach her how: irresistible manwhore Ryan Lawhill.

Their deal? No sex, just fun. It's the perfect plan--until the chemistry between them starts sparking like crazy. Ryan knows all too well that Ainsley's looking for a happily-ever-after, but he's always been keep-it-fun-or-it's-done. Yet the moment they cross The Friend Zone, all bets are off-and soon the ultimate player is the one playing for keeps.

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She strode toward him and cupped his strong jaw between her two hands. “Thank you, Ryan. Thank you for coming to get me and not judging me and not making fun of me.”
She’d given him the perfect fodder, of course, by trekking up a mountain in the rain just to prove to herself she didn’t need him. It had been an attempt to convince herself she didn’t care, that his regret for the kiss hadn’t penetrated. All she’d done was prove how much she did need him after all.
“It was my fault.” His voice was thick, his eyebrows knit in contrition. It was a look she’d never seen on him before: real, genuine remorse.
“No.” It would be unfair to let him take the blame for this. “It was my decision, and it was a bad one. I don’t want to think about it anymore though. You and I? We need to learn to let the past go.”
There had to be a way forward for them. They couldn’t go back and change things, but they could learn to make better decisions in the future. She was willing to try to change, for Ryan. Hell, she had changed for him, hadn’t she? Old Ainsley would never have gone hiking in the rain. Much as she was loath to admit it, he’d gotten to her core.
She closed her eyes and inhaled the spicy scent of him, then closed the distance. This time she would be the one to kiss him. It would be an affirmation of the other night at the concert. She’d make him understand that it wasn’t a mistake. Nothing that had happened between them so far had been a mistake, there had been a purpose behind all of it. To her relief, his lips met hers hungrily and her grip around his neck tightened. She kissed him hard, their tongues tangling together.
She nearly sagged with relief. As he kissed her back, she could almost feel his walls and his reserve, his sarcasm and his jokes, melting between them. He was opening up to her, showing her parts of himself he normally kept closed off.
He let out a low growl, then pulled back to stare at her. Her heart pounded in her ears as she met his gaze. There was a vulnerability there she’d never seen before. She almost smiled. Griffin was right, she’d had a thing or two to teach Ryan about relationships after all. It had just taken him a bit to catch on.
Keep kissing me.
As if he could read her mind, as if kicking down the last of the emotional walls that divided them, he lifted her, cupping her butt in his hands. She wrapped her legs around his waist as he tilted his head toward her and kissed her again. This time his tongue stroked hers, massaging and caressing.
A shiver ran through her and she moaned into his mouth. It was a shiver of desire, of expectation. The cold and the wet had melted completely away, as if kissing Ryan had cocooned her in a protective bubble. She didn’t care about anything other than him and the fact that they were suspended in this moment together. It was real. He was real. And, for the first time, she was pretty sure they were real together.
He pressed her against the van and his mouth trailed down to her throat. Her head fell backward and sensation throbbed inside of her as he found the hollow of her throat. He sucked gently, sending a tsunami of need through her body. For the first time she was sure that he saw her, all of her. They’d let go of their pride and ego to be in this moment together.
She eased away from his mouth and held his gaze. He looked at her longingly and gave a small, crinkled smile. It was more boyish, more filled with hope than she’d ever seen him.
Suddenly she was filled with resolve. They should get out of here. Go somewhere more...private. Comfortable. Because she knew exactly what they both wanted to come next.
Impulsively, she reached out and placed her thumb on his bottom lip. “You have a great mouth.”
He used his teeth to graze her thumb.
She gasped, her hips arching against him. He lowered his head, burying it in her neck. He nipped and licked at her neck, creating shocks of pleasure pain. After the past twenty four hours, the certainty in his touch meant more than words could.
“You smell amazing. And you have the softest skin,” he murmured.
Not that she minded those words. “” She swallowed hard. “It’s a special lotion.”
He pulled his head back and grinned at her. “Oh yeah? Let me guess, from Paris. Or handmade by oompah-loompahs.”
She slanted him a look. “I like you so much more when you’re not talking. I can think of much better things you could be doing with your mouth.”


3.5 “No Friend Zone” Stars

ARC via NetGalley.

Thank you, Forever Yours!

Crossing the Friend Zone is the third title in Kelly Eadon’s debut series, and I had the pleasure of reading all three of them. Lucky me!

For now (not sure if this is supposed to be the last book in the series or not), The Family Man is still my favorite, but once again Kelly Eadon did a great job creating a sweet romance with likable characters.

In this book, we get to see more of Ainsley and Ryan, characters we met back in book 1, since they’re best friends with the main characters in The Wedding Date. Ainsley is James’ close friend, and Ryan is Kate’s BFF, so I was more than happy to see them happy together.

The road to get to that happiness is a long one, though.

When we met Ainsley, she was engaged and close to getting married to a man I suspected wasn’t as invested in their relationship as she was. The thing with Ainsley is: she’s always a 100% in. That drive sometimes works in her favor, like when she planned the whole fake relationship thing that put James and Kate together, helping them find love; or how she’s so dedicated to wedding planning that she’s made a successful career out of it.

There are other times that Ainsley’s dedication doesn’t pay off. Her engagement is the biggest example. The man she was sure she’d marry decides to leave the country without her, and she goes from a woman with a plan (get married, buy a house with a white picket fence and have the 2.5 kids) to a single woman nearing her 30s. Look, unlike Aileen, I don’t think a woman in her thirties need to desperately look for a husband or she’ll die alone. That’s ludicrous, in my opinion, but Ainsley was raised to think that way. Her father is extremely conservative and judgmental, from the little we got to see of him. Point is, Ainsley, the wedding planner and bridesmaid-to-be in Kate’s wedding, is alone and sad. So very sad.

Enters Ryan, the bon vivant allergic to relationships. Due to a childhood trauma, Ryan doesn’t believe he can be happy with the same woman for the rest of his life, so he does the whole no-strings-attached thing and is happy about it. For Ryan, the important thing is to know how to have fun. And he does that quite a lot. When he sees Ainsley’s struggle, he decides to help her get some fun, too. He proposes a three-week plan that will lead them to spend a lot of time together doing things Ainsley wouldn’t, otherwise. As long as he doesn’t do her, that should be fine.

Ryan and Ainsley are the perfect example of opposites attract. They’re nothing alike—Ryan is afraid of commitments, and Ainsley is looking for the perfect guy; Ryan lives life unafraid of what other people will think, and Ainsley smiles even when she’s hurting inside; Ryan is relaxed and carefree, and Ainsley is serious and driven. The list goes on and on. But they have one thing in common: they’re attracted to each other and trying to hide that.

The drama in this book relies on the fact that these two people want different things out of life, but they still want each other. I really enjoy stories like that. When the character’s inner conflicts and life values/choices are what keep them apart. It makes for a fun (and sometimes angsty) ride. In this case, it’s more fun than angsty. Like all other Kelly Eadon’s books I’ve read so far, sweet and fun are her stories’ trademark.

I had fun watching Ryan and Ainsley banter, than get to know who they truly were—the man behind Ryan’s give-no-F attitude and the woman behind Ainsley’s give-too-much-F attitude. They revealed their true selves to one another and that was the first step they took toward building a relationship.

I wish things had moved a little faster, or that they had acknowledged their attraction to each other a bit earlier, but I still enjoyed how the book was written. There were a few things here and there that I didn’t approve of (mainly Ryan’s attitude toward other women in the beginning) or wish had been handled differently, but Ainsley and Ryan kept me entertained and rooting for them.

Another positive was the chance to see Kate and James and Griffin and Beth again. We even got to see Mabel! Let me just tell you, Mabel is still as sweet, smart and funny as I remembered her. That made me extremely happy.

Crossing the Friend Zone is a great addition to the Belmont Beach Brides, and it will please not only this author’s fans, but also readers who like their romances light, sweet and fun.

Kelly Eadon is a romance writer living in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and a house full of rescue animals, aka "the kraken".  She swears like a sailor and says whatever pops into her head.  In order to counteract her big mouth, she wears high heels whenever possible.  In her spare time she spins, kick boxes and attempts to renovate her farmhouse.  She hates sanding drywall, loves to cook, drinks lots of wine, gets scary competitive at trivia, and enjoys time spent exploring with her rescued beagle mixes.

Author Links: Website Facebook Twitter Instagram Goodreads

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