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A Friendly Arrangement
     

A Friendly Arrangement

4.2 22
by Christine Warner
 

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Holly Haggerty and Roth Esterly are two besties with everything in common-they're neighbors, career-driven, and commitment-phobes. Tired of always being set up on dates by well-meaning friends and family, they take matters into their own hands: they will be the other's plus one-a little friendly arrangement between friends.

Easy...until a steamy night where they

Overview

Holly Haggerty and Roth Esterly are two besties with everything in common-they're neighbors, career-driven, and commitment-phobes. Tired of always being set up on dates by well-meaning friends and family, they take matters into their own hands: they will be the other's plus one-a little friendly arrangement between friends.

Easy...until a steamy night where they cross the line. But that's okay, they'll add an addendum-one that includes a little action between the sheets...on top of the sheets...and without the sheets. But there are rules. Dating and sex are exclusive until one of them decides to terminate the agreement. No slumber parties. And if either party becomes emotionally involved they will break things off with no hard feelings.

When unexpected news changes their plans and turns their fun arrangement into something more serious, Holly and Roth must come to terms with what's more important-what they thought they wanted, or what they really need.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781682811559
Publisher:
Entangled Publishing
Publication date:
10/26/2015
Pages:
290
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.65(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

A Friendly Arrangement

A Friends First Novel


By Christine Warner, Karen Grove

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2015 Christine Warner
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63375-433-1


CHAPTER 1

Holly Haggerty frowned as she ran her fingers over the red letter S on the shiny blue nylon fabric of Superman's suit. Too bad things with Clark hadn't worked out. Even though she'd hurt him — and herself in the process — she'd never go back on her decision. They weren't right for each other, and the pain in his eyes when she'd told him wouldn't change that, no matter how bad it made her feel. He didn't need to waste any more of his time on her when he wanted something she couldn't give.

Commitment.

The word alone sent a shiver down her spine. She had no plans to live the traditional life of her '50s clone-like family — to be like her siblings and get married, live behind a white picket fence, and have kids. Definitely no kids. A second shudder rode the length of her backbone.

She wanted to live life on her terms and timetable. No two in-the-morning feedings, dirty diapers, conflicting soccer game schedules, all while trying to further her career, keep a marriage alive, and play maid.

No. Thank. You.

She respected the choices of her mother, twin sister, sisters-in-laws, and Grams. If only they'd respect hers and understand marriage wasn't her dream. No matter how much they tried to convince her otherwise by playing matchmaker and adding prospective candidates to their Holly's Husband List, she would not tie herself down to anyone. She bit her lip as she traced the letter one more time. She'd have to find someone else who'd fit Clark's suit and could be her date at the party. A party she'd been disinvited to only hours ago because she'd pissed off her biggest client — Alan Bennett — by calling it quits with his brother, a.k.a. Clark. But despite her invitation being revoked, she needed to go to that party so she could talk to Alan and persuade him to renew their contract. He'd become the bread and butter of her virtual assistant business. Without him she'd have to quickly find a client who could offer up all the work and replace the pay. That'd be nearly impossible. She handled a lot of special projects for Alan that she didn't for other clients, which is why he paid the premium he did.

She let out a frustrated groan. Finding a replacement would take weeks, if not longer. She didn't have that kind of time ...she was already living paycheck to paycheck.

Blood pounded in her ears, she felt queasy, and her heart raced. Was this what a panic attack felt like?

She held her hand to her chest. Breathe in, breathe out. Her inner voice urged her to calm down. But how could she when so much was on the line?

Oh my God. What about the women's shelter? Holly fought to get air into her lungs. She donated several hours each week to the nearby women's shelter. After all the shelter had done for her friend Lauren as she tried to leave an abusive relationship, Holly wanted nothing more than to give something back. In the name of her friend. A form of thanks since Lauren would never be able to give thanks on her own. Just thinking about her old friend, the hardships she'd suffered before her premature death, made Holly's heart ache.

If she couldn't get Alan back and was forced to find a new client — more like two or three to replace his revenue — that'd cut into her work time for the shelter. She didn't want to be forced to give that up in order to make ends meet. But she needed to make ends meet to survive and thrive ...

How had she allowed this to happen? To focus so much on one client that losing him would destroy all she'd worked for. What if she had to forgo her business and hit the pavement to look for a traditional nine-to-five to cover her expenses? She could almost hear her family cheering in the background. They'd like nothing better than for Holly to have a "normal" job. As if that would offer her the security they thought she needed.

She groaned again, looking at her ceiling, blinking heavily in order to quash the threatening tears of frustration. Everything had been moving along just fine. Until this morning.

Holly quickly scrolled down her online bank statement for a third time. Hoping against hope she'd missed something. Sometimes being self-employed was the hardest job of all. The last few months she'd put most of her extra cash flow into a new computer and operating system, as well as the shiny new workstation just across the room. But you needed the storage and space. You deserved it. Your business deserved it. Her bank balance had definitely gone on a crash diet. If she'd known she'd lose her biggest client, she'd have waited before forking out that kind of moola.

Then again, if she'd known Alan would drop her without warning, she'd have been prepared with a backup plan. She knew to always be prepared, or she thought she had. She'd definitely failed on preparedness this time around.

And the shelter. That still niggled at the back of her mind. They needed her. Told her repeatedly that she was a godsend and that they'd never have been able to afford the services she gave them free of charge. She couldn't let them down.

Losing Alan cut like a knife — a jagged knife that went straight for the jugular.

She swallowed the gritty sand filling her throat and closed her eyes, rubbing her temples as a small throb started.

Okay. Breathe. Calm down. Think. You need to talk to Alan. Make him see reason and give you back your job. You're just as important to him as he is to you. But first you need to figure out a way to get into the fundraiser. And that requires a date. She couldn't go to a Couples Through the Ages event as a minus one.

She grunted her frustration as she threw the costume over the back of her brown leather sofa and folded her arms. If only Roth were home, but her bestie had gone out of town earlier this week. Should she call Andrew or Alex? Either of her brothers would fit the suit, but then she'd be forced to explain how she'd broken up with Clark. And, more importantly, that she needed their help to save her business. From there, word would travel the family grapevine, and she'd end up forced into a conversation she wanted to avoid. At least for a while longer. That conversation would lead to her parents trying to talk her once again into getting a traditional job, living a traditional life, in a traditional home instead of her urban condo. Holly loved her condo, all seven hundred square feet of it. Turning from the sofa, she slid her hand along the granite countertop that separated her living room from her kitchen, then grimaced. Mom would go on and on about how she liked Clark, how Holly and he had seemed so right together.

Blah, blah, blah.

If only Alan had listened to her earlier when they'd talked on the phone instead of hanging up on her. If only he'd given her a chance to state her case. If only the party didn't require her to have a date. If only she hadn't been uninvited.

How come there were so many if only moments in her life today? She needed to calm down and make a plan.

Holly closed her eyes. Okay, Roth wasn't available, and her brothers were definitely crossed off the list. Maybe Will? They hadn't parted on bad terms but, last she'd heard, he'd gotten serious with someone new. More than likely that someone new wouldn't want to loan him out — especially to an ex-girlfriend — on a Saturday night.

There was always Steve. Holly ground her teeth as she paced. If she opened that can of worms she'd only be asking for trouble. He'd latch on to her again in hopes of convincing her to give them one more chance.

Not happening.

She eyed the vintage sunburst clock above the mantle of her gas log fireplace. The flames flickered and gave her a sense of calm. Winter in Michigan had drawn to a close on a final cold front a few weeks back, but she would continue to flick the fireplace on all year long for the ambiance. Sometimes even in the heat of July. Holly's jaw tightened as she snapped off the ambiance. She better start thinking about her gas bill — as well as every other bill in her file cabinet — until she had this dilemma figured out. Her attention returned to the clock as the minute hand devoured another sixty seconds. Her heart pounded as the last of her calm flew out the door. You have less than two hours to find a date that'll fit the suit so you can talk to Alan. Beg him even.

The pounding of blood rushing in her ears mingled with the muted tones of classical music. She swayed as she rubbed her temples a second time, only harder, against the soft throb of an impending headache. She stilled, grinned, and dropped her hands to her hips as she recognized that the muted tones came from across the hall.

She mouthed a thank you skyward.

Roth.

She hadn't expected him back from his west coast trip so soon, but the music told her he'd definitely arrived home. Or he had a burglar who robbed third-story condos by Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata."

The music switched over to a piece she didn't recognize, and then another, and finally a fourth. Another Beethoven piece. The volume rose, and that clinched the deal. Roth had a habit of surfing his soundtrack when he worked, claiming he needed to feel the music in order to concentrate on the pieces of jewelry he designed. She had no idea how he could focus with the air and the windows around him pulsating.

Especially with classical music. Eighties rock would be a much better choice. Of course, she grew up biased based on her parents' listening habits.

Holly grabbed the Superman outfit by the shoulders and snapped the fabric out in front of her, picturing Roth between the stitches.

Her smile widened. "Perfect."

He and Clark were similar in size. Roth might be an inch or two taller and a little wider in the shoulders, but nylon stretched.

It might be a bit presumptuous to think her bestie would help her out on a minute's notice, but Roth had always managed to come to her rescue in her time of need.

He'd proven it just recently by helping her bake a Barbie cake — okay, taking over and doing it all himself — she'd promised her niece. Holly had no clue what possessed her to make that promise.

Not that she took advantage of Roth. They traded favors. She watered his plants when he was out of town as well as maintained his website free of charge. It was an easy job, and she didn't mind helping. After all, that's what friends did for each other. He may be full of confidence, cockiness, and an assured attitude when it came to most things in his life, but he struggled with computers as much as she did with kitchen duties.

Holly flung the costume over her shoulder. She'd never know unless she asked. If he didn't have plans, she felt sure he'd help. If he did, she'd have to dig deep and come up with plan B. But she wouldn't worry about that until after she talked to Roth.

An overabundance of nervous energy pushed her through the door and across the hall before she could overthink things. She didn't bother to knock — he'd never hear the sound over his music anyway — and pushed open the door to Roth's orderly home. He sat with his back to the bank of windows overlooking the Grand River that ran through downtown Grand Rapids. She'd have killed for his view, but her bank account couldn't accommodate the jump in her mortgage to get it. At least she could enjoy the tranquil scene from his place. For a moment, as she focused on the water, her heart calmed, and so did her breathing.

Roth sat with his head down, brow furrowed above his magnifying eyeglasses with the built-in jewelers' loupe. His left leg swayed below his desk in rhythm to the music. Holly's breath caught, and she stopped in her tracks, her heart pounding. She didn't want to break his concentration until he had the gemstone held between a tiny pair of tweezers placed into the delicate bracelet laced through his fingers, even though adrenaline raced through her veins.

She went all warm inside watching him work. Gawd, she admired his patience. His shoulder-length hair was tied back into a loose ponytail at his nape and gave a glimpse of the full back tattoo hidden beneath his tee. He was a big man, tall and muscular, but not body-builder muscular. That he designed jewelry and had to work with intricate details seemed at odds with his rough-edged looks, and actually kind of turned her on a little. Not that she'd ever tell him that, no matter how good of friends they were. There were some things you just kept quiet about. When she'd first met him her immediate thought had been biker dude, but she'd quickly discovered underneath his intimidating exterior he had a huge heart and a steady hand that designed some of the most gorgeous pieces of jewelry she'd ever seen. No wonder the rich and famous vied for his work. Not to mention all the women from every walk of life who wanted to date him.

And that tat. On some men tattoos became intimidating and long hair looked feminine, but not on Roth. The tat gave him an aura of mystery, and the casualness of his hair accentuated his strong features, chiseled jaw, and proud profile. There'd be no doubt he was all man.

He was damn nice to look at. And when it came to personality and being an all-around good guy, he could stand alongside her father and brothers any day of the week. For the umpteenth time she wondered why they'd never veered over the lines of friendship.

She tilted her head to the side and tried to study him through new eyes. His olive complexion and dark brown hair, his bluer than blue eyes, his lean strength ... but ...

He's Roth. Your friend. Your best friend of almost two years.

Obviously, they knew each other too well. At this stage of the game, switching things up outside the lines of friendship would be a little awkward. Wouldn't it? Sometimes things just were.

She slid her fingers over the silky material of the costume that still hung over her shoulder and hid her smile as she watched him work. Roth looked exactly like her seven-year-old nephew when he played with his never-ending pile of Legos. Concentration had his tongue poking against the inside of his cheek, and his eyes sparkled with excitement.

The moment he dropped the gemstone between the prongs, his shoulders relaxed and his rounded cheek disappeared. She released her own breath as he checked to make sure the stone stayed in place and then laid the tweezers on the velvet mat filling his desk. He twisted the bracelet from side to side. The light reflected off the gemstones, and dazzling twinkles flitted across the ceiling and walls. Satisfaction filled his smile, and the lines of concentration marring his brow disappeared. He smoothed out the bracelet beside the tweezers and then grabbed the remote and flicked off the stereo.

"What's up?" He sat back and flipped the glasses onto his forehead.

"You know how you're always coming to my rescue?" She licked her lips, shifting her weight from one leg to the other.

"Hmm." He nodded. "You mean how I'm there to fix a leaking pipe in your bathroom when maintenance can't get to it right away, or when you come to my door holding a bowl of dry cereal because you're out of milk, or —"

"Yes, apparently you're keeping tabs." She rolled her eyes, fighting back her smile.

He grinned, and then a tiny line furrowed the space between his eyebrows when he eyed the costume slung over her shoulder, before returning his attention to her face. "Don't tell me you've taken up sewing and have hand-stitched a Superman costume just for me. I feel honored, but I'd have helped you no matter what. Plus, there can only be one Superman."

She laughed outright. Roth always had a way of helping her forget her troubles. "I can't take credit for any type of sewing, but I could really use some rescuing tonight. Are you on a deadline?"


(Continues...)

Excerpted from A Friendly Arrangement by Christine Warner, Karen Grove. Copyright © 2015 Christine Warner. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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A Friendly Arrangement 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
2kasmom More than 1 year ago
This is book # 2 in the Friends First series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For complete understanding of series and characters, I urge the reader to follow the order intended. Roth and Holly are best friends in every sense. They live close by, they play games together, and they commiserate with one another. They are sick of being set up by well meaning friends and family. It's time they change the odds. Holly does not want a commitment. Neither does Roth. Can they play the ultimate scheme and not come out burned? If someone is your everyone, doesn't that mean their really your everything? Such a fun and romantic book. The characters are easy to read. I love best friends stories and this series just keeps me happy. Such great characters with strength! I cannot wait to read the next installment. ***This ARC copy was given by Netgalley and its publisher in exchange for an honest review only.
onlyminordetails More than 1 year ago
My Thoughts: This story was so... freaking... good. I fell in love with Holly and Roth from the very beginning. They're best friends and neighbors, but they find themselves in a quandary where they need to stop people from trying to set them up with others. So they come to an agreement to go places together so that it seems like there's something more. They think they can keep this arrangement under wraps, keep it casual, but then they find themselves kissing one night. Since they're such great friends, how could a little bit of fun cause any problems? Only it does. And it leads Holly and Roth to where they need to figure out what the future holds for them and what they're willing to risk to get what they truly want. A Friendly Arrangement is a lovely story. It was impossible not to notice the chemistry between Holly and Roth--how it was always just below the surface. Also, their friendship felt so grand to me, which made the transition from friends to lovers all the more enjoyable, not to mention natural. I am absolutely interested in reading more by Christine Warner! My Rating: Very Good
Splashesintobooks1 More than 1 year ago
Rating: 4.5/5 If you enjoy a friends to lovers romance filled with angst and turmoil along the way, you'll love this delightful, well crafted read. Living in condos across the hall from each other, best friends, Roth Esterly and Holly Haggerty have been looking out for each other now for more than two years. They're so close they finish each other's sentences, have the codes to enter each other's apartment, share meals, are a shoulder for the other in times of need - in fact everything except romantic partners. When Holly needs a plus one after finishing with her boyfriend she turns to Roth. He agrees to go with her but sets a condition of his own - that they start being the plus one for each other on a regular basis. This is to stop the machinations of family and friends who seem determined to matchmake for them, determined they'll marry, have children and live happily ever after. These two, however, are rebels, determined not to go down that path and eschewing all endeavours to make them do so. With agreed rules in place the two set off to thwart their matchmakers, providing cover for each other little realising love will find a way! With both the leads in this story being strong, independent and determined to avoid commitments you know this won't be an easy friends to lovers romance. Their family histories are totally different but have impacted on their willingness to give love a chance and risk their heart. Both characters are well developed, complex and easy to empathise with. The development of their relationship seems timely and believable with plenty of twists, turns and obstacles to ensure nothing goes quite as you anticipate until the end. A delightful, well written, story to escape into that I have no hesitation in highly recommending. Thanks to the Author, publisher and NetGalley, too, for letting me read an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
gromine49 More than 1 year ago
I have read many of the friends to something more stories, and this is one of the best. Easy-going, keeps you involved in the story, that, even if someone says predictable it is just an enjoyable story. Plain and simple, a great read.
Lori-Gonzo More than 1 year ago
4.5**** This was such a great friends to lovers story. Roth (love his name) and Holly were a whole lot of fun. They laughed so much, supported each other, had a blast, just a real genuine friendship. Their easy camaraderie just sucks you into their story. And after making their "arrangement," they slipped so easily and naturally into their physical relationship. The blurb for the book kinda hints at what twist the storyline will take, but what happened in the story was even better. It made a big lump form in my throat, a few tears in my eyes, and a little frustration. The way the story played out was very sweet, a little funny and very full of heart. And I must say how much I loved Grams. That woman was a scene stealer for sure. She reminds me of a Betty White character, hilarious, a little naughty, and protective of her family. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.
chucha_13 More than 1 year ago
What makes an ordinary plot, extraordinary? It started from the cover, then the synopsis, and finally the story itself. I love, love the cover. Pretty much the first one to entice me, add in one of my favorite plots - there was no way I’m going to let this one pass. Holly and Roth were two best of friends, neighbors, each other’s plus one and not to mention, they knew each other enough to finish each other’s sentences. Both of them love their careers and aren’t ready with commitment. To stop their family and friends from all their matchmaking ideas, they get to have a little arrangement that could benefit them both: be each other’s plus one. What they didn’t foresee is that one night where they crossed the line with a mind-blowing kiss. They thought they’d went pass that they agreed to the rules: exclusivity, termination at any point in time, no sleepovers and if anyone will become emotionally involved, they will break things off with no hard feelings. Sounds simple right? Just as when everything was going well: a little deeper (with the emotions), and a little bit steamier (in and out of bed), things got complicated when a life-changing thing crashed into their lives. Will their friendship be strong enough to withstand it? Will their love be? Will they be brave enough? There were a lot of to-swoon moments and aww moments in this book. It’s romantic, swoon-worthy and sweet. It’s somehow easy on the heart, but yet I couldn’t help but shed a few tears at the near end. This might be your regular friends-to-lovers plot, and yet I can’t help but fall in love all over it again.
JackiesBookWorld More than 1 year ago
Not having read any other works by Christine Warner, I thought that A Friendly Arrangement was a good overall story. Though the idea is not new, the events leading up to conclusion of the book were entertaining to read. Right at the beginning of the story we meet Holly Haggerty, and immediately find out that she has recently ended her relationship with her boyfriend. Now her ex-boyfriend's brother wants to end any business that they used to have, and she doesn't want that. So Holly plans to crash a costume party, but she needs a plus one and she knows that exact person to ask, her best friend and neighbor, Roth Esterly. Soon the pair discovers that they can be each other's plus one with no strings attached. It would have been a great arrangement, but the more they spent time with one another, the more their relationship started to feel different. For Roth Esterly commitments are off the table, he doesn't want to be seriously involved in a relationship when he has a very successful career ahead of him as a jewelry designer. But his family has been trying to set him up for a while, and he is not happy to have people making decisions for him. So when Holly asks him for his help, he is more than happy to help in return to have her as his plus one. Little did he know that he would end up falling in love with her in the process. Now he has to come to terms of what he really wants and if he is willing to fight for it. As I mentioned before, I really liked the overall idea of the story. Both of the characters are career-driven and very much commitment-phobes that just want to be successful without having any romantic relationships. When Holly loses one of her biggest clients, she doesn't know what to do other than to ask her best friend for help. That is when things really take off and the characters are put in different scenarios that ultimately bring them closer. As the two start to realize that they might be falling for each other, that is when the real test comes in and when they'll have to decide whether their careers are more important than their relationship. The tone of the story is light and funny at times, it really was a quick and easy read. Nevertheless, there were moments where the characters felt flat for me. I still very much enjoyed the ending though. I would definitely be reading more from the author in the future. This book is worth picking up if you like the friends-to-relationship kind of stories. : ) ***ARC provided by Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review.***
Cynthia181 More than 1 year ago
A wonderful read. What do you get when you put two very independent people together as neighbors and make them good friends. When Hailey loses her best clients because she broke up his brother and get told that she is not going to be able to go to a special party for a Children's Hospital to talk to him to get his account back. She takes the costume she has for her ex and go across the hall and ask her good friend Roth to help her out. Well things go really comfy from there, he tries to help her and she still loses the client and they decide to have a pack together as friends that help each other out for that occasional Plus-One situation. But they end up kissing and go a lot further which they end up adding a couple of rules to the pact. She helps him reconnect with his Older brother and he helps her try to understand her family more. Because they can't seem to understand her independent streak, one for not wanting to get married and having kids and working as a virtual assistant where she doesn't have to have a 9 to 5 job. But things happen and a lot of big decisions have to be made by both Roth and Holly. I loved it.
IreneC More than 1 year ago
3 stars A Friendly Arrangement was an OK read. While the storyline was good and the characters were likable I didn't quite believe Holly and Roth were BFF's and because of this I struggled at times to connect with their characters. Overall I did enjoy watching these two work through their fears and get to their HEA.
gypsyarj More than 1 year ago
Holly Haggerty gets dumped and loses a client in one day. Desperate to win the client back she asks her friends Roth Esterly to help her. He agrees but with conditions of his own. They would be each other's plus one at functions to keep meddling family members from trying to play match maker. Neither was thinking that their arrangement would be anything but casual. However, as they make amendments to their rules it becomes anything but casual. Holly manages to land some new clients and Roth learns that no good deed goes unpunished. Friendship blossoms into something more as things heat up with Holly and Roth. This story has it all hot sex, surprises and some laugh out loud moments. I would recommend this to anyone that loves to get lost in a great love story.
JulieMaguda More than 1 year ago
Roth and Holly are best friends and neighbors who have the same relationship hang up. They don't want commitment. They are both tired of friends and relatives setting them up on blind dates ,so they agree to be each other's "plus one" for different events and family get togethers. After an event together things heat up between them and they decide to be friends with benefits, until things get serious. I really love the friends first concept a lot. I liked both of their personalities and you could feel the attraction between them. I thought the transitions in the story were handled a little awkwardly at times. I actually went back once or twice to make sure I wasn't missing something a couple of times. There was one really big moment in the story that I wish was handled a little differently. There was no lead in to the conversation at all and I would have liked to have "seen" their whole conversation. That was really my only gripe about this one. I loved everything else about it! ** I received an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**
Maria-Rose More than 1 year ago
This was a friends to lovers romance, between two neighbours - Holly and Roth. They've both decided that marriage and commitment are not for them, but a dating arrangement they make quickly becomes a friends with benefits deal as they find that their attraction to each other no longer needs to be hidden. But what will it take to make them change their minds and realize they could have a future together? This was an okay read for me, but I found that there seemed to be a lot more emphasis on Holly and Roth's relationship with their respective families than on themselves. While I found that interesting at first, it got a bit wearing after a while. Holly made some decisions at the start that didn't make a lot of sense to me, but that didn't last long and by mid-way I definitely was enjoying her character. Roth I liked from the very beginning, and his chosen career as a jewelry designer was really interesting. They had a good connection and their love scenes showed that chemistry between them. I was glad that they got their happy ending. 3 stars.
WildHeartReviews More than 1 year ago
Going to go a bit different for this review because there is more than one thing I want to point out. I have definite pros and cons to this book and when I finished it, I literally said MEH out loud. That being noted, I feel I should explain. Before I dive into my reasoning for that, I want to get the technical information out of the way first. A Friendly Arrangement is the second book in the Friends First series by Christine Warner. It is a full length novel with an HEA, no cliffhanger and it can most assuredly be read as a standalone. The story is told from an alternating third person point-of-view between the main characters. Not really sure how I want to do this because these will read like bullet points, so I’m just going to toss it out there. Pros: I loved this book cover. The muted tons with the pop of color to it is eye catching for me. I wanted to read it from that alone. The story of Roth and Holly is a friends-to-lovers tale, which I am a sucker for. I adored the dynamic between these two characters, as well as the plot itself. I liked how both characters had their own careers, and that the careers weren’t something you’d typically find in a romance novel. There is an attraction between the main characters that transmits itself from the pages. You don’t just read about their connection, you feel it. They may both be commitment-phobes, which there is no doubt of, but you still realize something is there, and you do so before both the characters do. Cons: I think my biggest turn off with this book, was that while it’s described as a friends-to-lovers book, it read to me like Holly and Roth were just meeting. They’ve supposedly been “Besties” for years, but they didn’t know much about each other in terms of life details. That turned me off. How the arrangement between the two of them played just didn’t strike anything for me personally. I think I expected more of a build up, and there just wasn’t one. That’s about all I have for it. If you’ll notice, my pros outweigh my cons. I want to point out that the book is well written, and it does have a great plot to it. The reason I had the basic bullet points for this review is because that was literally how I remembered it in my head once I finished the book. Points, not full plot, and I don’t normally do that. I would actually recommend it still! I gave the book a full three stars myself.
ToniSheldon More than 1 year ago
Christine Warner hits the friends to lovers mark spot on with all the “feels” and a little twist to shake things up! I really enjoyed this friends to lovers story. I felt it had all the “feels” that a good romance read needs and offered up a little twist to keep it real. The characters were real and are relatable with family drama, money, and job insecurities like the rest of the world. Of course, we could all have been so lucky to have our best friend be Super Hot Neighbor Guy. Holly Haggerty is a career driven woman who wants to make her own way in the world without the attachment of a husband or even anyone uttering the word “long term commitment”. Roth Esterly is a successful man that grew up knowing he never wanted to duplicate his parent’s mistakes. Therefore, long term commitment and family was something he would avoid and was not interested in. Holly needs a date ASAP for charity event to try and win back her biggest client. Her best friend and neighbor, Roth, is her only hope after she dumps her boyfriend when he tries for a longer term arrangement. Roth also needs a date the following weekend for an event. When the two start thinking about how Holly’s Mom is obsessed with finding her a husband and Roth’s friends are always trying to set him up with someone new, they devise an arrangement to become each other’s “plus one”. They are already best friends and enjoy each others company, so why not have fun and take some pressure off of having to be setup all the time. So, why does Holly find Roth as the Super Hot Neighbor Guy now? Maybe, there is something to the “friends with benefits” saying…Along comes the addendum to arrangement (warning…Hot and Sexy stuff) Rules are to be followed: dates, sex, no feelings, and no overnight sleeping arrangements. If emotions become involved, then the arrangement is off. Sounds like a fairy tale, until Holly thinks maybe this is the fairy tale she wants. Roth is a confirmed bachelor, so why does he want Holly by his side every waking moment. Life is great until reality throws in an unexpected clause to their arrangement. Can Holly and Roth accept the new terms? Great book with humor, emotion, smexy scenes, and soul searching. I laughed, fanned myself, wanted to slap a character, and had to grab the tissues during this story! My only let down was I felt I had missed a chapter or thought I was reading a dream scene and then realized it was “the scene”. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I felt there should have been more to conversation as it was such an important part. But alas, I still loved the book and would definitely recommend it!!!
TammyS32 More than 1 year ago
Roth and Holly aren’t looking for the happily ever after. So to get their families out of their hair they make an arrangement to be each other’s plus one. Then after a hot night together they decided to take the arrangement a bit further. Will their past relationship issues end up ruin this budding relationship and friendship or can they find a way to move forward together. I liked the story, the chemistry between Roth and Holly is excellent and the story held my interest throughout.
mamalovestoread22 More than 1 year ago
Holly Haggerty is no where near ready to walk down the aisle, let alone ready to start a family and become the doting housewife her family expects her to be. She likes her independence and has no problem with relationships with the opposite sex, as long as they don't lead to a marriage proposal or anything permanent. She thinks she has found a guy who understands her relationship requirements, and that he wants the same things she does, but when he changes his mind and wants more, their relationship implodes. Not only is Clark leaving her alone, but also in need of a plus one for a work party, so she turns to her best friend Roth Esterly. Roth Esterly enjoys his single status, with the exception of his family constantly trying to set him up, and push him down the matrimonial aisle. His views of relationships and happily ever afters are quite similar to Holly's, which is probably why they get along so well. When Holly wanders across the hall in search of a plus one, he is more than willing to help out his friend... on one condition, they work out a deal to be each other's occasional plus one with no strings attached. He figures not only will it help him from having to attend events alone and receive the pity look from family and friends, but will also lead them to think he is in a relationship with Holly, which means an end to being set-up on dates. Holly likes his idea, and thinks its the perfect solution to their ongoing problem. But when they both start to see things in each other they never noticed before the lines of their deal become a little blurred, and have them questioning their just friends status... This was my first time reading a book by this author, and I have to say it left a really good first impression, so much so, I plan to make a return visit to this series very soon. Being the second installment in the series, I was concerned I maybe a little lost, but I am happy to report that wasn't the case at all, I think this book could easily be read as a standalone title, however, after you read it you will be left dying to get your hands on the other books in the series! I love reading friends to lovers stories and this one definitely hit the mark, the chemistry between Roth and Holly was undeniable from the start, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching there story unfold. I highly recommend you add this one to the top of your reading list, its sure to leave you with a happy heart and smile on your face. ARC requested through NetGalley and kindly provided by Entangled Publishing in exchange for a honest review.
Crystal_Yawn More than 1 year ago
"Doth protest to much" I believe is the saying that fits this book to a T. Holly and Roth want nothing to do with commitment, each for their own reasons, so a deal to be each others plus one is a great idea right? Holly is a great character, she's 1/2 a set of twins, trying to put her stamp on the earth. Though her family loves her, they are not all that supportive of her independence. Roth is a bit weaker. I personally like a strong male lead and he tends to let Holly take the lead a lot. The story made for a great train wreck waiting to happen, that I had difficulty putting down.
MELHUTCHINSON More than 1 year ago
This was a cute friends turned lovers story. I did like the characters and the way that they were so in tune to each other. I think that having a friendship relationship before a lovers relationship made this work better for these two. Holly had just broken off a relationship with Clark and then his brother, one of Holly's biggest clients, called and informed her that he was not going to renew his contract with her for the next year. Holly is heartbroken. Just when she thinks she is getting to a good place in her business! Now she feels that she is at square one again. Holly and Clark were supposed to go to a couple costume party that night but now that she is not with Clark, she needs someone to fill in. Holly thinks that if she can just get into the party and talk to Clark's brother, she can change his mind about the whole thing and win back his business. Roth, Holly's best friend, automatically comes to mind. Holly has to do some explaining and bribing to get Roth to agree to go with her, but eventually he agrees. Holly informs Roth that she has probably been removed from the guest list because Clark's brother is the one controlling it. They are going to have to sneak in through the kitchen to gain access to the party. When Holly and Roth get to the party, things begin to fall apart for Holly. Things are far from what Holly had imagined them to be and she pretty much gets embarrassed at the party by Clark and his brother with Roth coming to her defense. Holly and Roth leave and have a long talk on their way home. The two of them realize that they are so much alike and have so much in common in their lives from when they were growing up that it is hard to believe that they are not from the same family. Holly and Roth end the night with a kiss and things begin to change for both of them. Holly and Roth's relationship become one of those friends with benefits ones and they are actually scared that someone is going to get hurt but don't want to end the benefits part of the relationship. Will Holly and Roth find their way back to each other? You have to read this cute story to find out. Christine Warner did good with this one and throws you for a loop at the end. Thanks for a great read and can't wait for more from you in the near future!
LynnB888 More than 1 year ago
It's fun, it's flirty, it's hot ... I loved it! Once in awhile you read a book and instantly connect with the characters. This was one of those for me. From the minute I was introduced to Holly and Roth, I loved them. They have a fun relationship that has you grinning as you read them give each other a hard time, and they are both just very relatable. I could imagine being friends with both of them! :) Holly Haggerty and Roth Esterly live across the hall from each other and are the best of buds. They are alike in their thinking about life and just get each other. Neither wants to ever have a serious relationship or a family. Holly comes from a close knit family. Really too close for her liking. She adores her twin sister and two brothers as well as her parents and Gram, but they all just love to smother her with advice about finding a husband, having a family, and most often about working a more reliable job instead of her own business. Roth is somewhat close with his younger brother and Mom, but very estranged from his older brother and his Dad before his death. He's single and loving it, but so tired of friends constantly trying to set him up with someone. They come up with a plan to be each other's "Plus One" when they have an event or function to go to. Their friends will stop fixing them up because they will think they are already dating. It's perfect! Until they start feeling super attracted to each other and decide to have a little fun one night. No problem, they just decide they'll tweak their agreement and become Plus One's with benefits. When they each start to realize they are having feelings for each other, will they decide to actually be in a relationship? And when an unexpected complication is thrown into the mix, will they support each other through it, or will it be the end of their agreement ... and maybe even their friendship?
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
Holly and Roth are best of friends. They tell each other everything, hang out together, and agree that when it comes to relationships, it's not for either of them. Tired of all the fix-ups by well meaning family members, they agree to be each others plus one. No strings, no attachments, perfect! Until that one night.... I really loved this story. Loved the interaction between Holly and Roth. The humor and closeness between the two was very believable. The evolution of their relationship was very interesting and probably more typical than we would all like to think. When communication shuts down and you start running scared nothing good can come of it. This book is very well done and I would recommend it to everyone.
Lashea677 More than 1 year ago
Everyone saw it but them. That should have been the name of the story. Heck, I saw it from their first interaction. I received an ARC of A Friendly Arrangement in exchange for an honest review. All while I was reading this story I was thinking, been there done that. Nothing surprised me from how they began to where they ended up. Christine Warner did a good job with a scenario that was obvious to any reader.
aprilrenee1976 More than 1 year ago
Friends to Lovers story Holly Haggerty and Roth Esterly are two best friends who do everything together until they get tired of always being set up by other friends on dates that never go well. So they end up going on a date –together with each other- friends without commitment. That way their other well-meaning friends won’t decide to set them up with other people and make their nights stale and boring. All went great and according to plan until one night when they got hot and heavy with each other and the love making was off the charts. Well , now they can’t put the genie back in the bottle. It is a true friends that went to friends with benefits that turned to more of a im in love with my best friends story. This story had several emotional twist to it. I liked the element of this story but felt there was a missing link that would have enhanced the story more. I would have liked to have seen MC fleshed out a bit more . We saw that they agreed to do a friends with benefits arrangement which then after a bit caused them to see how they really liked each other and how they wanted to be with each other. The jealously angle didn’t need to be done. I would have liked to see something else done to make them come together. Roth was a good guy and Holly was a sweet woman –I just would have liked how they ended up together thought out a bit more. Overall, this was a good read. My rating: 3.7 stars **** ***A gifted copy was provided by the publisher for my honest review****