Seven minutes in heaven never felt so good…
Valerie Barkin and Alec Rogers survived bullies, awful parents, and seriously shitty social standing the only way best friends can—together. But with the unexpected sexual tension suddenly flaring between them, surviving their ten-year high school reunion might be a different story…
Val hasn’t changed. She still feels like the stringy-haired band geek the popular kids teased, but Alec has definitely changed. He’s now the front man for the Grammy-winning rock band Chronic Disharmony, with the sexual reputation to match. And he’s more than willing to help Val rock the reunion.
And then it happens—a drunken game of Seven Minutes in Heaven—and their fourteen-years-long foreplay comes crashing to the forefront…changing everything.
Seven minutes turns into a weekend of mind-blowing, no-strings-attached sex. But these best friends won't be able to leave their hearts out of it forever, not when the most meaningful benefit could change their relationship for good.
Each book in the Most Likely To series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 Best Friends with Benefits
Book #2 Wrong Bed Reunion
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Best Friends with Benefits
A Most Likely to Novel
By Candy Sloane, Stacy Abrams
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2016 Candy Sloane
All rights reserved.
Valerie had hit empty on her daily supply of exasperated groans. Over the past three hours, Alec's lateness had ratcheted up from charming to maddening to code-red-level dick. Hanging out in baggage claim with her elbow propped on her upended suitcase and her face in her hand wasn't how she'd planned on starting her high school reunion weekend.
Her chin was going numb and her neck ached. She shifted position and glanced down. While it alleviated her pain, the view rekindled it. Hours of waiting had wreaked wrinkled havoc on her tan linen skirt and fitted white button down.
She was going to kill him.
Her silent phone mocked her, though she was thankful for the excuse to have it glued to her hand. She'd been stalking her inbox all day for an email from the London Philharmonic.
She couldn't will an acceptance email for their year-long residency program into her inbox any more than she could check one of the arrival screens for an update on where the hell Alec was. He was traveling by private plane — a smirk tugged at her lips — just like anyone would to his ten-year high school reunion.
Alec had taken the time they spent hanging out in the Kenmore High School band room and become the lead singer and lead guitarist of the Grammy-winning rock band Chronic Disharmony. Valerie had taken it and become the second flute chair for the Philadelphia Philharmonic.
For now. She snuck another furtive glance at her inbox.
She and Alec had been so similar in high school — Val and Al — but they were polar opposites now, at least in the music world. Well, Valerie seethed as more minutes ticked by, in etiquette, too.
She noticed a lanky guy with brown hair in the distance and perked up — finally — but the relaxed smile she'd pasted on as camouflage before she ripped Alec a new one stiffened.
It wasn't him.
She crossed her arms and grumbled. Apparently he was going for induction into the Penis's World Record Book.
She had timed their expected arrivals to coincide with dinner. Walking in fashionably late would assure that the people she wanted to avoid would be occupied. But now, the Opening Night Dinner had long since ended. Her stomach clawed and whimpered. She riffled through her carry-on for the last of her plane peanuts.
She hadn't seen Alec in person since they'd graduated from Kenmore High, but lately his face had been everywhere: on TV, all over the internet, and on the cover of the magazine jutting out from her purse. She'd been browsing the airport newsstand in Philly before her flight when she saw him: Alec Rogers, her best friend, on the cover of Rolling Stone. They'd poured him into leather pants and nothing else. The museum of tattoos on his chest and shoulders was framed by taut arms. Two ladder rungs of ab muscles laced up his stomach, a concave at his belly button the perfect size for some lucky lady's lips.
She shook her head, a stress headache nipping at her temples. Why am I thinking about that?
Maybe because she'd bought the copy of Rolling Stone to give Alec crap about being such a rock star pretty boy, but instead she'd stared at it, at him, from the time she boarded the plane until she had reached cruising altitude. It might have ended up with a ring of drool around that belly button had the flight attendant not interrupted to see if she wanted a drink.
She had. Vodka straight.
Her phone finally dinged with a text from Alec.
It was the same message he sent her daily, usually after midnight. She had thousands just like it and thousands of other texts from him filling her phone like confetti.
No, she typed, her fingers taut with annoyance, just waiting at the airport for some dick who's more than three hours late.
"Want me to kick his ass?"
She knew that rough song-worn voice, knew the composed breath that waited for her response. Alec stood above her. As she took him in, her stomach seemed to float up like a balloon she'd just let go of — a cocktail of excitement and nervousness buzzing and zinging as it launched into her throat.
His signature dark brown fauxhawk was hidden under a baseball cap, his torso and arm tattoos shielded by a leather jacket. But it was him, her Al, and at the same time it wasn't. His combat boots made him appear taller than she remembered, and his shoulders seemed broader, even more so than when she'd seen them bare on the cover of Rolling Stone.
She finally remembered to smile, to do something other than stare.
His kind brown eyes lit up. "Val." He set down his guitar case and pulled her into an embrace so forceful she almost lost one of her pumps.
He smelled of leather and alcohol, of a rock star.
"Al," she replied, hugging him back. Forgetting her annoyance for the moment and remembering how they did this — said each other's names with different inflection dependent on their mood.
She snuggled into him. The slight frame he'd had in high school was as well-built as it looked. Her abdomen stiffened against the muscles of his own. The stubble on his chin bristled at her cheek.
"I'll do it," he said. "I'm just trying to figure out how you kick a dick's ass. Does it even have one?"
"I don't know. Maybe we should ask the dick."
He let out a dry laugh. "I'm sorry I'm late." He squeezed her again. "If Dante were still with us, he would agree that L.A. traffic should be the tenth circle of hell."
"I'd nominate high school reunions for that illustrious spot." Her stomach pitched. She'd hated having to wait all those hours for Alec, but now that he was here, they would have to go to the reunion. See all those people from high school. Worse, they would see her. "I can't believe you convinced me to come to this thing," she continued. She parsed out her anxiety from the dizziness of talking to Alec in person, being in his arms. Her heart panted like a dog begging for a treat. She forced herself to let go of him.
"Val, we've made good. We deserve to be here."
He certainly had. She wasn't so sure about herself. She used to be a girl who played flute, and now she was a woman who did. While Alec's star had risen, hers had barely even begun to gather up the dust to be born.
He inclined his head at her purse. "I see you got my Rolling Stone debut. Isn't it awesome?"
"Ten more minutes of waiting and I was going to draw donkey ears and domino-sized teeth on it."
Alec's mouth curved into a knowing smile. "Like we used to do to yearbook photos of people we didn't like. I know I was late, but you still like me, don't you?" His voice was thick, pointed.
He had the same gentle face she knew, the same wide jaw and honest chin, but there was a hint of something mischievous behind his eyes. Alec had always had that to some degree, but now he had the swagger and sex appeal to match. The way his brown eyes sampled hers, the way his body shielded her view from everything in the world but him — it was unsettling and not at all the way she expected to feel around him. The discrepancy almost made her stumble.
"You're not remembering right. It was people we thought were asses," she corrected, "and three hours late, that makes you officially an ass." One of the pictures from his magazine spread flashed into her mind — Alec, his strong back to the camera, a guitar sandwiched between his legs and his plump figure-eight ass in those leather pants. It was enough to give any woman daydreams for days, fantasies forever. But not her — she was not supposed to be thinking about that. She blinked, bringing herself back to the real thing standing right in front of her.
"I know it might seem dumb to someone waiting to hear about a chair in the London Philharmonic, but I'm proud of making the cover." He pointed at the magazine again.
"It doesn't seem dumb," she admitted.
Their gaze held. She considered telling him she was proud of him, too, but he knew. He knew every little thing her mind ever thought. She winced, hoping he'd missed the whole figure-eight ass in leather pants segment.
"Let's get the car before someone recognizes you," he finally said, leading her out of the airport.
A black Maserati convertible as dark as the night sky above sat out front waiting for them.
"They shipped it up for me special," Alec said as he opened Valerie's door. The inside reminded her of her flute case, black and soft. Valerie had known the minute she'd seen him, but sitting in this two-hundred-thousand-dollar car, there was no doubt Alec was a rock star. Successful beyond even the dreams he'd shared with her while they lay on the carpet of her high school bedroom staring up at the glow-in-the-dark stars on her ceiling.
"It's amazing, but a bit much for Kenmore, don't you think?" she said as he started the engine.
Alec had removed his hat and leather jacket. A white T-shirt played tug of war with his pectoral muscles and was losing. The tattoos she'd studied on the cover of Rolling Stone were like pieces of artwork in person — a wing emerging from his left elbow, black feathers exploding up and down his arm. A black vine of thorns wrapping up his right, binding against his taut, solid ...
"Wait until you see the suite I got us. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms." He beamed, waking her from her trance, the dimple that fans fainted over peeking through.
She'd agreed without question when Alec suggested they room together for the reunion. But how could she have anticipated being near him would make her feel this way? Tongue-tied, nervous, confused as hell ... and a little turned on. In high school, they would lie next to each other on her bed for hours talking, the thought of touching him never crossing her mind — but now that thought needed an army of crossing guards.
"Things must have changed a lot since high school. I can't believe hotels in Kenmore have suites now."
"The Sheraton is the poshest hotel in Kenmore."
"Now that's an oxymoron."
His eyes scraped boldly over her. "Doesn't mean I can't throw a little money around for you, does it, Val?"
She shifted in her seat, hoping the thrum she sensed between her legs was just the roar of the engine.
"I'm surprised you didn't bring a date." She'd not only seen Alec all over the media alone, but with women, lots of them, each one as much like artwork as his tattoos.
Valerie, on the other hand, had dated exactly three guys since high school: one throughout college, one six months after she graduated, and the last, Charles, she'd broken up with because he couldn't commit to marrying her. He used to say: "The word commit makes me think of an insane asylum."
Valerie understood. Trying to get Charles to comply had made her feel like she was locked up and straight-jacketed in one, but she had learned her lesson. Keeping an unwilling man was like keeping a bird. You just ended up with an empty cage and a bunch of crap you had to clean up.
No more. Hopefully she would move to London and never look back. Still, she couldn't help staring at her naked finger. A ring was supposed to be the frosting on the cake of the woman she was now. Without it, she had no physical proof that men actually found her attractive. That she wasn't the same girl she used to be in high school.
"I'm surprised you didn't bring your flute," Alec finally replied as they pulled onto the Thruway.
Her cheeks bloomed despite the evening wind. "Hilarious." Valerie's teeth felt too big for her mouth, even though this was where their conversations went eventually — slid into jokes about their sex lives. Val's "boring" one and Alec's "excessively hot" one. "The next time you masturbate with your guitar, call me," she continued, trying to keep up.
Alec opened his mouth to speak and then closed it.
"You like to keep that stuff private?" she pressed, pleased she was winning this round.
He glanced at her, his eyes sharp. "Watching is optional, but once you do, participation is mandatory."
Her heart seemed to stammer, her lungs suddenly an inferno. Wow, she was not even close to winning. Lava spread up her belly, wound around her neck. She searched her mind for a response.
"Besides, I probably won't need my guitar for that this weekend," he said. "I'm thinking I'll find someone at the reunion."
She sensed a lump in her throat, but there was relief, too. He might look different, her body might be reacting differently, but he was Alec and she was Valerie. They were being Al and Val. She just wasn't used to jousting with him when he was so close. All their conversations since high school had been virtual; they'd just have to learn how to be physical again.
She fought wooziness at her slip. Not that kind of physical. There was no doubt being inches from a man who millions of women wanted was making her delirious. Or maybe it wasn't Alec at all. She hadn't touched anyone but herself since she and Charles broke up three months ago. She was bound to have booty on the brain.
"Well, if you bring someone back to the room," she finally replied, lifting the hair off her neck, needing the tickle of cool air, "put a necktie on the door or something to warn me."
"Maybe that's what they use in the Symphony; rock stars go with a bra."
"Why change what works?"
Valerie couldn't deny, even though it was baffling the hell out of her, that this new Alec worked.
He took his hand off the wheel and lowered it, his fingers hovering inches from her bare knee. Her skin prickled, goose bumps screaming to life. He changed gears and gripped the wheel again. The breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding burst out. Wow, this was going to be one long weekend.
They entered the yawning mouth of suburban Kenmore, NY. Strip malls and Starbucks reigned with farms and the start of New England woods sprinkled around for greenery. Valerie hadn't been back in five years, since her parents followed the migration of most of the older set from their temple and moved to Florida. Even in the dark, the suburban status quo had changed very little.
Alec parked at the hotel and began to exit the car, but Valerie paused. He would get a king's welcome, but she would still be the same band-geek Valerie she was ten years ago.
"You're not seriously nervous, are you?" Alec grabbed her upper arm, his rings pressing through the fabric of her shirt and into her skin.
"No." Valerie sighed. But she was. All her old insecurities came flooding back — dorky, knock-kneed, stringy-haired Valerie, the kind of girl who could only get lucky with her flute.
His chestnut eyes held her gaze. "Just follow my lead."
"You mean until you find the person wearing the bra you're going to hang on our door knob." Her lower lip quivered slightly.
He squared his hand tight on her shoulder, his eyes deepening. "There's no Al without Val."
It was what people used to say about them back in high school. They were inseparable besties. One was never without the other. Well, at least they had been until the day after graduation — the day it took Alec years to forgive her for.
Who would have known that ten years later she would be struggling to stop picturing him with his shirt off? Maybe it was good that once they were finally talking and texting again, life got in the way of them visiting each other.
She blew her bangs up. One issue at a time.
"If you hate it, we can go to the room and watch movies like we used to in high school."
"It'll be fine." Nothing was like it used to be in high school. If she had trouble being in the car with Alec, being alone in a room with him "watching movies" was out of the question.
"I can make it finer," Alec said, digging into the center console and unearthing a metal flask. He swayed it in front of her, hypnotist style. "It's vodka, your favorite."
She shook her head. She'd had a drink on the plane, but they were here now. She was with him now. She'd need her wits about her, that was for sure.
He unscrewed the top, brought it to his lips, and took a long gulp. He grimaced slightly but didn't cough. "You want to go into your high school reunion sober, that's your choice." His voice was syrupy from the liquor. "But there is no way in hell I'm facing those jackals unarmed."
Excerpted from Best Friends with Benefits by Candy Sloane, Stacy Abrams. Copyright © 2016 Candy Sloane. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Mostly hot and steamy scenes and not a lot of story line.....all in all ok
Way too much internal monolog
Great characters and a entriguing storyline had me hooked. Definitely recommend this book! I can't wait to read more by this author.
If you are wanting a read that will leave you hot and bothered, then Best Friends with Benefits is the book for you. The hot, steamy sex scenes will leave you wanting more and the steam factor is out of this world. Candy Sloane has a way with words that makes you want to .... well you know ... more than once. Sloane's ability to tap into the "more than friends zone" that we all know we have had makes this book a sensational hit. We have all had that one friend, that whom we fantasized or wished that the friendship could go beyond that. Well that is exactly what happens in this great read, Valerie and Alec have been friends for over 1o years and when they are at their reunion, they decide to move away from the "friend zone". When passion erupts, sexual passion that has been buried for over a decade lights a need that neither one of them expected. Alec's nickname for Valerie - Dirty Girl, lets you know exactly what to expect from this hot, delectable read. For anyone wanting something, spicy, sexy and hot, hot, hot, Best Friends with Benefits is definitely a read you must pick up. Sloane has created two characters who have chemistry and friendship, which is all that you need for a great story. The writing is fantastic, the sex scenes are amazing and the characters are fantastic. Overall, this is a definite must read for anyone who has had that friend who they secretly lusted after, or anyone going to their next high school reunion, as this is a delectable read!
My heart is a flutter with this story because it is basically every non-requited crush dream come to life. *dreamy sigh* But I digress - beware of spoilers! I am usually not a fan of the best friends turned lovers story - I don't know why exactly. This story, however, was different in that the best friends have been apart for many years and when they first see each other - they don't expect the attraction to be as present. Val is coming off of a break up from a guy who didn't ever want to marry her and Alec is the quintessential bad boy rocker. There is definitely a sweetness when they are together and that tender side eventually gives in to their growing attraction as they attend their high school reunion. I definitely liked how our two protagonists were once geeks and are now pretty cool, each in their own right. I also appreciated how being back in their hometown brought back insecurities - you never can escape everything about high school, right? With each other's support, however, they're able to move past the bullies and annoyances of their youth. I enjoyed how even though Alec is a big time star, he still has affection for his best friend and is not a cocky jerk. He's pretty goofy and funny - with a twist of sexiness. There were a few things I didn't enjoy, but I was able to ignore in order to enjoy the story. One was Val's fixation on getting married. I can take it that rejection is horrible - and the concept of rejection is a big part of the story - but I didn't like that not being proposed to equaled "there's something wrong with me". I wish Val could have shown how much she's grown as a person from the get-go instead of when Alec enters the picture. The other thing I didn't like was how Val's encounter with one of her bullies, the school's "mean girl", happened. Alec stands up for Val and Val gets back at her bully - but in a "under the radar way." I would have loved seeing Val square off with her bully, face to face, and finally standing up for herself. The end was pretty good and it does end in a proposal - but not in the usual way! I really was grateful for that because it did not hinder my liking the story. Since the story is told from a dual perspective, we know that Alec is going to propose, he's got the ring in his pocket and everything. What's different is that we don't read about him actually doing it or read about Val saying yes - the reader knows she's going to say "yes." That, worked out perfect for me. See? I'm not totally against proposals at the end of books! Overall, I enjoyed this book so much I read it in a day :) I recommend it to my romance lovers out there!
Val and Alec have been been best friends since high school. They've kept in touch with each other via phone and video calls, but physically in the same room since. Neither of them was popular then, but now Alec is a rock star and Valerie plays in a symphony. When they come face to face they are surprised by the attraction they feel towards each other. There is plenty of chemistry between the two and their history helps to speed up the emotional status of their relationship, but their insecurities and constant lack of communication became annoying. Even though they were there for a class reunion, they didn't interact much with their former classmates. I still enjoyed the story and it's perfect if you're looking for a quick and dirty friends to lovers story. 3.5 stars I received an ARC via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. I was not compensated for this review, all conclusions are my own.
I have to come right out and say I absolutely love this book. As someone with a best friend who happens to be male, I can really relate to the concept of the story. The author did an awesome job setting up the entire storyline and character development. You really get to know these two and feel everything that they are feeling and going through. A difficult job for an author to accurately describe the angst and anxiety, heat and passion two people can have together. I love Alec. He is so sure of his feelings for Val but yet he does not want to ruin the best part about being together, their friendship. Poor thing is so twisted up yet so, so Sweet!!!!!! sigh... This story is super hot and so engrossing you almost feel like you are watching everything that's going on. With many laughs along the way, this is an story that you will love and beg for more once it has ended!
Valerie and Alec have been friends since they were kids in school and now they are getting ready to attend their high school reunion. They have seen each other in person since graduation and when they finally do see each other they are extremely attracted to one another. Alec is now a front man in a famous rock band. After a drunken game of 7 minutes in heaven they decide to have a friends with benefits situation for the weekend. I've said it a million times but I am such a sucker for friends to lovers stories and this one didn't disappoint. They were so funny and cute together. Alec had a lot of emotional family baggage that he had to deal with, and Valerie had self confidence issues to get over. She was teased a lot in school and it stuck with her throughout the years. I really loved the first 75% of the book but I felt like something was missing in the last part. Maybe it was because Alec was so unused to emotional feelings that it felt weird. I was really happy the author added the epilogue too. It made me smile. ** I received an free copy of this title via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. **
Alec and Valerie, the romantic protagonists of author Candy Sloane’s sexy new release, Best Friends with Benefits, perfectly demonstrate why falling in love (and lust) with your best friend is so scary — and ultimately so rewarding. Despite what Harry told Sally in the iconic film all those years ago, men and women can just be friends (look no further than Kate and Leo as a prime example). However, sometimes, a connection can begin to develop that goes far beyond the initial emotional bond friendship. Finding yourself attracted to a close friend can be unnerving. What if they don’t like you that way? What if it’s one-sided? Then again, maybe it’s mutual and there’s unresolved sexual tension leaking all over the place — but making the move to a physical relationship could mean risking the friendship. Best Friends with Benefits deals with both of these fears head on. Being inseparable all throughout high school, best friends Alec and Valerie have worked hard to maintain their connection in the ten years since graduation. With true affection —and the help of FaceTime and texts— they have been able to weather time and distance, rifts and career changes. However, their high school reunion marks the first time they are actually in the same room in ten years. Their deep-seated emotional connection is now complicated by an immediate, and mutual, visceral physical and sexual attraction. Unable to resist their attraction, Alex and Val finally give in to their physical needs, and boy, is it ever satisfying. Deciding they can handle a weekend affair, Alec and Val embark on a ‘friends with benefits’ arrangement - that was always so much more. The communication between Alec and Val is always honest, being honest with themselves is the problem. With humor and vulnerability, Alec and Val find their way. Author Candy Sloane skillfully explores the pitfalls, and joy, of sharing your body with the person who shares your heart. Best Friends with Benefits earns its place among the most satisfying friends to lovers stories. *I received an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion and review*
Did you ever play Seven Minutes in Heaven when you were growing up? What if you got stuck in a closet with your best male friend? That is actually what happens to our hero and heroine in Best Friends with Benefits by Candy Sloane. Typically this is the point when I would tell you that the cover is what jumped out at me, but for this book, it’s not. It was the synopsis. I already love a good friends-to-lovers book, but this one took it a step further. You throw in the adolescent games that you played growing up so that you could have an excuse to be close to your crush, without admitting anything, and it almost puts a forbidden twist on it. Fast forward ten years, and realize that they folks are playing this at their high school reunion! While drunk. That made for a mix that I just had to read. This is my first book by this particular author and I quite enjoyed it. The storyline was engaging, the writing was well done and it moved at a good pace. There were also parts in it that I burst out laughing. They were somewhat immature but given the context they truly worked. You felt the chemistry between the main characters and you got a good feel for the supporting characters as well. Overall, it was a vastly entertaining read and I would fully recommend it!
Valerie and Alec have been best friends for a long time. With the exception of being attracted to one another, there have been no hiccups in their friendship. Honesty is one of the best things they love about each other. Alec is now a rock star and loved by all. Going to their high school reunion, he is the most popular person there. Val is still on the outside. Or is she? He kisses her and the walls start to break down. Val is unaware he is secretly in love with her all this time. Keeping their friendship has been the most important thing for both of them. All they have is each other. Such a rewarding and amazing story! This book has everything. I was especially proud of the best friend aspect, and how it plays out. ***This ARC was given by Netgalley.com and its publisher for an honest review.
3.5 stars Best Friends with Benefits was a good friends to lovers read. This was an entertaining read, loved both Alec and Valerie. They've been best friends since highschool & kept in touch over the years with ongoing text messages while living life on different coasts and chasing their dreams. At their ten-year high school reunion they spend time reconnecting face to face and what surprises them both are the strong feelings they both feel. It was fun seeing them fight the sexual attraction, both struggled with what to do with these feelings and scared to risk their friendship for what might be just a weekend of hot sex. Overall this was a fun, sexy & heartwarming read and I highly recommend it. Best Friends with Benefits was a great start to the Most Likely To series, looking forward to the next book :)
This is a new author to me and while, I will hold my hands up and openly say that I enjoyed the story, I will also admit that bits had me pulling my hair out in frustration. So what do a classical flautist and front man/guitarist for a rock band have in common? History, they have history! They grew up together and adulthood sort of forced them to grow apart but they have never really truly let go, they have sporadically kept in touch but when they rock up at their class reunion, you can bet your last dollar that the weekend will result in changes that neither of them saw coming. Valerie and Alec, really guys, there were times when I could have banged your heads together, but when all it took was a silly game of spin the bottle to break the ice so to speak, there was no going back and despite the ludicrous rules they almost tried to sabotage their shot at happiness with. But then aren’t all rules meant to be broken…yep I thought so too, so I was counting the pages until they shattered their determination…I didn’t have to wait long! I will say one thing for this author, she doesn’t hold back when she ignites the flame under the two of them. They don’t just sizzle, they ignite! I understood the apprehension that Valerie felt with regards to getting involved with Alec, after all he is in a rock band, but was she trying to sabotage what they had, were her feelings just an excuse. Alec too had misgivings, and not in the way that I would have thought, he genuinely didn’t know if he could be the man, not only that she deserved but that he wanted to be for her. They seemed to be pulling in opposite directions but all I wanted was for them to accept what they had and to find a way to make it work for them, I was hoping with everything I had that they would stop looking for the exit door. Could they overcome their fears or would they lose not only what they could have together but worst of all what they have had in the past, their friendship?
Good potential, but just okay. Best Friends With Benefits is a friends to lovers story set against a backdrop of a high school reunion. I like to live vicariously through stories about unpopular kids who make good, and then attend their class reunion only to find fawning, jealous former bullies. Toss in an unexpected hookup and it seems like the perfect combo. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like the story lived up to its potential. Alec and Valerie became best friends in high school. They were two social outcasts who bonded over a shared love of music. Alec was the scrawny kid everyone ignored, and Valerie was the band geek everyone teased. Now Alec is a hot, tattooed rock star, and Valerie is a successful flute player for the Philadelphia Philharmonic. Although they’ve stayed in touch through texts and phone calls, they haven’t seen each other since high school. When they both show up for their ten-year reunion, sparks fly. I was disappointed Candy Sloane didn’t make more of Alec’s return as a rock god. The reactions of his classmates were underwhelming. Val is just as insecure as she was in high school so she can’t believe Alec could really be attracted to her, despite evidence to the contrary. Frankly, it grew a bit tiresome after awhile as did their constant inability to say how they felt about each other. The reunion festivities are really fun, and the chemistry between Alex and his “Dirty Girl” is on point. This book definitely enters panty-melting territory. However, the plot is predictable and the narrative is rather clichéd at times. “He never wanted to feel this again, but he also knew that if he had to, he could bear it. It was worth bearing for the pleasure on the other side of the knife of love.” It’s a nice fluff read and although it’s not horrible, there are a few too many missed opportunities and not enough substance to make it more than average.
This one was Excellent!! I enjoyed it so much and I really like the authors writing style. I'm looking forward to reading more from her. It has a nice pace and the characters were fantastic! Alec Rogers may be a big time rock star but his best friend Valerie Barkin has always kept him grounded. They are back together again at a high school reunion only now sparks are flying and sexual chemistry is off the charts. They try to fight it but some things can't be denied. Can their friendship survive if they go into this with ground rules?? No strings, no attachments???? A weekend full of hot sexy times may bring them closer than they ever intended! Definitely a book I recommend!
I'd call this 4.5 stars. I truly enjoyed this story. Val & Alec were best friends in high school. They've kept up their friendship virtually, though they haven't seen each other in person in 10 years. They agree to meet up to go together to their high school reunion. Alec is now a big rock star and Valerie plays the flute in the Philly Philharmonic, so they share a love of music. In fact, it's what brought them together originally in school. They were both geeks and loners, and they gravitated toward each other in the band. Val & Al, as they called each other, were always together in school, and everyone knew they belonged together. Well, everyone but them, apparently. Being there at the reunion, sharing a hotel room, and being attracted to each other causes mucho tension between them. The author does a great job of ratcheting up that tension to glorious effect. They decide to have a fling, but they decide on "rules" to make sure no feelings get involved. We all know how well that usually works out. Watching their interactions as friends was quite amusing. They clearly knew each other well and had great dialogue. I enjoyed Val's friend Cynthia as well. They spend the weekend together and they both want more but don't know how to say it. There are some driving forces from the past affecting both of their decisions and they have to come to terms with all that before they can pursue a future. Val has self esteem issues, and Alec had a crappy home life that seriously affects him still. I really enjoyed this story, and I hope there will be others, as some of their friends had some fun (off-page) at the reunion as well!
*ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review* I loved this book! Not only was it well-written, but it captured my attention right away, pulling me into the story and into the plight of the characters. Alec and Valerie were truly compelling individuals in their own right and I immediately identified with each of them. Both characters in this story were well-rounded, with true psychological depth and heartfelt pent-up passion. I believed in their story, and I loved their journey to finding the foundation they needed to make their relationship work. Sure, I wanted to shake Val a few times and get her to see how flawed her thinking was, but at the same time, it was all too easy to understand exactly where she was coming from and how hard it was for her to break those toxic thought patterns from high school. Of course, Alec had his own leftover issues to deal with, but whereas Valerie's issues where wrapped up in her own self-image and the mean-kid mentality of her high school peers, Alec's stemmed from a place much closer to him—his parents, and his own belief that he isn't' good enough for her. This book was a fun, sexy read that I loved a lot. Both story and characters were handled well, as were the fun, flirty moments, the hot, sexy love scenes, and the angst scenes that had one of the best confrontation exchanged I've read in a while. Absolutely loved it.
Forever…who isn’t looking for forever but with your best friend?! Class reunions are hell as it is but when you were an awkward, brace wearing band geek with another dorky band geek as your best friend they can’t get any worse especially if you see yourself as that person you were ten years ago. Valerie had made good on all of that band practice as she became quite the accomplished flutist playing with the Philadelphia Philharmonic and just waiting for her chance at the big times playing in London. During those ten years she did have a couple of boyfriends along the way but the last one sort of sealed the deal for her. Charles didn’t do “forever’s” and since Valerie was sure that was where their relationship was heading she was totally caught off guard by his revelation. Alec was Val’s best friend in high school and she was his sanctuary when his dad would show Alec exactly how not to treat your son. Alec would sneak into Val’s bedroom and sleep on the floor only to wake up to leave before her parents knew he was there. Al was also looked down on in high school so it became the Al and Val duet…wherever one was, the other was also. They had each other’s back and would be able to tell their deepest, darkest secrets to. After their one life changing thing that happened after graduation from high school it took a couple of years for Al and Val to become the friends they once were. Now ten years later that friendship had never changed. Alec would facetime or talk to Val every chance he got. They would discuss almost everything that was happening to them and in Alec’s case it was him becoming a sexy rock star that had women coming to him at whim. He was living the good life with his Grammy winning band he left his geek life behind. If only he could leave behind the damage his dad and mom had done to him and it was only Valerie who knew all of his secrets and the damage that had done to him. So back to the class reunion…oh, yeah that was hell since some people never change. The bullies were still the bullies and the geeks were still the geeks. Anyway that’s how they pretty much seen themselves especially in Valerie’s case. She never got over the name calling and it crushed her self-esteem even if she now was an accomplished flutist. So what would her face to face encounter with Alec be like and could they get past their friendship for something “forever”? Could Valerie (aka Dirty Girl to Alec) ever see herself as Alec was seeing her which was a very beautiful, sexy and talented woman? Rules are made to be broken which was good since Alec and Valerie had set up all kinds of rules to protect themselves when it came to possibly stepping over that line of friendship into some pretty hot and heavy lusting. This is a great book that had me reliving my one class reunion I went to having me realize yet again why I don’t go to them anymore! Scratch that…maybe if I had an “Alec” there for me I would definitely look at them differently from here on out! I have to say that I really fell in love with this book and it had me rooting for Alec and Valerie the whole time. You just have to read it yourself to see the journey that it took for Alec and Valerie to make it to the other side of their friendship. This book was provided as an ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.
Valerie and Alec were the outsiders. Never did it they fit into their environment. Despite their rough childhood and high school years they always had each other to lean on. As grown-ups they went in different directions but managed to maintain some semblance of a bond. Each has found success and have decided to return home for their high school reunion. I received an ARC of Friends with Benefits in exchange for an honest review. Friends with Benefits is a story about the power of friendship. Candy Sloane has written a story about the slippery slope between falling in love and remaining close friends. The transition of the story is nice and smooth but it also has that rocky tumultuous uncertainty of change.