Love in the Friend Zone

Love in the Friend Zone

by Molly E. Lee


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The only thing worse than not being able to tell your best friend you

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781973885528
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 07/24/2017
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 246,623
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.46(d)

Read an Excerpt



"One kiss. That's all it'll take," Fynn said from across the journalism classroom as he sifted through a cabinet stuffed with old archives.

"That sounds either super Prince Charming-y of you or borderline rapey." I scrunched my eyebrows at him from where I was packing up a box filled with mementos from my editor's desk.

"Ugh." He groaned, looking at me with those fierce blue eyes of his. "Do you always have to be so ... you?"

I snorted, dumping a carton of red pens into my box. "Yeah, Fynn. Pretty sure I'm always going to be me."

He rolled his eyes and went back to hand-picking back issues of the school's newspapers he wanted to keep.

"Why do you want to kiss Katy 'Killer Boobs' anyway?" I asked, my chest tightening a fraction. "Besides where she got her nickname, obviously."

"Please," he said. "You know I'm not that shallow. She's wicked hot, sure, but there's more to her than that."

"And you would know this from all the in-depth conversations you've had?" I arched an eyebrow at him.

He tilted his head at me, his signature you are annoying me to no end look on his face. "We've talked ... enough."

"Ha!" I shook my head. "You've had like, what? Two conversations in all of our four years of high school?"

"That's all it takes."


"She's more than her looks, I promise you. One time last year, I was driving behind her on the way home from class. She made her dad pull over in the middle of a busy intersection to pick up a stray kitten stranded on the side of the road —"

"And her golden hair billowed around her perfect face as she gracefully scooped up the tabby cat and you fell in love." I tried not to make a gagging sound as I finished the story I'd heard ten times before. Katy Evans wasn't the most vapid of the popular girls at our school, but she was still at least 50 percent Regina George.

"I never said I loved her."

"The way you've been talking about her all day sure makes it sound like it. You've barely filled up your box." I glanced down at mine, which was almost full. Hefting it onto my hip, I carried it across the room to the empty table next to Fynn. Usually the surface was covered with drafts of that month's paper, red marks covering them in sharp lines and circles. Staring down at the clean surface, a strange weight tugged at the center of my chest. "I can't believe we're done here."

His eyes found mine before looking around the room. "It went by fast, didn't it?"

I nodded, recalling the first day we'd walked into this room freshman year. Fynn had held the door open for me, more out of habit than an attempt to be a gentleman, and had announced to the seniors that I was their new editor-in-chief. Of course, I hadn't earned the position yet, but I had by the end of the year — which quickly made him the star photographer.

Not that being my best friend made it happen — the boy had a knack for capturing the most stunning images imaginable — but we'd been friends since kindergarten; there was no way I wasn't giving him all the prime stories to cover.

An easy grin shaped my lips as I thought all the way back to the first day I'd met him. Don Trainer — who would always be the school bully — had stolen my favorite red crayon and snapped it in half, laughing the way only evil maniacs could as I cried my eyes out. Fynn had shoved him so hard his butt hit the activity mat with a thud loud enough to stop my tears. He then took my broken pieces of crayon to the teacher and asked for tape. He returned it to me, a thick bandage of scotch tape around its middle. We'd been inseparable since.

"What are you smiling at?" he asked, nudging me with his elbow. The move shot a thrill of warmth through my chest.

I blinked a few times, mentally cursing the rapidly approaching graduation ceremony forcing my mind to overrun with memories. "Just thinking about how you've always been the Prince Charming sort."

"What are you talking about?"

I shrugged. "We became friends because you valiantly rescued and restored my favorite artistic tool."

"Seriously?" His eyes widened as he shook his head. "You're talking about your crayon? That makes me a prince, but wanting to sweep a girl off her feet doesn't?" I pressed my lips together. Not when it is the absolutely wrong girl.

"Why don't you like her?" he asked.

Other than the fact that she has your attention in a way I never will? "She's ..." I wanted to say she was superficial and couldn't understand his unique sense of humor. That she would never drop everything to have a zombie marathon with him like we did every Sunday. That she wouldn't respect the silence that surrounded him — blocking everything else out — when he set his sights on the perfect shot. The hope in his eyes killed any smartass comment about to spew from my mouth, though. I wanted him to be happy. I'd always wanted that. "I don't really know her well enough, I guess."

He nodded like that explained everything and pulled out another old issue of the newspaper, holding it up to examine the cover photo.

"I remember when you took that," I said, snatching the paper out of his hands and gazing at the impeccable shot of a bald eagle that had landed on top of a snowbank just across the road from our school. Its dark-chocolate feathers contrasted against the pure white of the snow as its talons dug into the icy mixture.

The sight of the bird had been a majestic sort of event — we were the Hampton Eagles — and seeing it in the wild like that had stunned us all. Of course, Fynn had captured its beauty with multiple shots, never once scaring the bird off. He had that sort of power with a camera — to become so still he practically melted into the scene. I loved watching him work because he shifted into this intense calm, yet the passion he had for the gig was fiery in his eyes.

"I swear, the closer I got to that bird, the more he contemplated plucking my eyeball out for an appetizer." He chuckled.

"Gordon had put twenty bucks on that happening," I said, laughing at the memory. I took that bet and used the winnings to buy Fynn lunch. "But you kept on snapping photos."

"How could I not?" He shrugged and put the copy of the paper into his box. "Not something you see every day."

"I bet it will be for you," I said. "Your camera will take you places none of us will ever see."

"Didn't realize we were in a serious mood today," he said, playfully nudging me again.

I shrugged. "Last day."

I swallowed hard, my eyes trailing the room. I'd interviewed Lennon Pryor in here plenty of times about the progression of his band — one of my faves, Ignited Hearts. And Jade would keep me company on nights Fynn and I were late on the final copy for the paper, studying her math textbooks like she wasn't already a genius on the subject. Zoey always brought the coffee to keep us fueled, and Gordon would stop by with grub from his dad's shop sometimes. Knowing we'd never do any of that again pinched something in the back of my throat.

Fynn's eyes held mine in a gaze that screamed he could read me as easily as a setting on his camera. Of course he could be perceptive about my thoughts on graduation day, but not on the secret I kept locked in my heart.

"Anyway," he said, clearing his throat as if the knot in mine had somehow jumped into his. "This is where it's taking me tonight." He shoved his iPhone at me. "This is my shot."

"Lennon's party on the Lake." I read the bold lettering out loud. A picture of Lennon's mom's massively huge lake house — more like a mansion — took up half of his latest Snapchat. "You took this picture for him?"

He shook his head. "No. This is my shot with Katy."

"You're going to this tonight?"

"We're going."

"Nope. I've got too much work to do here." I gestured to the room.

"Braylen," he said, groaning in a way that made my insides flip. "School is officially over. And it looks like you're all packed." He eyed the full box beside me. "We're going."


He rolled his eyes. "Not only is it going to be the most epic party in all of our combined years of school, but Katy will be there."

Something sharp twisted in my stomach. "Exactly. You can woo her all you want. I don't have a reason to go."

"Other than the fact that all our friends will be there? Plus, Lennon is playing. You blare his music every morning while you get ready for school."

Damn, why does he have to know everything about me? I shrugged, trying to play off the fact that he could know so much about me without having a clue how I really felt.

How could I tell him I didn't want to go because the idea of watching him drool over Katy all night made me feel like vomiting and crying at the same time? I couldn't, because he could never know just how much I really cared about him.

Fynn had been my best friend since ... forever. Admitting I was totally in love with him would send him running — he'd put me permanently in the friend zone a million years ago. Our one kiss at Zoey's party freshman year proved that much — it was part of a game, but it had meant way more to me than it had to him. He'd made it clear that night it should never happen again, and I'd agreed. I would rather have him in my life as a friend than nothing at all. But that didn't mean I had to willfully watch as he hooked up with another girl.

"Okay, fine," he said, his tone switching from sharp to pleading. "I need you."

Heat flared in my stomach with those three simple words. "What?" I asked, my voice barely a whisper.

"I can't just bombard Katy at the party. Any loser would do that. I need you to run interference for me. Talk me up, get her interested. Get her to approach me."

My mouth dropped. "You want me to be your ... wingman?" That warm melty heat turned to roaring anger. "And besides, why the hell would she talk to me anyway?"

"You're the editor of the school newspaper —"

"Was," I corrected him.

"Regardless. You know everyone and everyone knows you. Curse of the gig. She'll listen to what you have to say."

I pinched the bridge of my nose. "Why now?" I asked instead of whining, why me?

"It's been three months since she broke up with Don. Grace period is over."

"God, you really are a prince."

"Stop calling me that," he said, pinning me with those blue eyes I'd never been able to resist. "This is my last shot before she goes off to college."

I sighed, the breath forcing itself out of my lungs as he stepped closer to me. His thick black eyelashes moved in a slow blink as he studied me, looking down from the entire foot of height he had on me.

He didn't need my help. Fynn was gorgeous, right down to the toned muscles he kept solid from track, and he was beyond talented with a camera. He told the best jokes, knew when to be quiet, and was one of the small fraction of guys in the whole school who actually listened — instead of pretending to pay attention to what you were saying while in reality just staring at your boobs.

But, as his best friend, who was I to deny him?

"Please, Braylen?" he asked, his hands on my shoulders. "I'm there, you're there. Right?"

My mouth went dry and I swallowed hard. Invoking our secret phrase was such a low blow.

The words were a pact we'd made years ago, only using them in the situations in which either of us desperately needed the other person there.

I'd unknowingly started it when the most popular group of girls in our sixth-grade class had invited me to go to a haunted house with them. Despite being terrified, I agreed. Fynn had been my only friend back then and I was dying to be noticed beyond my talents for spinning a story. I went with high hopes of securing a new lunch table — knowing I'd bring Fynn with me — only to discover they'd invited me as a joke.

They pretended to like me for as long as it took to get me lost in the corn maze of Puchaty's Haunted Farm and Pumpkin Patch. Abandoning me there after a snarky remark about knowing better than to talk to one of their boyfriends. I had interviewed him for a story and our conversation started and ended with nothing but questions about his upcoming baseball game. They didn't care, though. For some unknown reason, they saw me as a threat, and after many failed attempts to find my way out of the maze, I'd texted Fynn in a panic.

Once he'd shown up, he talked to me on the phone until he found me deep in the maze, my arms wrapped around my knees and tears streaming down my cheeks.

"I'm s-sorry," I'd stuttered as he dropped to the ground to meet my eyes. "I know your uncle flew in and you're supposed to be having an epic family weekend."

He shook his head, wiping the tears off my cheeks. "Don't. Those girls are stupid. And I'll always be here when you need me. Doesn't matter where I am or what I'm doing. You say the word, okay?" I wiped the snot from underneath my nose and nodded. "Same for you."

He smiled. "You're there, I'm there." He helped me to my feet.

"You're there, I'm there," I repeated.

That was the first time I'd realized how deeply I loved Fynn, and it had only grown every day since.

Now, with him asking me to be his wingman, I wanted to remind him that Katy "Killer Boobs" had been part of the same group that had left me in the maze to be murdered by Jason Voorhees. Of course, in all fairness, that was years ago, and, beyond when I interviewed her for feature pieces in the paper, I really didn't know a thing about her.

I sighed. Fynn using our phrase were the only words in the English language I couldn't deny.

"Fine," I said. "You're there, I'm there."

A mega-watt grin spread across his face. "Thank you," he said and pulled me into a hug.

I was hesitant at first, but slowly wrapped my arms around his middle. This hug shouldn't have been any different from the fifteen-thousand other hugs he'd given me in my life, but it was.

His bonfire-wood and soap scent tickled my nose in a way that made me want to bottle the smell and take a bath in it. My stomach did involuntary flips as his hard muscles pressed against every soft curve I had. And the way he held me, without any patting on the back as friends so often did, and with no intention of letting me go too soon, made me wish for things I knew I wasn't allowed to have.

"You're the best," he said, gently pushing me backward to look me in the eye. "Do you know that?" I smiled softly at him but couldn't muster a response.

With what I have to do — hook up the boy of my dreams with the girl of his? I'm not the best. I'm screwed.

He jolted before me, glancing at the clock on the wall behind us. "Shit, we're going to be late!"

I spun around, barely able to blink away the stars from my eyes that his embrace had made shine. "Where did the last hour go?" I said, quickly shutting the box and following him out of the room.

"That's what happens when you're having fun," he said, leading the way down the hall toward the auditorium where throngs of seniors piled in.

Right. Fun. Listening to him talk about putting the moves on Katy was so not my idea of fun. Though, neither was sitting through the graduation ceremony.

"All the parents are already seated in their section," he said, waving his free arm at me while he held one of the doors open. "Hurry up!"

"Why? It's going to be the same speeches like every graduation ceremony ever. Good times. Good luck. Good-bye."

"As long it isn't me on stage, I don't care." Fynn shuddered. "The school could offer me a full ride to any college I wanted and I still wouldn't get up there."

I chuckled. Stage freight had been a real and tangible terror for him since he'd botched the words to "This Land is Your Land" in our second-grade history production.

"But you never know," he said as I walked slowly past him. "This ceremony could be different."

"Always the optimist." I patted the center of his chest.

"That's what you love about me." He smirked that damn smile and my knees wobbled.

I refused to look back or comment on his statement. How could I? He was right in more ways than he even realized.


Excerpted from "Love in the Friend Zone"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Molly E. Lee.
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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Love in the Friend Zone 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is such a great book and had everything u could ask for. I cant wait to read about gordon and jade and i hope the third book is about lennon and jade!
Anonymous 4 months ago
This book was literally freaking awesome. I live for bestfriends becoming lovers and this book was so sweet and romantic and just the type of book i like to read. If you like books about romance and young crazy teenagers at a party then i strongly reccomend this book. AaaAAA
mamalovestoread22 6 months ago
For some time now Braylen has been seeing her best friend Fynn as more than just your typical best friend, he has an undeniable charm that stirs up the butterflies in her belly, and a glint in his blue eyes that bring on the swoons. But the unfortunate thing is that he is completely oblivious to the fact that she has a crush on him, and he actually has his sights set on someone else. So, every interaction they have has become a little awkward, because she is always checking him out, and dreaming about their future, and he is always rambling on and on about his crush. Braylen would love to make her feelings known, but Fynn assigned her to the friend zone years ago, and so she is certain he won't want to hear anything she has to say. When Fynn asks her to play his wing-woman at a party and help him gain the attention of his crush she can't bring herself to tell him no, so she reluctantly agrees... but nothing could prepare her for what happens that night! Love in the Friend Zone is a sweet tale of young love, first crushes, and pushing the boundaries of friendship. I really enjoyed this one, it was a captivating story full of feels that spawned lots of first love memories. Everyone remembers their first love, the butterflies, the drama, the first kiss, and I have to say this perfectly crafted tale captures all of that, and then some. I am so glad I took a chance on this one, it did my heart good and brought lots of smiles, highly recommend! I requested an advanced copy of this title from NetGalley and I am voluntarily leaving my honest opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
thicks More than 1 year ago
Secretly they both loved each other for years but are afraid to loose their best friends status neither have acted. Today is graduation and if something doesn't happen soon their chance at being their own true hea may be gone before it ever had a chance. It's a cute story filled with teen angst. I don't know that I would agree with this being a YA especially since I wouldn't want my 16 year old grandchild reading it. But the story is fun and if you don't mind plenty of worry about finally getting out what they feel for each other it's a good read from an author I haven't read before.
bookreader1TP More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Braylen and Fynn have been friends for years. Best friends even. They have been asked and answered more times than not if there is anything more between them and they always reply the and way. No. Fynn asks Braylen to talk to the girl he wants to date for him and she has never been able to tell him no. Even though she has been in love with him for years, she always thought she would have time. During the party, she does what she promised and plans on leaving. He friends who know how she feels about Fynn give her until midnight to tell him (they believe he should have all the facts) or they will tell him. After multiple attempts and games where truths are revealed, she is running out of time. Will a mistaken identity in a bedroom and some action that neither one saw coming be the catalyst for both to admit their true feelings? Will Fynn do it say something that Braylen well take as a rejection? What will she say or do when he makes the grand gesture? Will the grand gesture be too little too late? You need to read this book. I know I can't wait for the next in the series.
book_junkee More than 1 year ago
I'm a sucker for a BFF to more story and I really liked the synopsis here. I liked Braylen and Fynn well enough. They're both smart and hard working and have a cute banter between them that comes from them knowing each other for so long. There are a lot of characters, but Katy and Randy are the only other set worth mentioning {besides Braylen's Mom, but she was amazing and deserved more time} and it felt like both of them were just on the page to serve a purpose. We didn't get more than surface information on either. Plot wise, it was exactly what I expected. I liked that the entire book was over one {maybe} 12 hour period. The downside to that is that everything felt rushed and I never really saw the chemistry manifest between Braylen and Fynn. The grand gesture was sweet, but I would have liked a bit more from the ending. Overall, it was really quick read and I'm definitely intrigued to see the next one. If for nothing more than to find out what Zoey's plan was. **Huge thanks to Entangled Publishing for providing the arc free of charge**
Katy_and_Zetti_Reviews More than 1 year ago
You know when you were a teenager and you’d watch all those cheesy, teenage, chick flick movies obsessively? Reading Love in the Friend Zone felt like reminiscing about that. And I know in a way that’s giving you the ‘oh god no’ thoughts but trust me, speaking from someone that would cringe at those movies now, Molly revolutionises the genre. It’s been a really long time since I’ve read and truly enjoyed a Young Adult romance, often I find that in trying to convey the innocence, in trying to make it a good YA, authors end up making the book quite flat and two-dimensional as if they forgot to focus on making it a good story. Molly E Lee does NOT have this problem. She effortlessly conveys teen mindsets with each character in her novel, the hormones, the conflicting feelings and changing circumstances of their lives, the adult intelligence with childlike innocence and maturity. This is the kind of read that will remind you what it’s like to be a teenager, regardless of how long ago you lived that. The intensity, the hope, innocence, fear, insecurities, and confusion as they discover their sexuality and adjust to their changes are conveyed with such powerful emotion it had my breath catching at the purity and beauty of it. This book takes place over one day. Arguably the most important day in an American teen’s life: Graduation Day; from the ceremony, to the raging after party, and all the goodbyes and last chances in between. It’s powerful, honest and emotive, but with this underlying theme of hope that makes the whole book light up in that uniquely Molly way. This book is an exploration of friendship, loyalty, honesty, and the continuance of life. The characters are beautiful explored, a demonstration of how someone cannot be summed up in a label or social expectation. The kind, loyal jock, the bully with more than meets the eye, the beautiful nerd in love with her best friend but always believing he would never love her in return, the shy, mathlete that could never catch and hold the attention of the future rockstar… Molly E Lee explores social perceptions and expectations in this heart wrenching, feel good, young Adult romance about what happens if you love in the friend zone.
LilleyLoohLah More than 1 year ago
A sweet coming of age high school friends to ‘more’ romance following Braylen and her best friend and secret love, Fynn. Braylen and Fynn have been best friends for what seems forever, they do everything together, and the night of the high school graduation at the party of the year Flynn begs Braylen to help him get together with his high school crush. Braylen unable to say no, agrees. Herein starts a series of mishaps as Braylen tries her best to tell Fynn how she feels, and Fynn battles with his feelings when he sees Braylen with another boy, even after Braylen supposedly set him up with his dream crush. With some funny moments, a lovely story, written in dual POV that kept me hooked from start to finish, even when I wanted to strangle the living daylights out of the pair of them for not seeing what was right in front of them. I was provided with an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
etoile1996 More than 1 year ago
looking for a book that reminds you of those epic nights of teenage fun? the ones that bring to mind nick and norah's infinite playlist or can't hardly wait or superbad? then love in the friend zone is that book. it seems to be kicking off a series of books, and i expect them to overlap because there is enough stuff happening offscreen here that you definitely want to keep reading. in love in the friend zone, braylen and fynn have been best friends forever. since, like, the first day of kindergarten when fynn rescued braylen from a bully who broke her red crayon. she's the editor-in-chief of the newspaper and he's the star photographer. they do everything together. their mantra is "you're there, i'm there" and they stick to it. they kissed once before, but instead of changing things, they both clung more deeply to their friendship. so fynn didn't let himself see braylen any other way. and braylen just lusted after fynn from afar. but this night, it's their last hurrah. everything is changing in the fall. they're starting college and fynn isn't sure he wants to go to northwestern (where braylen is going). and he's had his eye on katy evans, he's built up a story around who she is, and he just needs to get the nerve up to talk to her. and braylen is his wingwoman. and he has no idea that he is killing her with this request. and when their mutual friend zoe challenges braylen to tell fynn how she really feels, and that she has to do it by midnight or zoe will spill the beans herself, well that just adds to the pressure. the thing about this story is that it flows almost cinematically. the way the characters move through scenes, what they are doing, what they are talking about, how they overlap, it's so well-constructed. i really enjoyed this story and the way it was building up to tell other stories about the people at this party. i want to know what is happening with zoe and gordon and lennon and jade. it's pretty cool that in such a constrained amount of time the author manages to give us a full sense of who these people are and what makes them tick. the fact that one night can change everything for braylen and fynn doesn't seem impossible. because you really get a sense of the twelve years of friendship that came before this moment. **love in the friend zone will publish on august 14, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (crush) in exchange for my honest review.
LaTonberry More than 1 year ago
I love Molly E Lee her adventure romance series is absolute amazing! When she said she was writing a book that was YA and different then the previous books we have read. I had to try it out! This book reminded me so much of high school and your last attempt before everyone goes off to college. I love Fynn and Brayden. Molly has shown she can write a book with no adventure and still keep her readers wanting more and more!
Christine_Miller More than 1 year ago
I am not a huge fan of young adult, but I am a huge fan of Molly Lee, so when I heard she was writing a new series, I had to read it. I felt so many things while reading this book. I was the girl in high school who was in love with my best friend. For a few years we hung out and he never reciprocated my feelings, until one day he did. Braylen and Fynn's story brought back so many memories for me. I flashed back to that time of my life as I read this story and was over come with emotion because I've lived this tale. Molly did an excellent job of painting the feelings and the emotions that Fynn and Braylen are going through. I loved the story and I definitely look forward to book 2 in the series. Great read!
CRISSYM More than 1 year ago
** I received a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.** I promised an honest review so here it is..... I have to start by saying I love the opportunities to read and review books and be introduced to new authors. With that being said, not every book will be for me and this one wasn't. I really tried but could not connect with the story or the characters. I didn't care for Braylen, Fynn and definitely not Katy, however, I did like Randy who was one of the side characters. I've read plenty of YA books and loved them, so I'm not sure why I couldn't connect with this one. I felt as if something was missing between the characters. Braylen and Finn had a close friendship; a friendship that has been going on for years, but I didn't feel that connection. Braylen was desperately in love with Fynn which you could tell by her actions and feelings towards what was going on, but when he finally confessed his love for her it didn't feel believable. The story also dragged a lot; it was very slow with really no action going on so maybe that was another reason it was hard to really get into. It's hard to explain; its almost as if there was drama with no real action. The whole story takes place over a day and the next morning; graduation day/graduation night and the next morning and that was not the problem at all but I expected more; more from the characters and more from this story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is obvious from the first pages that Braylen and Fynn are going to take you on a ride full of teenage angst, miss-communication, and a little drama. A lot can happen in one night and this book is a testament to that. The end of their high school era and a new page in their lives will rise with the morning. For Braylen she desperately hopes that she can tell her best friend since kindergarten that she loves him. For Fynn while is obvious affection for Braylen is there, his eyes are on a rather large asset that another girl holds. I am a new comer to Molly’s writing and am so glad to be able to read this story. It’s a story that takes you away and throws you face first into a wild night about hopes and dreams and leaves you praying that there are no broken hearts. Its engaging, well paced and the characters feel real and not at all bland. I am already waiting for what Molly can give us next. I received an ARC via NetGalley in return for an honest and voluntary review.