"I loved this fun road-trip romance with two friends you immediately know should be a whole lot more!" — Cindi Madsen, author of Anatomy of a Player
I’ve been in love with my best friend for as long as I can remember. I tried to tell her in high school, which royally backfired. Ten years hasn’t changed things, but now I’m finally ready to lay it all out on the table. The only problem? She’s got her sights set on someone else.
I made the mistake of letting her go once before. This time, I’m going to prove that the only guy she needs is me.
We’re best friends—nothing more—and it’s good like this. That’s what I’ve been telling myself since the night in high school when we shared a single kiss, a night that was great—but then wasn’t. Now we’re on a road trip to California, and he’s surprising me at every turn—helping me overcome my fear of heights, belting out my favorite Monkees song, and looking way sexier with his shirt off than a best friend is supposed to.
But admitting how I feel may mean losing our friendship. I thought I’d find happiness in California, but now I’m wondering if the right guy for me has been by my side all along.
Each book in the Kingston Ale House series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 The One That Got Away
Book #2 Six Month Rule
Book #3 Three Simple Words
Book #4 Worth the Wait
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The One that Got Away
The Kingston Ale House Series
By A.J. Pine, Karen Grove
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2016 A.J. Pine
All rights reserved.
If there was one fashion accessory that made Brynn Chandler deliriously happy, it was boots — the taller the better — and the ones she had on now were devastating in the most gorgeous way. They made other boots cower in shame and other women green with envy. Rich black suede hugged her calves and folded over just above her knees. The three-inch heels that gave some stature to her five-foot-four-inch frame, making her legs look long and lean and — dare she say — hot, topped off the look. And, amazingly, they were crazy comfortable to walk around in. She nodded at her reflection, twisting her foot side to side so she could admire the view. She didn't often think it of herself, but tonight Brynn knew it. She was lookin' good.
Some of her former classmates complained the committee hadn't planned a summer reunion, but not Brynn. Nothing topped the perfect dress like the perfect pair of boots, and these boots were made for a girl to wear to her high school reunion. She couldn't believe it had been ten years already. Maybe she hadn't done big things with her career or met the love of her life, but she had the boots, and tonight that would be enough.
"Holy shit, Brynn. If you fuck up my babies, we are through."
Okay, so maybe the devastating boots weren't hers per se, but they still looked exquisite with the dress, and Holly did say she could wear them. Brynn just tried not to think about the price tag of Holly's babies.
"I should remind you," Brynn started, "that you're my sister. So the whole we're through threat doesn't really work on me. Plus, you need me for the other half of the rent, so ..."
Holly huffed. She was good with that — the drama. A theater girl all throughout high school and college, Holly Chandler was always on. Sometimes Brynn couldn't tell if her sister was adding a little flair or if her emotional reactions were genuine. This seemed a little bit of both.
"Please remember they retail for four hundred dollars, okay? To me that means they're irreplaceable — unless you are sitting on a wad of cash I don't know about, in which case I'd love your portion of the rent on time this month."
Brynn sighed. She didn't have to think about things when Holly was always there to remind her. Eight years out of high school, and Holly was already working her way up in Chicago's fashion scene.
"Of course I'll be careful." Brynn groaned. She could play the drama card, too. "It's not like you paid four hundred for them."
Holly shrugged. "That's why they can't be replaced. A perk of working in the fashion industry is the samples, but they don't give me replacements if my sister ruins them."
Brynn crinkled her nose. So what if her baby sister was already pulling in more bank than she was and scoring extras like the boots? Brynn could make more money as a CPA for a larger company, but she liked doing the books for her favorite independent bookstore, Two Stories. The aptly named two-story bookshop might not be a cash cow, but her close friend Annie owned it, and there was no place Brynn enjoyed more.
Holly gave her sister the once-over. "You do look fucking hot. I'll give you that."
Brynn smoothed her hands over her dress and shook out her hair. Thanks to the wonderful developments in anti-frizz curl cream, she no longer sported the nest she had trouble taming in high school. Brynn's hair hung in soft spirals from crown to just below her shoulders, and the natural gold highlights shone especially bright in her soft brown hue. She wondered if hair could reflect her mood, because tonight she felt all sparkly. Not vampire sparkly. More like a firecracker.
On any other Saturday night, Brynn might be on a blind date. Some of her married friends and her mom felt an obligation to the poor, single twenty-seven-year-old doomed to a life surrounded by a litter of cats. Was that the name for a group of cats? She'd have to look it up to be sure. Not that it mattered. Didn't everyone know she was allergic ... to cats and bad dates? It's not like she had never had a serious boyfriend. She just hadn't had one in a year. And she couldn't keep taking her best friend, Jamie, to all her family functions now that he was officially off the market. That had worked extremely well when she needed a plus-one and didn't want to deal with questions about her love life. But now that she was the single one and Jamie wasn't, Brynn had no choice but to say yes to the many, many setups foisted upon her by well-meaning individuals who, judging by the men they set her up with, really didn't know her at all.
Her last date turned out to live with his parents, who funded their date because the guy was in a "job transition" phase that had already lasted two years.
What was wrong with being twenty-seven and single anyway? It's not like it was nineteenth-century England, and if she didn't marry her obnoxious cousin, her family would lose the estate upon her father's death. On the contrary, Brynn and Holly's parents pushed them out of the nest as soon as each of them graduated college and just as quickly turned each of their rooms into a scrapbooking studio for their mom and a reading room for their dad.
It was the grandkids — or the lack thereof — that prompted her mother's interest in her love life. Holly was always dating someone, even if it never lasted longer than six months. Plus, she was twenty-five, still far enough from thirty and the approach of "advanced maternal age," as their mom liked to say. Brynn, on the other hand, was one preschooler's lifespan away from that next decade. According to those in the know, something had to be done, even if it meant a life with Tom who lived with his parents. He could probably still reproduce, right?
It didn't matter. Tonight would be different — what it should have been ten years ago.
"I do look pretty good, right?" she asked Holly.
Her sister crossed her arms and nodded. "In a sexy librarian kind of way, yeah."
She groaned, then took off her glasses. "I'm not a librarian." She marched out of her room and into the bathroom to retrieve her contact lenses. Holly followed, giggling.
"I meant accountant. You're a sexy accountant. Come on, Brynn. Look at you. You're gorgeous. And I bet you're the only accountant who not only knows that sixty-nine is a number but also how to do it!"
"Not helping," Brynn said.
She's just trying to push my buttons. We can't all be twenty-five and perky, with the straightest hair known to man, and 20/20 vision.
She straightened in front of the mirror, but her contacts weren't in yet, so she couldn't really check herself out. Thanks to her extreme farsightedness, the image staring back at her was nothing but a blur. It was true she put a lot of thought and work into how she looked tonight. The past month saw her making extra trips to the path along Lake Michigan for a run, and she cut back on the imbibing, which was always difficult with a best friend who owns a brewery. Four weeks ago, the belted black knit dress fit all her curves just a little too snugly. Tonight, she felt she had room to breathe, and Brynn enjoyed easy access to oxygen.
As she raised a contact lens balanced on her fingertip, someone pounded on the door, startling her and sending the contact flying into the sink.
"Shit!" she yelled and waved her sister toward the door. "Let him in. Then tell him I'm going to kill him if I don't find this lens. I don't want everyone to see me as a sexy accountant."
Holly giggled some more as she headed for the door, and Brynn muttered to herself as she shoved her face into the sink to find the contact.
It was no use. Brynn couldn't see what was right in front of her face if she didn't have her glasses on, and she'd left them in the bedroom on her nightstand.
She braced her hands on the counter and blew out a breath. "Sexy accountant," she mumbled again. Brynn pouted, thinking about how people saw her ten years ago — the smart girl with too much optimism and too much hair. In their senior superlatives she was voted "Best Smile" and "Most Likely to Be Concealing a Carrier Pigeon." Yeah, they made that second one up just for her. As an assistant editor for the school paper, she'd even approved it going to print. Because that was Brynn — go with the flow and smile at everything — but tonight she wanted to be something else.
"Can't I just be sexy?" she murmured to herself.
"Sure thing, Sleepy Jean."
The familiar voice came from behind her, and she smiled despite her irritation. Jamie brought that out in her. But right now, she was annoyed with him, and he had some damage control to do.
She turned toward her friend and blinked at his blurry outline.
"Where is it?" he asked, and she could hear the smile in his voice even if she couldn't see it. She rolled her unfocused eyes.
"In the sink ... I hope. If it went down the drain and I have to go to our ten-year reunion looking like I'm balancing my checkbook, you're in for a world of hurt."
He brushed past her, and she hummed a small, "Mmmm." He smelled good. Different, but good. Something fluttered in her belly, and Brynn groaned softly. She could pass it off as annoyance if he questioned her. Which it was. Her belly wasn't supposed to get all fluttery for him.
"Is that the new cologne Elizabeth bought for your birthday?" She grimaced a little. It's not that she didn't like Jamie's girlfriend. It's just that she and Jamie loved going through the fragrance section at Bloomingdale's together, making fun of the latest celebrity perfumes and colognes. The one that made them laugh the most was always the one she bought him for Christmas that year and vice versa. This year it was going to be Adam Levine's aptly titled scent, Adam Levine, but if he was into whatever Kenneth Cole or Hugo Boss his girlfriend bought him, the fun would be lost.
Jamie backed away from the sink so he stood in front of her again. He pulled out her hand and gingerly dropped the lost lens into her palm.
"Even cleaned it off with your solution," he said, and she quickly inserted the contact into her right eye and proceeded to do the same with the left. "And to answer your question, no. It's not the stuff Liz got me. I ducked into Sephora on my way here and sprayed on some Michael Jordan 23. I'm going old-school Chicago tonight."
Brynn couldn't help the satisfied smile, even if the edges of it were dulled by him having a nickname for his girlfriend after only three months. When she had first met Elizabeth, Jamie introduced her as Liz.
"Elizabeth," she'd corrected and winked as she shook Brynn's hand. "James seems to like Liz, and I kind of like when he says it. But everyone else calls me Elizabeth."
She'd never begrudge Jamie his happiness, even if it was with a girl who winked. She just didn't like the idea of their sharing private jokes or nicknames. But Liz still called him James, and Liz had no clue about their celebrity cologne obsession. Some things were sacred.
When she turned around, Jamie crystalized into focus, and damn did he look good. Not that he didn't always, but his work attire was overly casual, usually just a Kingston Ale House T-shirt and jeans. And even though tonight's affair was being held at that very same establishment, Jamie cleaned up for the occasion.
"Looking pretty sharp, Mr. Kingston," Brynn said as she took him in. His hair was cropped short on the sides but left slightly longer on top, enough to require a little pomade to give it some lift. It looked darker when he wore it shorter, and Brynn liked it like this. The outfit was typical Jamie: white oxford with the sleeves rolled up, charcoal and black striped tie, a fitted black vest, and, of course, always jeans. Tonight's pair was dark-washed denim, a fitted straight-leg that stopped atop a pair of red suede Pumas.
He bowed humbly. "And what scent are you wearing this evening, Ms. Chandler?"
Brynn bit her lip and grinned. "Meow by Katy Perry."
Jamie threw back his head and laughed. "Is this your way of outsmarting your future as the crazy cat lady ... by becoming the cat?"
Despite her allergies, Brynn couldn't help being sucked in to the worry factory sometimes. What if she didn't meet someone by thirty? Would she be required to get a cat at that point? Is it something you sign when you turn thirty, the if-I-don't-marry-at-least-I-have-my-cats contract?
He kissed her on the cheek and whispered in her ear, "Ya look sexy no matter what, Sleepy Jean."
Brynn sighed. At least she had a real nickname even if she didn't have a guy.
"That's what I told her!" Holly materialized behind Jamie. "She doesn't think she's sexy with her specs, but they're hot when she wears them, right, James?"
Holly had always called him James to annoy him, and now she took great pleasure in pointing out how Liz called him that every day. Brynn wouldn't admit it, but she enjoyed Holly's teasing, too. Tormenting Jamie about his girlfriends was nothing new. There was always something to mock, though never with malicious intent. Only to push Jamie's buttons and maybe, in the back of Brynn's mind, to alleviate that tiny stab of jealousy, something else she'd never admit, not after the debacle that was Jamie and her ten years ago.
Sometimes fault was hard to find, and they had to admit, Elizabeth — or Liz — was a pretty tough nut to crack. She was pretty, always had great shoes, and she was an ER doctor. Hard to find anything wrong with that, so they had to look for little things, and for them it was the formality of his name. James. Even though more and more in his adult life he'd been leaving Jamie behind, introducing himself as James to new people he met, Brynn and Holly couldn't get over Liz calling him that.
Jamie rolled his eyes. "It's my name, you two." His look may have spelled irritation, but his smooth baritone hinted at a smile, one that told Brynn he knew the teasing came from a place of affection. He pulled out his phone. "That reminds me. I need to call Liz before her shift starts or we might not get a chance to connect tonight. She's working straight through till morning."
He strolled into their small kitchen to make his call, and Holly nudged her sister on the shoulder.
"You really missed the boat with that one," Holly said.
Brynn leaned back against the sink. "What do you mean?" As if she didn't already know.
"Look at him, Brynn. Jamie's always been cute, but damn. The boy grew up nice. Haven't you ever thought about ... you know? Or can I call dibs if Liz ever leaves the picture?"
Brynn pushed past Holly and into the living room. She needed to move, to shake off the horror at the thought of Holly and Jamie. It wasn't like she wanted him for herself. Not anymore, at least.
Dammit, Jamie. You are not sidetracking me from the plan.
Brynn missed her chance with Spencer in high school, and for a blip on the radar, she thought getting mono was actually some sort of gift because it made her see Jamie differently — made her feel differently about him. And kissing him? Well, she thought that would have changed everything. But two words from him — I can't — had broken her heart ... and had nearly broken their friendship for good. Tonight the plan would go down the way it was supposed to years ago, the way that would have ended happily instead of putting her friendship with Jamie in an uncomfortable limbo for four years.
The way she saw things now, the only reason their friendship survived was because of the distance and perspective of being at different universities and because they'd never crossed that line again. They'd barely spoken their freshmen year apart, and though she'd never tell him, it was the hardest year of her life. In the long run she'd gotten what mattered most — Jamie in her life, always.
Excerpted from The One that Got Away by A.J. Pine, Karen Grove. Copyright © 2016 A.J. Pine. 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
Some of my favorite things: beer, travel, and love. How could I not love this book?!?! I loved this story and I thought the beer tasting scenes were so, so perfect. I'm excited to read the rest of this series!
This is a cute best-friends-to-lovers romantic-comedy story. In my opinion, when you tell a story of this type, it's really important to build up just how special the two people are to each other from a non-romantic level, though also giving us a reason to believe that they are also attracted to one another. And A.J. Pine does a great job on both counts! The road trip Jamie and Brynn take is filled with all kinds of quirky touches and it had the right kind of serendipity that wasn't too crazy. Their adventures are humorous, touching, and just plain fun. I really liked their dynamic and both characters were fairly well-rounded, though I could have done with a bit more information on who they are. Jamie felt more fleshed out than Brynn did by the end, especially since we know more about his family, why he reacted the way he did "that summer 10 years ago," and his interest in brewing is explained well. There were some real laugh-outloud moments that rounded this one out and gave it that extra layer of enjoyment. One thing that felt a bit off in the story is that it had been TEN years. At one point, Brynn indicates that they had drifted apart for their 4 years in college immediately after "the incident." But Jamie's perspective seems to indicate that she continued to be his rock throughout all of that. I'm not sure if that's an actual inconsistency or not. If they weren't in contact much for 4 years, the 10 years since makes more sense and makes their feelings that much more believable. Otherwise, in the case of being best friends who were in love with one another for 10 years and things ramp up, it seems less believable since their attraction over that 10-year period seems like it was likely very strong. Yes, you have the Spencer angle to consider, but that seems less prevalent until much later. Pandora's box was opened 10 years before, how on earth did they stay close while ignoring it?! I really enjoyed the story, regardless of that one issue, and thought that it was funny and sweet. The sexual tension and chemistry between Brynn and Jamie is palpable and you really enjoy the ride (See what I did there? Road trip... Ride... ;) ).
This was a sexy, fun, friends to lovers and a sort of "second chance" love story. The best friend relationship between Brynn and Jamie was envious. The ten-year span between important points in their history felt agonizing for both them and me. The back-and-forth, on-again and off-again feelings they had for each other were killing me. But when it was on-again they were SIZZLING! Very entertaining story with fantastic characters. Received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed is my own.
4.5 stars The One That Got Away was such a good read. Loved the storyline, it was entertaining, emotional, funny and the relationship between Jamie & Brynn brought out all the feels. Both Brynn and Jamie were likable, funny, smart, and passionate people. They've been best friends forever, they have a deep connection and I loved how much they feel & cared for each other as friends. It warmed my heart watching them move from BFF's to lovers, finally they were going after what was so obvious to everyone else, that these two were true soulmates. A.J Pine has given her readers a beautifully written best friends to lovers story, with wonderful, memorable characters they will leave a you with a heart full of happy feels.
I loved Brynn and Jamie--so, so cute together. And their friends/relatives too--so much fun there, and I'm totally looking forward to the rest of the series to get more of Annie and Holly and Jeremy. There's a lot of lighthearted cuteness, superfun pop culture references, and a healthy dose really funny dialogue and scenes. Good times all around! But... Brynn and Jamie drove me absolutely crazy too. For two people who have been best friends since middle school, they manage to NOT tell each other some really important stuff for way too much of the book and make too many decisions that had me screeching WHAT???? in my head. Seriously. Talk about misunderstanding and non-communication--this book has both in spades. There were so many times that I just wanted to thunk one or both of their heads in frustration. But then something cute or funny or sweet would happen and they'd get a temporary reprieve, and I'd keep reading, a smile on my face. Plus, the ending is adorable. And I really do love them together. Did I mention how much I love the secondary characters? So--overall this was an entertaining but frequently frustrating read, the first in a series that I am very much looking forward to reading more of. Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B+ I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Jamie and Brynn are High School best friends but Jamie is in love with Brynn but keeps it to himself as Brynn is crushing on someone else. Brynn gets all excited about a party where she might just hook up with Spencer, her dream guy. Things don't work quite as planned and in the process she ends up kissing Jamie putting them in an awkward situation! Fast forward to ten years later. Jamie and Brynn remain best friends, still dancing around their true feelings for each other. A ten year reunion is being held and Brynn gets excited all over again at the prospect of seeing Spencer and maybe move things along. Jamie realises that he might miss the boat and decides to come clean with Brynn but witnesses a surprising and upsetting encounter instead. This is when Jamie decides to take a road trip with Brynn, hoping that Brynn will realise how he truly feels about her and in return own up to her true feelings too. It's a long journey. There are a lot of misunderstandings along the way. There are insecurities, fear of rejections and the loss of a good friendship. Everytime, they think that they might be getting somewhere, something else happens to pull them apart. Will they put their insecurities aside and trust in each other to be more than friends? Jamie is a real nice guy but his insecurities get in the way of being true to himself. The same goes for Brynn who acts a little immature for her age. This is a fun read with love and some heartaches along the way. It would appeal to those who like a romance where best friends turn into lovers. I was kindly given a complimentary ecopy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Love, friendship and forever. All are risky ventures on their own but when the heart is involved these feelings become even scarier because someone else is allowed to see the most vulnerable parts of you. The One That Got Away is beautifully penned look at the ups and downs of an ever changing relationship. Brynn and Jamie know that with the connection shared more is the next step but are fearful of pulling the trigger. As each individuals feelings are explored all of the deep seated anxieties that drive them start to surface. In the end each has to decide if having something more is worth taking a chance on. AJ Pine has written a humorous yet deeply moving romance that is empathetic and enjoyable storytelling. Lots of charm as well as heart.
There were many times throughout this story that I grinned, laughed, wanted to smack some sense into both characters and tell them to get it together. I could totally relate to their uneasiness and not wanting to get hurt. But Brynn and Jaime had a beautiful friendship. I loved all their nicknames for each other and the way they used their real names when they were dead serious. They were seriously super cute together. And he was a doll, always there protecting her from own clumsiness and yet being the victim of her wild hand gestures. Seriously laugh out loud moments. But mostly I loved when they were finally brutally honest with each other. That made my heart full. Besides how can you not love a female character who adores the Monkees and a man who loves her for it. The Monkees were before my time too but every summer I would watch and sing with their shows. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher through Netgalley.
The One That Got Away – there’s something about that phrase that always hooks me. It screams of a missed opportunity and the potential that there may be another chance. And that’s what we have here. Jamie and Brynn have been hung up on each other since high school. Their friendship goes farther back but it was in high school that Jamie developed feelings for Brynn. On a night when she was looking forward to being kissed by her crush, she ends up kissing Jamie instead. The circumstances leading up to this are interesting. Anyway, it all kind of dissolves shortly after with Brynn never truly knowing exactly what it happened. Ten years later, they’re still best friends and getting ready for the big high school reunion. This time nothing is going to stop Brynn from sharing a kiss with her high school crush. Jamie stands by helplessly because far be it from him to actually speak up and declare his true feelings to her. When things go terribly awry at the reunion, he make it up to Brynn by suggesting that embark on a road trip together to LA where she can meet up with her crush and he can take care of his business venture. It doesn’t go every smoothly with plenty of hiccups along the way. But for Brynn, each of these inconveniences turn out to be an opportunity to see Jamie in a completely different light. The narrative, told from both viewpoints, is repetitive but that’s because both of them are so caught up in reliving where things went south in their friendship. They’re simply stuck and as the reader you’re stuck with them as their thoughts and memories play on an endless loop. They keep quiet under the pretense of keeping the status quo. At some point during the roadtrip there’s a shift and I was so happy because seriously, about time you two! A few things stood out for me. One, is the playful chemistry they have. It’s sickeningly obvious how much they adore each other and the fact that there’s always some sort of mishap when these two are together is very funny. It’s their thing and it’s cute. Two, is that Jamie and Brynn feel tangible. They’re both described as attractive with none of the over-the-top romancey stuff. That just made them relatable to me, like these two goofballs could very well be my friends hanging about in Chicago, bringing me to my third point: I did love the Chicago references. TOTGA is cute and almost like a slapstick comedy at times when you look at how clumsy they are around each other. If you’re someone who believes in second chances and adores the friends-to-lovers trope, this will certainly please you. TOTGA is a fun roadtrip or vacation companion to take with you!
This book. You know those books that grab you from the very beginning, and then hold you hostage until you've turned the last page? That was what The One That Got Away is guilty of. So perfectly guilty of...and I loved every minute of my captivity. This book, this story of two people, Jamie Kingston and Brynn Chandler, who have been best friends forever. The timing was never right for them and, after a stolen kiss in high school, the risk of losing their friendship if being lovers didn't ultimately work out wasn't worth it. Fast forward to their 10-year reunion. Brynn and Jamie are still the best of friends. Brynn is still holding on to the "what might have been" of a high school crush, Spencer, and Jamie is in a relationship...happy, until he realizes that Brynn is who he has wanted all along. When Brynn is given the opportunity to finally, FINALLY, see if she and Spencer were meant to be, at his book signing in California, Jamie volunteers to drive her there, as he is going to a Beer Fest (he is the owner of Kingston Ale House). After years of sub-par relationships, depending on each other for everything, and never talking about that kiss, can the two of them survive a trip together without allowing the past and the present to collide? Or will they realize that the one they were running toward was sitting right beside them the entire time? I fell in love with every single character in this book. Brynn and Jamie's story was the perfect story to begin this series. I cannot wait for what A.J. Pine has in store for her readers. You need to grab this friends to lovers story now - it is one of epic proportions.
This one will make you want to throw things…probably at Jamie’s head. This was my first AJ Pine book and I absolutely loved it!! The characters were frustrating, but relatable; the memories – The Monkees – every time I heard Brynn’s nickname I started singing my favorite Monkees’ song in my head; perfect quote from “When Harry Met Sally”; referencing one of my favorite teen angst movies, “10 Things I Hate About You” – this book will invoke lots of happy memories for those of us who grew up in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Brynn Chandler and James (Jamie) Kingston have been best friends since middle school. Jamie fell for her their junior year in high school, but as is typical of teenage boys – he decided not to tell her. They share one amazing kiss after high school, but circumstances prevent them from acting on it and they agree to never bring it up again. It appears at least to each other that they’ve both moved on and then their 10-year high school reunion happens. Brynn is determined to live out her fantasy with her senior year crush and Jamie is happy in his current relationship, right?!? Things at the reunion don’t go as planned for either of them – I was gasping during the pivotal scene. So to try and give himself a chance – Jamie suggests they go on a 2-week road trip. That was a painful trip as they weren’t being completely honest with each other; lots of hurt was brought to the surface and just when you think things will work out…well that’s where throwing things at Jamie’s head come into play. He decides that Brynn has to reach L.A. to have any hope for a future. Thank goodness for Annie – she was a breath of fresh air and offered sage advice throughout the book. I have to admit – I wasn’t sure this one would play out like I hoped, but in the end they both get what they deserve! It was an enjoyable read throughout and kept me hooked until the end. Don’t miss it!! Received ARC from the Publisher via Net Galley for an honest review.
I love friends-to-lovers books and second chances. This book has both. Jamie and Brynn have been best friends since middle school. They shared one kiss during their senior year but Jamie needed his friend more than he needed a girlfriend so their relationship never progressed. Now their 10-year reunion is here and Brynn wants to pursued her missed chance at her high school crush but Jamie has finally realized that the one for him is his best friend. I loved these characters both individually and together. There was a good mix of funny and angst. I enjoyed getting the backstory of their relationship through their memories. The start of this series is phenomenal and I can't wait to read about all of the side characters that were introduced. *I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
The One That Got Away by A.J. Pine....What an amazing story, so fun...love, love, loved this book. Such a great friends to lovers, A.J. knows how to work the words on the pages to make you fall in love. This is my first book by A.J. Pine and it will not be my last. I received complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is a very cute friends to lovers read that I am sure you will not regret reading. The story line flowed really well and the characters are well developed with their own set of issues that they have to work through in this story. A.J. Pine did a fine job with this one though! Jamie and Brynn are best friends and have been all through school. When we first meet these two, it is the last night for Brynn to try and act on her crush for Spencer and get a kiss in. They are all supposed to go to a party/dance and that is where Brynn is going to fulfill the promise she made to herself, only Brynn is so sick that she is in tears whenever she tries to talk or swallow. Jamie shows up to take Brynn to the party/dance, but the only place they end up going is to the after hours clinic to get Brynn medicine. Brynn's hopes and dreams of hooking up with Spencer fade into the night. Will she ever be able to forgive herself? Fast forward 10 years to their High School reunion and Jamie and Brynn find themselves replaying that night 10 years ago. When Spencer is at the reunion, Brynn does everything she can to make him notice her and he does just that. Will these two finally get their kiss that Brynn so badly wanted? Jamie talks Brynn into going on a two week road trip with him because he is determined to show Brynn that he has feelings for her and even after all these years his feelings for her have never changed. Will they be able to break the ice when it is only the two of them in the vehicle together or will things go south and Jamie regret even asking Brynn to come along? This is a cute story that gives us lots of good humor along the road trip with Jamie and Brynn. I love how A.J. Pine was able to incorporate such humor into a great friends to lovers romance. This is a great read for anyone that just wants to escape into a story for awhile.
I've read and loved previous stories by A.J. Pine and I was excited to read this first in the Kingston Ale House series. I think craft breweries are becoming more popular, so it stands to reason that the trends in books follow that too. This story is a bit of friends to lovers/unrequited love/second chance romance. Brynn and Jamie are high school friends - he's got a crush on her, she's crushing on another guy - until the night she's supposed to get her first kiss and it comes from Jamie instead of the other guy. This makes her see her best friend in a new light - but then he goes and tells her it can't happen again, and for the next ten years, they have a sometimes awkward but overall strong friendship, determined not to talk about what happened (and what could have happened) between them. At their 10 year high school reunion, Jamie is dating someone else and Brynn once again has a chance to be with the other guy (whom she truthfully hasn't thought too much about, instead lamenting that she and Jamie never really had a chance to be together) and Jamie interrupts at an inopportune time. He's determined to make it up to Brynn this time though, and offers to drive her across the country to meet up with the other guy (he's going to LA for a brewery conference anyway, but with a plan to convince Brynn that he's changed his mind and wants them to be together). He breaks up with his girlfriend (though he neglects to mention this to Brynn) and figures that he'll give her the chance to choose him if she wants. Can they finally get their second chance? Even just trying to summarize the book makes it clear that there's a lot of stuff going on. Though there are bits of the brewery part here and there (Brynn has been around Jamie enough to know lots more than she ever thought she would about beer) most of the story is taken up with their on again off again relationship. Jamie breaking up with his girlfriend to pursue Brynn was definitely the right thing to do, though I wish he'd have told Brynn about it sooner, so that she wouldn't have felt guilty about some of what happened between them on the road. And a lot of the story was about communication, or their lack thereof. They both needed to come clean with each other once and for all, but it was a long and somewhat circuitous route to get there - because of this the story dragged for me in the second half, waiting for them to be honest with each other about their feelings. They definitely had chemistry (some sweet and sexy scenes between them) and a solid friendship to base a relationship on, if they'd only just give themselves a chance. Eventually we get to that happy ending (after several bumps in the road) and I was relieved when we finally got there. I don't think this is the best example of this author's work, but it's a solid friends to lovers story for those who enjoy that trope and I'm definitely planning to read the next one in the series because this author is still one of my favourites.
This is the first book in what should be a fantastic series. I really enjoyed this one and thought Jamie and Brynn were great together. There is a lot of flashbacks so the past to present and alternate POV's are a bit distracting at first but once you work through all that the overall story is fantastic. I'm not sure the author could have made us understand the characters without the flashbacks so good call on her part. The fact that Jamie wasn't willing to give up and walk away was proof of how strongly he cared for Brynn. Knowing this will be his last opportunity for him to get to see them as more than friends, Jamie convinces Brynn to go on a road trip to their high school reunion. As the miles and time goes by and past hurts and pains are realized, feelings are made clear, and the only thing left for these two is to decide if they want to take the chance that is waiting for them. An awesome read and I can't wait for the next one! I highly recommend this book.