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Feb 22

Best Laid Plans by Lauren Blakely Review

5 SMOOCHES!

SYNOPSIS:

That time I had the brilliant idea to ask my good friend for lessons in seduction…
Awkward? Maybe. But how else is a good girl going to find out if she likes being naughty? I might be sweet as cherry pie, but I’m also bold and damn curious. And Gabe is charming, trustworthy, aces at seduction (or so I hear) and—bonus!— willing to give me lessons. But to guarantee it won’t ruin our friendship, I have some specific requirements for his instruction. I want these classes to be hypothetical more than hands-on. So what if he’s hella sexy? I can handle that, no problem.
***
I have it bad for Arden. She’s bright, brilliant, insanely fun, and I want to take her home and spend all night together—and then spend the day with her, too. When she asks for my help, I see my chance to win her sweet heart by showing her how much fun we can have getting spicy. Trouble is, she has a different idea of what “bedroom exploration” should mean. Now I’m going to have to get really clever to win her over.
Good thing I know exactly how to upend her best laid plans.

* * * * * * * * * *

REVIEW:

I’m an unrepentant, loud-and-proud Lauren Blakely fan. Immersed in any of her books is a happy place for me. She’s a slam dunk for me because she consistently gives me what I’m hoping for when I reach for a romantic comedy or a contemporary romance. Just when I think she can’t top her last book, she comes out with the next one, and it steals my heart in a whole different way. Lauren Blakely always gives me what I want to read, and she does it with a writing style that is an addictive and creative blend of warmth, wit and romance. The kinds of stories that make me smile and swoon and that leave me happy when I’m done.

The friends-to-lovers trope is a top favorite of mine, near and dear to my heart, and Blakely put a fun spin on it here with a good-girl who wants to be naughty and her fireman best friend who she enlists to help her learn how. Arden and Gabe had a solid foundation of friendship to build on, and it was the comfort of this relationship that gave Arden the guts to approach Gabe with her plan. She had no idea that Gabe was harboring more than just friendly feelings for her, and in approaching him with her request, she gave him the opening he’d been hoping for. These two knew each other well, and their comfortable and easy-going relationship made for some witty, finish-each-other’s-sentences, back-and-forth bantering. Gabe’s Greek God good looks and charming personality didn’t escape Arden’s notice, but she had him pegged all wrong with some of the assumptions she’d made about him, and I enjoyed the heck out of him dispelling them.

Blakely has a fantastic sense of humor that she uses liberally in her storytelling, and it was plentiful in this book. I pretty much perma-grinned my way through most of this story largely because of Arden’s utterly pragmatic approach to her proposal. The things she want to try and learn, and the specific ways she proposed that they tackle them, really showed the reader exactly why she needed these lusty lessons in first place. Sweet and oh-so-sexually-naïve Arden just never factored romance—or even attraction—into this scenario because she was totally oblivious to the possibility that sexy, ladies-man Gabe could be interested in her.

One of the things I love most about Blakely’s novels is how richly she develops her heroes and the special insight into her male leads she gives her readers. Gabe’s inner dialogue was five-alarm-fire hot during his titillating torture sessions with Arden, and it was there that readers got a glimpse at his vulnerable side, too, when his thoughts moved to the what he really wanted with her. He also had an endearing side, something he showed repeatedly not only with Arden, but also in his relationships with his family and in his natural calling to help others. While Blakely doesn’t hesitate to put obstacles in her characters’ paths to happily-ever-after, she doesn’t draw it out with painful or angst-fueled plot devices to do it. Her stories have the right amount of conflict—just enough to keep things interesting—before she brings her characters to the other side of it together. Honestly, one of the reasons I read is to escape real-life, real-world drama, so I find Lauren’s approach in that aspect of her plots a much needed and very refreshing change of pace.

Flirty, fiery and a whole lot of fun, Best Laid Plans was a feel-good story about what happens when friendship is set on fire. Arden and Gabe’s love story was full of heart, humor and heat, and I simply didn’t want to put it down. Five smooches from me for Lauren Blakely’s Best Laid Plans!

~Danielle Palumbo

 


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