JUST FRIENDS BOX SET

JUST FRIENDS BOX SET                       MARIE COLE


Elly and her bandmates discover the true meaning of friendship, heartache, and love in the #JustFriends series. For the first time Books 1 - 4 are bundled together in this new adult romance collection.
Enjoy 3 full-length novels and 1 novella with no cliffhangers.

Just Friends
He's my first crush.
I'm his best friend.
When we are pushed into a room alone together sparks start to fly and there isn't anything anyone can do to put out the fire that sizzles between us.
Except maybe her
His girlfriend.
With her on his arm, there couldn't be a worse time to explore the depth of my feelings for him.
So, for now, we're #JustFriends.
...Or are we?


Old Friends
en years later, with Kent’s relationship crashing to an end, he turns to his ever-faithful friend Elly for support. However, the torch Elly always carried for Kent has burned down to a stub. She’s moved on with her life and is involved with a new guy.

But when Elly’s relationship ends as well, she can’t help turning to her lifelong BFF, Kent. But Kent’s unwilling to settle for just being friends with benefits. Will Elly find the courage to let him into her heart again, or will they forever remain #JustFriends?

Fast Friends
Stacy knew when you found a good man you latched on and didn't let go. She wasn't about to follow in her mama's footsteps. So when her drunken one stand with the hotter-than-hell bad boy rocker threatened to become a repeat, she should've run; fast and far. Alcoholic bass-playing Rio wasn't a recipe for happily ever after.

But when Rio's tragic past is revealed and his walls start to crumble Stacy has to decide if the bad boy might be the one person she needs to guard her heart against or if he's exactly what she's been waiting for.

Friends Again
Jen, fresh off the divorce boat, is trying to rebuild her life. Her ex-husband has moved on with his best friend and her dad is doing everything in his power to make her seem incompetent. A complication is the last thing she needs in her heart.
But he finds her.
Dominic has wanted one thing: to be with Jen, his first and fiercest love, but he wasn't able to follow through on his promises. Now his career is in order he only has one more piece to add to his life's puzzle: Jen.Will she give in to her desires or will she lock away her heart forever?

MY REVIEW:
Old Friends: Book #1

     This is book one in a four book series I was a book that was so good it made me keep wanting to keep turning those pages.  Yet, the two main characters Elly and Kent although at first start off as this set of friends who were so close, that they at eight had made a pack to always remain friends no matter what.  By their freshman year in college Kent had all but forgotten that when in his freshman year in high school he had gotten a girlfriend.
     Kent meets this girl, Jen, who moves into town who is brash, crude, rich, and oh yeah, a skinny and sexy BITCH.  All the things Elly is not.  And not she is not a BITCH because she is skinny and sexy she is just a plain BITCH.  Elly and Kent try to keep up their friendship which was so much easier living next door to each other.  But Jen’s jealousy starts putting a wedge between them.  Breaking Elly’s heart because she had already known She was in love with Kent.
     But the real break came the summer of their freshman year of college Kent never called or texted Elly, at all.  That was okay though she used that time though, visiting her grandmother to make a new and improved Elly.  So, coming back for her Sophomore year she was the bomb.  Guys were all over her.
     All guys except the one she wanted until she loses her “V-Card” and he overhears her telling her female best friend about what happened.  Kent starts sexually teasing Elly, into believing that he is in love with her, and there’s something there.  Yet, he breaks her and goes back to Jen.  What he says to his mother after brunch and Elly were coming out of the restroom would have opened my eyes.
     Not, Elly, she deserves what she gets because she keeps going on each time as if.  Allow him to get away with it.  Friendship or not you teach people how to treat you.  She taught Kent that it’s okay to use me and abuse my feelings and our friendship any way you want.


     The way it ended pissed me off.  It’s okay though I had the box set.  If I didn’t have the box set to read the rest of their romance and how it works out I would have even more pissed.  And I would have given it a 3 star.  Since I have the box set and I really was captured by the story and the characters did give me something to stress about.  I have given it 4 stars.  

Fast Friends:  Book #2

This story is supposed to be the HEA.  I see it as the Elly bitch fest.  All she seems to do in this book is rag on Kent once he and Jen split up.  He professes his love to her and now she says not happening.  Say what?
     You see Kent and Elly have been neighbors and friends forever.  She tries to figure out all kinds of ways to get her nerdy friends to notice her younger chubby self.  But before that could happen in high school he meets his future wife Jen who hates his friendship with Elly and does everything to break their friendship up, shame her, and keep them apart.  Him saying the whole time that he feels like she is too good for him.  Yet, always saying that he loves her and Oh Yeah! Screwing her a time or two.
     Shockers of all shockers are the truths that come out about Jen and the lengths she went to be evil not only to Elly but to Kent and their marriage.  She was more than two-faced.  There were more faces in her than you could count in that chick.
     In this book, Elly goes through a couple of relationships but the last one sours her to the point of calling her mom in tears saying all men are jerks and she says she is never getting married.  She says it’s not worth it.  Not if it means risking her heart again and getting it crushed like she did loving Kent.  Her mom says not all men are the way this relationship worked out or like even the way her feelings for Kent worked out.  She tells her that Kent loves her if you would let him love you.
     She hangs up on her mom when she figures out that Kent is at her mom’s house playing cards with her.  So, he had heard the whole conversation from her mom’s side.  She just knew that he would come looking for her.  He did too.
     When his mom ends up in the hospital due to an emergency Elly and Kent who were together for the night on a date, rush to the hospital together.  When they get there Jen is there.  Kent is in shock and reaches out to her when she comes to him.  Which causes Elly to back off.  Kent is trying to figure out what is happening and when he figures out who is in the bed in the room he is so devastated.  When Elly backs off to take care of her mom who is his mom’s best friend and as they go to leave the room Kent runs to her asking her to take his car and if she could go get him some clothes from his mom’s. 
     When she gets back with his bag Jen is still there by his mom’s bedside so she just drops the bag and takes off back to her mom’s.  The next morning, she gets a text saying that his mom is out of the woods.  At this point, Elly freezes out Kent because she doesn’t hear anything else when she has to go back to work.  She was just done.
     A month goes by and they run into each other and he is hostile toward her he’s mad because the night of the accident they had started a friend with benefits and he figured she found another friend.  So, things are raw when she reveals her news.
     This is good writing but my problem with this book is it felt rushed at the end.  If it wasn’t in the set I wouldn’t have been pissed at how short it was and I would understand what was going on had I not read the prior book too.  I think it could have used a little more backstory.  I give this 4 stars.

Fast Friends:  Book #3

     What an endearing story this by far is my favorite of the three stories so far.  I have loved Rio since he hit the pages.  The easy laid-back way he has of being everyone rock and big brother won me over.
     What we saw of his and Stacy’s relationship never hinted of all the turmoil that they had to go through together.  Now through the writings of this Rio’s and Stacy’s own personal story let’s just say there were times I thought he was just plain, mean, cruel, and heartless to her with his words.  For some of his own acts of self-gratification.  
     Now, it doesn’t mean I didn’t mean I didn’t see that sometimes it was the alcohol talking and not him.  Yet, he had a choice to pick up that drink or call his sponsor.  He chose the drink.  He had worked the twelve-step program before so for him to write that letter to Stacy to just be mean was something he should have learned during his first two years of being clean and he wanted to truly keep his sobriety is “Do No Harm.”
     What got me was the fact that his sponsor of all people had put in his mind that he needed to stay away from booze and women.  When what he should have said was let’s meet and have coffee and talk at the very least and then he could have recommended it.  Because really, women were not the problem his feelings were.  Which I understand this is a story but when dealing with a twelve-step program we need to stay true to what a good sponsor would do and since he was his sponsor for two years causing him to jones on something else is not the thing to do.  Especially, without talking about what actually triggered the first drink.
     Just because a person isn’t drinking doesn’t mean they’re good.  It just means they’re a dry drunk if they aren’t working their program.  Working the steps and the principles of the program mean you are on the road to recovery. What bothered me is that through the rest of the book that his sponsor never shows up to check on him.  Having Rio be open and honest with those in his life that he trusts would only help in his recovery.  Dealing with past issues.
     Stacy, on the other hand, was a girl who lived in a fantasy world party of the time and lived in a fantasy world party of the time and the rest living in a reality she made harsher than it had to be.  You see Stacy was raised by a single waitress-mom in a trailer park.  Hence, relating to the title of trailer trash.  So, in order to get out, she was going to college, to be an accountant.  Plus, she too is a waitress and a girl who liked to cut loose once and a while with her friend Elly.  When Elly wasn’t Jonesing over her best friend Kent who by the way has since married a skank.
     One night, Christmas Eve, in fact, Stacy met Rio at a bar when she, Elly and Kent were out having drinks.  After they all got shitfaced Stacy.  Went home with Rio and had mind-blowing sex with him.  At which time, she seriously stereotyped him as the bad-ass-rocker.  When as you’ll read he’s not.  He’s much more.
     See how these two take their shaky pasts and work on being friends or maybe just being in the same room for the sake of Elly being a lead singer in his band.  And then getting closer only to shatter.  This does have an HEA the best yet.  I give this 5++++ stars.

Friends Again:  Book #4

     As much as I disliked Jen through the first three books for causing trouble between Elly and Kent or should say because much blame belongs to Kent and Elly in that order, she didn’t stand a chance do to outside source.
     What this girl was looking for was unconditional love and attention.  When she thought she found it from Dominic, it was ripped away by someone she trusted.  So, when she got to the new school and found the nerd that she could mold and would give her at least his undivided attention for the most part and his love so she thought because who could love a nerd or want a nerd right?  Never figuring his friendship with Elly was so strong and powerful.  In fact, it was truly loving as in they were in love.  So, knowing he was going to go places with his nerdy self-was how she stuck it out with him.  Yet, had fun on the side.
     After nine years of marriage and almost six years together before that, it was time to call it quits.  She knew she was not the woman Kent loved and living in a loveless marriage as a token wife like her mother was not for her.  She guessed she always knew but was too afraid to admit it because then what?  But when Kent caught man having a sleepover after one of their fights and found out it had been going on for weeks Kent filed.  Up until that time Elly had been trying to help both of them work it out and trying to Kent to stay.
     It worked out she went to do the work she wanted to do in college.  She was doing charity work for funding, with her father’s medical group.  One day when she came to work she was told a new young doctor had started working and that she should try for him now that she was single.  But in order to keep the gossip down, she said she was dating already.  Especially, since the woman that told her is the biggest gossip and flirt in the group.
     When she went to the scheduled meeting her and her father had she was sitting waiting.  When the man who had just walked away at sixteen never looking back and left her behind, Dominic Santos.  He was shaking hands with her father and being welcomed into the practiced by her father like they were old friends.  She was speechless at first but then found is and it felt like it was primed for fire.  But she wouldn’t show him how much he had hurt her by walking away and forgetting her.  Not happening.  After a few breaths and her father’s reintroductions, she played it off.
     Then her father informs her that Dr. Santos will be in charge of the bottom line so she will be answering to him about it.  Therefore, all planning and other things for the fundraiser would be going through him.  She is not a happy camper.  When she goes to meet with him for the first meeting guess who is sitting on the edge of his desk?  You got it little miss gossip.  Jen is not happy about it and he can read it on her face.
     See how this meeting goes and how they plan on working this matter out.  See if they make their past right and who had a hand in turning their world upside down.  I was not happy that this book just stops at a screw and an understanding and that’s it.  No real conclusion.  I give this: 3 stars.

     Overall, this book gave me a lot to keep me interested in turning the page and my juices flowing for sure.  I really enjoyed the story of Rio and Stacy the best and for that, it made the box set.  There were a lot of unanswered questions for me.  I hope to interview the author to ask them too.  I give this book: 4 stars.  Provided by netgalley.com.  Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com.

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