As florist and co-owner of a successful Chicago wedding planning business, Daphne Lovell has been there for the happiest days of other people’s lives. As for her own life? Well, it’s hard to be perfectly happy when you’re carrying a torch for your sexy, womanizing and oblivious best friend. So when the lights go out on New Year’s Eve, she seizes the opportunity to kiss him senseless.
British expat Gibson Moore has a lot on his plate. The hotel he manages is being bought out, his family is crazy and someone just kissed him in the dark. When the lights go on, he searches the room, trying to find the mystery pair of lips. Only, he never thinks to ask the woman standing by his side. He’s shocked when he discovers that Daphne is the woman he’s been searching for. But Gib’s also eager to act upon the attraction for her he’s always fought to ignore.
It takes trust to move from friends to lovers, and as Gib’s work situation worsens, he is no longer sure he can risk the friendship he relies on most. It’s up to Daphne to convince him that some things are worth fighting for…
*Blurb from Goodreads*
I love wedding books, and the Aisle Bound series has characters that grip me hard, so when I saw that Daphne and Gib were going to get their chance at a HEA, I couldn’t wait to pick up this book.
Daphne has been best friends with Gibson for longer than she can remember. She’s also crushed on him for just as long. But Gib’s a player and Daphne never wanted to jeopardize their friendship. One night when the power goes out, Daphne takes a chance and gives Gib the kiss she’s always wanted to. Now their dynamic is changing, and the two of them have to figure out how to change with it.
But as they struggle to deal with becoming lovers instead of just friends, the world around them throws a curveball at Gibson. His job is on the line and he has to relocate out of the country. As they struggle to find the balance between friends and lovers, they will need to lean on each other more than ever, in order to weather the newest storm.
Friends-to-lovers stories are some of my favorites, and I thought Barth did an amazing job with Daphne and Gib. I loved the fact that Daphne tried to keep her kissing Gib a secret, despite the fact that Gib went on and on about his “Cinderella.” I thought it showed just how cautious Daphne was about losing her best friend. One of the most important aspects for me in a friends-to-lovers book is the fear of the changing dynamic. The fear that if they move to lovers, their friendship might someday be in jeopardy. I thought that Barth showcased that fear in both Daphne and Gib so well, and I loved the way they dealt with it, together.
Getting more of Gib’s backstory was wonderful, especially once we learn what drove him away from his noble family and into the hospitality business. I felt so bad for him, hearing about his family. Then, having his brother show up out of the blue really sealed the deal for me as to how shitty they really were. The revelation as to what his brother tried to do to get Gibson to be his own personal pawn was so totally out there, and made me angry on Gib’s behalf. I loved seeing the total dysfunction of his family up close and personal.
Given the dynamic of Gib’s family, it was so special to see just how much of a family Gib had created with his friends. Getting to see Ivy and Ben, Sam and Mira, and Daphne all stand up for Gib, and rally behind him, was perfect. I love books that showcase how much a group of close friends can become like a family, and Barth has done this perfectly. I adore all the characters in this story, and Barth’s ability to write fun and sexy heroes and heroines is one of the many reasons she has become a must-buy author to me.
The one thing that I was a little disappointed with in this book was the ending. Don’t get me wrong, the twist at the very end was something I never saw coming. However, I felt as if Gibson needed to do a little bit more groveling before Daphne forgave him so easily. I thought she did the perfect amount of groveling as well, since she also had a moment or two of overreaction. Despite that, I thought this book was so well done!
All in all I really enjoyed this book. Daphne and Gibson were so perfect for each other, and watching them grow their friendship to so much more was absolutely fabulous. I adored getting to see the other secondary characters we’ve fallen in love with since the opening of this series, and hope we get to see more!
I give Friends to Lovers a B+