I’ve been hearing a lot from readers about the secondary story in my latest contemporary romance, CRUSH ON YOU. Gil Marino and Clare Knowles are best friends and have been so since childhood. Unlikely friends, on the face of it, as he was the school jock and she was the geeky girl who was treasurer of the Science Fiction Society. But he attended every one of her birthday parties, starting when the invitations came with Barbie on front through her Sweet Sixteen when he was the shy girl’s support and escort. When she gets engaged and asks him to be the “Man of Honor,” what’s a buddy to do?
Except Gil doesn’t feel like her buddy anymore. Some time in the last year his feelings for his BFF have changed–and he doesn’t know what to do about them.
A friends-to-lovers romantic theme is one of my very favorites (and is the subject of two fun movies, “Made of Honor” and “Some Kind of Wonderful”). It’s delicious to watch the couple struggle with emotions that appear to come out of the blue. For his part, Gil can pinpoint the exact time when Everything Changed (on a road trip, three nights they spent spooned on a friend’s couch) but while Clare senses things are different between her and Gil, she attributes it to her new status as an engaged woman.
Beyond the struggle to acknowledge new feelings, I think a friends-to-lovers story is wonderful because the characters know each other so well. The happy ever after feels solid because they already understand each other’s foibles and strengths. Gil knows Clare is nervous in big groups, so is ready to stand by her side at a party. Clare is aware Gil is not so good with details, so she’s the one who makes sure his small business complies with recent regulations. They’re already partners in friendship…partners for life is not a big stretch.
My favorite scene between Clare and Gil is when they make love for the first time. The heady pleasure of becoming close in this new way is made even more special because they know each other so well physically too–from freckles to knee scars. When Gil discovers that his best friend loves him back, he wants to leave that exact message on the answering machines of everyone in their small town: Clare loves me. Ah, Gil. Clearly I fell a little in love with him too.
Do you like the friends-to-lovers theme as much as I do? Were you ever in a friends-to-lovers relationship yourself? (I was “friends” with my now-husband for a year before we looked at each other romantically.) Comment for a chance to win a $25 e-gift card from amazon.com which I hope you’ll use to purchase CRUSH ON YOU in order to read Clare and Gil’s story!
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