Desert Isle Keeper
Dating the Guy Upstairs
I took a chance and volunteered to review this by the new-to-me Amanda Ashby, and then instantly regretted my decision; it just didn’t sound like something I’d like. I tend to like slightly older heroes and heroines, and a romance between a couple in their mid-20s didn’t sound to my taste, I put off reading this for weeks after I received it. Thank goodness I finally gave in, as this is a delightful best friends to lovers romance featuring a likeable hero and heroine.
Riley Harris has been best friends with her landlord Will Henderson ever since she moved into the apartment below him. The friendship works perfectly for both of them. Riley – the daughter of two often married hippies – doesn’t believe in love, except in her favorite Jane Austen romances. Will was engaged, only to have his fiancé marry his wealthy father instead. This, coupled with his belief that his father caused his mother’s death, means Will wants nothing to do with love or marriage.
Riley and Will’s friendship is often long-distance, as Will spends months at a time abroad, volunteering for charity. On his latest trip home Will asks a big favor of Riley: he wants her to pretend to be his girlfriend at his brother’s wedding. Will knows his entire family – including his ex-fiancée – will be there, and he doesn’t want anyone attempting to set him up with a woman. Riley reluctantly agrees; she’s not a girly girl, and a high-society wedding isn’t her type of thing. Once she agrees, Will works to convince his brother and the rest of his family – who are skeptical – that he and Riley are now involved. Finally, to convince others, Will kisses Riley in public, and the sparks fly for both of them.
Will and Riley are just adorable and their move from BFFs to lovers is completely believable. I like that it isn’t one of them who longed for the other for years. Instead, the change comes about almost accidentally. As they settle into a different type of relationship we get to see just what wonderful friends they’ve been. When a conflict comes rather late in the book for the pair, it makes sense based on both of their histories and personalities.
Will and Riley are both truly good people, passionate about their careers and about helping others. Riley’s a librarian and has a book club for kids at the community center – I love when Will gets addicted to a YA vampire romance series of books he gets conned into reading by Riley’s book club kids. In addition to his volunteering, Will is now raising money to form an e-waste startup to help people in developing countries.
If you love angsty, emotion-filled romances this isn’t for you. But if you’d like a light, fun, cute romance, with an adorable main couple, this might be the one for you. As for me, I’m going to be on the lookout for future romances by Amanda Ashby; this was delightful.