A Friends-To-Lovers Collection, featuring novellas by:
Nia Forrester, Jacinta Howard, Lily Java, & Rae Lamar
Four Authors. Four Stories. For Love.
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I love a good friends to lovers story so I was only too happy to read Because My Heart Said So by four great authors: Nia Forrester, Jacinta Howard, Lily Java, and Rae Lamar.
“Acceptable Losses” by Nia Forrester was a pretty interesting story. Quentin and Lena are lawyers working for the same firm and have been friends for a long time. While Lena has had a crush on Quentin, nothing has happened because Quentin is married (although separated). I didn’t necessarily love their friendship. While they were “friends” there ended up being quite a lot about Quentin that Lena didn’t know and Quentin didn’t even know Lena had a twin. So there were a lot of holes for me. I thought Quentin setting Lena up with his brother then wanting her back (and her being compared to a similar hot wheel incident when they were kids) was a bit <<insert Rest Bitch Face emoji here>>. It took Quentin waaaaaaay too long to finally admit his feelings for Lena and felt that Forrester didn’t have enough room in the short story to delve into Quentin’s back story and why he was the designated “martyr” of his family (as his brother put it) and constantly lived his life for other and not for himself. I actually preferred the brother and wouldn’t mind getting a story about him. Quentin seemed a bit stiff, square, and boring for me, overall. His divorce so soon into a relationship made it a bit hard for me to really see how their HEA would work out.
I adored Jacinta Howard’s “Blind Expectations.” Both Trevor and Leah were such wonderful characters. I loved their friendship. As artists both have known each other since Leah moved in a few doors down in the same complex. When we first see Leah and Trevor together, he’s helping her off the side of the road where her car broke down. Their back and forth, bickering, and how Trevor casually stepped in to take care of things for her was endearing. From there we get to see Lena apologize for snapping on him and how Trevor reacts to her silly, meandering voicemails. Their interactions were truly charming. I loved how Trevor eventually reeled her into a romantic entanglement instead of friendship. Leah is such a quirky and unique heroine that I couldn’t help but enjoy her eccentricities. Trevor seemed like the exact man you’d be friends with then fall deeply, madly in love with. Both characters were well developed and I could easily believe their transition from friends to lovers. I would be happy to read more about these two characters and see their love blossom even more.
“Blackbirds” by Lily Java seemed written by a poet. The writing was melodic and highly cerebral but in the end didn’t do it for me as a love story. Maybe because the story seemed more about the wording and symbology than the characters and their emotions and development. Either way, I didn’t love this story, couldn’t finish it, and didn’t like being stuck in Sydney’s head way more than getting to see her and Elliot interact.
“Blur” by Rae Lamar was an enjoyable ’round the way romance. Kyle and Jade were real and vibrant. I could see both in my mind and know I would have loved the story more had I been able to see their interplay on screen. Seeing the teasing light in their eyes or the way Jade or Kyle moved would have only enhanced the story more. There are funny moments, like Kyle being Jade’s Fuck it Coach and explaining to her that she is “the gatekeeper through which all fucks must pass.” And sweet and caring moments. It brought to mind a sort of Love and Basketball/Brown Sugar interplay that I love to watch but, here, didn’t always translate smoothly on the page.
~Reviewed by Michelle