Etta

Review: Friends With Benefits (ARC)

Expected publication: February 3rd 2021

Author: Lisa Swift

Could Mr Right-Now actually be Mr Right?

Lexie Whittle thought she had life all sewn up, with a gorgeous husband, a beautiful home and a delightful teenage stepson. Until husband Daryl left to work overseas…and everything changed.

A year later, Daryl and Lexie’s marriage is over. Lexie is fighting to stay on top of the bills, juggling her job at the Blue Parrot 1940s café in Leyholme with being mum and dad to stepson Connor in Daryl’s absence.

The only thing keeping her from meltdown is the support she gets from Connor’s godfather: Theo Blake, Daryl’s former business partner. Theo might be a jack-the-lad, drifting from one woman to another, but Lexie knows she and Connor can depend on him.

After one too many glasses of wine leads to them falling into bed together, Lexie and Theo begin a friends-with-benefits relationship. What starts as just sex soon becomes something deeper.

But when Daryl returns, Lexie is faced with an impossible decision. Will she be forced to choose between her feelings for Theo and the boy she loves as a son?

This novel is absolutely nothing how I expected when I read the description. I, of course, expected a romance story with a difficult decision for our main character as she has her ex-husband and her new love interest. This story does deliver for this storyline, but it actually has so much more and actually the romance story seemed to take a backseat in favor of an overall story of family. This novel still falls under the contemporary romance genre, but it skews towards women’s fiction where there is a great theme and heart-felt moments with some slice of life type events.

Alexis (“Lexie”) is living in a large house that she bought with her ex-husband. Daryl, her soon to be ex, as they are separated, but not yet divorced, has temporarily vacated the country to work in Japan for a two year contract. Daryl has left behind his 14-year old son, Connor, for Lexie to take care of as she bonded with Connor early in their relationship and has been raising him since she entered the picture. Connor’s mom, Elise, passed away leaving Daryl is search for a new mother figure for Connor and a new wife/love interest for himself. He met Lexie one day and the two of them quickly got married, but it was not all paradise and they separated due to Daryl’s absentee father tendencies and Lexie not feeling that Daryl truly cared for her.

Connor’s godfather, and Daryl’s ex-best friend, Theo Blake, remains in the picture to step in as a male role model for Connor and also became Lexie’s best friend. As the synopsis states, the two of them hook up after a drunken night, and complicated feeling ensue as Lexie has to balance keeping Daryl happy in order to maintain her relationship with Connor and pursing a new relationship with Theo. This is where I thought the story was going to focus as there are pieces that are told from both Lexie and Theo’s points of view. However, the reader gets a huge glimpse into Connor’s life as he not only gets to tell his side of the story with the Daryl, Theo, and Lexie situation, but he is also dealing with his own emotional journey of his own.

Connor’s story starts with him trying to figure out his relationship with his own girlfriend, Sophie. He, Sophie, and their other best friend, Oliver, all are friendship trio where they get together to play Magic: The Gathering and other sci-fi/fantasy discussions. One night while the three of them are playing a game, Oliver and Connor share a kiss. Connor then has his own journey to understand his sexual feelings and find that he is not straight as he initially figured and instead is bisexual. He feels relief as he has discovered this part of himself he never knew was there on a conscious level. Part of the story goes through his journey to find out if he wants to be with Sophie, with Oliver, or with another option as he does not want his friendship group ruined and he also is fearful of coming out as bisexual to his group of friends and to his family. Not only is Connor figuring out his sexual identity, he has the added turmoil of his absentee father, which is all on top of the typical teenage issues. He goes through a huge emotional journey and it was extremely heart-warming to see how everything would turn out for him. Connor was a very well-written character as he was insightful, a voice of maturity and reason, but also kept true to his teenage type emotions that any teenager or adult can relate to!

Overall, every character seemed to go on their own emotional journey as Lexie, Connor, Theo, and even Daryl all are dealing with their own issues and have to try to work them out and also how to make the modern family dynamic work. It is a refreshing concept that I was not expecting for this novel and it was quick read as I wanted to see where everyone would end up by the end.  There are some times where the flow does not quite work with the dialogue between the characters, but overall, the story moved along at a decent pace. It was definitely a surprise, a good one, but a surprise of a novel nonetheless!

 **I give a special thank you to Netgalley and Hera Books for the ARC to read and review. The opinions expressed are completely my own.**

6 thoughts on “Review: Friends With Benefits (ARC)

    1. The cover is what drew me to read the book as it’s very cute. It was a great story that was on its way to perfection, but just didn’t quite get there…hope you enjoy it though if you end up reading it 😀

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