As a fan of the friends to lovers theme I'm excited to introduce you today to Plain Jayne by Laura Drewry. Keep reading to get a glimpse of this heartwarming book, along with my impressions of it, and make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $25 bookstore GC and a Loveswept promo prize too!
Worn out from the long drive back home, Jayne Morgan can only smirk at the irony: Of course the first person she sees from her old life is Nick Scott. Once best friends, they lost touch when Jayne left town at eighteen, but nothing could keep them apart forever. Jayne has returned to take over her grandmother’s bookstore, determined to put all her bittersweet memories and secret disappointments strictly in the past—until, that is, Nick insists she bunk at his place.
Nick never did care what people thought about having a girl for a best friend—or the “scandal” she caused by showing up to his wife’s funeral four years earlier—so he’s got no problem with the gossips now. Jayne was always the one person he could count on in his life. Now Nick is starting to realize that he never wants her to leave again . . . and that being “just friends” isn’t going to be enough anymore.
“Well I’m sure as hell not staying in that apartment, Nick, so unless you’ve got a better idea . . .”
“As a matter of fact . . .” Was he crazy to even suggest it? Probably. Would she agree to it? Probably not. “I know a great place with plenty of room, kitchen’s available 24/7, open bar, flat screen, free wireless, and easy access to laundry services.”
A moment’s hesitation, a frown, then her blue eyes flew open. “No way.”
“Why not? It’s perfect.”
Nick ignored her and kept driving. What could she do—jump out?
“To make up for being such a prick the last time he saw you, the owner’s offering free room and board for as long as you like.”
He could hear the arguments building behind her open-mouthed gape. Best to cut her off before she started.
“What’s the big deal? You need a room, and I’ve got one. Big one, too, with your own bathroom and a butt load of closet space.”
“Seriously?” She lifted her hands, palms up, and exhaled a snort that pretty much covered how stupid she thought he was. “What’s the big deal? You mean besides the fact it’s just flat-out weird?”
“Says who?” As far as he was concerned, it was a done deal. Hell, even if there were hotel rooms available, this made more sense.
“Says me!” She made a sound like a wounded bear, which only made Nick laugh. “We haven’t seen each other in four years, Nick, and before that—”
He rolled his eyes. “Before that you refused to stay with me because you thought Abby hated you.”
“She did!” The growl sounded again, slower, longer. “There was no way she would’ve let me stay with you and there was no way in hell I’d even ask.”
“Well, you’re not asking, and Abby’s not here to put up a fight, is she?”
That shut her up for a second; but only a second. “What are people going to think?”
“Who cares?” He followed the highway around past the ball field and over the bridge.
“Hello!” she snorted. “Does the name Debra Scott ring a bell? Jeez, Nick—your mother has found a way to blame me for every breakup you ever had, so if it even looks like I’ve come back to shack up with her darling little Nicky, she’s going to have me strung up in town square faster than you can say ‘Holy flying axe throw, Batman.’”
“Town square? Really?” He laughed, then pulled his arm out of reach when she made to smack him. “The gallows were dismantled a couple months back, so you’re probably pretty safe.”
From the corner of his eye, he could see she was shaking her head at him, but as he steered the truck into the exit lane, he caught the glimpse of a smile.
“Didn’t you tell me you had a girlfriend?”
Damn it. He’d been seeing Lisa for a couple months now, and even though he didn’t consider it anything serious, he knew Lisa did. He’d have to at least let her know what was going on.
Jayne clicked her tongue. “I’ll take your silence as a yes.”
“Oh my God, Nick, do you rent out that space in your head? No woman is going to be happy about her boyfriend inviting another woman to live with him.”
“It’ll be fine.” It was more of a hope than a lie. “So unless you’ve got someone who’s going to kick my ass for even suggesting this . . .”
He waited for her to answer, but when she didn’t, he laughed.
“I’ll take your silence as a no. Any other excuses?”
“Think fast, because we’re almost there.”
“This is crazy.”
“No. Driving back and forth to Vancouver every day is crazy; this is nothing.” At the stop sign, he glanced over and watched her chew her bottom lip. “I’m not saying you should move in permanently, just stay until we get your place fixed up. And trust me, my place is a hell of a lot better than a hotel room we both know will never be clean enough, no matter how much you clean it yourself.”
The second her nose wrinkled, he knew he had her.
“How did you survive the hotel rooms on the trip out, anyway?” he asked.
Her mouth twitched a little before she finally smiled. “I bought a sleeping bag.”
“And how many tubs of Lysol wipes did you go through?”
“Only two.” After a second, she sighed and lifted her left shoulder. “And a half.”
Two and a half tubs of wipes. He could have pulled the I-told-you-so card, but didn’t. Instead, he just drove on, waiting for her to realize he’d won.
“And what if your girlfriend freaks out?”
“Her name’s Lisa, and she won’t.” At least he hoped she wouldn’t.
“You don’t know that,” Jayne cried, fisting her hands against her knees. “What makes you think Linda’s going to feel any different than Abby did? I don’t want to screw this up for you.”
“It’s Lisa.” Nick sighed quietly. “And no one’s going to screw anything up, Jayne. If she can’t handle you and me, that’s her problem.”
“No, Nick, it usually ends up being my problem.” Jayne huffed so hard it was surprising she had any breath left to keep talking. “It’s not exactly normal that we’re . . . like this . . . and you can’t blame people for thinking the worst.”
“What worst? If my best friend was a guy, there’d be no problem with him staying at my place, so I don’t get why it’s a problem to have you stay there.”
“The problem,” she ground out, “is that I’m not a guy. In case you hadn’t noticed, you idiot, I’m a girl.”
It was all Nick could do not to laugh out loud. They may have been best friends all these years, but he was still a guy. He noticed.
Admitting it, though, would only prove her point.
He wheeled the truck into the long driveway and threw it in park. “I’m telling you, Lisa won’t care. And if she does, that’s between her and me, it’s got nothing to do with you.”
“Yeah, right. Until she goes crying to your mother and I end up on the top of the Debra Scott hit list again.”
“Not gonna happen. Besides”—he pushed the button on his visor and the garage door jerked then started rolling up—“there’s someone else who wants you to stay.”
A second later, his old basset hound came wobbling out from under the door, his tail swinging, his ears flapping along beside him.
“Duke!” Jayne was out of the truck before Nick pulled the key out of the ignition. Cooing and laughing, she dropped to the driveway, arms outstretched.
Nick climbed out of the truck and laughed as he walked over to where Duke had already climbed onto Jayne’s lap and was busy smothering her face in wet sloppy kisses.
“Looks like we got us a houseguest, buddy.”
BUY LINKS: RANDOM HOUSE | AMAZON | BN | ITUNES
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
As a fan of the friends to lovers theme I was immediately drawn to this story and enjoyed the sweetly nostalgic journey towards romance and ultimately a HEA. Jayne and Nick's deep connection was forged at an early age and weathered many storms of life and death to keep the happiness and love that was right in front of them from coming to fruition. This struggle made their coming together richly rewarding and cheer-inducing and is what kept me on the edge of my seat as each page was turned.
Jayne is a likable heroine who hasn't had it easy. She's desperate to find some small crumb that her Grandmother cared about her, but each small glimmer results in disappointment and left me aching even more for her. She's always felt alone and been denied affection growing up, except that which Nick gave her. Because of his care and concern she saw him as her hero and couldn't help falling in love with him. She knew they could never be together in a romantic way as he didn't see her in that light, and therefore friends would have to be enough. The more time they spend together as adults has her deciding it's not enough and it will take a bold step to shake things up.
Nick is an admirable hero who was always there for Jayne giving her subtle bits of affection and support. Their relationship started with childlike wonder and has slowly evolved into something stronger and more deep-seated in adulthood. Throughout each of his relationships he's continued to be intertwined with Jayne which has us rooting for him to finally take the plunge and accept the inevitable. Nick is the quintessential hero in his care and support of the emotionally stunted Jayne. Though I was frustrated by how long it took to claim her the wait was worthwhile as their journey to HEA was funny and heartwarming. Throughout it all there was a slow-burn to their relationship that culminates in a sensually sweet ending.
Along with an engaging main couple is a colorful cast of secondary characters with larger than life personalities. Small town living is vividly depicted and adds to the nostalgia that the author already brings to the beginning of each chapter with the 80's inspired quotes. Though this book's overall storyline has been seen before, Ms. Drewry has made it her own through heartwarming intimacies and nostalgia. This was my first time reading Ms. Drewry, but as I still have a smile on my face, it won't be my last and I look forward to what she has planned next.
My rating for this is a B+
*I received this book from NetGalley for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
Laura Drewry had been scribbling things for years before she decided to seriously sit down and write. After spending eight years in the Canadian north, Laura now lives back home in southwestern British Columbia with her husband, three sons, a turtle named Sheldon, and an extremely energetic German Shepherd. She loves old tattered books, good movies, country music, and the New York Yankees.
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