Published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on June 16, 2020
Genres: African American, Paranormal
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A fake, fake marriage? Desperate times call for desperate measures. Gabe is at the point where he’ll do anything to convince Naomi to give him a chance, even going so far as to hatch up a fake marriage plot. Though the plan is fiction, his love for her is very real.
Naomi would do anything for her best friend, including going along with a fake marriage to help him out of a bind. The heat between them was unexpected, the feelings she started to develop, surprising…scary. They needed boundaries…a contract to keep careful control of the lust flaring between them.
But, plans get complicated, and the bond between them is tested in a ways neither of them ever imagined. Would this contract ruin their friendship? Or would the fake marriage set to flame the sparks that have been floating around them for years?
Content warnings: Book has mention of miscarriage.
Marriage of convenience is one of my favorite tropes and this combined with a paranormal friends to lovers tale is what drew me to Dria Anderson’s The Friend Contract.
Gabe Hamilton has been in love with his best friend Naomi for as long as he can remember. He knows she is his mate and is determined to spend his life with her, even if that means lying about a betrothal and asking Naomi to be a part of a fake marriage.
Naomi is a latent panther which means she can’t shift and she doesn’t believe she can mate with a shifter. Gabe knows that’s a lie and is on a mission to get her to see differently. Past experiences have caused Naomi a lot of pain and she is not convinced that a mate is for her.
These two were both clearly in love with each other from the very beginning and acted as such. There wasn’t really a transition from friends to lovers for me, because they always seemed to be very intimate in their interactions, more so than one would expect from friends.
I also didn’t really get any real hesitation from Naomi. Yes, she was taken aback by the proposal early on but she got past that fairly quickly and was all in. I do wish there was a little bit more tension and angst between these two.
Overall, this was a solid story and the connection was definitely there. Gabe was a really good hero, and seeing a bit of how Naomi taps into her power was great.
While this is a standalone, I would consider it a spinoff of sorts from Chasing Savannah, and I would suggest reading that book before this one for some details mentioned – though not necessary. I like the paranormal world Dria has created here with this Tampa prowl and look forward to more.