USA TODAY Bestselling author, Laura Drewry, brings you the final book in her small town contemporary series, Friends First.
Maya McKay has the worst luck with men, so with her divorce final and her cheating ex, behind her, she's not even thinking about another relationship. She has her new life, her own business, and the best friends a woman could ask for; she doesn't need anything else. Having Jack Rhodes walk back into her life is wholly unexpected, partly because he's her ex's best friend, and partly because he's stirring up feelings that Maya has no idea what to do with.
Jack had his chance with Maya four years ago and blew it when he let his best friend get between them. It was a huge mistake, for more than one reason, and even though he had to choose Will's side when Maya divorced him, Jack's feelings for her are just as strong now as they always were.
They both know it won't take much to ignite the spark between them, but Jack owes Will a debt he'll never be able to repay, so when push comes to shove, Maya knows Jack will never do anything to betray Will. But she's worked too hard to rebuild her life, and she's not going to let anyone - not even Jack - trample on her heart again.
It comes down to a single choice. Jack can either remain loyal to the only family he's ever known, or he can walk away from them to show the only woman he's ever loved how forever really feels.
© copyright 2015
“From the guy in the gray T-shirt at the end of the bar.” Grinning, Shelley set a white frothy drink, complete with a pineapple wedge and tiny blue parasol, in front of Maya then moved on to her next table.
With scarcely a glance at the piña colada, Maya and all three of her friends immediately craned their necks toward the bar.
“A piña colada?” Regan snorted. “Come on, buddy.”
“I know him,” Ellie muttered. “Why do I know him?”
Jayne just gaped. “He’s huge.”
Being the shortest of the four of them, Maya had to push away from the table and stand up to be able to see around and over everyone in the packed pub.
“Oh my God! Jack?”
“Who’s Jack?” Jayne’s question hung unanswered, because Maya was already dodging and weaving her way around waitresses and other tables.
Ducking under Shelley’s lifted tray, Maya came around the corner of the last table just as the guy sitting there stood up, shoving the chair hard into her hip. She tried to right herself but ended up crashing into the corner of the wall and spiraling off like she was in some kind of pinball game.
Grasping and flailing, and with the floor racing up to meet her, Maya was saved by two big hands that caught her under the arms and righted her.
Without a word, Maya thrust her hands straight up over her head, snort-laughed, and gave a dramatic bow as everyone cheered.
“And that’ll be a ten from the Canadian judge,” Jack announced, using his beer bottle as a mic, “for sticking the landing with such grace and style.”
“Thank you, thank you very much.” Another quick bow, then she turned and walked right into Jack’s open arms.
“Hey, Snip.” He laughed quietly, and his huge frame swallowed her up until her feet dangled just below his kneecaps.
“What are you doing here?”
His chest rumbled with a low chuckle. “Someone had to be here to catch your sorry ass, didn’t they?”
Maya pulled back far enough so she could see his face. “Oh, God. Will’s not here with you, is he?”
“Nope—I’m solo.” He set her down slowly, then perched on his stool, bringing them closer to the same level, his hazel eyes wide, his brow lifting slowly. “You look . . . great.”
“Thanks.” She laughed lightly as she leaned her hip against the stool next to him. “But I think we can both agree anything would be an improvement over the last time you saw me.”
“I don’t know about that.” He shrugged. “You looked pretty good then, too.”
Ha! She’d looked like a crazy person and they both knew it, but considering she’d been going through her divorce from Will at the time, she hadn’t really cared.
“So what’s going on? Are you in town to visit Will?”
“Partly.” His grin vanished as he twisted his jaw to the side and blinked down at his beer for a second. “I’m sorry, Snip. I didn’t know about him and Stella, but I swear I could’ve killed him when I finally found out.”
Maya snorted. “Yeah, you and me both.”
“And then . . . jeezus . . . I didn’t know what the hell I was supposed to do. I mean, shit, it’s Will we’re talking about.”
“I know, which is exactly why we’re going to stop talking about him right now and agree to disagree on the fact that he’s a complete asshole and deserves to rot in hell.”
It was a feeble joke at best, so she couldn’t really blame him for not smiling back at her.
“Oh come on, Jack, it’s done, it’s over. Dickhead . . . sorry . . . Will . . . has moved on and so have I.”
“Have you? Moved on I mean.” Finally a smile, hesitant as it was. “Should I be watching out for some big hulking dude who’s going to kick my ass for buying you that drink?”
“Yeah, right.” Jack was six three, with the shoulders of a linebacker and arms the size of tree trunks, so there weren’t many guys who had what it took to kick his ass. “No hulking anyone, just my girls over there and they’re pretty friendly.”
His gaze flicked past her briefly. “I don’t know, that one in the green sweater looks like she could take me.”
Without turning, Maya laughed. “Ellie. And you might be right on that one. Are they still staring?”
“Oh yeah.” Jack’s eyes crinkled at the corners. “I don’t think any one of them’s moved since you shoved them all out of the way and leapt over the table.”
“I didn’t leap!” Heat raced up Maya’s neck and across her cheeks until she finally had to laugh and look down at the floor for a second. “Okay, I might have leapt a little, but I haven’t seen you in . . . what . . . two years, so a little leaping wasn’t completely uncalled for.”
“Yeah, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?” His gaze never wavered as he took a slow sip of his beer. “How are you doing? For real, no B.S.”
“I’m fine, really.” She waved away his concern, because for the most part she was fine. Sure, she still had moments every once in a while when it hurt—that was normal in any divorce—but those moments were few and far between now. “I can’t believe you’re here. Thought for sure I’d seen the last of you when I left Will.”
“Yeah, well . . .” He chewed his bottom lip for a second, then shrugged. “It was pretty easy to avoid you when there were three hundred kilometers and the border patrol between us, but when I saw you sitting over there . . . I don’t know . . . I figured after all this time, the very least you deserved was the chance to tell me to go screw myself for deserting you the way I did.”
“Hmm. Tempting.” She pinched a couple peanuts out of the bowl on the bar and tossed them in her mouth, all the while grinning up at him, at that face she’d missed so much. “I never felt like you deserted me. We all did what we had to do.”
She might be Jack’s friend, but Will was like his brother, and when push came to shove, Jack’s loyalty had always been to Will and the rest of the Carson family. She’d known that from the first day they met, and she’d never expected him to change, which was why his next words made her choke on her peanuts.
“He never deserved you, Snip.”
“Jack and Maya were so perfect for each other I really loved them.” —Heather Andrews, Goodreads reviewer
“Heartbreaking, sweet, and funny all in one story.” —Tammy, Goodreads reviewer
“I love all the couples in this series, but I think Maya and Jack may be my favorite.” —Crystal, Goodreads reviewer
“. . .strong, memorable characters and makes me laugh out loud. . .” —Brooke, Goodreads reviewer
“A sweet, sensitive and romantic story, How Forever Feels is an unputdownable read.” —New York Times bestselling author Claudia Connor
“How Forever Feels is a terrific friends-to-lovers story full of humor, emotion, and passion. Laura Drewry’s colorful characters and smooth prose made this romantic read a true delight!” —New York Times bestselling author Virna DePaul
“One of the best authors of unrequited love stories would have to be Laura Drewry with her Friends First series.” —The Book Enthusiast
“The Friends First series is unlike any other series I’ve read. Every book is just about perfect, with characters flawed enough to be convincing and easy to relate to. Yet somehow each new book is even better than the last. . . . Forget taking one book with me in that stranded-on-a-desert-island scenario. I just want to take Drewry’s imagination.” —FicCentral
“I really have grown to love this author and this series. She consistently delivers on plot, characterization, and swoony men to swoon over. This book is no different.” —Nose in a Book Reviews
“A sweet, romantic and fun friends-to-lovers/second-chance romance. I highly recommend you read the entire series!” —Jen’s Reading Obsession
“I am a sucker for friends-to-lovers stories, and this one was a great one! I read Accidentally in Love not long ago and became a fan of Laura Drewry, and she made me an even bigger fan with this one.” —Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews
“Totally cute, funny, charming and heartwarming. An excellent friends-to-lovers book that will make you smile while you snuggle up with it.” —TJ Loves to Read
“A feel-good story that I would recommend if you enjoy contemporary romance with some fun, laughs, a few tears and a really great dog!” —Cat’s Reviews