R.S. Grey just posted the cover and synopsis for her next book, so naturally I’m in the mood for a reread of more of my favorites from her. This time it’s Not So Nice Guy. I love a good friends-to-lovers book, and this is a great friends-to-lovers. There’s just such an amazing bond between two characters when they start out as friends first. It gives their romance an added depth that I adore.
Sam and Ian are best friends. They’re both high school teachers, and met three years before the books starts at orientation. They immediately clicked – instead of paying attention to the sexual harassment policies and workplace protocol, these two were busy passing notes to each other and subsequently failing their orientation tests. Oops. But their friendship was solidified from then on. They trade food at lunch and have a standing West Wing Wednesday. Even if this wasn’t focused on their eventual romance, I’d be a little obsessed with Sam and Ian’s best friendship. These two are so close, that everyone they work with already assume that they’re together.
But even though they are best friends Sam secretly loves Ian and has buried her feelings for a long, long time. She’s not one for change, and telling Ian about her feelings would rock the boat in a major way. And when another teacher asks about their relationship, Sam’s quick to clarify – she and Ian are not together. And suddenly it’s a mad rush to get Ian’s attention – he’s fair game.
Ian didn’t care about that rumor. In fact, he liked the rumor. Because just like Sam, he’s been keeping a secret too: he loves Sam but he can’t tell her because she’s never indicated that she’s felt the same. But now Sam’s also fair game. And Ian’s kinda determined to win the race.
It’s always interesting to me to see how a friends-to-lovers romance unfolds. How do they managed to bust out of the friend zone? At first, both of them are just sticking with the status quo. But when their relationship status is suddenly everyone’s business, Ian adopts this take charge attitude. He’s not going to sit idly by, and wallow as all the male teachers turn all their focus on to Sam. He’s going to be sneaky (possibly terrorize a poor choir student) and sexy-as-hell. He needs Sam to understand that he wants a change in their relationship and he’s gonna make some big waves to rock their boat. I loved that Ian takes action in this book because it challenges Sam. There’s more depth to her character as we learn what her priorities are – does she firmly hold on to the present and past for it’s stability or does she go for it with Ian for what could be an incredible future together?
R.S. Grey is the queen of romantic comedy and, in my opinion, Sam is her funniest character. She’s just so silly. So many good lines from her “What was I supposed to do? Win with grace and aplomb?” “When I bribe, I bribe hard.” “‘Ian, let’s go. Grab your plate. Yes, take it – and your glass! Here I’ll help you.’ My arms are loaded up with stolen cutlery and dinnerware.” “There’s a chance I’m being a tad bit dramatic. I don’t think murderers coat their nails in baby pink nail polish.” Seriously, this is Sam’s head 80% of the time and I loved it. Ian also has his funny moments, but I’d say his is closer to a dry wit and it’s like the perfect balance to Sam’s ridiculousness.
All in all this is a super cute, quick read with absolutely hilarious moments and a swoon-worthy romance – 5 stars!