Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins

Title: The Next Best Thing
Author: Kristan Higgins
My Rating: A+ 

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: -
Main Characters: Lucy and Ethan
Release Date: August 2013 (re-issue)
Publisher: Harlequin
Purchase Links: 
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
Lucy Lang isn't looking for fireworks…

She's looking for a nice, decent man. Someone who'll mow the lawn, flip chicken on the barbecue, teach their future children to play soccer. But most important: someone who won't inspire the slightest stirring in her heart…or anywhere else. A young widow, Lucy can't risk that kind of loss again. But sharing her life with a cat named Fat Mikey and the Black Widows at the family bakery isn't enough either. So it's goodbye to Ethan, her hot but entirely inappropriate "friend with privileges," and hello to a man she can marry.

Too bad Ethan Mirabelli isn't going anywhere. As far as he's concerned, what she needs might be right under her nose. But can he convince her that the next best thing can really be forever?

My Review:
Confession....this book is a re-read for me. I discovered Kristan Higgins books way early in her career. I'm thinking she only had 2-3 books out when I read her the first time. I love every single one of her books, but this one is definitely at the top of her releases list for me. As a result, when I saw it on one of my review lists because of the re-release, I jumped at the chance to do a re-read, especially since I never wrote a proper review for it the first time around. 

This book is about Lucy and Ethan. They've been best friends ever since they met at culinary college. In fact, it was Ethan who introduced her to the love of her life, Jimmy, Ethan's older brother. BUT, the women in Lucy's family are cursed....they are all widows because their husbands died young. Lucy didn't escape that curse and her husband, Jimmy, died only 8 months after they were married in a car accident. She's mourned him in the 5 1/2 years since...and Ethan has been there every step of the way, supporting her and providing her with a friends with benefits relationship the last couple of years. 

But when Lucy's sister has a baby, things change for Lucy. She wants a husband and family...she just needs that husband to be someone that she won't fall desperately in love with because she can't go through the heartache of loss again. That rules Ethan out...first of all, he is Jimmy's brother. No one would understand, but second of all, she could really fall in love with him if she allowed herself to, but she's just not willing to risk it. So she calls off their arrangement. She can't find another man and still have sex with Ethan. But Ethan is hiding things from her.

The book is told entirely from Lucy's POV and she honestly doesn't really see Ethan. Well, she does, but she is in denial and refuses to see him and how deep his feelings really are for her. As a reader, there are moments in this book that you just want to shake Lucy. Ethan is so absolutely perfect for her and she's destroying herself by trying to stay away from him. It's heartbreaking. She thinks she's saving herself in the long run, but she's just making it hurt all that much more. She's so focused on the love that she had for Jimmy, that she doesn't see the feelings she has right in front of her. And the glimpses you see of Ethan's pain are just shattering. 

But this is a Kristan Higgins book which means that even among the heartache are tons of laughs and giggles. Seriously, I love the way that she writes her books. They are absolutely full of angst, but her heroines are real women with all the self-depricating, roll your eyes antics that keep you giggling all the way through the tears. This book is absolutely one of my favorites of hers. Ethan adores Lucy, but he's not willing to let her trample his heart to have her and I loved that about him. Everything Lucy is doing is killing him just as much as it is her, but he's stood by her for years. He's reached his limit for pain. I loved him and how much he loved her, but even more, for how much he loved and respected himself. When Lucy can't step up, he steps away and it's brutal, but right. 

It's a fabulous book and I HIGHLY recommend it. It also sets up for Parker's story who absolutely has my top pick for Kristan Higgins books, Somebody to Love. But honestly, you will NEVER go wrong with any of Kristan Higgins books. They are emotional, but I promise you that you will giggle through the tears and for me, that simply makes a perfect read!

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