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Friday, February 12, 2010

What Are Friends For? by Judy Rogers

What Are Friends For? by Judy Rogers
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (202 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Fern

When Thomas James Dooley, the quintessential knight errant, learns his best friend Cass Vojek is pregnant, he’ll do whatever it takes to protect her reputation. Proposing a celibate marriage isn’t a sacrifice but a necessary solution.

Believing marriage will help Dooley obtain a coveted position at work, heartbroken Cass agrees. But once their vows are spoken, she begins to see the man her childhood playmate has become. For Dooley, living with Cass awakens unimagined desire. Celibacy becomes an exercise in torture. A forbidden night of passion changes everything, and the pair find themselves thrown into a whirlwind of conflicting emotions.

On the brink of turning their pretend marriage into a true one, the unexpected arrival of the baby’s father not only threatens their relationship but also the very foundation of their life-long friendship. Challenged by complications, Cass and Dooley must discover the ultimate answer to, what are friends for?

What do you do when your best-friend discovers she’s pregnant and the father of the child has left town, leaving her to cope on her own? Why, you marry her, of course. After all, What Are Friends For?

The first page of the story sets the scene. Cass and Dooley, age nine, becoming “blood-brothers”. Their bond is incredibly strong, and survives the pitfalls of adolescence, high-school, and college. Now, they are approaching the age in which they will need to decide if they want to settle down. Dooley’s previous relationship ended not long before Cassandras’ went up in smoke, and although they don’t love each other in anything but a friendly fashion, they each want what is best for the baby. A marriage takes place, they move in together, and as with all live-changing events, they begin to view one another from an entirely different light.

While I loved Dooley, there were portions of the story in which I didn’t care for Cass. She’s heartbroken over a jerk that all but told her to abort their child and left her to fend for herself, and understandably, her emotions are all over the place. Yet when she has the chance to experience something good, she can’t see the unimaginable gift waiting directly in front of her. The first half of the story consisted of this theme, and wasn’t as enjoyable as the second act in which Dooley and Cass begin to explore their feelings for one another. The premise is simplistic, but heartfelt and emotional scenes between the two, as well as the not-too-shocking but anticipated return of the man who abandoned Cass and his unborn child adds a bit of tension to finish things out and bring the protagonists full circle.

The story itself is well written, even if the pace does slow from time to time, and will keep a reader entertained throughout. The scenes with Dooley and Cass are both humorous and romantic, and as they begin to view one another through the eyes of a man and woman and not necessarily a friend or confidant, you’ll find your lids fluttering and your heart racing.

Romance fans will love What Are Friends For?