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Monday, March 28, 2011

Road Signs by M. J. Fredrick

Road Signs by M. J. Fredrick
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (129 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Poppy

Had she misread the signs?

Briefly captivated by the idea of romance and pretty, shiny weddings, Willow Hawkins agreed to meet her potential boyfriend's family and quickly realized she'd made a mistake. Stranded in small-town Nowhere, Willow calls her best friend, Cameron Trask, for an escape.

Even though he'll miss an important job interview, Cam comes to her rescue. When Willow starts to see Cam with new eyes, she wonders how she's never made the connection from best friend to best lover. Willow has one chance to help the man she loves—join him on a cross-country road trip to get to the interview on time. On the way they'll face a jealous puppy, an unreliable automobile and weather that threatens to trap them alone...together.

The biggest roadblock she'll come up against? If Cam gets his dream job, Willow may lose him for good.

For its sheer volume of sexual tension and wonderfully colorful descriptions alone, Road Signs is worth reading.

Friends-to-lovers is always a tough row to hoe – best friends never want to screw things up and the fact that they’re both still single proves that relationships don’t always last. So, what’s to make theirs any different?

Cameron Trask is absolutely the most perfect man a person could want. Maybe he’s not hugely into taking risks, and a little too conservative environmentally (he doesn’t own a car, for instance, and won’t accept his take-out in Styrofoam ever), but he’s thoughtful, loving and incredibly selfless. Anyone but his best friend (and girl he’s loved forever) Willow would jump at the chance to be with him.

Willow is the product of being raised by a single mother who constantly looked for a man to take care of her. As a result, Willow’s overly independent and a bit gun-shy about relationships. So, why she’d go to her newest beau’s family’s place for Thanksgiving when they’d only been dating a short time was a bit suspect. She blamed it on the romance of a wedding she’d attended, but I admit to being a little surprised by her actions. Still, the story hinged on them and really it wasn’t that hard to suspend my belief.

I enjoyed Ms. Fredrick’s vivid characterizations and wonderfully detailed writing. In places, it might have been a little too detailed – for instance, I finally found a book with a dog I truly disliked and who had a strong character all her own – but it really plopped me right into the story. She finds the little things to describe and add to make the scenes as clear as though I were watching pictures on a screen instead of reading plain old black and white type.

The tension she builds between our protagonists as the traveled cross country together, sharing hotel rooms and close quarters and becoming more and more aware of little frissions of attraction between them. I nearly broke a sweat waiting for that first kiss... but the wait was well worth it.

This was a story that’s just pure fun and romance. A story that makes you smile (when you don’t want to smack the dog) and makes your heart beat a little faster every time the hero looks at the heroine. It has a solid plot, and a happy ending with a man who every woman should want to take home. A winner!