Sunday, April 24, 2016

5 Star Review: Unexpected (Friends #5) by Ariadne Wayne

I’ve told a lot of lies in my life. Mostly lies of omission.

My best friends, Rebecca, Gemma, and Katya think I come from a rich family like they do.

I don’t.

We have a fancy lunch once a month at an expensive restaurant. I cut back on food the rest of the time to pay for it.

My car sits in the garage unless I’m spending time with my friends. It’s cheaper to catch the bus.

Now I have a new secret. The biggest of them all.

I’m in love with Rebecca’s father.

And I think he loves me back.

We met Nicola in the book The Right One. After reading it, I was curious as to how Neil and Nicola get together so I was happy to hear that they were getting their own book. These two books overlap and I liked that I got to relive events I had already read, but this time around we got to see it from another side, Nicola's side. 

Nicola is stuck in a dead end job and is barely making ends meet. She happens to run into Rebecca's father one day and the next thing she knows, he has hired the interior decorating company she works for. Like most of the work the company does, Nicola ends up doing most of it. Over the course of a few months, while working together on the project, Neil and Nicola grow close. It starts off as the two of them getting pizza and sitting on the floor of the empty office talking about work to them eating dinner almost every night at Nicola's apartment talking about pretty much everything. It's obvious they have feelings for the other person, but they aren't quite sure what to do about it. 

Eventually it gets to the point where they can't hold back anymore. They enter into a relationship, albeit a secret one, that neither of them saw coming, but one that felt very right. Their relationship progressed at a pace that most people would think was too fast, but for them it made complete sense. Neil and Nicola became so comfortable with each other and that was one of the things I loved most. 
“Come on. I’ve got something to show you.”
“I’ve seen your house.”
“Not this bit.” Right down the end of the hall, behind a door that had always been closed when I had visited, was Neil’s room. It was plainly decorated, with grey walls and what looked to be a king-sized bed.
“So, the first time I’ve been here in years and the first thing you want to show me is the bed. I’m beginning to think I’m only here for one thing.” I gave him the most wide-eyed, innocent look I could possibly give him. 
He smiled. “I’m assuming you have some bag with you, unless you’re going to wear the same clothes all weekend. Although …” He sighed. “You could wear nothing all weekend.”
The grin spread across my face before I knew it. “Yes, I’ve got a packed bag in the car. I was in such a rush to get inside, I forgot it.”
“This is what I wanted to show you.” He pulled open a drawer in one of the dressing tables at one end of the room. It was empty.
My pulse quickened, and I clapped with delight. “You’re giving me a drawer? That seems awfully serious.”
Neil crossed the room, taking my hands in his. “I wanted to show you how serious I am. I love all the sex, don’t get me wrong, but there’s more to us than just that.”
I flung my arms around his neck, and he laughed as I covered him with kisses.
“Does that make you happy?”

“It makes me very happy. I will accept your offer of a drawer. Unfortunately, my bedroom is too small to have spare drawers, so I can’t offer you a reciprocal one.”

He laughed again and shook his head. “I guess it just means we’ll have to spend more time here.”
I loved Neil & Nicola's relationship. From the start, it felt very genuine. It could have easily went the way of "Oh, Neil is definitely going through a mid life crisis or something," but I never once thought that. Neil proved time and time again that the feelings he had for Nicola were the real deal. I never doubted his feelings, but when they went to tell Nicola's parents about them, that really cemented it for me. It turns out they were absolutely perfect for each other. 

I have read plenty of books where the man was older than the woman, but I have never read one where the man was old enough to be the woman's father. I usually avoid those story lines because it kind of weirds me out, but I love Ariadne's books so I was more than willing to give Unexpected a shot. The author never tells us the exact age difference between them, but I don't think it would have mattered. The way she wrote their relationship made their age difference a non issue. So if you are like me and maybe have some reservations about this story line, you have have nothing to worry about. 

Ariadne Wayne is the alter ego of Wendy Smith. She loves books and lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband and two children. Having always had a prolific imagination 
she now writes the words down instead of storing them in her head where she can't share them. When she's not writing she works in Telecommunications, frequently banging her head on the desk with the random things that can happen to the ordinary phone line.


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