New Release Review ~ Ache by Marley Valentine (Excerpt)

Ache Tropes

New Release Review & Excerpt:
Ache by Marley Valentine

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I couldn’t tell you when I fell in love with Gael Herrera, but I wish I knew how to make it stop.

Falling in love with a straight man is a rookie mistake. But falling in love with my soon-to-be-married-to-a-woman best friend is nothing but heartache.

Through all the years, and all the men I’ve fooled around with, he’s always been at the back of my mind. An unrequited crush I wish I could shake. A dream that was never going to come true.

When I whisk him off to a surprise bachelor party weekend in Vegas, I surrender to the idea that this is an opportunity for me to finally let go of my feelings for him and say goodbye.

But after a heated exchange and an even hotter kiss, everything I thought I knew about our friendship changed.

Maybe I had it wrong. Maybe, after all this time, we were more than best friends. Maybe, just maybe, he felt it too.

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“Gael,” I breathe out. “Please.”

He shakes his head, and even though every fiber of my being knows how dangerous this is, being like this, I stay still. I stand there and let him hold me, intimately, as he tells me he loves somebody else.

Slowly, his hands rise, ghosting the length of me and settling on either side of my neck. “Ask me why I’m not with you. Why I’m not marrying you.”

Unable to look at him, I turn my head, and he persists with the questioning. “Ask me why, Jordan.”

“Stop,” I plead. Forcefully, I step out of his hold and let my eyes land on his. “What is the point, Gael?” I ask, exasperated. “What is the fucking point of rehashing all the things we want and can’t have?”

“Why can’t we have them?” he says.

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~ * ~ Annies Review ~ * ~

4 Stars
Higher angst, hurt-comfort romances, and friends-to-lovers stories are two of my most preferred tropes, so I was excited for what Ache offered. Considering the blurb mentions Gael being in a serious relationship at the start of the story, I expected some drama and high emotions. That is definitely true, and for those readers who have a hard line of no cheating in books, this story does include that. Despite the emotional toll both characters deal with over the course of the book as well as some unexpected life events, I wasn’t quite as drawn to the story or characters as I suspected.

Gael and Jordan’s close friendship and lifelong bond are evident from the start of Ache. In fact, their relationship seems a little deeper than most, so the move to more felt natural. Although the characters are well-crafted and their chemistry apparent, much of the angst and longing between them is driven by a lack of communication and assumption. Frankly, that is one of my least favorite sources of conflict, and I think it colored my view of the characters and story even though Gael and Jordan’s reluctance to divulge their true feelings is explained.

Perhaps this is a case of me building my expectations a bit too high, but I wanted that intense pull between best friends to be riveting and undeniable. It was there, but it didn’t feel as earth-shattering as I anticipated and the bulk of my own enjoyment stemmed from the writing and general story, rather than being wowed by Gael and Jordan’s romance. Overall, Ache proved to be a good read that I think many readers will enjoy.

 *** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn’t a requirement. ***


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About the Author:

Living in Sydney, Australia with her family, Marley Valentine is a USA Today bestselling author and a former social worker who uses her past experiences to write real life, emotional and heartfelt contemporary romance.

She enjoys mixing it up with both M/F and M/M Romance incorporating all forms of life, lust and love as her characters embark on their journey to their happily ever after.

When she’s not busy writing her own stories, she spends most of her time immersed in the words of her favourite authors.

Marley enjoys interacting with her readers so please feel free to reach out to her via Facebook, Instagram, email and/or subscribe to her newsletter.

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