by Penelope Ward
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Growing up, the three of us were friends.
He was the nerd.
I was the playboy.
She was the beauty.
Deep down, I only ever wanted her. I kept it inside because Rory and I made a pact that our friend, Amber, was off-limits.
I went off to college, and he got the girl.
Amber never knew how I felt.
They were together for years—before he broke her heart.
Through it all and across the miles, she and I casually stayed in touch. When my job sent me to Boston for a three-month contract position, Amber let me stay in her spare room.
Still reeling from her breakup, she’d sworn off men. One night, I opened her computer to find the shock of my life. She’d hesitantly contacted a male escort company. Afraid to date and get her heart broken again, she was looking for sex with no strings. Every emotion imaginable ran through me: protectiveness, jealousy—curiosity. Amber had chosen Gentleman Number Nine and sent him a message. She opened up to him, confessing, among other things, her physical attraction to her friend—me. But she considered me off-limits—and she thought I was a manwhore. (Ironic, considering the circumstances.)
Eventually, she set up a date to meet Gentleman Nine at a hotel. When she showed up several nights later to meet him, she was stunned to see me standing there—with an offer I hoped she wouldn’t refuse.
*ARC received in exchange for an honest review*
Gentleman Nine by Penelope Ward is a stand alone novel that has a little bit of everything. It’s a “Friends to Lovers”, “Second Chance at Love”, and a couple of other tropes thrown in for good measure. Add in some love triangles and you get one very angsty book.
“Love isn’t always only about the person who makes you feel the safest or even how much you care about someone. Sometimes, it’s about the person who ignites your soul, and that may also be the person you fear the most Sometimes love entails taking the biggest risk.”
When the person you’ve been in love with and thought you would spend the rest of your life with suddenly decides that he needs to “open his horizons” and sow his oats, Amber is beyond devastated. Feeling lost, she’s sworn off men. But when an old friend comes back into her life wanting to rent her spare room, an attraction resurfaces. Amber is not ready to have feelings for anyone, but especially not with someone who used to be her best friend. Maybe it’s time for Amber to sow some wild oats too. When she contacts an escort service, the last person she would see is the one tempting her the most.
Channing has been in love with Amber since they were kids. She was one of his best friends and forbidden. It doesn’t make his attraction for her any less. But can they be lovers without letting their feelings getting tangled? When the time comes for them to part ways, will they be able to remain friends? And when Amber’s old flame comes back and reveals why he left, Amber’s life just got even more complicated.
“No matter where we are in our lives, I can’t imagine ever being in the same room with you and not remembering how this feels, not wanting this. My body will remember, even if I try to tell it not to. I can’t fathom ever not wanting you like this.”
Told in dual POV, the story is filled with drama, and angst. I liked the story but I have to say, I didn’t love it. Amber’s ex, I felt no sympathy for his decisions, and Channing and his “let’s sleep with everyone except the woman I want to get my revenge but not really because she has no clue I was in love with her” just didn’t ring with me. Amber was sweet, compassionate and a great overall female protagonist. I felt her pain and I had sympathy for everything that she was going through. Other than that, I missed having some more moments of laughter and light heartedness that I’m used to with the author. I did love the inclusion of a kitten and that image of a gorgeously sexy male with a kitten perched on him is forever my favorite mental image now. LOL. The sexy moments are sexy but I wanted more. I loved their friendship but wanted some moments with them as a couple without all of the complications. All in all, I did like the book and look forward to reading more from this author. This was just a little heavier than I like my romances.