By: Jennifer Doyle
Releasing August 29, 2016
There are two things Max “Deke” Deacon can always count on: his old high school teammates and Fitz Hawkins. But no matter how much Deke might secretly fantasize otherwise, a relationship with one of his best friends is off limits. Until one unexpectedly smoldering encounter has Deke and Fitz looking at each other in a whole new way.
Angelica “Fitz” Hawkins knows for a fact that it is not better to have loved and lost. After losing her parents, she’d rather lock up her heart and throw away the key than endure that kind of pain again. If that means giving up any hope of a lasting relationship, then so be it.
With Deke, Fitz finally feels like she's back in the land of the living. But she won’t risk another broken heart—even if it means saying good-bye to Deke for good. It’s up to Deke to convince her that the safest place she could ever be is right here with him.
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I've previously read Calling It, book one in the Calling It series, so I dived straight into Calling Up; a much anticipated second book, where I'm instantly drawn into the plot by the familiar characters from Inspiration, Iowa!
Angelica 'Fitz' Wade Hawkins is baseball player Nate Hawkins' half-sister. At thirty-two years old, she runs the Iowa Dream Foundation set up by her brother in Inspiration, the town where she's lived for seventeen years...if only it felt like home. After an incident during high school, her brother, and his friends provided a much welcome protective shell around her, as she'd lost trust in those supposed to be her friend. All those years later, she still prefers to be one of the guys, with Deke as her best friend. However, she's reached a crossroads in her life and begins to consider other options, only she didn't expect her best friend to make her life changing decisions more complicated.
Max 'Deke' Deacon, Inspiration's bar owner and League League coach is also a favourite with all the townswomen. He's never been embarrassed by the fact he's never wanted a serious relationship, yet recently, hooking up with any woman he fancies has lost its appeal...why?
I love Fitz and Deke together. Neither expected to come to some serious conclusions within their close friendship; the realisation they don't know each other as well as they thought!
How can best friends satisfy their new found lust for each other without ruining their friendship?
"Regular anything equals a relationship," she managed, closing her eyes.
"No," he said, "It's like… It's a schmelationship. Sounds like, but not the same thing."
We get to experience a full set of emotions from both protagonists as Deke realises he's found his 'your it for me,' with Fitz, but feels guilty for missing important facts in her life where he could have actively helped her overcome her issues. Fitz wants it all too but believes her past is too broken; that she's not capable or deserves to expect more from her life. It's a time for soul-searching; to find a compromise that works for them mutually once the secrets are out openly.
I really love that within each book in this series, the secondary characters are so much more than a quick introduction and exit. For those that have previously read Calling It, we get plenty of insight into how Nate and Dorie are doing. Other members of the Iowa Dream are included too as their lives are very much interwoven with those of the protagonists. However, this isn't overwhelmingly so, as Jen Doyle does a pretty good job at keeping the balance just right. All this is glued together with witty dialogue, some sizzling sexy times and a cast of likeable characters you'd want to befriend in the real world.
***arc generously received courtesy of Carina Press via NetGalley***
“Hey, Dorie,” she heard from above her. “Do you know where Fitz wants these bottles of water?”
Speak of the devil. Fitz brought her head up a little too suddenly, banging it on the underside of the table. “Ouch!” Her hand going to the back of her head, she came up frowning, and...
Oh, God, was he this gorgeous before? Had he always smelled amazing?
Doing everything she could to keep herself immune from his physical charms, she spun on her heel. “Back here.”
Very specifically not looking in Deke’s direction so that she didn’t give anything away, she forced herself to act exactly as she always did around him. Except she suddenly couldn’t quite remember how that was. Did she flirt with him? Did she flat-out ignore him? Did she generally just go around in a state of low-level irritation? Because right now she had absolutely no clue.
She had even less of a clue as she bent down to open up the lid to the cooler and he crouched down next to her, his head so close all he’d need to do was turn it slightly to the left and his mouth would be on her breast.
And was that…?
Oh, hell, no, her nipples had not just hardened. She slapped her arms over her chest.
Because they had. And Deke, with his superhero sex god extra sensory perception, had definitely noticed. He at least had the decency to look down at the ground as he grinned.
“It’s the cold,” Fitz snapped. “From the cooler.”
Pushing the bottles down into the ice, Deke just answered, “You’d be amazed at all the bits and pieces I can warm up with my tongue.”
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