Spotlight Review: THE FRIENDSHIP PACT by Jill Shalvis

The Sunrise Cove Series, Book 2

From the publisher:

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis returns to Sunrise Cove with a powerful, moving story about a young woman on a quest to find the truth about her father who learns the meaning of true love along the way.

Alone in the world, Tae Holmes and her mother April pretty much raised each other, but as Tae starts asking questions about the father she’s never met, April, for the first time in her life, goes silent. To make matters worse, Tae is dangerously close to broke and just manages to avoid financial meltdown when she lands a shiny new contract with an adventure company for athletes with disabilities and wounded warriors.

Her first big fundraiser event falls flat, but what starts out as a terrible, horrible, no-good night turns into something else entirely when Tae finds herself face-to-face with Riggs Copeland. She hasn’t seen the former Marine since their brief fling in high school, and while still intensely drawn to him, she likes her past burned and buried, thank you very much. Hence their friendship pact.

But when April oddly refuses to help Tae track down her father, it’s Riggs who unexpectedly comes to her aid. On a hunt to unlock the past, the two of them find themselves on a wild ride and learn a shocking truth, while also reluctantly bonding in a way neither had seen coming. Now Tae must decide whether she’s going to choose love … or walk away from her own happiness.

https://amzn.to/3O5ZVHr

Calling all Gilmore Girls fans! Although the publicity I saw never mentioned my favorite show (well, one of them for sure) that was my first thought as I learned that April got pregnant when she was 15 years old, got no support from the baby daddy or her own family, and raised Tae on her own with very little money. Or Tae raised herself and helped raise her mother! Eventually, the two of them land in Sunrise Cove, each of them living on their own (sort of) in an adjoining duplex. April has struggled with men all her life, and it saddens her to see that Tae is following in her footsteps.

Tae knew that her father was a soldier who died overseas, but not much else as she never met him. When she accidentally stumbles across her birth certificate, she is shocked to see no father listed. Tae and April are extremely close, but Tae is afraid to ask her mother about it and instead, decides to do a little investigating of her own.

Meanwhile, her event planning business is finally doing really well. Her biggest and best client, Adrenaline HQ, is run by a veteran in a wheelchair and helps other wounded warriors. When his brother, Riggs, comes home for the summer, Tae is shocked – they had a one-night-stand when she was in high school and never expected to see him again. Riggs is actually a partner in the business, but this is the first time he’s actually working there. The chemistry between them is intense, but Riggs is very closed off. He and his brother lost their mother when they were young, and their father was abusive. Riggs has just gotten out of the Marines, has a lot of guilt about his brother’s injuries, and is just waiting for his new job in Washington D.C. to start.

This story had so many layers that really drew me in. I loved these characters and couldn’t help but root for their happy ending. This book stands alone beautifully – I had forgotten I read the first book in the series, The Family You Make, but never felt like I was missing a thing. Shalvis is a great storyteller and really knows how to keep those pages turning. This is a perfect beach read; don’t miss it!

6/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE FRIENDSHIP PACT by Jill Shalvis. Avon (June 14, 2022). ISBN:‎  978-0063095465. 384p.

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