“Friends Without Benefits”
Stonehill Romance, Book 2
by Marci Boudreaux
Published: July 10, 2015
Synopsis: Dianna Friedman never expected her husband to leave her. Who does? But she’s making the most of what she has left–a sarcastic near-grown son and a mountain of bills that just keeps growing. She’s in over her head, but she is determined to survive. Even if everyone else saw it coming, Paul O’Connell was blindsided by his wife’s affair and attempt to bleed him dry. He reaches out to Dianna–the woman who caught their spouses cheating–in hopes that her testimony at his divorce hearing will prevent him from paying alimony. Dianna and Paul become fast friends and maybe a tad bit over-dependent on each other, but who are they hurting? No one. At least not until Dianna’s life takes yet another unexpected twist and she and Paul have to step back and reevaluate everything…including what they mean to each other.
Recently I read Marci Boudreaux for the first time and loved her novel “The Road Leads Back,” so I had to give “Friends Without Benefits” a chance. Well, I loved it! This is the story of Dianna and Mitch and their nasty divorce after she finds him doing the deed with Michelle. Michelle’s adorable, sweet, handsome, successful husband Paul comes to visit Dianna and asks her to testify at his divorce hearing about what she saw. Dianna happily agrees, thus laying the groundwork for a supportive and close friendship between them. Dianna is struggling with bills and finding work for the first time, as well as, trying to help her sons through the emotional ups and downs of the divorce. Paul and Dianna continue with their developing friendship and helping each other whenever they need picking up off of the ground, sometimes literally, because of the blows that keep coming from their cheating ex-spouses. Just when you think they are going to seriously fall for each other, there’s s sudden change in their lives that changes everything.
I wasn’t sure if I liked Dianna after her brief appearance in “The Road Leads Back,” but I was crazy about her character in “Friends Without Benefits.” I have to admit that there were some instances where she would melt down over Mitch and their divorce, and I kind of felt like she needed to just suck it up and be done with it, but really her character was smart, funny, and loving. She sort of took on a caretaker/housewife role with Paul early on, but then also wasn’t very shy about her growing attraction to him. Let’s talk about Paul… Goodness, he sounds so incredible – you will quickly fall in love with him. Especially after noticing how many times he does the dishes and cleans up after everyone! Honestly, he is one of those characters where you cannot for the life of you understand why his wife chose to be unfaithful, but luckily for Paul and Dianna, she did.
“Friends Without Benefits” was an amazing read. I appreciated the honest look at the realities of divorce but not only the emotional component, i.e. can’t pay bills, have to sell the house, etc. Dianna and Paul’s friendships never seemed forced or made up, and it was easy to see the progression of feelings throughout the novel. I also loved Paul’s family in this novel, and can’t wait to read the next book in the series that focuses on Annie. Boudreaux’s writing has wowed me once again and completely drew me into this story. I can’t wait to read the next in the Stonehill Romance novels!
Learn more about Marci Boudreaux by visiting her web page.
*Disclaimer: I received this book from Juniper Grove Book Solutions in exchange for an honest review.