Almost Just Friends (Wildstone) – ARC Review

45284489._SY475_Almost Just Friends
by Jill Shalvis
Release Date:  January 21, 2020
Publisher:  William Morrow Paperbacks
Book #4 in the Wildstone series
Number of pages:  384
Kindle Edition
Source: Net Galley
Chick Lit/Contemporary Romance M/F
Rating: PG-13
Read 1/15/20 to 1/16/20


Piper Manning’s about as tough as they come, she’s had to be. She raised her siblings and they’ve thankfully flown the coop. All she has to do is finish fixing up the lake house her grandparents left her, sell it, and then she’s free.

When a massive storm hits, she runs into a tall, dark and brooding stranger, Camden Reid. There’s a spark there, one that shocks her. Surprising her further, her sister and brother return, each of them holding their own secrets. The smart move would be for Piper to ignore them all but Cam unleashes emotions deep inside of her that she can’t deny, making her yearn for something she doesn’t understand. And her siblings…well, they need each other.

Only when the secrets come out, it changes everything Piper thinks she knows about her family, herself…and Cam. Can she find a way to outrun the demons? The answer is closer than she thinks—just as the new life she craves may have already begun.

Man, this story brought out all of the emotions in me.  There is something about Piper that speaks to me on a deep level and I felt so connected to her character. At the same time, I also fell for Cam right from the beginning.

Jill Shalvis has a way of pulling the reader into her stories immediately, usually with humor.  This story was no different.  I was hooked from the start and just got more and more invested in the lives of all the characters as the story progressed.  When I couldn’t be reading, I was thinking about the book and hoping to get back to it as soon as possible. 

I love the way the relationship between Cam and Piper plays out.  There’s an instant chemistry, but will they act on that pull?  They are very careful with each other and, honestly, their respect for not overstepping with each other touches my heart in the beginning.  Then you throw in Pipers brother and sister and things get tangled up and oh so complicated. 

Gavin and Winnie are so used to Piper being the “mom” that they keep some very important things from her.  As much as they seem to have a complaint that she doesn’t act like a sister and use that as part of their reasoning keeping her out of the loop, they never give her the opportunity to be less of a mom and more of a sibling. They act like children with her, always expecting her to catch them when they fall and to pay their way when need be.  I know that makes them sound like they are spoiled brats, they’re really not.  But they have some growing up to do for sure.  As much as they realize Piper has always put their needs above their own, they don’t truly understand that sacrifice just yet.

Throughout this story, we do indeed get to watch Winnie and Gavin find their own way.  Mature and learn and grow.  Winnie, in my opinion, goes about this a bit slower than she should.  Especially while expecting others to keep her secrets.  But she’s getting there, and that means something.

This story is a must read.  No need to read the others in this series, they are all truly standalone books.  This has been my favorite by far in the Wildstone series.  I always look forward to this author’s stories.

5 stars

**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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