by Rebecca Zanetti
Release Date: August 2, 2022
Publisher: Raz Ink, LLC
Book #4.5 in The Anna Albertini Files series
Number of pages: 133
Source: Amazon Pre-Order
Ages 16 and up
Bosco Albertini learned the hard way that focusing on his career is a lot safer than investing in love. So when he meets his sweet new neighbor, he puts her firmly in the friend zone, despite her soft hazel eyes, sharp wit, and tempting curves. It soon becomes difficult to keep her there because his brothers, his Nonna, and even his dog already adore her—and he’s not far behind.
Marlie Kreuk accepts the friend zone from the too sexy soldier because, hey, when a guy puts you there, he’s a moron who doesn’t deserve more. But when danger comes for her and Bosco risks his spectacular body to protect her, she can’t help but wish for romance. Although, he’s going to have to work for it.
With danger all around, Bosco and Marlie must face their explosive attraction while defeating deadly attackers, but even that is nothing compared to handling the Albertini matchmakers during the Christmas season. Busting out of that friend zone and surviving will take all of Bosco’s training, Marlie’s courage, and the magic of the holidays.
It shouldn’t surprise me how much I love the novellas in this series. Most of this author’s novellas from other series are wonderful. She has a knack for making insta-love compelling and not feel rushed. She’s able to convey fantastic chemistry from the start.
Marlie is such an amazing character. I love how she accepts Bosco for who he is and not who she thinks he can be. On top of that, when he says he’s not looking for anything but a friend she takes him at his word, at least on the outside. She’s not going to chase after a man who says he’s not looking for a relationship. If he can get over himself, he’ll have to pursue her and tell her he’s changed his mind. In the meantime, they can be friends.
It’s a lot of fun to watch Bosco’s family take Marlie into the fold while giving the couple that “yeah right” look when they deny there is anything more than friendship between them. You’ve gotta love the Albertini family and their meddling. It all comes from such a good place.
This story is super quick, funny, sexy, with a little intrigue thrown into the mix. As much as I’ve loved reading about Anna Albertini, I really look forward to these short stories about her family and their HEAs.
I do appreciate an author who can write insta-love convincingly. So many get it badly wrong but when done well it is a wonderful trope.