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Carrying out the goals on someone else’s Bucket List might seem like an odd thing to do, but for Genie it’s the perfect way to honor her best friend, Ciara, who died in the bomb blast that blew up the Army truck carrying them both across Afghanistan. Genie’s come home to the Bay of Islands in New Zealand to rest her injured knee, and she hopes that by fulfilling Ciara’s list of wishes she can also heal the grief and guilt that goes deeper than her physical wound. Spending some time with Ciara’s gorgeous big brother just happens to be an added bonus.
Niall Brennan has always been attracted to Genie, but when he offers to join in with the Bucket List idea, he tells himself it’s purely out of a desire to pay homage to his sister. That’s fine when the first goal they pick at random is taking cooking lessons. It becomes less easy to hide his desire when they spend an afternoon on a nudist beach, and by the time they take part in the body painting event, Niall has no chance of keeping his desire a secret. Luckily, Genie reciprocates his feelings—a hundred and ten percent, and soon it’s not only the weather that turns hot and sultry.
Conscious that Niall’s mother, Sinead, blames Genie for her daughter’s death, they decide to keep their sizzling but brief fling just a secret between friends. But although Genie’s knee is on the mend, her emotional wounds refuse to heal. Sinead continues to refuse to forgive her, and even Ciara reaches out from beyond the grave to warn Genie against dating her big brother.
The final wish on Ciara’s Bucket List brings everything to a head. Genie knows she has to end the fling. But the heart wants what the heart wants, and besides, Niall has other ideas…
Warning: this sweet and sexy romance is best read with a fan on standby.
Sometimes I have to be in the mood to read a particular book and A Secret Between Friends was exactly one of those books. Genie and her best friend Ciara joined the military at eighteen so when Ciara is killed in a roadside bomb Genie must contend with her angry mother, while also worrying if Ciara’s brothers—men who were like brothers to her—would also blame her for her best friend’s death.
That’s the part that really got to me. I know grief comes in all shapes and sizes for everyone but Sinead, Ciara’s mom, was really over the top. She raised this girl into a woman after her mom died and when she needed her most the woman just heaped venom on to her.
Okay rant over.
Overall I really enjoyed the book. I loved that Niall was the ‘brother’ she’d always had a crush on and he was the most open to her when she returned home. Big and handsome, he always tried to keep his distance from his little sister’s best friend. At least when he wasn’t torturing her.
But then the Bucket List happened. For some reason he joins her on completing some of the items and that’s when the attraction that had always been between them had flared out of control. I loved it when they went away to the resort and things got totally hot! I mean it was seriously ridiculously steamy!
But it wasn’t just sexual attraction. They had a really good time together, laughing and learning more about each other. It was just the culmination of their lifelong—but separate—attraction to one another.
Yes this is your typical romance but there is a pretty surprising ending that was a nice little bow to the story of Genie and Niall.