Note: This ARC was provided by Southern Belle Promotions in exchange for an honest review.
Whiskey & Honey is the first novel in the Country Road series from Andrea Johnston and is about a group of friends and a local bar called Country Road is a watering hole they visit every now and again. This series starter is a falling-for-your-best-friend's-sibling romance and it's between Piper Lawrence, a teacher in her mid-twenties, and Bentley Sullivan, twenty-nine, also a teacher, and making his return to their hometown after being gone for several years. Both Piper and Ben are coming out of long-term relationships, with Piper having discovered her ex was cheating on her and Ben realizing that while he loved his ex, they weren't meant to live happily-ever-after. Ben is immediately drawn to Piper when he spies her from behind at Country Road. He steals a kiss but is shocked to find out who she is, not realizing how grown up his younger sister's best friend looks. As strong as the connection between Ben and Piper may be, both know that nothing can come of it. Ben knows he shouldn't be falling for of his sister's best friend and Piper should know better than to even contemplate acting on her long-held feelings for her best friend's brother. Both Ben and Piper love Ashton, but for how long can they pretend being "just" friends?
This was a sweet romance and I enjoyed it for the most part, though I admit that there were moments that I felt I had to suspend my disbelief. Piper and Ashton have been best friends since they were kids and while I understand that Ben has been away from home for years, there is social media and as close as he is to his sister, I find it strange that he doesn't even bother to check out photos she would post. I'd get skipping over a photo here or there, but to not even glance at them at all? Then there was his not staying too long whenever he would visit home. There's a part in the book where he's looking at framed photos. Has he never--not once--ever noticed them before? So yeah, I just couldn't reconcile his not recognizing who Piper was at the bar. But other than that, I loved the story in general. There was real conflict because I can appreciate how difficult it was for Piper to trust after what her ex did and the fact that Ashton truly was the sister of her heart and she knew how Ashton felt about Piper and Ben getting together. I adored Ben because it was clear how much he cared about both Ashton and Piper. This was a good start to a series I'm already looking forward to reading more about this close-knit bunch. Whiskey & Honey gets four stars. ♥
Release Date: 21 July 2016
Date Read: 21 July 2016
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