Review: Honeyed by Carrie Aarons (The Ashton Family #2)
Note: An advance reader copy (ARC) was provided by the author.
Honeyed is the second novel in the Ashton Family small-town romance series penned by Carrie Aarons, and dare I say that this new book is now first in my heart as far as this series is concerned. This friends-to-lovers slash fake marriage (i.e. the romantic relationship is fake, the marriage is very real) story features Alana Ashton, the only daughter of Thomas and Leona and the only sister of Liam, Patrick, and Evan, with the first two being older and the third being the youngest among all the siblings. She's paired with her best friend, Warren Teal, who has been in her life since they were kids. They've always been as close as two people can be--platonically, that is--but the past few months have led to a gap in their friendship. The fact that they want more in their relationship isn't a secret to either of them, but they're at a stalemate. When Warren is set to inherit a vast fortune, the stipulation is that he marries Alana, and agreeing to it would mean that she could have the storefront that she's always wanted. This arrangement may be friends with financial benefits, but how long before they decide to reap all the other benefits too?
I was curious as to why Alana and Warren were having issues in the first book, especially considering just how close they were. Well, I finally got my answer, and heck, I would want a timeout as well. The whole marriage setup was an interesting way for them to finally deal with the aforementioned issues, and that includes their barely secret feelings for each other. Warren's back story is rather tragic, and it's perfectly understandable why he still carries the emotional aftermath with him well into his twenties. Alana and the rest of the Ashtons being there for him as a child made him a part of their family, so I got why his being in love with her could potentially complicated things. That being said, there were moments where majority of the Ashtons--aka the males of the family--were less than stellar in their treatment of Alana as an individual and Warren and Alana as a couple. The side story regarding what happened to his mom and his father's involvement in it was certainly interesting, adding a hint of suspense to an already strong romance. All in all, I truly enjoyed everything Honeyed had to offer, which gets five stars, and I can't wait for more from the Ashtons, especially with the hints on the future potential couples.
Read my reviews for the Ashton Family series:
Bittersweet (book one) - five stars - My Review
Honeyed (book two) - five stars - My Review (posted above)
Release Date: 22 September 2023
Date Read: 21 September 2023
Learn more about Carrie Aarons.
Purchase Honeyed on Amazon.