by Penny Reid
Published by Caped Publishing Genres: College, Humor, Romance
Series: Knitting in the City #2
Also in this series: Neanderthal Seeks Human, Beauty and The Mustache, Neanderthal Marries Human, Ninja at First Sight
Friends Without Benefits can be read as a standalone, is a full length 120k word novel, and is book#2 in the Knitting in the City Series.
There are three things you need to know about Elizabeth Finney: 1) She suffers from severe sarcastic syndrome, especially when she's unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her like Nico Manganiello, and 3) She knows how to knit.
Elizabeth Finney is almost always right about everything: the musical merits of boy bands are undervalued by society, “benefits” with human Ken dolls are better without friendship, and the sun has set on her once-in-a-lifetime chance for true love. But when Elizabeth’s plans for benefits without friendship are disarmed by the irritatingly charismatic and chauvinistic Nico Manganiello- her former nemesis- she finds herself struggling to maintain the electric fence around her heart while avoiding electrocution or, worse, falling in love.
4.5 “twinkling, hot-lava, sexy cake, sex-on-a-stick” Stars!
That Chapter!!! If you read it, you know the “one”. “Chapter 22” was the sexiest, most romantic chapter I have read in a very long time. It was extremely romantic and incredibly sexy, in its purist structure, it had me swooning, and then it was so damn hot and sensual that I was fanning myself.
Admittedly, I have read this series out of order. Which for my OCD self, is a HUGE NO, NO! BUT, in the case of this series, no stress was caused, and with each book, I felt like I was reading about my friends!
Friends without Benefits is an enemies (albeit one-sided) to lovers story. Nico and Elizabeth’s mothers were best friends so they have known each other their whole lives. As they grew up, Nico acted as any adolescent male did when they cared about a girl; he tormented, teased and acted like a jerk. Elizabeth felt like any adolescent female would; she thought he hated her.
Elizabeth was in love with a boy when she was 16 years old. Then tragedy hit and she became consumed with the thought that she had lost her ONE TRUE LOVE. She believed that you only fell in love once in your life, that there was only ONE person out there for you. So she lived her life thinking she would never marry, never have children, never fall in love again.
Nico had always been in love with Elizabeth. When she moved at the age of 17 without any warning or communication, he was devastated. He knew Elizabeth was his TRUE LOVE. The one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. But she was gone. Nico moved on with his life, he became a famous comedian, he had other relationships, but no one captured his heart the way Elizabeth had.
❝You have to know that I’m in love with you, you have to know that I’ve loved you since we were kids, since before I can remember. ❞
They see each other again in the E.R. where she is a doctor and where he is bringing in his niece. When Elizabeth is assigned to Amelia’s case, she freaks out. She suffers from guilt about the way she left Nico, and because she has never talked to him about it. Now, she has to face him on a daily basis.
Nico couldn’t be more thrilled to get a chance with Elizabeth again. He pursues her with his sexiness and let me just say, this Italian Stallion is s.e.x.y! Their chemistry in this book had me swooning, smiling and fanning myself all at once. When he speaks to her in Italian …omg–fireworks!!
She fought him, pushed him away, he pursued her, pushed her toward him, and played with her, because he loved her and didn’t want her to forget it.
❝I don’t want to be fair! I’m not interested in being nice! You’re right. I’m playing games with you and I’m playing dirty because I want you, I need you, to be with you, to hear your voice, your laugh, to hold you, to touch you…❞
Thud! That was when Nico stole my heart!
As with every couple written by Penny Reid, I fell in love with Nico and Elizabeth. Together, they were perfect. I loved their humor, tension, their love, and their sexy conversations.
❝Oh, and Elizabeth?❞
❝What are you wearing?❞
❝Uh, my pajamas. Why?❞
❝What do they look like?❞
He was a dirty bird. Two could play at this game. ❝Actually…❞ I stretched. ❝I’m naked.❞
This statement was met with silence. I opened my eyes, stared at the ceiling. ❝Nico, Are you still there?❞
❝Yep.❞ His voice sounded strained.
I laugh lightly. ❝Are you okay?❞
❝Oh, me? Yeah. I’m great. I was just thinking about the fact that we’re wearing matching outfits.❞
While I loved the entire book, my favorite chapters were 22 and the Epilogue. I could reread them again and again and not tire of them!
So, why not 5 stars? I did have a ‘slight’ problem with Elizabeth’s continuous self-deprecation. I understood where she was coming from, I understood her fears and her doubts. I just didn’t want to read so much about it in her internal dialogue. But when she began to accept herself and Nico’s love for her, I couldn’t help but love Elizabeth. She pulled it together and fought for what she wanted. Which is a good thing, because I wanted to slap her! I mean, come on he was Freaking Nico!!
I highly recommend Friends without Benefits and this series, or hell, for that matter anything that Penny Reid writes.