When an innocent deal between friends turns sinful...
Cassie Cooper has never been the kind of girl noticed for her looks. But around billionaire Kirk Rochester, her best friend from college, Cassie wishes she could turn just one head—his. So when Kirk asks her to be his pretend girlfriend to thwart another woman's unwanted advances, Cassie embraces the opportunity to prove to him that she does have a feminine side.
Disillusioned by a rough marriage that had an even rougher end, Kirk values friendship more than romance. He’s always had a good thing going with Cassie. But he can’t ignore how sexy she is now playing the role of his girlfriend, and soon he’s fighting a dangerous attraction to her. Even though their time between the sheets is scorching hot, he refuses to take it beyond “ friends with benefits.” He’s learned the hard way that loving someone is the first step to destroying his heart, and he won’t risk losing the best person in his life by falling in love with her.
Each book in The Rochesters series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 Undercover in the CEO’s Bed
Book #2 Best Friends with the Billionaire
About the Author
Coleen Kwan has been a bookworm all her life. At school English was her favorite subject, but for some reason she decided on a career in IT. After many years of programming, she wondered what else there was in life — and discovered writing. She loves writing contemporary romance and steampunk romance.
Coleen lives in Sydney with her partner and two children. When she isn’t writing she enjoys avoiding housework, eating chocolate and watching The Office.
Read an Excerpt
Best Friends with the Billionaire
By Coleen Kwan, Lydia Sharp
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2016 Coleen Kwan
All rights reserved.
The bright yellow-and-red neon sign of the Golden Palace restaurant glowed like a welcoming beacon in the early evening dusk. At the entrance, Cassie Cooper paused to take a deep breath before pushing her way inside. The delicious scent of Chinese food wafted over her, along with the swirling hubbub of talk and laughter. When she reached the bank of fish tanks, she hesitated, scanning the half-filled dining room.
There he is.
Her heart thumped a deep bass note in her chest, and she involuntarily squeezed the strap of her purse. Oh God, why did Kirk still have such an effect on her? He sat near the window, arms folded on the table. Light from the paper lanterns gleamed on his thick dark hair and his impossibly handsome face. He'd taken off his suit jacket and tie, and the sleeves of his pale blue shirt were rolled up at the wrists, revealing muscled, tanned forearms. He was gazing out the window, his expression pensive, hooded eyes giving nothing away.
What was that look about? Was he thinking "Hey, I sure hope my best friend Cassie shows up soon because I can't wait to see her"? Yeah, right. She could dream.
He turned his head toward her, and their eyes met across the crowded room. His face brightened, and a tight sensation bloomed in her chest as she smiled back at him. She strode forward, right into the path of a waiter bearing a dish of noodles. "Aiya!" the waiter hissed before scurrying past.
Kirk stood, grinning wide. "You would've looked funny with chow mein on you."
Her breathing was all over the place. "I didn't see him."
Because all her attention was focused on him. Kirk Rochester. Her best friend since college. He'd been the hottest guy on campus, while she'd been the blue-haired, six-foot misfit. Now, he was still the hottest guy in San Francisco, and she was still six feet tall, though the blue hair had long since disappeared. As for the misfit part, well, that had abated during her years abroad, but after just four days in her mother and sister's company the feeling was back with a vengeance.
Kirk wrapped his arms around her and gave her a hug. A loose, friendly, how-ya-doing hug. It lasted only two seconds, but that was enough for her to feel his hard body, his broad chest and strong arms. Enough for her to breathe in the heady scent of him, warm and spicy and so sexy. He had three inches on her, and about fifty pounds, and a masculinity that was quite overwhelming.
Get over it, she told herself. Sure, she'd harbored a crush on him — as had twenty thousand other women on campus — but she knew her place in his life. Their friendship had begun in a student share house, forged while cooking spaghetti Bolognese, discussing modern American history, and watching baseball games on TV. She'd been friends with all their housemates. Kirk just happened to be the one she'd spent the most time with. He'd helped her with her essays, cheered her on at her hockey games, consoled her when things went wrong. He'd done so many things for her, but he'd never made a pass at her.
"It's great to see you," Kirk said as they sat at opposite sides of the table. "It's been too long."
She lifted an eyebrow at him. "Too long? We saw each other two nights ago." She'd met all her old college friends for drinks two days ago, soon after she'd landed in San Francisco, and Kirk had been there, too.
"That was just an icebreaker." He shrugged. "And there were too many people there. We didn't really get a chance to talk."
Cassie had made sure of that. She didn't mind admitting to herself she was nervous about seeing Kirk again after what had happened the last time she'd been in San Francisco. Meeting him in a crowd had been a good way for her to get over the initial awkwardness. She'd stuck herself in the center of the group, and it hadn't been hard to stay there because everyone wanted to know what she'd been up to, how she liked living in Sydney, and whether she was ever moving back to San Francisco.
She adjusted the spoon and chopsticks lying on the table cloth, avoiding Kirk's eyes. He didn't suspect her of deliberately avoiding him, she was sure. Still, she needed time to practice looking at him without drooling. He was too devastatingly attractive for her own good. That hadn't changed in the two years since she'd last seen him. In fact, he was even more attractive now.
And free, too.
She squashed that thought and snatched up the menu. "Let's order, huh? I'm famished."
"Me, too. That's why I already ordered for us."
"You did? Did you ask for pot stickers?"
"Of course. And beef ribs, hot and spicy tofu, kung po chicken, and salt-and-pepper shrimp."
Cassie's heart hitched before it began to melt. "Oh, you remembered ..."
"All your favorite Chinese dishes? Yeah, how could I ever forget?"
She blinked, ambushed by memories. At least twice a month she and Kirk and whoever else was at home at the time would trek to Chinatown and gorge themselves on hot, delicious food. They'd always chosen down-to-earth, inexpensive restaurants where the locals ate, like here at the Golden Palace. Everyone in their share house was on a tight student budget, except for Kirk.
The Rochesters were seriously, insanely wealthy. Jubilee Holdings, their family-run company, was worth billions; the family had endowed millions to the university; and Kirk had a trust fund that ensured he'd never have to lift a finger his entire life if he didn't want to. But in college he'd seemed almost embarrassed by his wealth and connections. He didn't belong to any fraternities, drove a nice but nondescript Honda, shopped at The Gap, and did his share of the chores in their student house.
"What's up?" Kirk asked, interrupting her memories. "Did I order too much?"
"Too much food is never enough." And when she was with Kirk, food always tasted better.
"Glad to see your appetite hasn't changed."
"I'm a big girl," she quipped. It was true. Her excessive height hadn't come with a gazelle-like frame. Instead, she was solidly built. Like a Mack truck, people used to say. People like her mother. Adolescence had been a nightmare for Cassie — too tall, too clumsy, too pimply, too surly.
"Besides," she added, "I'm starving because my mom's put me on a diet. I've been existing on lettuce and prune juice for the past three days."
"A diet?" Kirk's gaze roved over her, and she couldn't help feeling a little self-conscious. "You don't need to diet."
Cassie felt a flush rise in her cheeks. This must be the first time Kirk had ever made a direct comment about her appearance, and she didn't know what to make of it. Did he mean he thought she had a good body? Or that no amount of dieting could help her?
"Um, well, apparently I do," she said. "We went for a fitting the other day, and my dress is a bit tight under the arms. I don't think it's an issue, but my mom insists I lose five pounds before the wedding." She rolled her eyes.
Her sister Lillian was getting married in two weeks' time, which was why Cassie returned to San Francisco. She had never been close to her younger sister, possibly because Lillian was everything Cassie wasn't. Lillian was petite, beautiful, and popular. She could also be shallow, vain, and materialistic, in Cassie's opinion. But what she thought never mattered in their family because Lillian was their mother's favorite, a fact which Audrey Cooper never bothered to hide from anyone.
Cassie had long ago resigned herself to being the black sheep of their little family. Six years ago she'd moved to Australia, and it had been the best decision she'd made. She'd manage to build a good life away from her mom and sister — and away from Kirk, too — and she'd thought she was immune to Audrey and Lillian. But after four days in their company, she could feel herself reverting back to the rebellious ways that caused so much friction between them.
As if on cue, her cell phone beeped with an incoming text. She read it and blew out a sigh that lifted the bangs of her shoulder-length hair away from her eyes.
"Unbelievable." She groaned. "My mom is reminding me that I'm only allowed five hundred calories for dinner."
"What does five hundred calories get you?"
"About one frigging shrimp cracker."
Her mouth watered as a waiter began loading their table with hot, fragrant dishes.
"Mm." Cassie breathed in the aroma. "You know what? Screw five hundred calories. There's no way I'm going to pass up a spread like this." She held up her phone to take a photo of the succulent food in front of her then tapped out a reply to her mom. "I sent her a picture of what I'm going to eat." With a mischievous grin, she turned off her phone and slipped it back in her purse.
Kirk laughed as he handed her the pot stickers. "I thought you were over the up-yours-Mom phase."
She loaded up her plate and then sank her teeth into a pot sticker. "Me, too," she said after a few blissful moments of chewing. "But maybe I'll never be over it."
The up-yours-Mom phase had begun when she'd gone to college. High school had been a disaster, and she didn't want a repeat when she went to Berkley. Dispirited by her failed attempts to live up to her mom's expectations, she'd decided it was time to rebel. She'd put in a nose stud, cropped her hair, and dyed it electric blue. Instead of being embarrassed by her build, she'd embraced her athleticism and joined the college's field hockey and basketball teams. She'd thrown away all the trendy clothes her mom had bought her and gone around in baggy jeans, rude T-shirts, and Doc Martens. Her mom had been suitably horrified.
Cassie sighed as she reached for the beef ribs. "I thought being away from them for so long would've made a difference. You know — absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that. But it seems the opposite's happened. I just don't get along with Mom and Lillian. I see that clearly now, and they're driving me up the wall with their obsession with this wedding. Honestly, this afternoon we spent two hours discussing wedding favors and how Lillian's hand-sewn, hand-stamped linen bags were so unique and 'it.' I made the mistake of asking if it wouldn't be easier buying ready-made bags, and I was told I didn't know anything about weddings."
Kirk made a sympathetic noise. "Can't you do something else when they're doing all this wedding stuff that drives you nuts?"
"I'm trying to fit in, don't you see? I'm making a last ditch attempt to be a good daughter and sister." And if she did, maybe her mom and sister would be more accepting of her. She used to think she didn't care what they thought of her, but when Lillian had asked her to be a bridesmaid, she'd been touched to the core. She wanted to be part of the family more than ever before; she wanted their love and approval. "But I'm afraid if I have to spend all my days and nights with them for the next two weeks, I won't be able to contain myself. I'm going to explode and say something unforgiveable. They'll hate me, and that will ruin everything."
The thought depressed her. She scooped up a mouthful of rice to distract herself.
Kirk set his bowl down, and his eyes gleamed. "I have a solution to your problem. Move in with me."
She inhaled in surprise, causing a few grains of rice to stick in her throat. She choked and spluttered, eyes watering as she groped for her napkin. Oh great, she must look wonderful spitting out rice in front of Kirk.
He poured her a glass of water, pushed it to her, and waited until she'd regained control.
"I-I'm sorry." She wheezed. "Did you say I should move in with you?"
He shrugged and leaned back in his chair, looking suave and nonchalant as she wiped up the last of the rice from her chin.
"Yes, why not? I have room in my house, and your family is driving you up the wall. It seems like a sensible solution to me."
Cassie took another deep gulp of water to give herself time to think. On the surface, it did seem like a sensible solution. She was clearly irritating her mom and sister, and vice versa. She and Kirk were friends, and they'd lived in a share house before, so they knew each other's foibles. And it was only for two weeks. And it would give them more time together ...
Her heart contracted at the last thought. More time together for what? To have a repeat of what happened the last time she'd been alone with Kirk? No, she couldn't go through that kind of hurt again.
She licked away a grain of rice that had stuck to her finger. "That's very generous of you, Kirk," she said steadily. "But I, um, think I should stay at my mom's place."
Kirk rested his elbows on the table. His eyes, gray-blue like a mountain stream, were bright and clear on her, as if he could read her thoughts. God, she hoped not.
"You know I've moved," he said, the casualness of his tone belying the underlying meaning of his words.
Her stomach seized in response. She wiped her fingers on the napkin slowly, carefully. "No, I didn't know."
"I bought a place in Pacific Heights. Nothing fancy, just a small house."
In Pacific Heights "just a small house" could mean a multimillion-dollar estate, but she guessed everything was relative to a man as rich as Kirk. And nothing could be as fancy as the great big mansion he'd last lived in. With Alison. His late wife.
Soon after Kirk had married Alison — impossibly gorgeous Alison with her water nymph figure and mermaid hair — Cassie had flown to Sydney for a long vacation that had extended into six years. So she hadn't had much opportunity to visit Kirk in his marital abode, which had been her plan. On her brief visits back, she'd met him on neutral territory — bars or restaurants — and always in company. Only after Alison died two years ago had she called in at his mansion, and what happened then had made her want to stay away from San Francisco for a long, long time, until her sister's unexpected invitation to be her bridesmaid.
Cassie forced herself to look at Kirk — to look at him with all the compassion she felt for him and none of the hurt she'd hidden for so long.
"It must have been hard for you to move," she said softly. "I know how much Alison meant to you."
A memory from his wedding day flashed through her head. Kirk dancing with his new wife, a gold ring glinting on his finger, a smile on his lips. A smile meant only for his wife, blocking everyone else out. Including Cassie. She'd never forget that moment when her heart had frozen over, when she knew that that smile would never be meant for her. When she finally acknowledged she was in love with her best friend.
It was all in the past now. She'd wept many useless tears, but she'd learned to live with the feeling of rejection. She'd put on her big girl panties and moved on, literally and figuratively. Moved to Sydney, moved on with her life, packed all her feelings for Kirk in a trunk labeled "experience" and stowed it away in the basement of her heart.
"I have moved on." Kirk sounded abrupt. When she glanced up, she was surprised to find his expression stiff and guarded. "I'm not the grieving widower anymore."
"So I've heard."
She'd learned how he'd "moved on" through their mutual friends. Six months after Alison's death, Kirk had started dating again and apparently gone at it with a vengeance, a different woman on his arm for each month of the year. Cassie had seen some of the photos on social media, posted there by friends, not Kirk. The women might change each month, but they were always the same — curvaceously beautiful, confident, groomed, successful. They were models, TV presenters, entrepreneurs. None of them were building project managers like Cassie; none of them wore hardhats, fluorescent vests, and steel-capped boots as part of their work attire.
Kirk lifted his eyebrows. "What exactly have you heard?"
She played with her chopsticks. "Oh, that you're dating again. A lot."
He rubbed his jaw, long fingers scraping against the faint shadow of stubble. "And what do you think of that?"
She shrugged. "Does it matter what I think?"
"Yes." He leaned across the table, palms flat against the white cloth. "I care what my best friend thinks."
Best friend. Sparks of pleasure spread through her, followed by a faint tremble, a tremor of wanting. If I'm your best friend, how come you've never thought of dating me? The plea flashed through her before she could help it. Damn it, she was not going to go down that line of thought. She wasn't in love with Kirk anymore. What she'd felt had only been a crush because no heterosexual girl could be immune to his hotness.
Excerpted from Best Friends with the Billionaire by Coleen Kwan, Lydia Sharp. Copyright © 2016 Coleen Kwan. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a refreshing novel. I liked the storyline. Again as in most of these types of novels, the lead characters are mentally and emotionally fractured. I like the fact that this one is more realistic than some of the others. Please give this one a try. It is a bit steamier than I like to read. Simone24
Really loved the characters...The combination of love,laughter and tears get you every time.
Best Friends with the Billionaire is the second book in The Rochesters series. This book was like most friends to lovers books in the aspect that they had been friends for years, one has loved the other for years and the other one never knew what was right in front of them. I really wanted to like the book but there was just something missing for me. It took me three days just to get it finished because I wasn’t excited enough about the story to pick it up and start reading it again. It may be okay for some but honestly just didn’t do anything for me. I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review and opinion. All ratings and opinions stated are my own.
"Best Friends with the Billionaire" by Coleen Kwan is book number two in the "Rochester" series. This is Cassie Cooper and billionaire Kirk Rochester's story. Kirk and Cassie were best friends in college. Cassie has been secretly in love with him. After Kirk's marriage, she moved to Sydney to get on with her life. Cassie is back in San Francisco for her sister's wedding. She hasn't seen Kirk since his wife's funeral. Cassie is a six foot tall girl and is more at ease with hanging out with the guys. Her mom and sister are girly girls and she just can't seem to do anything that pleases them. Cassie hoped that during the time that she is home for her sister's wedding they can become closer before she goes back to Sydney. Kirk's marriage was not good even before his wife died. He never wants to marry again. Kirk believes that friendship and his job are more important than a romantic loving relationship. He is in the process of making a big business deal. The daughter of the man that he is dealing with keeps flirting with him. Kirk doesn't want anything to mess up this business deal. Since his best friend Cassie is in town, he is hoping to convince her to pretend to be his girlfriend. Cassie agrees to be girlfriend hoping that she can get Kirk to see her as a woman and not as a buddy. What could go wrong? This story is a friends to lovers trope with amazing chemistry, hot intimate scenes, family dynamics, and miscommunication or lack of communication. I did enjoy the book. As far as cons go there were some scenes that didn't flow with the story. Overall, this story has a good plot and a HEA. I will definitely read other books by Coleen Kwan. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley/Entangled Publishing for an honest review. FYI, contains mature content.
Cassie and Kirk had a very strong and fun friendship. I enjoyed their outings and their joking with each other, they were so comfortable together. But when they decided to take their friendship to the next level, things got a little more complicated and a lot hotter. Although I could have fussed at Kirk a couple of times for his hot and coldness, he sure made up for it in his mini-adventures and in the end where it counts. Cassie wore her heart on her sleeve where Kirk was concerned. But she was good for him, helping him come out of his workaholic mode, and being there for him, while not being a pushover. I think this book shows you have to go after what you want despite fear of rejection and always wondering what if. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher through Netgalley.
Cassie and Kirk have been best friends since college. Cassie has been in love with Kirk for a long time and after a disastrous encounter moves to Australia to give herself some distance. Cassie is home for her sister's wedding. While her sister and mother redeemed themselves some at the end of the story, they were horrible to Cassie for so much of the book. It was sad that no matter what she seemed to do, she couldn't gain their approval. Kirk is from a wealthy family and works for his family's firm. He is in the middle of a huge deal and the daughter of his business associate won't take the hint that he's not interested in her. Kirk asks Cassie to pretend to be his girlfriend so he can save his deal. There were parts of the story that were predictable. There were also times that the friendship between Kirk and Cassie didn't seem as deep as best friends would be. I am a sucker for friends to lovers stories. I enjoyed the writer's style and the dual POV. This was a quick, fun read that I finished in a day. *I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Best Friends With The Billionaire by Coleen Kwan is an entertaining read. It is nicely written and slightly emotional at times. I found the pace to be a bit slow in the beginning, but it picked up soon after. I liked all the characters and Ms. Kwan does an excellent job of creating nasty and condescending personalities. This is the love story between billionaire businessman Kirk Rochester, and Cassie Cooper, a building project manager who calls the land down under her home. Kirk and Cassie have been best friends since college. Cassie has always been in love with Kirk, so when he got married two years ago, she moved to Sydney to start a new life. Now she is back in San Francisco to be a part of her younger sister's wedding, finding it quite difficult to deal with her always uppity, pushy, and downright mean at times mother. Cassie's sister is a chip off the old block, so needless to say, Cassie's visit is not a happy one. Luckily, Kirk is around and she ends up staying with him prior to the wedding extravaganza. For the first time ever, Kirk notices Cassie in a sexual way and their chemistry is amazing. Lots of obstacles stand in the way of their road to happiness, which makes for an interesting read. I enjoyed this book. Ms. Kwan has a way with words and her sex scenes are very seductive. Kirk and Cassie are hot in the bedroom. The plot is good and this story is a nice addition to the best friend romance trope. I found Cassie to be a very well-defined character, and I felt her emotional pain throughout the book. Overall, a solid read. Complimentary copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
Cassie had been best friends with Kirk since college. Kirk was rich and could have any girl he wanted he was also hot. Yet Cassie and him clicked as best friends. They had some likes in common that they bonded over but in fact Cassie had a very strong attraction to Kirk but she never had the nerve to hit on him. They shared a house with other students during college. Then Kirk fell in love and married a very beautiful woman named Alison Cassie decided she couldn’t handle seeing them together all the time and needed to move on with her life and moved to Sidney with her aunt and uncle. Then Alison died and Cassie came home and Kirk was a wreck and she got him to relax and he fell asleep during that time he kissed Cassie but called out Alison’s name. Now Cassie is back as her younger sister is getting married and Cassie is in the bridal party. Cassie doesn’t fit in with her mom and sister and she ends up staying with Kirk at his house. Things heated up and Cassie had hope things might work out after all. I loved this story it was great as far as I am concerned. While her mom and sister tore Cassie’s confidence down Kirk built it up and made her feel better. I shed a tear or two in some parts of this story a tribute to the writing. I loved the characters especially Cassie and Kirk and all the ups and downs they go through. I highly recommend. I received an ARC of this story for an honest review.
This is my first book by Coleen Kwan. I was pretty excited to get my hands on Best Friends with the Billionaire because the whole billionaire-romance sub-genre has been growing on me. This one was okay ... it didn't knock it out of the park for me but it wasn't the worst thing I've ever read. From the very first page, Cassie was NOT my favorite leading lady. Unfortunately, the book ended and I was left with the same feelings. This girl may have a tiny shred of tenacity but she was a damn doormat, no matter how you look at it. Her character just rubbed me the wrong way, actually. Cassie is written as this super tall woman whom no one really notices because she's a tomboy. Nothing wrong with being a tomboy! But there is something wrong with the book reading as if this character deserved to be invisible BECAUSE she's a tomboy and 6-foot tall. What? The book never said this outright but it was the feeling that I repeatedly got while reading this book. Cassie also behaved like a victim at times also. Something that seemed out of the blue but on the same note, it seemed right up her character's alley since she let people (everyone she knows) walk all over her. Kirk was an okay character. He was nothing to write home about. Actually, before I wrote this review, I had to thumb through the book again to get a handle on who he was. Coming from someone who reviews books a lot ... that's not a good thing. My worst nightmare when reading a book is to have characters that are not memorable. I want characters to haunt my thoughts hours and days after I read them. I want to put the book down and immediately call my best friend to tell her about this amazing book and the awesome characters. That just didn't happen this time. The meat of the book wasn't too bad. I enjoyed chemistry between the two characters that I didn't care for. At least there was chemistry and at least the story between Kirk and Cassie was entertaining. I was always excited to see what was going to happen next, I was just always wishing that it was happening to people that I liked, you know? I will probably pick up another book by Kwan in the future. The plot of the book was so good that I have hope I just read this one wrong or something and the next book I read by this author will be amazing. I just hope that next time, the characters can hold their own against the plot in order to form an even stronger story. * I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *
Best Friends With The Billionaire by Coleen Kwan...What a sweet fun story between friends to lovers. I enjoyed watching this story unfold with Cassie and Kirk, it does hit some of the emotion buttons. This is a great fun weekend read. I received a complimentary book from publisher for my honest review.
An intriguing friends to more romance! This is a well written, light-hearted friends to lovers second chance romance with plenty of history. Cassie Cooper and Kirk Rochester stayed in the same house whilst at college and became best friends. There’s never been any romance between them, even though Cassie has loved him for years. He’s rich, from a prominent wealthy family but has never made much of his wealth and really appreciated how honest Cassie has always been, never being with him for his family name or money but because they were best friends. He’s seen little of her since his marriage and is welcoming the chance to catch up again after she returns to San Fransisco from Sydney, Australia, for the imminent wedding of her sister. He looks on the timing as fortuitous as he’s in the midst of a business deal where the unwanted attentions of the daughter of the man he’s trying to do business with are proving trying. He wants a make believe girlfriend. Now being his girlfriend is Cassie’s dream, should she risk her heart in the role? Will he actually start to see her as an attractive woman? Is it worth risking their incredible friendship to become friends with benefits? This is an easy read, exploring a variety of issues in the journey to their HEA. Cassie has always seen herself as the ugly duckling in her family, finding it difficult to relate to her slim, petite mother and sister whilst being a six foot tall amazon herself. That doesn’t, however, mean that she doesn’t have a very strong feminine side, one that is somewhat hidden as she finds it much easier to hide her insecurities by relating to her male friends as another friend rather than a romantic partner. She’s also been in love with Kirk for years and is an expert at hiding this from him. Kirk is the poor rich kid who actually has had a dreadful few years with his loveless marriage, the loss of his unborn child and his wife’s illness and death. He’s determined not to fall in love again, little realising just what he’s been missing until the return of Cassie. It is intriguing to read how the attitude of Cassie’s family and Kirk change during the story and there’s plenty of drama and angst in the process making this a great read to while away an afternoon or evening! I received a free ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
I have read several of Coleen Kwan's books before and I can say that I am never sorry that I picked one of the up. Kwan definitely knows how to keep your attention and adds just the right amount of romance to keep you on your toes. This is a old story line but Kwan puts her own twist on it that I felt was unique. Well done! Cassie is a young lady that has always been sort of an outcast with her own family. Cassie tried and tried to have her mom see her in her own light, but she always bought clothes for Cassie and made her wear things that she really didn't care for. So, when Cassie went to college, she went her own way and changed her appearance just to get back at her mom basically. With her sister getting married, they are all on Cassie to look the model Bridesmaid part and that is hard for Cassie. Her mom harps on her about what she is eating and tells her that she needs to loose just a little bit of weight so that her "back fat" won't be showing at the wedding. I could totally relate to Cassie because we are all not the perfect Bridesmaid look and it is hard to feel comfortable in anything when you have people hounding you about it. Cassie is pretty much done with trying to please her mom and sister and relies on Kirk, her best friend from college, for a shoulder to lean on. Kirk is a billionaire and tries hard to not let it show. His family is where he gets his money from, but you would never really guess he was a billionaire if you saw him. Kirk does a very good job at hiding it and it is only known in the story because we are told that. When Kirk has the job of sealing a deal with a client, he is hesitant to meet with them because of their daughter that has hit on him before. She played footsie with him under the table and was pretty forward with several things that made Kirk just feel uncomfortable. When Kirk comes up with a brilliant idea for Cassie to play the part of his girlfriend so that this client's daughter will not advance on him more, he never knew what he was getting himself into with Cassie! Although Cassie and Kirk had been friends and even roommates at one point, they never crossed the friend line. Kirk is coming off of a rough marriage and an even rougher end to that marriage. Is he willing to sacrifice his friendship with Cassie to forgo an actual relationship with her? You have to read this great friends to lovers story to find out if they really do become lovers or if they just stay friends forever. I thought these characters were well developed and that the story line flowed really well making this an enjoyable read!
3.5 Stars I liked this one, overall. I thought a little of the surrounding story was a bit much. I was not a fan of the story line elements that evolved around her family and the way they treated her. But I really liked Cassie and Kirk, they were compelling and I did believe their friendship and the switch from friends to lovers was handled in a way that felt realistic. As readers, we find out the secret he is keeping well before Cassie does and I think that colored my impression of the book, as it was a little hard to believe that she had no clue as to what was actually going on, that no one did. Overall, enjoyable with decent writing and a plot that moved forward reasonably, if not perfectly and without bumps. A nice, easy read.
A wonderful friends to lovers story that's very well done. A bit predictable maybe but very entertaining and enjoyable nonetheless. Cassie and Kirk first met in college when they and a group of friends shared a house off campus. They've always had a great friendship although Cassie has long for more. Their friendship has suffered in the past few years as Cassie was living in Sydney and Kirk got married then lost in wife to illness. Although their marriage had been a rocky one and basically over before she got sick, he promised her to keep that do himself and let her die with her dignity in tact. Cassie's back now though and he plans to get their friendship back on track. No more letting her runaway from him. Plus he needs her help. He needs her to pretend to be his girlfriend to fend off the advances of a man he's trying to put an important business deal together with. As expected though, what starts out as pretend quickly turns into much more! A fun read I would definitely recommend.
If pulling on my heartstrings was Coleen Kwan's goal when writing this book, she succeeded! It's your typical sweet "friends to lovers" trope, but there are several emotional pulls throughout this story that made it go the extra mile for me ... the awkwardness a lot of us have felt in life about not fitting in, the sadness of seeing how her family treats her, the strength she had to have to pursue her own life after her dreams were shattered, etc. I thoroughly enjoyed it and pulled for Cassie the whole way! Cassie Cooper returns to town for a family function, and takes the opportunity to reconnect with her best friend from college, Kirk Rochester. They were as close as could be for years and years, until he got married and she moved away. Now they keep in touch, but it's more awkward than it used to be. Kirk came from family money, but he never flaunted it and lived a normal life when they were roommates in college. Now he's working for the family business and has a big deal he wants to close, but he has one little problem ... he needs a fake girlfriend to make it happen! He has lived a carefree life since his not-so-happy marriage ended, so he doesn't have anyone on the horizon to fill the card, so when Cassie comes to town, he asks her! Cassie has wanted Kirk to notice that she's a woman instead of "just one of the guys" for years, so she reluctantly agrees to help him. Will seeing her in girlfriend mode make him wake up and see what's been right in front of his face for all these years?
Cassie is back in San Francisco for two weeks for her sister’s wedding and uses that time to catch up with her longtime college friend Kirk. She’s always had an unrequited crush on him but when Kirk urges her to pretend to be his girlfriend in front of a potential business partner’s daughter to discourage her advances, Cassie is given the unexpected chance to get Kirk to notice her as more than a best friend. Scarred by his romantic past Kirk doesn’t want to enter into any relationships especially with Cassie since this would jeopardize their friendship which he values a great deal. Their physical attraction however is undeniable and both Kirk and Cassie embrace it for their own reasons even if love isn’t in the cards for them. Can their friendship withstand a physical relationship and can Cassie protect herself from utter heartbreak? I’m a big fan of friends to lovers stories and Best Friends with the Billionaire ticked all the boxes for me. Cassie Cooper is not the typical ‘drop-dead-gorgeous in a supermodel way but doesn’t know it’- character that I’m used to in these friends-to-lovers novels. She’s actually tall and a bit awkward, has never fit in well with her immediate family and is used to being treated as one of the guys. Despite all that she isn’t an ugly duckling without any confidence either. She is successful at her job and has managed to build a life in a foreign country. Generally, she’s was relatable and didn’t come across as a stereotype even if she might sound like one at first glance. Kirk is a Billionaire but he isn’t the ‘player-with-a-dark-past-and-a-heart-of-gold’-character I read too much about. He has real emotions and motivations and isn’t a cad. He doesn’t throw his money around but appreciates his wealth. He cares deeply for Cassie from the very beginning and values and respects her as a friend throughout the novel. The only thing that’s new in their relationship is the spark of romance developing between them. The misunderstandings and miscommunications between Cassie and Kirk were typical for this type of book but didn’t seem too contrived. My heart hurt for Cassie when she interpreted Kirk’s behavior as indicative of his romantic indifference towards her and I could also relate to Kirk’s need to hold onto his long-standing friendship with Cassie and his reluctance to put his trust into a romantic relationship again after suffering his past disappointments with love. The pacing of this novel was excellent. I wasn’t tempted to skip ahead and was motivated to read the whole thing in one go because it managed to capture all of my attention. Best Friends with the Billionaire surpasses its premise, excelling as a cute, sexy and moving romance with authentic characters to root for. This book left me squealing at the end and kept a smile on my face for hours after finishing it. ______________ I received a review copy from Entangled Publishing via NetGalley.
Emotional entanglements can be a tricky business. Especially when secrets, friendships and insecurities come into play. I received an ARC of Best Friends with The Billionaire in exchange for an honest review. In the past my issues with Ms. Kwan's stories have been that halfway through they start to become dull and erratic. With Best Friends with The Billionaire it started out unsure but built up the pace rather quickly. Kirk and Cassie were like any other couple trying to work through past hurts on the road to something more. The fact that such a strong friendship had been practically blown apart by half truths, heartbreak and fear of the unknown was the tragedy of the story. With Friends with the Billionaire, Coleen Kwan delved into the most treacherous and hard to understand puzzle to date: THE HEART. Secretive, sensitive but intriguing non the less.