From the Blurb:
As florist and co-owner of a successful Chicago wedding planning business, Daphne Lovell has been there for the happiest days of other people's lives. As for her own life? Well, it's hard to be perfectly happy when you're carrying a torch for your sexy, womanizing and oblivious best friend. So when the lights go out on New Year's Eve, she seizes the opportunity to kiss him senseless.
British expat Gibson Moore has a lot on his plate. The hotel he manages is being bought out, his family is crazy and someone just kissed him in the dark. When the lights go on, he searches the room, trying to find the mystery pair of lips. Only, he never thinks to ask the woman standing by his side. He's shocked when he discovers that Daphne is the woman he's been searching for. But Gib's also eager to act upon the attraction for her he's always fought to ignore.
It takes trust to move from friends to lovers, and as Gib's work situation worsens, he is no longer sure he can risk the friendship he relies on most. It's up to Daphne to convince him that some things are worth fighting for…
Daphne is a florist who has a close knit group of friends, one of whom she is head over heels for. Gibson is a serial womanizer who sadly appears oblivious to Daphne's feelings. After a blackout during a New Year's Eve party, when Daphne kisses him, everything changes. With Daphne's feelings out in the open, the pair must overcome various obstacles to make it to the aisle... or airport, as the case may be.
Daphne is a likable character. She cares deeply about her friends and family, and has a passion for flowers. Her insecurities and preoccupation with food make her relatable. It is clear from the beginning that she is besotted with Gibson, despite his many character flaws.
Gibson, unfortunately, is a complete man-whore. He brags about his past sexual encounters even during dates with Daphne, and admits to having slept with his therapist. This makes it really difficult to find him appealing as a hero. His insensitivity is really unattractive and the breaking point for me was when he proposed to Daphne as a joke. He does have a strong work ethic and obviously cares about his friends, however this does not entirely translate to his relationship with Daphne.
I was not sold by Daphne and Gibson's relationship. It is obvious that Daphne is deeply in love with him, but I did not feel convinced these feelings were reciprocated. He does say that he loves her, but I failed to feel the passion of their relationship as a reader. I also felt distracted from their relationship by the many subplots of the story and thought that the novel could have been better, had these been given less attention.
Despite my reservations about Gibson, the book as a whole is quite readable. The author's writing is very sensual and also humorous at times. I would be interested to read her other novels and to see how she deals with other hero personalities.
Friends to Lovers by Christi Barth was released by Carina Press on October 14, 2013, and is available from Amazon.
This book was given to Love Reading Romance in exchange for an honest review.