November 11, 2019


Outright enmity between France and England might be long past, but merry war betwixt two people from bookends of the English Channel comes easily to Lucas and Elodie. Verbal sparring, witty jabs, and a feverish dance of mutual interest, their friendship is a model of uneasy détente.

They're Strictly Friends by Chloe LieseLucas Edwards is the consummate English gentleman…most of the time. He might get a bit tetchy when his office is a mess, and he’s rather particular about his ties, but otherwise he’s as affable as afternoon tea. That is until a grim diagnosis sets his future on a downward slope. And while Elodie Bertrand might be the only woman he wants—brilliant math-mind, decadent curves, a Parisian flair for butchering British idioms as well as turning Scrabble into a war of words—she’s the last person he’s willing to make a variable in his negative trajectory.

As far as Elodie can project, she and Lucas Edwards will forever exist torturously tangential. No matter that Lucas’ keen intellect, dry wit, his penchant for Shakespeare and innuendo equally infuriate and enamor her. Because, while he might be deliciously tall and dashing, not to mention the most chivalrous man she knows, Lucas has made it quite clear they must remain “strictly friends”. But when circumstances throw them together, Elodie quickly deduces Lucas isn’t putting her off out of disinterest. In fact, after plotting the points of their every intersection, only one solution remains: he actually feels quite the opposite…

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My Thoughts
They're Strictly Friends was an absolutely dreamy followup to the Tough Love trilogy! I fell in love with Zed and Nairne's hard-fought happily ever after and found myself quite smitten with a bloke by the name of Lucas. I knew he and Elodie shared a strong connection, but for some strange reason they were fighting it. I wanted to know what was preventing them from pursuing their own happiness. Chloe Liese wrote a beautiful story that answered every one of my questions.

I fell in love with Lucas hook, line and sinker. There's something about a British man with his stoicism, high-handedness, drinking tea during a crisis, and stiff upper lip that really gets my motor going. Lucas was a Viking-like Adonis with charm, personality and wit to spare. He was sweet and kind and generous and intelligent... and he was terrified out of his mind about what was to become of his future. Facing such uncertainty, he couldn't imagine giving into his feelings for the woman he loves, bringing her down when she deserves to constantly be lifted up. How could he condemn her to the same sentence he faces? And yet, how can he deny himself the love of a lifetime he knows that they can share? This story was oftentimes sappy and sanguine, while also being painful and poignant. It touched my heart in ways that I didn't expect and I'm a little sad to see it end.

Liese has really cornered the market on depicting people who face some of life's hardest challenges and how they maneuver their way through these obstacles with courage, anger, bitterness, practicality and hope. Whether these characters have lost the use of their legs, their eyes, come whatever what may, they eventually come to realize their own strength and that their loss doesn't take away their value or their significance. Their disability doesn't ultimately define them. With their families and friends around them, with so much love supporting and bolstering and guiding them, they cannot lose! I'm more than a little eager to read Teo's story. He's Zed's little brother, MMA fighter and med school student, and he sounds super duper HOT!!

Other books in the Tough Love series:

About Chloe Liese
Chloe writes stories that, like people, resist categories. Her contemporary romances are hot, witty, full of heart and keep you on the edge of your seat. She’s an avid reader, Harry Potter lover, and eats more peanut butter cups than she probably should.

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