Read my reviews of the previous books in the Aster Valley series: | book cover of Thick as Thieves (Aster Valley #4) by Lucy Lennox

Lennox saved the best for last in this sweet romance series that centers on a small ski town in Colorado. This particular installment leans heavily into certain romance tropes, such as “best friends to lovers” and “left at the altar,” but includes no sense of staleness or the feeling that I’ve read this before. Julian’s angst and Parker’s obliviousness shine through, but neither overshadow the unflinching friendship and love they have for each other.

Julian’s priority is always on his friendship with Parker, even at his own cost. Lennox maintains a delicate balance between emotion and angst so that the reader feels for the characters without dragging down the novel’s otherwise hopeful and upbeat tone. On the opposite side, seeing Parker’s character development as his feelings toward Julian shift from platonic to romantic love was delightful. His arc felt organic and never forced so that the story went in the direction the author wanted. I also appreciated how Lennox flipped the script a bit on how the sexy bits progressed in this “bisexual awakening” story as she stayed true to Julian’s character, too (and I think this book is now my favorite example of that particular trope).

I highly recommend reading the previous books in this series, but they are not necessary to enjoy this mostly stand-alone story. I’ve trended away from reading strictly contemporary romance stories lately, but I knew I had to give this one a chance (and not just to finish out my reviews of the series). Lennox’s always excellent blend of character and story never fails to disappoint, and this book is certainly no exception.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

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