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New Release Review! WHEN SPARKS FLY by Helena Hunting

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When Sparks Fly, an all-new sweet and sexy best friend standalone romance from New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting is available now!

Charming, hilarious, and emotional…When Sparks Fly is Helena Hunting at her very best!

Avery Spark is living her best life. Between her friends, her sisters, and Spark House, the event hotel her family owns, she doesn’t have much time for anything else, especially relationships. She’d rather hang out with her best friend and roommate, Declan McCormick, than deal with the dating scene. But everything changes when she is in a car accident and needs someone to care for her as she heals.

Declan avoids relationships, giving him a playboy reputation that he lives up to when he puts a one-night stand ahead of a promise he made to Avery. While he may not have been the one driving the car, he feels responsible for Avery’s injuries and is determined to make it up to her by stepping into the role of caretaker.

Little did they know that the more time they spend in compromising positions, the attraction they’ve been refusing to acknowledge becomes impossible to ignore. When they finally give in to the spark between them, neither is prepared for the consequences. Their love is fragile and all it will take is a blow from the past to shatter it all.

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Excerpt:

Commotion from across the field catches my eye. Two of the riders seem to be at odds with each other. The hand on hip, head tip, nose-to-nose business gives me reason to believe there’s some kind of disagreement happening.

“That doesn’t look very friendly.” I nod in their direction.

“Maybe the horses need a time-out,” Harley mutters.

I give her the side-eye, and she fights a smirk.

“Uh-oh, we have hand and hobbyhorse flailing,” London says, pulling my attention back to the field. The argument seems to be heating up, not cooling down.

“You need to deal with that.” London gives my shoulder a shove. She’s amazing with finances and she’s great at connecting me with the right vendors, but dealing with conflict is not her strong suit.

“Not in the mood to mediate stuffed horses?” I drop my bag on the ground beside Harley’s feet and briskly cross the field as the argument escalates to yelling. I’m about twenty feet away when one of the men hauls off and whacks the other one with his hobbyhorse.

“Whoa! Whoa! Gentlemen! Time-out. That’s not very sportsmanlike conduct!” I call.

My admonishment goes unheeded, and the two men begin dueling with their hobbyhorses. The bigger of the two jabs the other man in the stomach and snatches his hobbyhorse when he loses his grip on it.

“Gentlemen! Please!” I shout, but it’s hard to be heard over their yelling and the newly formed crowd of hobbyhorse enthusiasts who have gathered and are now heckling the fighters.

Two other men toss their hobbyhorses to the hobbyhorse-less man with shouts of “Kick his ass!”

And here I thought this was a chill sport. Apparently I’m very, very wrong.

The hobbyhorsers face off again, each one holding a broom horse between their legs and another like . . . a sword, maybe? It reminds me of medieval jousting. Especially when they start stomping their feet, pawing at the ground, and prancing in place. I know things are about to escalate when they shake their heads back and forth, braying loudly and breathing out through their noses in a hardy snort.

Then they run toward each other, while yelling. Even if they’re beating on each other with stuffed horse heads, I’m not interested in anyone ending up with a concussion.

I jump in between them before they collide, which I realize a second too late puts me in a very perilous position. However, the man on my right swerves at the last second and ends up crashing into the trough, toppling it and at least half a dozen of the “feeding” hobbyhorses. The other man skids to a stop mere inches from me, loses his balance, and falls backwards onto the ground. It rained yesterday, so while it’s sunny and dry now, the ground is still soft and mucky. And he happens to land in a seriously squishy pile of muddy grass.

He also manages to hit himself in the family jewels with the hobbyhorse. He rolls onto his side, clutching the muddy horsehead and his junk. It’s quite the spectacle. Before it turns into absolute mayhem, I grab the megaphone from the group MC and shout, “Whoa, Nelly!” like an idiot.

However, it does the trick. Every single one of them freezes. “Rider number seventeen and twenty-three, you are disqualified from this round for roughhousing and inappropriate use of your hobbyhorse!” I’m totally making this up on the fly, but someone needs to get these guys under control, and they don’t seem to be able to manage it on their own.

The guy who nut slapped himself—number twenty-three—picks himself up off the ground and hobbles gingerly over to the bench, which is now assigned to disqualified hobbyhorsers. Number seventeen throws himself down on the other end with a huff.

I lower the megaphone and cross my arms. “This is supposed to be about team building and sharing something you’re passionate about. If you want to joust, I suggest you either join a club or interview for a position at Medieval Times.”

Review:

Friends-to-lovers FTW!

Friends-to-lovers has been one of my favorite troupes since I was [mumble mumble] years old and saw When Harry Met Sally (in the theater, on its original run…) for the first time. That idea of longtime friends whose friends all know that they’re MFEO and are just waiting for the two of them to realize it and when they do it’s so good but then it isn’t anymore until it is?

Yeah. I loved that.

Avery and Declan’s path to their HEA has a whole lot of aspects that aren’t in WHMS–they’re so far in denial that they’ve been living together as roommates for years, Avery is nearly killed in an accident for which Declan blames himself, Declan’s round-the-clock care of his roomie takes a turn when he forgets to knock one morning–but maybe favorite part of their story is that in order to get to that HEA it doesn’t just involve one of them admitting he was an idiot and groveling appropriately.

Not that there was anything wrong with Harry’s grovel, mind you. But a breakup is rarely one person’s fault, and even though it’s really easy to side with Avery initially, they both had something to do with the events that caused their implosion and both had some work to do to get them back on track. I mean, I love the NYE speech as much as the next person (OK, probably way more than the average person, but whatever),

but it’s hard to deny that they both had issues that needed to be acknowledged and worked through, and that’s what Declan and Avery do. It’s honestly a toss-up as to whether it was more fun watching them back up into love originally or work their way back into it after, but either way it’s a swoon-worthy read.

When Sparks Fly is billed as a standalone, but Avery has two sisters and I wouldn’t be sad if they each (and heck, why not her and Declan’s two other friends as well?) got HEAs too… 😉

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Helena Hunting author photo

About the author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy. 

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