Friends Don’t Fall in Love by Erin Hahn

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin

Date of Publication: October 17th, 2023

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Fiction, Adult, Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit, Music, Adult Fiction

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

Erin Hahn’s Friends Don’t Fall in Love is about long-time friends, taking chances, and finding out that, sometimes, your perfect person was right there in your corner all along.

Lorelai Jones had it all: a thriving country music career and a superstar fiancé. Then she played one teenie tiny protest song at a concert and ruined her entire future, including her impending celebrity marriage. But five years later, she refuses to be done with her dreams and calls up the one person who stuck by her, her dear friend and her former fiancé’s co-writer and bandmate, Craig.

Craig Boseman’s held a torch for Lorelai for years, but even he knows the backup bass player never gets the girl. Things are different now, though. Craig owns his own indie record label and his songwriting career is taking off. If he can confront his past and embrace his gifts, he might just be able to help Lorelai earn the comeback she deserves―and maybe win her heart in the process.

But when the two reunite to rebuild her career and finally scratch that itch that’s been building between them for years, Lorelai realizes a lot about what friends don’t do. For one, friends don’t have scratch-that-itch sex. They also don’t almost-kiss on street corners, publish secret erotic poetry about each other, have counter-top sex, write songs for each other, have no-strings motorcycle sex, or go on dates. And they sure as heck don’t fall in love… right?

First Line:

It takes me approximately five minutes to find Lorelai Jones, recently spurned country music princess, let loose in Nashville.

Friends Don’t Fall in Love by Erin Hahn

Important things you need to know about the book:

Pace: The pacing of Friends Don’t Fall in Love was a nice medium pace. There was next to no lag, and the storyline flowed smoothly.

Trigger/Content Warning: There are a couple of trigger warnings in Friends Don’t Fall in Love. If any of these trigger you, I suggest not reading the book. They are:

  • School Shootings/Gun Violence: Lorelai’s backstory and main storyline heavily refer to school shootings. Lorelai is a 3rd-grade teacher and recounts monthly lockdown drills. Her career ended because of backlash that she got from singing Neil Young’s Ohio (lyrics here).
  • Chronic Illness: Lorelai had been diagnosed with Celiac Disease 6 months before the main storyline began. There is a scene when Lorelai flares up after eating non-gluten-free food.

Sexual Content: Friends Don’t Fall in Love is a very spicy romance with explicit scenes.

Language: There is mild to moderate swearing in Friends Don’t Fall in Love.

Setting: Friend’s Don’t Fall in Love is mainly set in Nashville, Tennessee. But there are a couple of chapters that are set in Michigan.

Representation:  There is LGBTQ representation. Craig’s employee is gay and is married. Lorelai’s agent is a lesbian and is also married.

Tropes: Friends to Lovers, Unrequited Love, Opposites Attract

Age Range to read Friends Don’t Fall in Love: I would suggest 21 and over for this book. The sex scenes are very explicit and very spicy.

Plot Synopsis (as spoiler-free as I can get):

Lorelai Jones was an up-and-coming country star, and she had it all: a thriving career, dedicated fans, and a superstar fiancee. But that all went up in smoke after she sang a protest song. Her career was over, and her superstar fiancee dumped her over Instagram. Five years later, Lorelai decides that she wants to make a comeback. She contacts Craig, her best friend and ex-fiance’s former songwriter, and enlists his help.

Craig has been in love with Lorelai for years. Content just being in the friend zone, he will bend over backward for her. That includes producing a new record for her. But, as they work closely together, Lorelai realizes that her feelings for Craig aren’t ones of friendship. Deciding to act on those feelings, she and Craig enter a new, unexplored area of their relationship. Can Lorelai and Craig keep their feelings for each other to just the bedroom? Or will Lorelai lose her best friend for good?

Main Characters

Lorelai Jones: I liked her. She was spunky, and she wasn’t afraid to let people know what she was feeling. Before she hit it big, Lorelai was a 3rd-grade teacher, and doing lockdown drills affected her. So, when she sang that protest song (with permission from her manager), she did it from the viewpoint of a former teacher. She wasn’t expecting the backlash. I give her credit for trying to make it again in Nashville after agents refused to sign her. But, and I stress this, I was a little “are you serious” when it came to Craig’s feelings for her. How can you not know that man was head over heels for you? It wasn’t like he was hiding his feelings (spoiler: he wasn’t). I couldn’t believe it took her six years to admit she had feelings for him, too.

Craig “Huck” Boseman: I liked Craig. He was written as an ordinary guy. He wasn’t athletic, was quite nerdy, and was in touch with his feelings. I mean, he wrote erotic poetry!!! He is portrayed as a pushover at the beginning of the book. It didn’t stay that way (he eventually started establishing boundaries). My only quibble with him was his relationship with Lorelai. He had been friend-zoned after that night they had, and he was content to keep it that way. When they made that jump from friends to lovers, I was a little scared for him. He was a sensitive guy, and I was worried that Lorelai would steamroll over his feelings.

Secondary characters: The secondary characters did add extra depth and nuance to Friends Don’t Fall in Love. Some characters explained Lorelai’s music backstory. Others explained Craig’s backstory, and still others added depth to their feelings and storylines.

My review:

Friend’s Don’t Fall in Love was a well-written book that glued me to my Kindle. I enjoyed reading about Lorelai and Craig’s romantic relationship and friendship. I also enjoyed reading about Nashville and the country music industry. I also agreed with the point the author was making with Lorelai singing the protest song. This book will be going into my read-again pile.

The main storyline centers on Lorelai, her fall from fame, her work to get back into Nashville’s music scene, and her relationship with Craig. I thought it was well written. I was invested in Lorelai and wanted her to succeed. I wanted her to show all her critics the middle finger while she regained her status as an up-and-coming country star. I also wanted her relationship with Craig to work in the worst way.

The romance angle was perfect (chef’s kiss). I liked that the author chose to have Craig and Lorelai have a close friendship before they got involved. It made them getting romantically involved much more believable to me. I also liked that Lorelai was the one who had to come to terms with her feelings instead of Craig. It was refreshing to read.

As I stated a few times above, the sex scenes in Friends Don’t Fall in Love are spicy and explicit. The author does mention it on the book’s Goodreads page, but I read that after I finished the book. So, I was a little surprised at how raunchy it got.

The end of Friends Don’t Fall in Love was perfect in every way. The author wrapped everything up in a way that I loved and made me smile.

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin, NetGalley, and Erin Hahn for allowing me to read and review this ARC of Friends Don’t Fall in Love. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

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