Novella Review: Neighbors by LS Murphy

Neighbors (Entangled Flirts)

May Contain Spoilers


I read Neighbors while I was having my new furnace installed.  I needed something quick to distract me from barking dogs and all of the clanging, banging, and other mysterious noises emanating from the basement.  I find it extremely distracting to have complete strangers in my house, tearing things apart and then miraculously putting things back together.  So did the dogs.  Do they really know what they are doing down there?  

Rena Woods is late for a meeting when CJ Riker blocks her car with his moving van.  Rena can’t help but find the surly Riker attractive; too bad he has a chip the size of a semi on his shoulder.  This couple definitely gets off on the worst foot possible.  Riker seems to take pleasure jerking her chain, and Rena can’t help but respond in the most negative ways possible.  She wonders why he is so nice to everyone else and so mean to her,  and she wonders how he lost his leg.  After receiving a death glare when she’s caught staring at his prosthesis, she knows better than to ask.

This is a nice little story.  At about 60 pages, the romance develops slowly, but very believably.  Rena and Riker go from being enemies to reluctant friends, to jogging buddies.  I enjoyed watching as their friendship blossomed because they had a lot of issues to work through first.  Neither of them has much trust when it comes to romantic partners, and neither is looking for a long-term relationship.  Before they realize what’s happened, though, their friendship has strengthened and they are wondering if there might be more there-if they are willing to fight for it.  Rena has to work especially hard at gaining Riker’s trust.  Since his injury, he doesn’t look kindly on pity, and he’s always afraid that’s the first emotion he’s going to gain from a new acquaintance.

Rena is struggling to get her interior design firm on the map, and I enjoyed reading about her trials with her clients.  I liked her POV, and would have liked spending more time with both Riker and Rena.  Maybe we can visit with them again when Josh gets to star in his own romance(fingers crossed).  Because of the short length, there isn’t a lot of time to analyze Riker and Rena’s relationship.  This makes the story less complicated than a longer work, but it didn’t detract from my reading experience at all.  All of the pieces to Rena and Riker’s relationship fall smoothly together, after their rough start, and I liked that.

Final verdict?  Neighbors worked successfully to keep me preoccupied, and prevented me from wondering why the furnace installers were making so much noise in the basement.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Rena Woods has a great life. She recently landed the contract to decorate the home of basketball wife, Cecilia Hood, her business is growing, and this contract could make her the elite decorator in St. Louis. Rena’s sacrificed her personal life for her company without a single regret. When Staff Sergeant C.J. Riker moves in across the hall, Rena can’t stand to be around him. He may be on the volcanic side of hot, but his attitude sucks. Riker does whatever he can to get under Rena’s skin.

After a massive blow to her business sends Rena on a self-destructive binge, Riker is there to save her from doing something she might regret. Could there be more to Riker than meets the eye? And will he open up enough to Rena to tell her how he lost his leg or shut out love forever?

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