Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Review: The Pact by Karina Halle

Series: Standalone
Release Date: December 28, 2014
Publisher: Metal Blonde Books
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: From Author for Review
Rating: ★★★★ ½

It all started with a pinky swear…

Linden McGregor is tall, rugged, and gunslinger handsome; a helicopter pilot with a Scottish brogue and charm to spare. He’s also one of Stephanie Robson’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as she’s known him.

Beautiful, funny and an ambitious businesswoman (with one hell of an ass), Stephanie Robson is one of Linden McGregor’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as he’s known her.

But some relationships can’t be boxed, can’t be classified, can’t be tamed.

Back in their mid-twenties and tired of the competitive hit-or-miss dating scene of San Francisco, Steph and Linden made a pact to marry each other if neither one of them are in a serious relationship by the time they hit thirty.

It sounds like fun and games but as the years to thirty tick past and lovers come and go out of their lives, the pact becomes larger than life.

Sex is inevitable. Friendships are tested. Hearts are on the line.

The pact is about to change everything.

There's something about friends to lovers romances that always grabs my attention. Stories that center around this romance trope not only focuses on the budding love story, but the strong ties of friendship that exists between two people. Karina Halle exhibits this perfectly in THE PACT, where two best friends make a promise to marry each other if they both aren't in serious relationships by the time they turn thirty. At the time the pact is made, neither really takes the pact all too seriously; but as the years go by, and the idea of it coming true, their story becomes more intense and turns into a page-turning romance that I could not put down. 

“If neither of us are in a serious relationship by the time we are both thirty,” he says, looking at me so dead in the eye that I can’t help but hold my breath, “then we agree to marry each other. Agree?”

I find my voice. “Agree."

Told in dual POV, Halle takes us through the duration of Stephanie Robson and Linden McGregor's friendship. The book starts off with the night Linden proposes the pact to Stephanie when they are both twenty-five years old, and then moves us along through the years until they turn thirty. Nothing really changes between Stephanie and Linden after they make the pact. They continue with their lives, pursue their dreams and stay the best of friends like they've always been. Linden eventually gets his pilots license and Stephanie fulfills her dream of owning her own clothing store. But even with all of the professional goals they had accomplished Stephanie and Linden each failed to fulfill one aspect of their lives - their love lives. As the two get older and closer to their thirty year landmark, Stephanie and Linden both start to think more about the pact they had made all those years ago, and wonder if it would be possible to be in a relationship with your best friend. 

Sometimes, when he looks at me, I can swear something in him has changed. The glances are more intense, his eyes seem molten and charged. Sexual.

And I like it. I love it. I want it. I want there to be this change, for this to be a thing because then maybe, maybe I would act on it. Maybe I would take that chance and turn him into something more than a friend.

One of the things that I loved about THE PACT is that Halle lets Stephanie and Linden go on with their lives like how it was naturally supposed to go even without the pact. It never felt like they were being forced to be this couple in a time of their lives when they weren't supposed to. They each needed to grow up a little more and learn how how to make relationships work. They needed this time to figure out that the thing they had been searching for had always been around but they were too scared to take the chance. Even though they might have been in different relationships throughout the years, Stephanie and Linden's friendship stood the test of time. They had some rough moments with cheating boyfriends or bitchy girlfriends, but they continued to be there for each other, like how friends should be. 

The romance between Stephanie and Linden was really palpable and realistic. The banter between these two was so much fun to read. Linden always had something quick witted to day and Stephanie always had  The little crushes here and there, and the shared glances really made for some great sexual tension throughout the book. Halle does a great job of building up the tension between these two that by the time they actually get together, a dam was about ready to burst out of my chest. The first time these two kissed, I was ready to start singing hallelujah and praise the lord. When Linden lets his sexual prowess loose on Stephanie, my panties self-destructed. The filthy mouth on that Scottie is so damn hot. Every dirty word that came out of his mouth had my face burning up. Seriously, this hot Scottie can talk dirty to me any time he wants. 

Karina Halle shows us a new dimension to her writing talent in THE PACT, and demonstrates that she can do the light and "fluffy" romance without compromising her integrity. For a writer that's well-known for darker and grittier stories, Halle does exceptionally well with the fun and light hearted contemporary romance. The chemistry between Linden and Stephanie crackles with pure energy and intensity that it was impossible for me to put this page-turning romance down. Like with all Karina Halle books, Stephanie and Linden's story hits you hard but also leaves you feeling fulfilled and giddy with every bit of goodness that it comes with. The book was filled with lots of great moments where you witness the strong bond between Stephanie and Linden, and also the moments where you just wanted to bash their heads in. Their journey to love wasn't easy or stress free, it was filled with lots of highs, lows, and lots of emotions. Halle doesn't just let them reach their HEA overnight, she makes them work for it and puts them through some tests before they get to the point where you want to skip and prance with glee. THE PACT is an electrifying sweet, fun, and sizzling romance that no new or seasoned romance reader should miss. I highly suggest that you pick this book up today and end your year on a high note.

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