An interesting mix that blends the ‘small town” sensibilities we’ve come to know with the Bradens at Weston, Colorado series, but Melissa Foster opens horizons for our characters by taking them into the unforgiving world of fashion design in New York. Narrated again by B.J. Harrison, please read on for my review of
Friendship on Fire
Josh Braden always was a bit different from everyone else in his family, he sees life through the eyes of a designer, a fashion designer. He’s got a successful business, a full staff, a growing reputation as a designer and women falling at his feet. What he doesn’t have is the ability to ignore the new assistant, a part of a family that has been embroiled in difficulties with his own back home in Colorado.
Riley Banks has her own dreams of design, and a gentle (or not so) push from Rex and Jade convince Josh to look at her work. He’s surprised at her talent, and knows that she just needs a mentor and some help to learn the ins and outs, before launching her own career. Even though she’s intrigued (and hides a long- standing crush) by Josh, she’s completely surprised when he offers her a chance to learn the business from the inside – and work her way up. He’s got an assistant perfectly poised to help her in Claudia, and it won’t be that difficult to help someone from ‘home’.
Oh the tensions were strong in this one. Let’s completely ignore the forbidden “boss / employee” angle, especially in the media heavy world of design and just focus on the prevalence of models, media and sycophants all willing to suck up to the boss in order to rise to the top. Then add in the less than welcoming (and often devious) machinations of Riley’s mentor Claudia, and the repeated barbs and ‘first to the story’ moments that Claudia has with Josh. Oh and add in an electric attraction to Josh, the chemistry smokes between these two, and mix in a bit of “keep it secret”. You can’t help but see Riley’s concern that the relationship, while hidden, is most probably more intense because they are keeping it secret. But, to Josh’s favor, when the plot comes to crisis point and Riley is accused of stealing designs – he’s willing to look at everything and everyone, not giving Riley a pass but a chance. While the mystery isn’t difficult to solve, the increase in tension and the use of that crisis to bring the characters to their tipping point, where every step will determine their future is well done, and shows the power of the connection between Riley and Josh for what it is: true, honest and palpable, despite the difficulties in situation and appearance.
Narrated by B.J, Harrison, the continuity in narrator is commendable, allowing for a familiar feel to each character’s voice, my ears are screaming out for variation and a bit more of the interplay in the back and forth that comes with a two-person narration. It’s not that Harrison’s ability is lacking, his female voices are credible and not overdone, the male voices are clear and each character does present as distinct in pitch and tone, but the pacing, the speed at which someone speaks or responds, is calling out for more variation. Fast paced moments in dialogue weren’t as rapid-fire as expected (or often needed) simply because the switch between characters doesn’t allow for that transition. The narration as it stands is workmanlike and consistent, never stretching to great or stooping to average, but I do believe that a change that incorporated another narrator into the mix would benefit this story greatly.
Stars: Overall 4 Narration 3 Story 4
Title: Friendship on Fire
Author: Melissa Foster
Series: The Bradens at Weston,
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Narrator: B.J. Harrison
Published by: Self-Produced, World Literary Press
Published on: 2 February 2015
Source: Audio Producer
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 45 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
Small-town overachiever Riley Banks has finally scored her big break—working in Manhattan as a fashion design assistant for her childhood crush, Josh Braden. She enters her new job hoping to make a name for herself and—just maybe—explore the romance that slipped through her fingers way back when.
Josh Braden has models at his beck and call, a staff that never says never, and an elegant clothing line for the holiday season. When he hires Riley Banks he expects her to learn the business from the ground up. But the girl next door turns out to be much more than he remembered.
Josh and Riley’s friendship heats up. Every steamy kiss, and every erotic caress stirs a love they cannot deny. But when Riley designs a wedding gown that would cause even the most jaded fashion editors to swoon, Riley's mentor accuses her of stealing the design.
Facing indisputable proof and the mistrust of her lover, Riley is not sure she can take the heat of life in the fast lane of the fashion industry—and Josh is forced to choose between the woman he loves and the career he adores.
See The Bradens at Weston, CO Series on Goodreads
A copy of this title was provided via Audio Producer for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.