Fake Friends (Never Just Friends #2) by Saxon James

From Goodreads:


Five years ago, I ruined the best thing I had in my life and ran.

Now, I’m finally back to make things right.

I need Circus’s forgiveness, and then maybe I can finally move on.

I’ll leave Sunbury for good this time and never look back. Maybe then I can finally live life as an out gay man—without my family ever finding out.

But earning his forgiveness isn’t as simple as I hoped it would be.

He’s going to make me fight for it.

And I don’t blame him at all.


I never wanted or expected to see Rowan Harvey again.

When he shows up in Sunbury, begging for forgiveness, I’m tempted to give it to him just so he’ll disappear.

Instead, we make a deal.

I need an extra model for a swimwear shoot, and none of my friends are available or fit the brief.

I’ll forgive him, if he helps me. Then he has to leave. For good.

Because his request for anonymity during the shoot proves he’s still living in his dark closet.

I’m not going to make the same mistakes I did when I was a teenager.

I won’t let myself fall for him again.

Because after how things ended between us, he doesn’t deserve a second chance.

What if the person who broke your heart came back, asking for your forgiveness? What if, after all these years, nothing had changed? Not their baggage and, most definitely, not your feelings?

That was Circus’s dilemma in the second book of the series Never Just Friends, titled Fake Friends. Circus was introduced in the first book as the friend who tried to discourage Roo from fooling around with the straight Tanner. Now, we know the reason behind that.

While the first book was enjoyable, I liked Fake Friends more. I wasn’t even a fan of the enemies-to-lovers trope, but the slow pace eased me into the story and the characters. I loved reading both Circus and Rowan as they worked through their issues and rebuilt their friendship. That kind of pace also served well in tackling their conflicts, and it also worked really well in intimate moments. I loved that glorious Polaroid scene during their trip which was both emotional and sensual to read.

Speaking of issues, it felt like Rowan’s overshadowed Circus’s. I understand that the central conflict stems from Rowan’s side, but Circus also had internal problems he had to sort through. His resolution happened in a breeze that felt lackluster. 

Another reason this book was enjoyable was that the characters were relatable. While I both love Circus and Rowan, I found myself cheering for the latter more. The guy’s been through so much as he struggled to keep both his identity and his family. I’m just so proud of him.

Still, Fake Friends was a satisfying read. Though it probably won’t be something I’d recommend if you needed to read something light. 

Have you read this book? If not, do you plan on reading this? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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