Book Review – Always Been You by Nic Starr

Publisher: Indie
Pages: 125
Characters: Ben/Spencer
POV: 3rd
Genre: Contemporary Romance.

What if you fell in love with your best friend?

Ben Cooper has spent his life trying to make others happy and sacrificing his own dreams. When one fateful night with his best friend gives him a glimpse of what the future could be, he needs to find the courage to follow his heart.

One night gives Spencer Henderson a tantalising taste of the man he loves. But he doesn’t fit into Ben’s future plans—Spence is a complication. Running may be the only option to protect his heart.

With trouble escalating at home and Spence out of reach, Ben’s life will finally spiral out of control.

Always Been You is a standalone M/M romance between best friends who fear taking the next step in their relationship and need to find the courage to risk it all for their HEA. It features an emotional hurt/comfort theme.

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Nic Starr has been one of my go to authors for a sweet romantic read ever since I discovered her writing, and this story reminds me why. The characters and their story pulled me in immediately, and I quickly became invested in needing to make sure they got their happy ending, which made this a one night read for me.

This is a lovely sweet read with some emotional angst. Ben and Spencer are very likeable, although they both need to learn that communication makes things better and avoids a whole lot of strife. I loved the side characters too—they feel very real, and enrich the story as well as provide support for the MCs. Friends and family play a huge part in this story, which I think is one of its strengths.

Ben’s father is a total piece of work, and I thought the way he controlled and manipulated his family came across very well. I loved Spence’s mother. She’s not only very supportive, but a voice of reason too. I really felt for Suzy and the situation she finds herself in, and I liked her and Ben’s friendship.

An added bonus is the Australian setting. I love books set down under.

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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