Title: One Song Away
Author: Molli Moran
Release Date: December 1, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
ARC Received From & Reviewed For: Molli Moran
She needs a fill-in boyfriend. He needs a favor. It’s the perfect, no-strings arrangement until they both realize it’s too real…
Sophie-Claire Wright’s life is like a bad country song on repeat. She keeps running into her cheating ex, her songwriting career isn't taking off, and her roommate just kicked her out of their apartment. With nothing to lose, she decides to do the one thing she said she’d never do: she moves back home. She left her small Southern town with big dreams, but now she’s going home with empty pockets.
Life moves at a slower pace in Sophie’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it hometown, but her well-meaning, matchmaking mama doesn't have a slow gear. Sophie invents a boyfriend to hold off her mother’s efforts, but she’s out of luck when her mom wants to meet him. Sophie panics until she runs into Jake Cooper. Her high school crush (and former best friend) is back in town, too, and when he asks her for a favor, she agrees...on one condition. He says he’ll be her fill-in boyfriend, so it should be simple: re-introduce him to her family and then “break up” with him after a few weeks.
Sophie is sure she’ll be able to resist Jake this time. Sure, she was in love with him years ago, but that was then. This is now, no matter how great he looks, or how she feels around him. But she didn't bargain for moments that feel all too genuine. Dates that don’t seem fake. Kisses that leave her shaken and wanting more. Sweet moments where she forgets they aren't really dating. And she didn't count on old feelings resurfacing and complicating their arrangement—which is starting to feel less like acting and more like the real deal.
Soon, Sophie can’t tell which kisses are real or fake, but she knows she’s in deep...and she thinks Jake is, too. When she gets a chance to go back to Nashville and chase her dreams again, she has a choice to make: stay or go? Continue hoping that the life she wants is one song away, or finally write her own song?
Sophie and Jake's story actually began years ago, when they were kids and best friends. Life took them in different directions--Jake to see the world, Sophie to Nashville to be a singer-songwriter--but it also brought them back home. They pick up where they left off, rebuilding their friendship that had gone cold due to time and distance. For Sophie though, a renewed friendship with Jake also brought back feelings she'd had for him when she was younger, feelings that have not changed but have gotten stronger. Their boyfriend-girlfriend relationship is a ploy but it become increasingly obvious that it isn't, not for Sophie at least.
Despite this story being told from only Sophie's POV, there were a lot of hints that Jake might possibly feel more than friendship toward her. His possessiveness at a dance was one, his deflection of another woman's attention another, and his desire to kiss and touch Sophie yet another. The first, I chalked up to him being a good friend. The other two, I decided were a necessity for their fake relationship to appear real. Then I started to wonder if maybe, just maybe, he felt more than friendship toward Sophie. Seemed like it, especially when he refused the other woman's kiss.
There is one section of this story that reminded me of how realistic fictional characters can be. After Jake turns down the other woman, he says something that, unbeknownst to him, Sophie hears and it's a huge turning point for them. While that truly is an "Aw..." moment doused in a healthy chorus of sighs, that's not why it served as a reminder. Sophie's reaction was. See, she didn't turn into mush, or run after him and tell him she heard everything, or jump and down with joy. She did the opposite: she shut him out.
That saying, "Shit just got real," definitely applied here, lol. I was both amused and relieved by her reaction. Why? For me, it showed just how much she wanted it to be real but also how unprepared she was for it to actually be real.
Throughout the entire story was Sophie's dream of becoming a singer-songwriter. It was why she left for Nashville in the first place. I wanted her to have her dream, especially after her ex blew into town and made her the deal of a lifetime, but I also wanted her to have her moment in the sun while she was home, showcase her talent in front of her friends and her family. She got her chance and used it to convey her decision on whether or not she was going to take up her ex's offer.
The first time I read a Molli Moran story, I was astounded at how relative it was. The characters, settings, and situations, were real. This story follows that formula. It delivers a beautiful friends-to-lovers tale that someone out there will be able to identify with. It reminds us that sometimes the love and happiness a person wants isn't found abroad but in their own backyard.
Molli is a Southern author who doesn't consider her day complete if she hasn't written. She loves coffee and talking fast, things she attributes to being raised by Gilmore Girls. She's a romantic at heart, and brings that to her books, which are usually about quirky characters chasing after their happily ever after. Although content when reading, she can often be found watching and flailing over Doctor Who, cuddling her various pets, or spending time with friends, family, or her girlfriend. Molli loves Oxford commas, country music, Stefan Salvatore, and scarves.