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Publisher's Summary

Roo:

Five years ago, I walked away from Sunbury, Oregon, and left my best friend behind. The move was supposed to get my life on track. I even had a list: Life-changing epilepsy surgery. Check. See the world. Check. Get over my straight best friend... Not exactly. 

No matter where I go or who I meet, I can't let Tanner go. I'm back to tell him how I feel. To get the closure I need once and for all. Only now I'm here and falling for him all over again, it's getting harder to say the words. Because once I have my closure, I'll be gone. And this time it will be for good. 

Tanner:

When my best friend, Roo, left for Australia, it was the worst day of my life. I thought we'd have each other always. But Roo needed the surgery so I let him go, thinking he'd come straight back. Five years is a long time. 

Now he's here, all I want is to hold on tight. I need to show him what he means to me. The problem is, I'm not exactly sure what that is. My draw to him has always been confusing and different - everyone in town says so. But I struggle to understand it. All I know is I won't survive him leaving again. And I'll do anything to make him stay. 

Contains mature themes.

©2020 Saxon James (P)2021 Tantor

What listeners say about Just Friends

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My Roo, Your Tanner, Gahhhh!

I love a good 'not just friends' storyline and this was that at its best! This adorable tale had one of my favorite scenes in any book... in a bar no less. Such beautiful moments of realization and vulnerability. Narrators were perfection. I searched for more from the author and both narrators!

2 people found this helpful

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Never just friends

Loved both characters from the start! Laugh out loud moments, just waiting for both of them to talk to each other!!! Once they sells so steamy nd just a very satisfying romance. Will defiantly be listening again

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fun along with romance

Friendship combined Romance gives this book a sweet vibe. Royse & Tanner have such a great friendship going on, so it's only natural that romance binds them together. Both narrators have done an excellent job creating this audiobook. Also Saxon has written a fabulous book. I highly recommend it to others.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Story is not beleivable.

This is another book ignorantly written by a young woman author for women readers using the M/M genre. I find that as is typical with women authors in this genre, Saxon James gets many things wrong. There are women authors who get these things correct, but James makes so many blunders that it becomes evident that she does not know what she is writing. I don't know any places in the United States or "Oregon" where best male friends kiss each other "hundreds" of times without realizing that they are both gay. As a swimmer of many decades, I can tell you that the closeness and frivolites that James writes her characters in this story in the pool scene would be completely out of the norm and borderline inappropriate in a public pool even if no one was around. As a gay man, I feel that James's treatment of her gay characters is not reasonable and feels like she wrote a M/F love story and changed the plumbing and gender of the female lead. I have read other M/M stories by women authors and have been entranced and impressed with their representation and depth of gay storylines. That is definitely not the case with Just Friends. Saxon James is not helping the genre. Her gay characters are 2-dimensional and not well rounded or believable. I suspect that she is somehow enamoured with some ideals from the genre and wants to participate. I find that she is not helping the genre or LGBTQ+ community and that she should stick to the M/F genre. If this story is any indication of her understanding M/M stories, she is woefully inadequate to the task of being an M/M author.

1 person found this helpful

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MM Best Friends to Lovers

This was just darling!! Wow, I loved it sooo much. It was low-angst, best friends to lovers, unrequited love and bi-awakening. First, Tanner was swoon-worthy with just how wonderful of a person he was. I really loved Roo as well, and thought he was mature through everything. I also loved that they didn't have the complete lack of communication that I would expect from this type of book. I loved it that they were able to talk through what they were feeling and there was not an unnecessary uncoupling. I also really, really enjoyed the side characters and cannot wait to read their stories. This narrations is one of my favorites, especially with two of my favorite narrators being Alexander Cendese & Kirt Graves!! Must read for sure.

1 person found this helpful

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Great couple and fabulous little town

Thoroughly enjoyed the setting of this book in the quirky town an hour from Portland Oregon. I'm a little surprised a couple this close to being codependent managed to survive 5 years apart, but I still had to cheer for them finding their HEA. Looking forward to the next one.

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A great start to a series! Roo & Tanner 💜

I love Roo and Tanner! This book made me swoon, tear up (I'm a sap) and laugh!

I really enjoyed the narration as well, this book was great for a road trip. I was smiling the whole drive.

Saxon James books are a must buy for me! 🤩

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Alexander Cendese’s narration just ruined it for me

Story is quite sweet, writing is pretty fitting and smooth. Kirt Graves’ narration was very enjoyable: the pace, depiction of characters, performance overall were really good.

But, Alexander’s narration of the book just ruined it for me. He sounded very rushed, and read so quickly that there was no room for breath. Transition between dialogues, characters, monologue were just jarring. There were many sweet moments and great internal struggles in the book, but Alexander’s narration just ruined them all.

I would have purchased the next two books in the series, but after realizing Alexander narrated them, I just decided gave them up. Quite disappointing.

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I didn't hate it.

The story was cute, but I wasn't a huge fan. The narration was decent, but I didnt like him as much as others.

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Good story. Good narration.

This was a sweet story with moderate angst. The characters were interesting, and the romance had a dash of steaminess.

The author did a nice job of portraying a demisexual character although the term wasn't actually used. I appreciate how the author highlights the challenges people face in life when they have hidden disabilities.

The thing about being dyslexic... Dyslexia is a little different for everyone. It's probably true that some people find reading to be extremely challenging, but it is dangerous to equate dyslexia with the inability to read. It took decades for me to realize that I was dyslexic rather than just an absentminded flutter head because I was taught that dyslexic people can't read. I read very well. I read very quickly. l have to read everything twice so I learned to skim and then read. Intellectually I understand the difference between right and left, but my brain constantly swaps them. I can't see the difference between trial and trail, but I can determine the difference by the context of a sentence. The point being, I could have saved myself an extra year of college if I had realized that I was dyslexic. Just because I could read didn't mean that letters and numbers didn't start moving around on the page without my permission. Sigh.

Anyway, this was an entertaining story with good performances by the narrators, Alexander Cendese and Kirt Graves.

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  • HMM
  • 06-22-22

Nothing special, poor audio

The story was as all romance stories go. It is hard to find quality but at least I finished this one.
The audio at times was unacceptable. At several points the errors were not deleted, resulting in both the error and the correct sentence read out loud. At one point there was a stretch of silence.
Cendese could have done better performing quotes as the author directed in his text. And both narrators did not sync their interpretations of the voices. The same characters were very, very different between both narrators.

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  • Jessica Scott
  • 10-07-21

Perfect

I loved it!
Both characters are likable, dreamy, funny, and authentic. I adored how this book wasn't about how being gay feels bad or wrong and doubtful and needed to be hidden, but it was pure love and trust. just how all types of love should be.
This book will make you believe in soulmates and how friendship can make you achieve everything you set to do.

As for the narrators... Alex was excellent!!! But Kirt was horrific... he seemed bored, unattached, slow, and just plain wrong. So terrible it almost made me stop hearing.

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  • Miss Dysfunktion
  • 02-27-22

Best friends to lovers

Just Friends is book one in the A Never Just Friends series, a best friends to lovers MM romance with one bed trope.

Roo and Tanner have been best friends since they were 11 years old.
Roo refused to Australia at the end of their senior year for surgery. Their friendship took a hit over the years but now Roo is back.
Tanner has always been straight, or so he thought.

Two best friends, one bed and a whole lot of history.

This is definitely a fluff type of book. It’s a good read and has some great elements.

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  • Wide Eyes, Big Ears!
  • 12-20-21

An interesting character but nothing else new

Tanner Everett can’t wait to see his BFF, Royce (Roo) Williams, again. The two were inseparable until Roo’s parents took him back to Australia for crucial brain surgery to alleviate his epilepsy seizures. It’s been five years and Roo is nervous about returning to Sunbury, OR, the town where he was teased abut his epilepsy and his close friendship with Tanner. He’s also nervous about coming out to his straight best friend. This second-chances / friends-to-lovers / gay-for-you romance was inoffensively pleasant and low-angst but the plot felt like it was going through the motions without much new to offer. Each chance for some drama or angst was resolved so effortlessly that it bleached the plot of colour. Tanner was thoroughly decent and likeable, but so ridiculously oblivious to his own infatuation that he seemed kind of dumb. Most readers will disagree with me, but Roo’s more neurotic personality - his glass half empty, worrying about an epilepsy relapse, disliking people’s focus on his illness, trying to fight off his forever-crush on Tanner but daring to hope - was the most real and interesting thing in this story … I could recognise myself and people I actually know in Roo. Two of my favourite audio narrators, Kirt Graves (as Roo) and Alexander Cendese (as Tanner), were well-chosen for their roles, but like many narrators, Kirt should not attempt an Aussie accent.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-03-21

Loved it

I felt close to Roo as I had an operation from a benign brain tumour when I was 17 so I became epileptic, but I had absent seizures which aren’t as bad as full on seizures. I also had the operation to stop the epilepsy when I was like 24 and I’m also an Aussie. I haven’t had a seizure for 6 years now but the doctor said anything is possible I could even have them if I fall pregnant but only time will tell. So I know what it’s like not to have a normal life and for friends and family to break down and cry while they watch me go through the seizures because there is nothing else they could do but wait. I also have a tattoo on my wrist saying Epileptic. I almost cried listening to this book sometimes with knowing similar feelings of what Roo was going through. Loved this book thank you

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • The Word Nerd Reviews
  • 04-26-21

A beautiful Friends to Lovers Story

I have a very large soft spot for a true Gay-For-You story. Where the ‘straight’ MC is really not interested in men per se, only the other MC. Add in inseparable friends from childhood and it’s a perfect blend. Neither Tanner or Royce (Roo) have ever formed an emotional and/or romantic connection with anyone else besides each other. Although Roo is perfectly aware of his feelings, Tanner is completely oblivious, and half the fun is watching him slowly catch up.
This book demonstrates the author’s wonderful sense of humour and comedic timing. The writing just flows from page to page and it is well paced, ensuring the reader’s attention doesn’t drift. It shifts from moving quickly along from scene to scene, to slowing down and allowing the reader to revel in the romantic and emotional passages.

Narration:
I have read this book twice. The first time was a read through only with just the book. The second time, a few months later was with the audio using Kindle’s Whispersync function. The narrators, Alexander Cendese and Kirt Graves, did an amazing job of bring Tanner, Roo, and the rest of the cast to life.
I’m a huge fan of Alexander’s and I loved his take on Tanner. He was able to portray Tanner’s energy and exuberance for life, but also his confusion and complete obliviousness in regard to Roo, but once Tanner catches up, Alexander’s inflection of Tanner’s internal dialogue means that there is no denying how he feels for Roo. Kirt Graves made Roo sound exactly like he did in my head. Roo is a quieter character than Tanner. His lifelong battle with epilepsy, especially when he was younger, left him more introverted than the energetic and outgoing Tanner. Kirt managed to capture his personality without making him out to be a depressing or ‘downer’ character. He expressed beautifully Roo’s hope for returned feelings from Tanner, but with the underlining emotion that it likely wasn’t going to happen.
For me the narration pushed this book from really, really good to absolutely amazing!

Regardless of how you enjoy this book, I’d highly recommend checking it out. It’s one of those feel good books that just leaves you with a smile on your face, and that is the absolutely best type of book!