Roomies with Benefits
by Ali Parker
“Roomies with Benefits” by Ali Parker is an ‘Always You’ novel but it can be read as a standalone story. It’s a friends-to-lovers, slow-burn love story with a lot of angst and drama.
Zoe and Riggs have been best friends since they were about 10 years old. Sometimes life interferes with them staying in touch, but when they get back in communication again, it’s like not a day has passed. As the story begins, Zoe is actually engaged, and her engagement is ended by something terrible she discovers about her fiance. She needs a place to stay while she figures her life out, and Riggs has a house full of extra bedrooms – so when he offers, she accepts. Each of them has secretly crushed on the other, and now close proximity provides irresistible temptation. But they both also value their friendship above just about everything else in their lives, and if they start a romantic relationship, they could put that friendship at risk if the romance fizzled. And so begins the mishaps of seeking romantic partners for one another. While they are doing that, they still can’t resist one another.
This book was a little difficult to review because it’s a complicated story. Each of the lead characters tries on other relationships, and the failed attempts reinforce their feelings for one another. Riggs is such a great guy, always trying to do the right thing. Zoe is a little irritating at times because she can’t seem to see what’s right in front of her – but then you have to remember the trauma she’s been through. There’s “other man” and “other woman” drama (multiple times), and situations that basically amount to cheating although it’s a fine line because no verbal commitments had been made. The secondary characters range from amusing to entertaining to kind of crazy. Riggs has a wonderful grandmother who was my favorite secondary character out of them all. When Zoe and Riggs get to the place of having their “happy ever after”, the emotional turmoil was all worth it.