Today I am so pleased to welcome J.K. Hogan to Joyfully Jay. J.K. has come as part of our Friends & Enemies to Lovers Week to talk to us about her release, Unbreak Broken (Coming About, Book 3), as well as her own friends to lovers story. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
A Friends-to-Lovers Story from Author J.K. Hogan
Hey y’all! Happy friends-to-lovers week! I have to say, F2L is one of my all-time favorite tropes, along with enemies-to-lovers. Something about the closeness that builds up between friends just gets to me. My last release, Unbreak Broken, was an F2L story, as is the one I’m currently working on. But probably one of the reasons this theme is so close to my heart, is because my husband and I have our own F2L story!
At the end of my sophomore year of college, I had been in a relationship since the beginning of my senior year of high school. We were struggling with the distance—only a two hour drive, but I was in school full time and he was working full time—and other things. I loved my school and the town that I was in, but I’ve always been a homebody and with the additional stress of my failing relationship, I couldn’t take being away from home anymore. I decided to transfer to a college in my home town, and if you’ve ever done that before, you know what a pain in the ass it is! Almost immediately after that, my boyfriend of three years dropped me like a hot potato.*
It was then that I realized I’d sort of been absorbed into his life. I barely had my own interests or life goals, and I had no idea what to do next! After making a list of all the things I could think of that interested me, I decided to do two things that changed my life forever: I applied for a job at an equestrian center (horses!) and I started writing my first book.
The equestrian center was one of those places that did guided trail rides through a county park, so I’d basically be riding and taking care of horses for a living. I loved this job so much, it probably saved me from becoming completely depressed. I had some amazing experiences and I met tons of great people, many of whom will be lifelong friends. One of those people was my now-husband J. As I got to know him, I eventually realized we had shared a combination 5th/6th grade class in elementary school—he’s the younger one. He didn’t remember me at the time, but I rarely forget a face so I didn’t hold it against him. We became friends even though we only worked together during the summers, as J was a college student in Wisconsin—a heck of a long way from North Carolina!—and he would come home on breaks and during the summer to work at the barn.
J had a long term girlfriend, and I had a crush on one (or two or three) of the cowboys who worked at the barn, so we didn’t really have any romantic attachment. One night, a group of us trail guides went to the local cowboy bar to drink and dance, and J’s girlfriend came along. I’ll be diplomatic since this post will be public, but she was not…pleasant, to say the least. Not too long after that night, they broke up. J opened up to me about all of the awful things she’d said and done, and I was outraged—as a girl who had ended up with a string of awful guys, it made me angry to see someone treat a perfectly nice guy so badly. I told him if he ever wanted to make her jealous, he could call me. (Believe it or not, I didn’t mean it as a come on! I was being totally serious about the jealousy thing, but I was informed later that it totally sounded like a come on.)
Well, one day he did call me. The first time we hung out as maybe possibly more than friends was at a McDonalds. Ha! Then we spent a couple of nights swimming and talking all night at my parents’ house on the lake. But of course, J had to go back to—you guessed it—Wisconsin! After our first phone call across state lines, I was officially in another long distance relationship. We talked on the phone all the time, and webcammed before Skype was a thing. I went to visit him in Wisconsin whenever I could and he came home for breaks.
Long story short (sort of), the day after Christmas the year he graduated and moved back home, we got engaged. We were married that next September at the historical homestead in the same park as the equestrian center, including several of our friends from the barn—both horse and human—in the wedding. Now we’ve been married for ten years, have two beautiful boys and lots of animals, and he’s still my best friend.
*Though I had hurt feelings for a long time over this and many other things, I have reconciled with my ex in recent years and wish him the best. He bravely served our country in an Afghanistan and was badly injured during an IED explosion. He’s doing well now and we thank him for his service.
Rory Donovan’s life is a hot mess. His marriage is failing and he’s in intensive psychotherapy, working through the unfortunate side effects of memories from a childhood trauma. The only thing good in his life right now is his job—teaching photography to gifted high school students.
Harbor Patrol officer Bennett Foster is co-parenting his teenage daughter with his high school best friend Jessie. When he meets Addison’s teacher and realizes they’ve met before, he can’t get the sexy stranger out of his head.
Striking up a sexual-tension-filled friendship, together they must help an angsty teenager deal with a dying friend. Bennett must keep his little family from falling apart while Rory struggles to come to terms with his new reality. Somewhere along the way, most unexpectedly…love happens.
J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them. J.K. is hoping to one day have a little something for everyone, so she’s branched out from m/f paranormal romance and added m/m contemporary romance. Who knows what’s next?
J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives in the country with her husband and two sons, a cat, and two champion agility dogs. If she isn’t on the agility field, J.K. can often be found chasing waterfalls in the mountains with her husband, or down in front at a blues concert. In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading! For more information, please visit www.jkhogan.com.