Charlie sunshineRating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

After his two roommates found their true loves and moved out, Charlie Burroughs is moving in with his best friend, Misha Lebedinsky. The two have been incredibly close since childhood, rely upon one another, and are very loyal to each other. Misha is the one who is there for Charlie when he has complications from his epilepsy and when he has relationship trouble. And Charlie is Misha’s rock when he handles the burdens of his family responsibilities. Charlie brings light and sunshine into Misha’s life, and Misha brings strength and caring to Charlie.

The two men have never thought of one another as more than friends, but when Charlie moves into Misha’s apartment, suddenly both men start looking at one another differently. They each slowly realize that there is an attraction blooming, one that makes them both nervous as they are hesitant to risk their very close friendship. Having someone know every little thing about you is different when they are a friend than a lover. But the attraction between the men grows fierce and soon there is no way either man can stop from acting on their feelings. Now, Charlie and Misha need to figure out if they can move their relationship from best friends to lovers, and if they are very lucky, they can have both in one.

Charlie Sunshine is the second book in Lily Morton’s Close Proximity series. We have met Charlie briefly in past books as he used to live with Jesse from Best Man and Eli from Gideon. However, while Jesse does make a few appearances here, you don’t need to have read either of the other books to enjoy this one.

I love this take on the friends to lovers trope and Morton does a wonderful job of establishing the incredibly close bond between the friends. I could feel their connection immediately and there is a sweetness and tenderness between them, even from the more prickly Misha. Even as Misha is hard and puts up walls with others, with Charlie he is so caring and doting, without being too smothering. It is just that he lets his heart show with Charlie and isn’t afraid to be open with how he feels. The first portion of the book focuses on the men as they slowly come to realize that their feelings have moved on from friendship. The pacing here worked for me because the issue isn’t a hesitancy to get involved so much as a lack of awareness of how they are feeling. Also, the conflict early on focuses mostly on complications Charlie is having with his epilepsy, so we aren’t just waiting for these guys to figure things out as there are other conflicts that take center stage.

Once Misha and Charlie finally act on their attraction, it is so sweet and sexy. As I said, Misha is just so open with Charlie in a way he isn’t with others. They are fun and dirty and sexy together, and I enjoyed seeing them excitedly explore being together and acting on their feelings.

My only slight criticism here is that part of the conflict for both Misha and Charlie at various points is that they think Misha is dealing with a lot of responsibility helping to take care of his mom and teenage twin sisters, so he is not ready or interested in the responsibility of a relationship. But I did feel that this needed more exploration. We see at one point Misha called home for a family meeting to discuss trouble one of his sisters is in, but it isn’t a huge crisis and, after the initial meeting, is never discussed again. Misha doesn’t seem weighed down or stressed by it, there is literally nothing required of him other than listening, and it is over basically before it starts. There are no other examples where Misha seems to be dealing with having to take care of his family, nor do we hear about past situations. So I feel like for this to be the focus of a major story conflict, I wanted to see more development of the issue.

Overall, I just loved this one. You all probably know I am a huge Lily Morton fan and this is a nice addition to this series. I loved Misha and Charlie together and adored their mix of sweet and sexy. Definitely recommended.

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