Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“That’s Maliki’s thing—always wanting me to look at him, to keep that eye contact. He wants to read me—read my eyes, my heart, every emotion bleeding through me.”
Just Roommates is my first foray into Charity Ferrell’s world of the “just” heroes. It’s important for me to note that because this is the fifth book in this series of standalones. I came to this world without any prior knowledge of her Blue Beech inhabitants, and you’ll be happy to know that it didn’t affect the story in any way. Yes, there are people mentioned in the story who have other stories in this world, but Ferrell does a fine job of helping us understand the relationships between the characters. This is enough for reading Malaki and Sierra’s story.
At eighteen, Sierra, the mayor’s daughter, is attracted to the “town’s bartending heartbreaker,” Malaki. One night, when she is eighteen, she accompanies her best friend to the bar Malaki owns. Unfortunately, being underage, Malaki discovers her and forces her to leave his bar, after she puts up a bit of a fight. A couple of years later, Sierra once again shows up in Malaki’s bar, still underage. Like the first time, Malaki forces her out of his bar. On her twentiest-first birthday, Sierra goes to Malaki’s bar; this time, she is legal. Through these moments, a fraught friendship is formed.
When an unexpected event occurs in Sierra’s life a year or so later, Malaki allows Sierra to become his roommate, but their chemistry wreaks havoc on their friendship. Is Malaki attracted to Sierra like she is to him? Will he ever be someone who can settle down, or will he always be the “bartending heartbreaker?” Will circumstances outside of their relationship derail any future they might have together? These are the big questions of Charity Ferrell’s Just Roommates.
“I can read you like my favorite book, Sierra. I see you—the real you—and as much as you fight to hide every thought running through that pretty little head from me, I see it.”
Front and center to Ferrell’s book is Malaki and Sierra’s chemistry. It is clear from their first meeting in the book that sparks fly between the two of them. Even with Sierra being only an 18 year old, you cannot help but see a future for the two of them. Ferrell crafts their relationship in such a way that you can’t help but feel the tension between the two of them. When they finally act upon their feelings for each other, no one is surprised, and it makes it easy for them to fall in love quickly. It’s been developing on the page since almost the beginning of the book. As individual characters, there isn’t anything exceptional about Malaki and Sierra. To be honest, they are fairly flat characters, types of romantic heroes/heroines. It’s their coupling that makes them interesting. They are the reason the reader continues to read the story.
Charity Ferrell isn’t necessarily creating a new story with her book. Instead, she crafts plot “bumps” to compel her reader forward. Quite frankly, she throws quite a bit at Malaki and Sierra. When you finally feel that they are safe to live happily-ever-after, Ferrell twists the story, keeping her readers on their toes. It’s those twists along with their coupling that engages the reader until the end.
“She’s mine, and I’ll hand her every damn secret, every thought in my head, every move I make if it means keeping her.”
I imagine that, had I read the other “Just” books, I might have adored this story more. Without the background, Ferrell’s book is a nice read. It isn’t trying to do anything more than entertain you through the love of Malaki and Sierra. I would definitely recommend a read, especially if you’ve read Charity Ferrell’s other books in this series. Just Roommates will remind you of everything you love about Blue Beech.
In love and romance,