Title: The Best Friend Problem
Author: Mariah Ankenman
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Prudence Carlson has been lucky in life. A fulfilling wedding-planning business run with her girlfriends in Colorado, plus the best guy friend ever in her firefighter bestie Finn. All that’s missing from it is a baby. Luckily, it’s the twenty-first century—Pru can take matters into her own hands. She doesn’t need to find true love to create the future love of her life.
Except all this talk of babies and insemination and...Pru and Finn cross a line they never expected to. Sure, one night of passion won’t change their close friendship. Until Pru goes in for a fertility check-up to find… she’s already pregnant.
As best friends, Pru and Finn have survived college, new jobs, and bad breakups, but can they survive crib shopping, birth classes, and late-night cravings?
Especially when Finn has never considered himself even remotely Daddy material?
“Um, actually, can we talk first?”
He nearly dropped the food but managed to keep hold of the bag and deposit it on the coffee table. Can we talk was never followed by anything good. From anyone. He turned to see Pru standing just inside his apartment, a slight frown marring her face.
“Is something wrong?”
She hugged his dog tight to her. Bruiser had nudged her face into Pru’s midsection, sniffing around like the woman had bacon in her pockets or something. Crazy dog, didn’t she know he had all the food?
“No, I mean, yes. I mean...maybe?”
How could something be maybe wrong?
“Come here.” He held out his hand, and she came willingly into his embrace. Bruiser yipped when he accidently squeezed too tight, squishing the tiny dog between them. “Sorry, Bru baby.”
He pulled back to stare down at Pru’s worried face. For one moment, her familiar features morphed into the face of the poor woman who’d died in the crash. He shook his head, banishing the image. It happened sometimes. When he experienced a traumatic scene, the images popped up at unexpected times. He was still decompressing. Death, even the death of a stranger, left an impact.
As hard as it was for him, he knew it was a million times worse for the poor woman’s family. The exact reason he didn’t want a family of his own. He’d seen the devastation losing a loved one caused first hand. But Pru wasn’t dead on the pavement somewhere. She was fine. Here, in his apartment. Worried about something, but not dead.
“No matter what it is, everything will be okay.”
“I know.” She took a deep breath, stepping back. “Have some food first. Then we’ll talk.”
Right, like he’d be able to eat one bite now knowing something was bothering her. But bodily functions sometimes trumped nerves, and somehow Finn found himself devouring the delicious meal in less than ten minutes. Pru had her usual beef and bean burrito, which she ate while sneakily feeding bits of meat to Bruiser, who had yet to leave the woman’s lap.
“You want a drink?”
She held up her bag, pulling her water bottle out from the side pouch. “I’m good.”
“Okay, so what did you want to talk about?”
“Right, um, hold on.”
She dug through her purse, rifling about in the cavernous depths. He wondered what she could be searching for. For all he knew, she had a full cheesecake in there. He’d dug through that thing before in search of gum. He never found the gum, though he had found bandages, pens, a notepad with various numbers and calculations on it, a half-eaten granola bar, hand sanitizer, one of Bruiser’s chew toys, and a couple of tampons, which he first mistook for candy.
She laughed for a solid ten minutes when he asked if he could have one. He didn’t think he’d ever live down that embarrassment. But in his defense, he grew up with four brothers. How was he supposed to know what a tiny, packaged to-go feminine product looked like?
“Crap!” she exclaimed, but the curse was muffled by the bag. “Where is it? I had it all written down.”
She’d written down what she wanted to say to him? It must be important.
“I can’t be losing my mind already—it’s only been a few days.”
“Pru.” He placed a hand on her shoulder, pausing her frantic searching. “Just tell me what’s up.”
Abandoning her bag of mysteries, she glanced up, determination replacing the panic. There was his Pru.
Nothing could faze her for long. Not even losing whatever well-planned speech she’d prepared for him. Though why she thought she needed to plan out what she wanted to say was beyond him. They were best friends. She could say whatever she wanted. No planning required.
Could be about that night.
He swallowed the panic rising in his chest. Did she regret it? Want a repeat? Want to wipe it from her memory and pretend like it never happened? Honestly, he wasn’t sure which option freaked him out more.
“Okay, here goes.” She closed her eyes, taking a deep breath before opening them again and staring straight at him. “I’m pregnant.”
“Oh.” A myriad of emotions flew across his synapses in a matter of seconds: shock, happiness, worry, sadness. He wasn’t sure why that last one was in there, but he ignored it and focused on the most important one. “Congratulations! I didn’t even know you’d picked a donor yet.”
“I didn’t.” She shook her head. “I mean, I did, but I didn’t get to use his...um...donation.”
Now he was confused. He knew she was planning to get inseminated—still a weird thing to know about his best friend—but how could she be pregnant if she hadn’t picked a...
The reality of the situation sunk in.
Pru’s nervousness, her need to talk, the planned-out speech... She wasn’t just pregnant, she was pregnant with— “You mean, I’m the... You and me... We...” Apparently, the only thing it took to turn him into a blubbering moron was knocking up his best friend. Knocking up.
His best friend.
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2Jpvcp7
What makes your featured book a must-read?
If you love best friends to lovers trope with a surprise baby, lots of heart, humor, and heart, then The Best Friend Problem is for you.
Enter to win a $40 Amazon gift card:
Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.
Runs January 11 – January 20, 2022.
Winner will be drawn on January 21, 2022.
Bestselling author Mariah Ankenman lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her two rambunctious daughters and loving spouse who provides ample inspiration for her heart-stopping heroes.
Mariah loves to lose herself in a world of words. Her favorite thing about writing is when she can make someone’s day a little brighter with one of her books. To learn more about Mariah and her books, visit her website http://mariahankenman.com/, follow her on social media or sign up for her newsletter.
Social Media Links: