In Called Up (Calling It #2) by Jen Doyle,Max "Deke" Deacon and Angelica "Fitz" Hawkins are good friends that don't want to do anything to jeopardize their close friendship. However, there's no denying there's plenty of chemistry between them, and soon they find it becoming more and more difficult to deny. The question is - can Deke overcome Fitz's issues towards relationships before they both lose the one person that means so much to them?
Having absolutely enjoyed these two characters in the first book of this series, I couldn't wait to read more about Deke and Fitz, and I've got to say that Ms. Doyle has penned an incredible novel that left me spellbound. In this second novel of her Calling It series, Ms. Doyle has combined well-written dialogue, a plot that never failed to entertain and a wonderful array of characters to create a great story encompassing the friends to lovers trope.
Right from the beginning, I loved the growing relationship between Deke and Fitz. Their playful banter ups the sexual tension until eventually their intense chemistry heats up the pages in some scorching sex scenes that had me cheering for this couple's happy ever after. Would Fitz realize how good a relationship could be? Would she realize that she doesn't have to be alone out of fear for the person she's with leaving her for someone else? Not that she had anything to worry about when it came to Deke because he's quite protective of her, especially when it comes to her facing her past.
Both main characters were compelling, as were the secondary characters in Deke and Fitz's family and friends. I could sympathize with Fitz when it came to relationships, as she didn't have the easiest time in school because of her father's infidelity. Moreover, she's strong and brave with the way she finally faces her past with Deke by her side. If it wasn't for him, no way would there have been the heart-to-heart talk she needed with someone important to her. Also, she's very passionate when it comes to her work, which sounds very worthwhile. While Deke, he's hard-working, a good friend and I liked how protective he is of Fitz. Not that the heroine allowed him to fight her battles, but he would if she'd let him. He's also charming and has a way with words; words that Fitz needed to hear to convince her to take a chance on him.
Overall, Ms. Doyle has again penned an incredible novel that has left me wanting more of the characters from this series. As for the way this story ended, it was perfect, as Deke proves his love with the announcement he makes right at the end of this book. I would recommend Called Up by Jen Doyle, if you enjoy the friends to lovers trope.
There are two
things Max “Deke” Deacon can alwayscount on: his old high school
teammates and Fitz Hawkins. But no matter how much Deke might secretly fantasize
otherwise, a relationship with one of his best friends is off limits. Until one
unexpectedly smoldering encounter has Deke and Fitz looking at each other in a
whole new way.
Angelica “Fitz” Hawkins knows for a
fact that it is not better to have loved and lost. After
losing her parents, she’d rather lock up her heart and throw away the key than
endure that kind of pain again. If that means giving up any hope of a lasting
relationship, then so be it.
With Deke, Fitz finally feels like
she's back in the land of the living. But she won’t risk another broken
heart—even if it means saying good-bye to Deke for good. It’s up to Deke to
convince her that the safest place she could ever be is right here with him.
“Hey, Dorie,” she heard from above her. “Do you
know where Fitz wants these bottles of water?”
Speak of the devil. Fitz brought her head up a
little too suddenly, banging it on the underside of the table. “Ouch!” Her hand
going to the back of her head, she came up frowning, and...
was he this gorgeous before? Had he always smelled amazing?
Doing everything she could to keep herself immune
from his physical charms, she spun on her heel. “Back here.”
Very specifically not looking in Deke’s direction
so that she didn’t give anything away, she forced herself to act exactly as she
always did around him. Except she suddenly couldn’t quite remember how that
was. Did she flirt with him? Did she flat-out ignore him? Did she generally
just go around in a state of low-level irritation? Because right now she had
absolutely no clue.
She had even less of a clue as she bent down to
open up the lid to the cooler and he crouched down next to her, his head so
close all he’d need to do was turn it slightly to the left and his mouth would
be on her breast.
And was that…?
Oh, hell, no, her nipples had not just hardened.
She slapped her arms over her chest.
Because they had. And Deke, with his superhero sex
god extra sensory perception, had definitely noticed. He at least had the
decency to look down at the ground as he grinned.
“It’s the cold,” Fitz snapped. “From the cooler.”
Pushing the bottles down into the ice, Deke just
answered, “You’d be amazed at all the bits and pieces I can warm up with my
believer in happily ever afters, Jen Doyle decided it was high time she started
creating some. Jen is a member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as a
member of the New England, New Jersey Romance Writers and Music City Romance
Writer chapters of RWA. She is represented by Sarah E. Younger of the Nancy
Yost Literary Agency. She has an M.S. in Library and Information Science and,
in addition to her work as a librarian, has worked as a conference and events
planner as well as a Communications and Enrollment administrator in both
preschool and higher education environments (although some might say that there
is very little difference between the two; Jen has no comment regarding whether
she is one of the “some”).
First, let me say thank you for having me here. I appreciate
your hosting me on the occasion of the publication of CALLED UP (book two in
the CALLING IT series). J
Whereas book one was all about the big-time ballplayer
meeting the small-town librarian, book two is all about two close friends—they
would say too close, given their
level of familiarity—realizing that their feelings for each other go far beyond
what they ever expected. In fact, both Max “Deke” Deacon and Angelica “Fitz”
Hawkins find out more about themselves while finding out more about each other.
Though a challenge to take these two people with a 16-year-long friendship not
just to the lover part of the equation but all the way to being true partners,
it was also a true pleasure to help uncover those hidden depths. And I’m so
happy to share a few of my favorite scenes in this post.
1) The Bathtub Scene
Actually (and I am literally just realizing this as I am
writing this post!), there are two bathtub scenes. The first, however, involves
three-year-old triplets, so don’t go getting any ideas. ;) But at the same
time, it’s where sparks first start to fly. Or, rather, it’s where the sparks
start to fly for Deke, but because Fitz is one of his very best friends in the
world—someone he’s considered ‘one of the guys’ for almost the entire time
they’ve known each other—it’s not exactly the most romantic moment in the
world. And, in fact, it shows exactly how hard it is to make that
reassuring Fitz was a physical impossibility at the moment. She’d just
straightened up and it was clear the white bra she was wearing didn’t hold up
to the water any better than her T-shirt had. He cleared his throat and stared
hard at the wall behind her. Nudging her to the side, he took the shampoo she
was handing him, while very specifically not looking down. “I can finish up
here. Why don’t you, uh…”
it to hell, his eyes went straight to Fitz’s chest again, completely of their
own accord. And because it was Fitz, she was well aware of the transgression
and totally pissed off. Hell, Deke was ready to knock his own head into the
wall, much less wait around for Nate to do it.
Fitz, given that her eyes had gone narrow and her face got all pinched up.
Unfortunately, it was accompanied by her folding her arms across her chest in a
way that emphasized precisely the thing she was pissed at him about.
did women do that?
he said, trying to wrestle the situation into control. “I have no clue, okay?
It’s like a short circuit somewhere.” He turned his cap back around so it was
covering his eyes and leaned forward enough so he couldn’t quite see her.
Waving his hand out vaguely behind him, he managed to finish his thought, even
though it was beyond pathetically done. “Just, um, go get some dry clothes on.
Give a guy a break.”
would be happy to ‘give a guy a break,’” she muttered. She elbowed him in the
gut so he’d move over, leaving no doubt in his mind what kind of break she was
2) Acknowledging the First Kiss
Things move on, of course J, and there is a kiss,which is then followed by avoidance. Since this is a very small town and they
are very good friends, though, it’s not exactly possible to just ignore it. As
much as they both think that it’s not a very good idea go any further, they’re
also each equally having a hard time wanting
to stop it there. It was a pretty awesome kiss, after all. But that doesn’t
mean they have any clue how to move forward. Thus Fitz’s reaction to seeing
Deke a couple of days after their kiss:
of the devil. Fitz brought her head up a little too suddenly, banging it on the
underside of the table. “Ouch!” She came up frowning and clutching the back of
God, had he been this gorgeous
before? Had he always smelled amazing?
everything she could to keep herself immune to his physical charms, she spun on
her heel. “Back here.”
put all her efforts into acting exactly as she always did around him. Except
she suddenly couldn’t quite remember how that was. Did she flirt with him? Did
she flat out ignore him? Did she generally just go around in a state of
low-level irritation? Because right now she had absolutely no clue.
had even less of a clue as she bent down to open up the cooler and he crouched
down next to her, his head so close all he’d need to do was turn it slightly to
the left and his mouth would be on her breast.
hell no, her nipples had not just hardened. She slapped her arms over her
they had. And Deke, with his superhero sex god extra sensory perception, had
definitely noticed. He at least had the decency to look down at the ground as
the cold,” Fitz snapped. “From the cooler.”
the bottles down into the ice, Deke just answered, “You’d be amazed at all the
bits and pieces I can warm up with my tongue.”
now there was zinging. Little lightning bolts flashed their way down from the
tips of her breasts to the juncture of her thighs. For heaven’s sake. Fitz
dropped down to her knees on the ground next to Deke. “You can’t say things
like that to me,” she whispered, intending it to come out as a declaration but
realizing it sounded like a plea instead.
3) Keep On Keeping On
Unsurprisingly—and thank goodness!—things do not cool down
from there, and two weeks later they find themselves in San Francisco during
All-Star Weekend, at a party with Nate, Dorie, and Wash. As established in the
beginning of the book, Fitz and Dorie love to dance, so they’re out on the
dance floor having a good time. A little bit too good of a time. Having so far
managed to keep what’s going on between them on the DL, as much as Deke wants
to be out there with her, he has to keep himself away. Watching her is torture,
especially when a song comes on that has some memories attached…and he finally
hell,” Wash said, sitting up straight in his seat and echoing Deke’s
thoughts exactly as the song began to play. Dorie and Fitz jumped up,
squealing. Deke shifted in his seat uncomfortably, the image of Fitz dancing to
his jukebox that night never far from his mind.
the hell just happened?” Nate asked, as they all focused on the dance floor.
here’s the thing…” Wash started to say, looking at Deke in a clear call for
Deke was down for the count on this one. All he could do was shake his head. He
buried his head in his hands in hopes it would make him think about something
else, make him want Fitz less. But remembering the way she’d demonstrated that
lick nearly undid him. He looked up again, catching a glimpse of Fitz just as
some guy’s arms went around her from behind.
was done with this shit.
was on his feet so fast he didn’t even think
about what it might look like to Nate. Turns out there was no need, since Nate
was two steps behind him.
before they reached the dance floor, Nate’s hand went to Deke’s shoulder.
“You’d better fucking take care of her tonight.”
had Deke stopping suddenly despite the dancing that so clearly needed to be put
to an end. “What did you just say?” In no universe had Nate just uttered those
had, of course, it was just that Deke had misinterpreted them completely, as
was clear when Nate hissed, “You keep her away from all these assholes. Keep
her with you or Wash from here on in. If any one of them tries to take her home tonight, you kill him and
then you come to me. I’ll help you bury the body.”
frightening thing was that it didn’t seem like he was kidding.
The truly frightening thing was that Nate was telling the last man on earth who
should be hearing it that he
was responsible for getting Fitz safely out of this party and back to the hotel.
got it, man,” Deke said, knowing he’d just bought his ticket straight to hell.
“I’m all in.”
I hope you’ve liked these snippets of scenes from
and that you’re interested in reading more! Happy reading!