Just Say When was love at first blurb for me. I love friend-to-lovers stories because of the history that the protagonists have with one another. JSW is a tale about Nate and Ava, who have been nursing secret crushes on one another for years. Ava doesn’t think Nate, who is her older brother’s best friend, would ever want her beyond their friendship and Nate doesn’t want to jeopardize his friendship with Ava’s brother by crossing the friendship line with Ava. Since coming home to run his family’s gym, Nate has been avoiding Ava because he can’t hide his feelings for her any longer. When Ava starts hanging out with a fighter from Nate’s gym, Nate decides it’s time to declare his feelings for Ava and her brother will just have to deal.
The only source of angst here is Ava and Nate’s excessive worry over what her big brother, Brody, will do when he finds out about them being together. Brody is the main catalyst for the pace of the relationship here. I understand an overprotective big brother wanting the best for his little sister, but I would have liked more about Nate’s past to explain why Brody was so against the relationship between Ava and Nate. His behavior was OTT and plain rude considering Nate had been nothing but respectful and loving to Ava throughout their lives. To be honest, Ava’s brother came off as more than just overprotective, but a major dickwad. If there are other books to come with supporting characters – who I also liked very much, I’d be A-OK if Brody was not part of it in any way.
Overall, a well-executed, sweet tale that I enjoyed greatly. Perfect for a break from heavy, tension-filled reads. Far as I know, this is a stand-alone but I’d welcome books about the fighters at Nate’s gym.