My Brother's Forbidden Friend
by Piper Rayne
Book 9 in The Greene Family Series
I’ve gone from crushing on my brother’s best friend to wanting to crush him.
Cameron Baker and I have a few things in common. The first being that we were both born and raised in our small Alaskan town. Second, is that we hide our feelings and keep our hearts closed off from anyone who could break them.
But hiding my feelings is harder to do with Cam than most. When I was five years old, grieving the loss of my mother, he showed me how big his heart is, and I’ve never forgotten.
He comes from the richest family in town. Cam’s bad boy gorgeous, flirts like he has a Doctorate in charm, and he’s my brother’s best friend. That last part is where it gets tricky and the sole reason we’ve never crossed the line.
Now, his parents have cut him off to force him to prove himself. I never thought he’d open a competing business to mine. So, I do what I do best, shove all my feelings aside and ready myself to crush him. Game on.
It feels fitting that the last book in the series is centered around Chevelle and Cam. I've been looking forward to their story since the beginning, and not only because the story centers around one of my favorite tropes: Best Friends Sister/Brother's Best Friend.
Cam and Chevelle have chemistry, even as rarely seen side characters.
The wait was well worth it, and I feel like it makes sense that this is the final in the series.
Rylan, the youngest Greene, starts off the spin-off Lake Starlight series, after all.
The Greene series has been a bit up and down for me. Especially because the later half of the series is riddled with continuity errors, and there is a glaring one in here. It bothered me enough to take me out of the story, and because it still annoys me, I'm going to tell you what it was and vent.. It once again revolves around Fisher's twins. When they were born, Rylan is 14-15. Pretty sure he is 14 in Fisher's book, but in Rylan's book when him and Calista are talking about the Netflix prank they pulled, they say 15. In this book Rylan is 17 (and there is an adorable scene where Chevelle covers for Rylan and Callista sneaking out of Hank and Marla's house. Big sister goals!), but Fisher is complaining about being sleep deprived and how hard it's been since the twins learned how to crawl. And that that morning, Laurie has started running. Considering the twins should be two by the timeline set out in My Unexpected Surprise, they should be well past the stage of crawling and learning to run.
I'm a mom to twins.
Very premature twins.
Like two pounds at birth, in the NICU for 63 days premature.
They were walking at 14 months. Running by 18 months.
In regards to Cam and Chevelle and their story, this one is definitely one of the better ones. Cam and Chevelle have great banter to go with that chemistry, and a fun, competitive streak that gives off strong frenemy vibes. At the core of their relationship, you can tell they care about one another. They were just so much fun to read! And of course, considering their personalities and their fun back and forth, you know Piper Rayne wrote some great sexy scenes for them. Also, big points for giving Chevelle such a unique job. I love that despite what happened to her mom, her work means she is out on the water most of the time. It's such an incredibly brave thing for her to do, and the fact that she is a woman in a male dominated job, and she works for herself, shows just how strong of a woman she is.
I loved My Brother's Forbidden Friend. Looking back at the series as a whole, I really enjoyed the entire series. I didn't love it as much as I loved The Bailey's series, but I almost loved it as much. I don't doubt that Piper Rayne has someone to edit their books. I know they do. But the continuity errors should have been picked up on by that editor, and if it wasn't for that, I would have enjoyed this series much more than I did. And maybe less pregnancy tropes. Or at least have them broken up a bit more throughout the series.
One of the best parts of this series, and The Bailey series, is how those loved ones who have passed on continue to have a role to play in these books, and despite being dead, are key characters. Just like in The Bailey's, and their parents who tragically passed away still feeling very much alive in those books, it feels that way in The Greene's with Hank's first wife (Cade, Fisher, Xavier, Adam and Chevelle's mother). Whether its a family meeting at her gravesite, a memory that resonates with her children, the video of her and Clara's mom watching Clara and Xavier have a pretend wedding as kids, and talking about their hopes that this is the future, or in this book, with letters to each child when she thought she was going to die, Piper Rayne has a remarkable way of making these characters stand out even in death.
All in all, it was enjoyable, and I flew through these books. I'm still not finished. There is a Christmas novella that I'm saving for December, but for now, I move on to other books, and I look forward to the Lake Starlight series.
The next few years weren’t great for me. I was a little obsessed with always wanting to be with my dad and ended up seeing a therapist. Everyone walked on eggshells around me, but Cam was always there to lighten the mood with a joke. I gravitated to him when he came over, even if it meant just sitting in the same room and playing Barbies while the guys played video games. He’d make me forget that I felt like the reason the heart of our family was missing. Years later, when those butterflies came, I didn’t really know what to do. Because at the same time as I started to thrive off his attention for a different reason, Cam started to discover girls, and one never seemed to be enough. Chevelle: “Yeesss?”
I draw out.
Cam: “I was just checking the log. Another boat full of guys?”
I roll my eyes.
Chevelle: “No one ever told me we couldn’t have orgies on the boat. Then again, is it an orgy if it’s just me? I guess that’s probably a gang bang, right?”
I watch his muscled chest expand with a deep inhale. You’d think I was being serious with the way he’s reacting. Chevelle is worth it. No one will ever touch a hair on her head as long as I’m around. Chevelle: “Jeez, your dog is just as horny as you.”
She turns down the hallway. Jesus, that towel couldn’t be any shorter. Gunner looks up at me. I pet his head.
Cam: “I know, the dog park has nothing on her,”
I mumble and bring my bags into my new place. God help us all. I already feel the blue balls starting. Cam: “Nice to meet you. I’m Cameron Baker, the owner of the marina. We’re happy you came to enjoy a day of fishing. My girlfriend, Chevelle, knows all the great spots.”
I wave in her direction and Chevelle’s jaw drops.
Cam: “I’ll see you out there, honey.”
I look at all the men.
Cam: “I have my own charter, so you never know when I could just pop up.”
The men get the hint quickly to not try anything with Chevelle.
Cam: “Bye, sweetie.” Chevelle pushes me when they all turn their backs to get on the boat. I laugh and whistle for Gunner, who follows obediently. Chevelle flips me off as she starts the boat and steers it toward the bay. God, I love seeing her riled up. One day that’s gonna bite me in the ass. Jack: “You’re Chevelle, right?”
the guy I’m assuming booked me, whose name is Jack, says.
Jack: “Next time can we get on your boyfriend’s boat? That’s one nice fishing vessel.”
All four men turn toward Cam’s boat. He salutes me as he’s backing up to head out to the open seas.
Chevelle: “Oh, he’s not my boyfriend.”
Jack: “He told us that you like to keep it secret since you work so closely together. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with us.”
Jack winks. I blow out a frustrated breath. Just before Cam leaves, he honks the horn of the boat and winks.
Cam: “See you soon. Miss you every minute.” Cam: "Sure, they’ve made it work, but my mom bends to my dad’s will at every turn. I wouldn’t want a wife like that.”
Chevelle: “Oh really? You’d want one who challenges you? You enjoy fighting every day?”
Cam: “Some of my favorite moments in life have been fighting with you.” Rowdy: "That girl’s out to prove somethin’. Like she wants everyone in this town to stop feeling sorry for her. And I wish she’d just accept the fact that she lost her mama and whether you’re five or sixty-five, losing your mama is not somethin’ people get over.”
Cam: “She blames herself.”
Rowdy: “Don’t know anyone who wouldn’t.”
Cam: “And that’s the problem.”
Rowdy: “You can’t solve this for her.”
Rowdy eyes me as if I don’t understand.
Cam: “I can’t take away her pain, but I can hold her hand through it.” Cam: “And the laxative in the coffee?”
Chevelle: “What do you care? You didn’t even drink it.”
Cam: “No, but one of my guests did. I left it on the wheelhouse counter, and she mistook it for her own. Was in the bathroom the entire charter.”
Chevelle: “You mean the blonde?”
He smirks. That arrogant smirk that gets under my skin. I shouldn’t have said I even noticed the blonde.
Cam: “Was someone following me?”
Chevelle: “You passed me on the boat. She was hard to miss.”
He leans in closer, and even after a day’s work, I still smell a hint of his cologne.
Cam: “Are you jealous, Chevelle?”
Chevelle: “Not now that I know she spent the majority of the time in the bathroom.”
I give him a saccharine smile. Cam: “Can we hurry this up?”
Cam whispers to me.
Chevelle: “How do you want me? Back or front?”
Cam: “I’d like you every way, but right now, let’s do one of my hands under your arm and the other on your hip.” A duck squawks at Cam as he passes the family, and he looks back. The duck squawks again and steps out of the small brush by the pond onto the track area. Cam walks a little faster.
Rita: “Cherish that body,”
Rita distracts me.
Rita: “One day, you’re going to look in the mirror and wonder what happened.”
I smile at her.
Chevelle: “I think you’re beautiful.”
The duck is now on the track and following Cam, who is almost jogging, leaving behind the man he was walking with.
Cam: “Um… LeeAnn?”
LeeAnn: “Just keep walking. They’ll turn around soon.”
But the duck isn’t turning around, only moving faster. Cam’s legs transition into a jog.
Wilbur: “It’s just a duck, don’t be a wuss!”
Wilbur: “Face him like a man.”
LeeAnn: “No, no. We don’t want anything to happen to the duck.”
LeeAnn’s tone turns frantic.
Cam: “Can someone do something?”
Wilbur: “Back in my day, we’d have that duck by the neck,”
Wilbur says to the group of goons who follow him.
LeeAnn: “We don’t harm animals,”
Cam: “Seriously? It’s about to peck at me.”
Cam picks up his knees and goes into a full sprint.
Rita: “Oh, he’s fast. Hopefully not in the bedroom though.”
Rita elbows me in the side, and I hold my hand there to stop her from doing it again. I smile at her, biting down my laughter as Cam runs away from a duck who’s half flying, half running to catch him.
Cam: “What did I do to it? I’m sorry, duck, please leave me the hell alone.” Cade looks up at me from under his eyebrows.
Cade: “I don’t wanna be a dick, but she’s not going to date you.”
Fisher: “Is there something we don’t know?”
Fisher asks, voice stern. I adamantly shake my head.
The last thing I want Fisher to know is that I took his sister on the table of my boat and didn’t respect her enough to even give her a bed for our first time together. Adam smacks me on the back.
Adam: “Good luck, and make sure you wear a cup when you ask her.”
He goes over to the old fridge in the corner and grabs a water. Jed stands.
Jed: “I feel like I should do some sort of a blessing on you. Good luck.” Cam: “There’s something you need to know.”
I swallow hard.
Cam: “The name…”
Chevelle: “Five Seas?”
She tilts her head.
Cam: “You’re the fifth child, Chevelle. And Chevelle starts with a C.”
Her mouth hangs slightly agape, her eyes wide.
Cam: “The purple stripe is the same color of the dress you wore when you were five, at your mother’s wake.” Cam: “You’d have a very different life with me if I stay the course and take over the marina.”
Chevelle: “I would. But I’m just a fisherwoman.”
Chevelle: “I don’t want fancy things.”
I want to comment on the fact that Chevelle is openly talking about a future with me so soon after we’ve just agreed to date, but I’m afraid if I do, I’ll spook her. Hell, I’m kinda shocked that I’m not spooked, but something about this conversation feels almost inevitable.
Cam: “You’d never have to worry about money again.”
Chevelle: “But I’d have an unhappy partner, and that’s a crappy life.” Fisher: “What the hell are you doing?”
The line between Fisher’s eyebrows is as deep as I’ve ever seen it.
Cam: “I told you I was gonna pursue her.”
Allie raises her eyebrows and leaves the room. She must be in the kitchen because I hear noise coming from there.
Fisher: “I didn’t think she’d actually go for it. Fuck.”
He pushes his hand through his hair. Allie peers around the corner.
Fisher: “The kids are asleep. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” Chevelle returns to the room, and he looks at her for a long beat, speaking to her now.
Fisher: “He’s my person.”
I’m thrown by his words. Fisher isn’t an emotional guy. Half the time I don’t even know what he’s feeling because he’s so nonreactive. Sure, I see how he loves Allie and the twins, especially the way he talks about them. But us, we’re best friends. I share everything with him. That’s the reason I felt it was so important to tell him about Chevelle.
Chevelle: “He’s mine too,”
Chevelle softly admits. Cam kisses me, and the room grows quiet.
Fisher: “Okay, that’s just weird. I vote no PDA in front of the family.”
Chevelle: “Well, get used to it.”
I fist Cam’s shirt and pull him to me again, giving him a big kiss. The collective groans from my brothers make me chuckle against Cam’s lips. My family is so odd, but they’re all mine. Cam: “What do you want to do after this?”
Cam asks, lifting my legs and putting them across his. Very unprofessional, but the men are engaged in their conversation about their college years. He massages my calves. It feels good after being on my feet so much, squeezing in every last charter before I have to shut down for the season.
Chevelle: “I just want to grab some food and chill.”
Cam: “You do realize we’re turning into an old couple, right? And we don’t even have kids.”
I raise my eyebrows.
Cam: “We could change that if you want?”
Chevelle: “Go to a bar?”
I groan just thinking about it.
Cam: “No, have kids.”
Chevelle: “Cam, we’ve been together a few weeks. You’re insane.” I pet Gunner.
Cam: “Cross your paws, buddy. If this works, we’ll get our happy, call-you-out-on-your-shit Chevelle back.” Hank: “She would’ve had it no other way. You were only five and just wanted to be with your brothers. As you will find out someday if you become a parent, you would give up your life for your child at any cost.” Hank: "Be thankful and move on with your life. Cherish the things that matter. Don’t push them away.” “Live your life like there isn’t a tomorrow.” Meaning, don’t waste your time or energy worrying about things you can’t control, and unfortunately, death is one of those things. Chevelle: “I love you,”
I say once I’m secure in his arms.
Chevelle: “I love you so much.”
Cam: “I love you too, girlfriend.”
He lowers me to the ground, and I look up into his eyes.
Chevelle: “I think I like the sound of wife better.”
His smile radiates joy as he brushes my hair out of my face.