Friend Zone HELL Cover Reveal


Title: Friend Zone Hell
Series: Hellman Brothers Book 3
Author: Marika Ray
Genre: Romantic Comedy / Small Town Romance
Tropes: best-freinds-to-lovers, heroine with an illness, hero has that golden retriever + daddy dom energy
Release Date: October 6, 2022
Cover Design: Jennifer Olson

The town’s most eligible bachelor just saved my life. I paid him back by puking on him.

Callan Hellman. Mr. Nice Guy paramedic. My best friend.

He buys my friends flowers when he knows they’ve had a hard day. Who does that? Callan’s the guy every girl wants to date and take home to mama. Not me though. We’re just friends. Have been since elementary school. I was the weird girl who kept him laughing with my antics, even when his father abandoned his family and Callan hid those scars behind his smile.

But due to my sudden medical diagnosis at twenty-four, Callan insists I move in with him. I accept and soon regret it. Since when did he grow all those muscles, and why is he allergic to wearing shirts? I’m getting white-picket-fences-feelings I have no business feeling, and try as I might to suppress them, Callan makes a bold move that proves he’s carried a love-shaped torch for me for years.

Turns out, best friends make the best lovers, but when Callan’s daddy issues come between us, will his well-meaning brothers be able to patch us up and get our hearts beating together again? Or have I just lost the best friend I’ll ever have?

“Angel, please.” I whispered, cupping her face and stroking my thumb across her cheek. She finally shifted her gaze so that she was looking directly into my eyes. “I’m sorry for embarrassing you. I’m sorry for causing a scene. I’m sorry for stepping in your business. I just couldn’t let him disrespect you like that.”

Cricket’s eyes closed and when she opened them, I knew she’d forgiven me. “I know you’re sorry. And I know he deserved it. I just…” She sighed, the sound laced with disappointment, discontent, and whole layer of something I couldn’t identify. “I just wish I’d been the one to do it.”

“Why, Cricket, that’s mighty violent of you.” My lips tugged into a smile I hoped she’d reflect.

I wasn’t disappointed. “I would have kicked him in the nuts, but the nose was good too.”

I chuckled and she did too, letting me pull her into a hug. Her blonde head fit in the dip right between my pec muscles. “Dance with me.”

She didn’t answer, but her hands slid up my chest and onto my shoulders. My arms wound around her waist and held her to me, letting me relish the scent of her perfume as it surrounded us. I couldn’t live with myself if Cricket was mad at me. 

She kept her cheek against my chest, her fingers playing in the hair that met the collar of my shirt. If I closed my eyes, I could get lost in this moment. Get lost in her. I could imagine dances just like this in our kitchen as we aged together. Our children growing up watching their parents dance to an imaginary song, too in love to care there was no actual music. I could envision a whole life with her.

“You’re such a good friend, Cal. What would I do without you?” Cricket whispered, her words instantly and painfully dissolving the vision in my head.

Good friend.

That was all I’d ever be with Cricket, and I’d do well to remember it.

Like a criminal stuck in a life sentence on Alcatraz, I was firmly imprisoned in the friend zone.

But if that was all Cricket could give me, I’d take it and be the most grateful man on the planet. I loved her, and that meant giving her what she wanted: her freedom to love someone else.

Marika Ray is a USA Today bestselling author of steamy and sweet RomComs, spending her time behind a computer crafting stories, walking any beach she can find, and making healthy food for her kids and husband whether they like it or not. Prior to writing novels, Marika held various jobs in the finance industry, with private start-up companies, and then in health & fitness. Cats may have nine lives, but Marika believes everyone should have nine careers to keep things spicy. All her books come with a money-back guarantee that you’ll smile at least once with every book.

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