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Between the Sheets #1

A Secret Between Friends

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Carrying out the goals on someone else’s Bucket List might seem like an odd thing to do, but for Genie it’s the perfect way to honor her best friend, Ciara, who died in the bomb blast that blew up the Army truck carrying them both across Afghanistan. Genie’s come home to the Bay of Islands in New Zealand to rest her injured knee, and she hopes that by fulfilling Ciara’s list of wishes she can also heal the grief and guilt that goes deeper than her physical wound. Spending some time with Ciara’s gorgeous big brother just happens to be an added bonus.

Niall Brennan has always been attracted to Genie, but when he offers to join in with the Bucket List idea, he tells himself it’s purely out of a desire to pay homage to his sister. That’s fine when the first goal they pick at random is taking cooking lessons. It becomes less easy to hide his desire when they spend an afternoon on a nudist beach, and by the time they take part in the body painting event, Niall has no chance of keeping his desire a secret. Luckily, Genie reciprocates his feelings—a hundred and ten percent, and soon it’s not only the weather that turns hot and sultry.

Conscious that Niall’s mother, Sinead, blames Genie for her daughter’s death, they decide to keep their sizzling but brief fling just a secret between friends. But although Genie’s knee is on the mend, her emotional wounds refuse to heal. Sinead continues to refuse to forgive her, and even Ciara reaches out from beyond the grave to warn Genie against dating her big brother.

The final wish on Ciara’s Bucket List brings everything to a head. Genie knows she has to end the fling. But the heart wants what the heart wants, and besides, Niall has other ideas…

Warning: this sweet and sexy romance is best read with a fan on standby. Adults only.

241 pages, Kindle Edition

First published March 6, 2015

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About the author

Serenity Woods

149 books764 followers
USA Today bestselling author Serenity Woods writes feel-good stories about friends, family, and falling in love. Most of them are set in the sub-tropical Northland of New Zealand, where she lives with her wonderful husband.

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5 stars
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460 (33%)
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229 (16%)
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48 (3%)
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21 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 105 reviews
Profile Image for SheLove2Read.
2,796 reviews179 followers
June 14, 2015

The blurb for this book is a little misleading. While it's true that it is a friends to lovers kind of story, it does not mention that these two grew up together, basically as stepbrother and sister in the same household. Despite that, I did finish the story and while it had its moments, overall I did not care for it.
Profile Image for Melody Cox.
1,499 reviews136 followers
September 13, 2016
***4.5 Stars***
I truly enjoyed this book and fell quickly in love with our Hero. Our heroine was in a tough situation. Her and her best friend (2 females) served together in the war. They were bombed and only one survived. The family who lost their daughter was furious and angry at the remaining survivor even though they had practically raised her. They blamed her and it broke her heart.

To honor her deceased friend she decides to complete her bucket list for her and her friend's brother wants to be involved. These two had had a thing for each other for a long time but it never seemed to be convenient for them to see if they could develop a relationship. Now nothing is holding them back...except his angry family who places their daughter's death on her shoulders.

A very loving story and I highly recommend it!
Profile Image for Claire Mackenzie-neville.
321 reviews2 followers
December 30, 2016
It was fine. A silly little story with immature characters, but easy enough to read to the end. Wouldn't recommend and I'm sure it'll prove completely forgettable, but there are worse books out there.

Probably won't read any more by this writer but not tempted to throw my kindle across the room either.

Who writes down only the name of the person you're meant to be secretly hooking up with, and no one else, during a speed dating evening organised,and attended, predominantly by mutual friends and family? That's so stupid and childish. It's the kind of "meaningful" act you perform to prove your love of your crush to yourself in primary school. Ridiculous.
Profile Image for Joan.
2,193 reviews
November 24, 2019
Very nice premise. Great to see the 'injured soldier' as a woman for once.

The characters were all strong and well-written but there was way way WAY too much sex. Every other chapter or so it seemed. I ended up skipping them after a while. Once you’ve read about great orgasmic sex a few times in a book it all just reads the same. It's just padding out the words and its boring. And I hate to say it, but relationships aren’t just about sex.

Really unsure how to rate this; it was good in places, but I would really have liked far more about the bucket list and the development of the relationship instead of pages of sex and more sex and......
Profile Image for Amy.
327 reviews1 follower
August 12, 2016
I liked reading this, an easy read but also quite engaging characters. There is depth to this romance based on long term friendship, growing up together and shared grief.
Profile Image for Coco.V.
47.3k reviews4 followers
Want to read
July 6, 2019
🎁 FREE on Amazon today (7/6/2019)! 🎁
Profile Image for Ruby Johnson.
117 reviews4 followers
October 23, 2017
Good but not great

I wanted to give this a better rating, but there were just too many reasons I couldn't do this.. The story is about Genie, an injured Army vet on medical leave, and Nial a guy she literally grew up with in the same house. His family agreed to raise her and her two brothers after 14 yr. Old Genie's mother died and their father's job kept him away. Genie is suffering from a knee replacement, survivor's guilt, and PTSD. Her best friend, Ciara, who was Nial's sister was with her when they were attacked in Afghanistan. Ciara died. Genie and Nial reconnect and soon decide to do some of the things on Ciaras bucket list. Trouble was the things on the bucket list just seemed a way for the writer to plug in very hot sex scenes. Then there were some areas, that as someone with a medical background, I found questionable. I don't know if Genie would ever be fit for duty after a total knee. PTSD and survivor's guilt are not something you get over quickly and with one session. The pace was a bit too slow but the overall effort and the writing was very good.
387 reviews17 followers
October 1, 2019
Worth reading

I'm always into friends to lovers stories. I so love this plot a lot that most of my ebooks are about that. This is one cute and worth reading type. I admire the characters, Genie for her braveness its so hard to go through life when you are suffering from PTSD. Niall on the other hand has that loyalty and sincerity in what he feels for her childhood friend. Good job!
Profile Image for Char (1RadReader59).
2,135 reviews9 followers
June 26, 2018
This was an unusual family dynamic that made the pain that plagued all involved, all the more.
You see when Genie Sharpe’s mom passed away when she was just six-years-old she was struck with such grief. Her mom’s best friend Sinead Brennan decided to help out Genie’s father by taking Genie in. While he cared for just his two boys Beck and Jonah. She felt it would help her daughter Ciara too since she and Genie were best friends.
Although, they were in two different places they all stayed close. She grew up with Ciara’s brother’s Finn and Niall. At some point, she noticed Niall as more than just a brother figure and her lifelong crush began. She even at fourteen got a kiss from him who was eighteen, but then he walked away never mentioning it ever again. The next time she sees him he had a girlfriend who was a real piece of work.
She was thin, redhead, grey eyes, and very beautiful. But an A-1 bitch. If that’s what he wanted more power to him she figured. The best place for her after her encounter with them was the Army. So, after high school she enlisted, so did, Ciara. She never encouraged her that was of her own choice. Yet, everyone even Niall was blaming her. Like she forced her.
She wouldn’t and couldn’t do that even if she wanted to. Ciara knew her own mind. The accident that sends her home shook her to her core. But it also lost her, her best friend. To the point where she was back to counting her beads on her wrist to soothe her. The anxiety was enough to kill her with the lack of good sleep she is a walking zombie.
Everyone was okay with her being at home except for Ciara’s mom and basically her second mom Sinead. She was blaming her for Ciara being bombed and killed. Making her feel worse than before. She decides in Ciara’s honor she would do the things that Ciara had on her “bucket list.”
When Niall finds out that there is a bucket list he decides that he wants to go with Genie and complete that bucket list with her. You see he had broken up with his girlfriend because he knew that he had feelings for Genie. When his ex-had started talking marriage and children, it wasn’t her he saw her he saw them with.
He had even told Ciara about the breakup. She had never told Genie. There were secrets that Ciara had kept from her. Find out what other secrets have been kept from friends, enemies, and family. See how they make their relationship come together. How Genie finally works through the present moving onto her dreams of the future. I give this: 5 stars. Provide by netgalley.com. Follow us at
Profile Image for Christie.
865 reviews30 followers
October 18, 2019
Serenity Woods is one of my all time favourite authors and while waiting for her next Billionaire Kings release, I decided to delve into another one of her series.

The plot starts with the heroine Genie returning home after a military tour in Afghanistan. Six weeks prior, Genie's best friend Ciara was killed when their truck was attacked, during which Genie also severely injured her knee. Genie returns home with a frosty reception from Ciara's mum, as she blames Genie for her death, saying that she convinced her to go into the Army in the first place. Genie finds a bucket list written by Ciara, and in honour of her, she asks Ciara's brother Niall (whom she has always had a major crush on) to fulfil the bucket list with her.

I have to admit that I had a hard time with this book, not because it wasn't enjoyable or engaging, but because of plot surrounding the death of Ciara. One thing I love about Serenity Woods books is the well rounded characters who often have tragic backstories. Usually, however they are things that have happened in the distant past. Here, Ciara had only just died, so the grief and mourning from the characters was so raw and fresh that I found it a very emotive and sometimes difficult read. Not only that, but the heroine Genie was dealing with PTSD, a severe injury and OCD, and there was the additional element of the blame placed on her by Ciara's mother.

During the first half, I was doubting that I could give this book more than 3 stars, because I felt that I couldn't get into the romance between Niall and Genie due to the very heavy and sad Ciara stuff. I think the novel got a lot stronger as time went on though, and I loved all the fun activities they did as part of the bucket list. It was really fun to read, and the chemistry and sex scenes between them were electric.

Overall, I think the latter half of this novel really made this book for me. Although the angst and emotion in this book was probably a little intense for me, Serenity Woods always writes engaging plots with well rounded characters, and this was no exception.
Profile Image for nicandbooks.
224 reviews9 followers
May 11, 2018
Learning to forgive yourself

I am yet to find a book by the wonderful Serenity Woods that I haven’t loved and A Secret Between Friends is another book to add to my list of faves! Genie and Niall’s story deals with some pretty heavy stuff from death to post traumatic stress disorder, as well as obsessive compulsive disorder and fragile familial relationships. But at the same time, this story is balanced out with love, laughter, some incredibly sensual and sexy scenes and the beautiful setting of the Bay of Islands in New Zealand that I can’t get enough of.

Genie and Niall share a brother/sister type bond after Genie lived with Niall’s family for 12 years (due to her own mother passing away and her two brothers and father moving for work). However, despite being four years his junior, Genie always had a crush on Niall ... she just never got the chance to pursue it. When Genie arrives home from the army, broken and wounded in more ways than one, it looks like she might just get her chance with Niall.

I loved this couple and I can’t wait to read the next two books (the third is out later this month - May 2018). Serenity is a master of the interconnected standalone series and I always manage to fall in love with any character she writes about. Couple that with the fact that the Between the Sheets series is a bit sexier and steamier than her usual books and this was a story I could not put down.

nicandbooks ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️
Amazon/Goodreads ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Profile Image for The Book Bandit.
65 reviews4 followers
March 14, 2021
Oh, my!! What an amazing romance novel. This is the kind of story that I could happily read again and again and again and never grow tired of it.

First off, we have Genie who came home from the war when her best-friend, who was more like a sister, did not. Ciara parents blame Genie for her death - but they have absolutely no idea about how hard Genie had tried to save her.

This only member of Ciara's family that goes out of his way to speak to Genie is Niall, Ciara's brother. Genie has been in love with Niall since she was a young teen, although she has always tried her best not to show it. Now, he is helping her complete Ciara's bucket-list and the more time she spends with him, the more her love grows.

Likewise, Niall has always secretly longed for Genie and the buck-list challenge gives him a chance to get really close with her.

This novel is sensual, but the love scenes are beautifully portrayed. Likewise, the emotional turmoil, the regret, the guilt and the desperate longing is also played out between the pages of this remarkable book.

This novel has a big thumbs up from me because it is truly brilliant.
Profile Image for MelodiousBookNotes.
387 reviews2 followers
May 27, 2021
This one pulls at the heartstrings. It's a very emotional story with so many layers. It reminds me of why I love Serenity Woods books She is a talented storyteller and transports the reader to New Zealand where we fall in love with the place and the people. A Secret Between Friends is no different. Genie and Niall are simply wonderful. Genie is a sympathetic character whom I truly felt her sorrow as she struggles to come to terms with the death of her best friend Ciara. Both were victims of a IED explosion in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, Ciara didn't survive. Genie returns home broken, not only physically, but mentally. Niall is there to help her through her struggles. He also happens to be Ciara's brother. Both not only have to come to terms with their grief, but also with their growing attraction to each other. Not everyone is happy about their relationship. Their journey is not easy, but the challenges were so worth the fight.
I absolutely adored Niall. He's patient, kind, empathetic, and really sexy. Genie is a force of nature with beauty and confidence and yet very vulnerable.
I loved this book and the ending was just perfect!
1,133 reviews1 follower
September 6, 2017
I enjoyed this story more than I anticipated. It was interesting to have a female soldier be dealing with PTSD instead of a male character. I liked the turn about. I also liked the connection between the main characters. I enjoyed the plot of the main character's full-filling a loved one's bucket list. That was a cool addition to the story.

At some points it was a little difficult to tell who was really her brothers and which members were part of her surrogate family. I also would have liked more conflict resolution between Genie and her best friend's mom. I felt like they never got an opportunity to discuss things and then it seemed like everything was okay.

But overall, the story was interesting and the writing was pretty good.
Profile Image for JigsawGirl.
2,911 reviews
May 14, 2018
I get Genie and Niall getting together after Ciara's death. I think if she had not been killed, they would still have gotten together.

They did have chemistry and it was somewhat of a sweet story. But.....I would have thought everyone, especially her sister in law, would be pushing her to see a therapist after she came home.

Because she didn't, it all felt odd. I kept expecting her to have this big emotional breakdown that would require them to finally get her help.

The book was entertaining and you get your HEA, but it still left me feeling like, "this is working now; will it be working later?"
Profile Image for Daniela.
695 reviews12 followers
June 27, 2018
"But as sleep overcame her once again, the memory of that tender, chaste embrace blew a soft breath across the embers of the feelings that had never completely died"

Friends-to-lovers has always been a soft spot for me. In this case we have the added grief of the loss of best friend Ciara who was also Niall's sister. So while Genie and Niall try to maneuver thru their grief they turm to each other for comfort as friends always do. This opens up their deeply tamped down unrequited feelings.

Lovely friends to lovers story with a very heartwrenching touching "secret" between friends. Made me cry.
99 reviews
August 22, 2018

Wow! This is such an extraordinary story. The characters are so well developed easy to follow. An emotional rollercoaster so powerful you'll need tissue paper, and maybe a extra pair of panties! A story full of pain, loss and love. You'll feel for not only the main characters but each individual one. The story puts you right in the middle where you feel what they are feeling. There is no bad guy in the story just situations that keep you on your toes. Where you have to ask yourself what would I do? I enjoyed this read very much and highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Kelly Willcoxbrackeen.
334 reviews10 followers
March 25, 2019
Cute and sensitive

I loved this story. It doesn’t quite make my list of favorites but I loved how this story had...substance...to it. The author shows amazing sensitivity towards mental illness by bringing OCD, PTSD, and the many faces of grief. I’m also impressed with how she heaped all of that on her main character in a believable way. I was also impressed with the grammar, which was nice.

Looking forward to more work from this author. This book comes with the side effect of making the reader want to visit New Zealand though...

Happy reading my fellow bookworms!
Profile Image for Chrystal.
169 reviews1 follower
July 18, 2019
An amazing book

Gin and her friend Ciara had joined the army together. They had been friends since little girls. When her mom died, she whined up moving in with her and her family.
But things changed when there truck came under attack. Killing her best friend. So when she goes back home she decides to do her bucket list, and her brother Naill joins her on the unusual things that his sister wanted to do. But what will become of the 2 of them. Definitely need to read to find out.
985 reviews10 followers
July 27, 2018
Was nice to pick up another book by Serenity Woods again and this did not disappoint! Both Genie and her bestfriend Ciara are in the Army, but tragedy struck and Genie lost her bestfriend and returns home with an injury! Genie wants to check off Ciara's bucket list and Niall Ciara's brother helps her out with the list, there was some fun and juicy things on that list! Niall & Genie have always had an attraction, and certainly get more from doing this bucket list together! Ends with a HEA!
Profile Image for Mary Willard.
263 reviews1 follower
April 20, 2019
Serenity has created a series of books about a group of friends living in the beautiful Bay of Islands in New Zealand. Each of the characters in the books has to deal with a heart-rending life situation before they can love themselves and find love. You’ll love these characters. Each of them either finds a hot guy or is one and Between the Sheets, well make sure you have a cold glass of water or your own hot partner on hand. You’ll need it.
Profile Image for Meryl.
1,373 reviews5 followers
July 11, 2019

A romantic read. Niall and Genie have held a secret crush on each other for years. She is home after an accident in the army; where she lost her best friend, Ciara, who was also Niall’s sister. There is a lot of fraught tension and blame towards Ciara. Niall, however, shows compassion and they start to fulfil Ciara’s bucket list.

Through this journey they rediscover each other and themselves. Romantic with some raunchy sexual content.
Profile Image for Deborah Anderson.
23 reviews2 followers
May 3, 2019
Friends become lovers

Firstly time I have read anything by Serenity Woods, but have fallen in love with her writing.
The characters of Genie and Niall are well formed and totally believable. The story is well told and keeps you invested throughout. She touches on very emotional subjects and she does it well. Loved the ending too
Profile Image for Debbie Duncalf.
286 reviews3 followers
June 4, 2019
This is the first of the Between the Sheets series.
I am always drawn to authors who will write books that introduce you to characters and then you meet them again in consecutive books.
Serenity Woods is an excellent author, she writes well and her story lines are exciting to read.
Highly recommend this series.
24 reviews9 followers
July 21, 2019
A Feel Good Story

A story about loss, love, regret, forgiveness and new beginnings. Niall and Gin's exploration of their feelings while honouring someone they loved and lost and facing the ghost of guilt made this story so very real. Everyone should have a bucket list and fill it with someone that matters.
Profile Image for Jennifer Holley.
42 reviews1 follower
August 31, 2019
Couldn't put it down

Loved this book! I felt the love and anger....and sorrow. Shed some tears, but smiled too. Didn't give it 5 stars because I was hoping to read more on the impact his mother had. Felt like something was missed in their discussion at his house. But, otherwise, great story! I really felt the love.
Profile Image for Tuakana Toka.
364 reviews2 followers
November 24, 2019

A moving romance which had me tearful and emotional in parts. Oh Niall is absolutely divine, And so so sexy!!! Love his personality, compassion and attitude towards Genie. As for our Genie? She is strong, courageous and battles a silent war while still maintaining her feminity. Beautiful read.
October 23, 2020
Excellent read thoroughly enjoyed this book well written .excellAuthor exciting puts some realistic into her stories look forward to reading another book by her.

Well written exciting and very enjoyable look forward to reading
many more books by the same author.Story contained very explicit details
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