April & Oliver by Tess Callahan, 336 pages.
Best friends since childhood, the sexual tension between April and Oliver has always been palpable. Years after being completely inseparable, they become strangers, but the wildly different paths of their lives cross once again with the sudden death of April's brother. Oliver, the responsible, newly engaged law student finds himself drawn more than ever to the reckless, mystifying April - and cracks begin to appear in his carefully constructed life. Even as Oliver attempts to "save" his childhood friend from her grief, her menacing boyfriend and herself, it soon becomes apparent that Oliver has some secrets of his own--secrets he hasn't shared with anyone, even his fiancé. But April knows, and her reappearance in his life derails him. Is it really April's life that is unraveling, or is it his own? The answer awaits at the end of a downward spiral...towards salvation
When Oliver returns to Maine for a funeral he is forced to confront his feelings for his childhood best friend April. Their relationship is filled with tension, words unspoken, and secrets kept. Each one tries to protect the other and while both characters can be infuriating in their stubborness, it is obvious both are broken and unsure how to carve out anything healthy between them. I found the book description to be misleading in regards to the "sexual tension" - I was pleased to find it wasn't full of steamy affairs. This story is completely character driven - April & Oliver are flawed and believable, and the supporting characters are used sparingly but to great effect. I was completely engrossed from beginning to end.
This was an unexpected gem and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
author's website: www.tesscallahan.com