5 Stars / Contemporary / Review / Romantic Comedy

Review: When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting

Running the Spark House, a hotel/event space that has been in her family for years, has been Avery Spark’s lifelong dream. After years of working hard and making personal sacrifices, Avery and her two younger sisters have turned the Spark House into the premier destination in Colorado Springs. Avery is living her best life—she works with her sisters and loves every minute of it, she has a great group of friends, and she lives in a fantastic condo with her best friend Declan. She might not have any love in her life, but she’s happy.

But everything comes to a screeching halt when Avery is in a car accident, leaving her immobile for weeks. After nearly losing Avery, Declan insists that he will be the one to take care of her while she recovers. However, as Declan becomes Avery’s caretaker, lines begin to blur.

Avery and Declan have been best friends since college and always had an attraction to one another, but when she ended up dating his best friend, Sam, they successfully stamped down any feelings they may have ever had for one another. Now, as Declan and Avery spend more time together, they each begin to wonder what would’ve happened if she’d dated him instead of Sam. What starts as a friend helping out another friend turns into foreplay and, before they realize it, they recognize how deeply they care for one another. But when things get serious their past threatens to destroy everything they have built.

Title:When Sparks Fly
Author:Helena Hunting
Series:Spark House (Book 1)
Trope(s):Friends to Lovers
Roommates to Lovers
Point of View:First Person, Present Tense, Dual Viewpoint (H & h)
Location:Colorado Springs, Colorado, US
Release Date:21st September, 2021
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Happy and heartwarming

I am a fairly recent convert to Helena Hunting’s stories and was so excited to get my hands on this first book in this new series. This book focuses on Avery, the eldest of three sisters who own and run Spark House – an exclusive hotel / event space. I’m hoping Avery’s sisters get their own stories but either way, this story is complete with it’s on HEA so stands completely alone.

Avery is the heroine of our tale and she’s a strong and likeable woman. She’s honest, owns her faults and is loyal and loving to her friends and family. I liked that she was constantly trying to push herself to be better but also realised her limitations. I definitely rooted for her all the way through.

I adored Declan. He had a respectable job, was healthy and hugely loyal – but was still in many ways a lost little boy with his fear of commitment. He makes mistakes but I loved that he owned up to them and tried to do better. His vulnerability when it came to Avery was swoonworthy and there was none of the usual drama when there’s a character who doesn’t usually ‘do’ relationships.

“…there is quite a slow burn while these two move from friendship into something more. But when they do… oh Lordy, I loved it.”

This is a best friends – who are also roommates – to lovers story and while that does mean we skip the usual ‘getting to know you’ phase, there is quite a slow burn while these two move from friendship into something more. But when they do… oh Lordy, I loved it. The whole premise about why they started hooking up was why romance books were invented.

This isn’t as lighthearted as some of Ms Hunting’s romcoms and while it does deal with some potentially upsetting things, they’re all handled very lightly and we never get bogged down with unnecessary emotions. Having said that it’s not a straight romcom, this book was still really funny in places. The peanut brownies, the hobbyhorses to name but two – completely cracked me up.

There’s more to the story than just the romance it’s not just about Declan and Avery moving from friends to something more, but them becoming a couple that are perfect for each other and will stay together.

No matter what she’s writing, Ms Hunting pulled me in with this story. I was hooked from the first page and I just wanted to keep reading and reading and reading some more. As I said, I’m hoping for books for London and Harley. It may be too convenient to pair them with Declan and Avery’s friends, Jerome and Mark – but here’s hoping and I’ll read them all, regardless. This is a fun and delightful story that is adorable and will warm your heart. I very much enjoyed it and didn’t hesitate to give it 5 stars.

*I received this book in exchange for my honest review.*

NYT and USA Today Bestselling author, Helena Hunting lives outside of Toronto with her amazing family and her two awesome cats, who think the best place to sleep is her keyboard. Helena writes everything from contemporary romance with all the feels to romantic comedies that will have you laughing until you cry.

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I’m in the middle of a set of crunches when I notice Avery standing at the end of the hallway, her phone in her hand, aimed at me. “What are you doing?”

“Entertaining my followers. I saved the last video in my highlights, and it has over six thousand views. I figured they could use another hit of your abs. Maybe you should do a few burpees, just for fun.”

“No one does burpees for fun, but I’ll do a few for the sake of your entertainment.” I roll to a sitting position and grab the towel at my side, swiping it over my face before I stand up and roll my head on my shoulders. “Ready for the gun show?” I waggle my brows and flex one of my biceps.

She shakes her head, but she’s smirking. “Stop stalling, McCormick, and show us what you got.”

I do a set of burpees, my sweatpants slipping lower and lower. I stop before I lose them and flash Avery. “How was that?”

“Good.” She clears her throat. Her gaze moves slowly from my waist back up to my face. “The fans will appreciate your dedication.”

“I’m gonna jump in the shower. You want pancakes or something for breakfast?” I grab the towel from the floor.

“Yeah. Sounds good.” She nods a few times, eyes bouncing around, face a little flushed.

“Do you need my help with anything first?”

She blinks a couple of times. “Uh no. I’m good. I’ll put on a pot of coffee and get changed.”

“Sounds good.” I brush by her on my way to my bedroom. Usually she’d be grossed out by the fact that I’m sweaty, but today she seems distracted. “You okay?”

“Yeah. Fine. Just burpee envy.”

“Don’t worry, Ave, you’ll be back to hating burpees soon enough.” I kiss her temple and head down the hall.

Fifteen minutes later I’m showered, and I pass Avery’s closed bedroom door on the way to the kitchen, but pause when I hear a soft groan. I wait a few seconds, unsure if I’m imagining things, or maybe I stepped on the spot on the floor that creaks, but ten seconds later she groans again, longer and lower this time.

Worried she’s hurt herself trying to get to the bathroom and isn’t within reach of her phone, I wrench the door open. At first I’m confused, because Avery’s expression isn’t one I can read. At least until another low sound escapes her, and what I’m finally seeing makes more sense. It’s also 100 percent not what I expect. And Avery most definitely did not hurt herself trying to get to the bathroom. At all.

Her nightshirt is pushed up high, exposing a few inches of toned stomach and a thin sheet covers most of the lower half of her body. Her uncasted leg is bent with her knee and calf peeking out from under the sheet. Her head is thrown back, exposing the smooth expanse of her throat. Her good arm is hidden under the sheets, but the angle and the way the sheets are moving tell me exactly where her hand is and exactly what she’s doing under there.

She’s so focused that she doesn’t notice me standing in her doorway. And I’m so shocked, and maybe a little concerned, or enthralled by how aggressively her hand is moving under that sheet, that all I can seem to do is gawk.

She groans again, and this time it’s one I’m familiar with because I’ve heard it a lot since the accident. Frustration.

“Come on!” The slap is unexpected and based on the sound, she isn’t hitting the mattress.

I jump back, bashing my elbow into the doorjamb.

Her eyes pop open and her head lifts, gaze locking with mine.

“Shit! Sorry! I thought you’d hurt yourself.” I back out of the room, slamming the door shut.

“What the fuck. What happened to knocking?” she yells from the other side.

“I’m really sorry!” I shout back.

I should move away from her door, but I don’t. Instead, I stand there, like a dumbstruck idiot, with my hand still on the knob, trying to wrap my brain around what I walked in on. I don’t know why I’m so surprised. I take care of my own needs at least once a day, so why wouldn’t Avery do the same?

I’ve seen the black packages that come in the mail for her periodically, which indicates that she’s taking care of her own needs. Not once have I allowed myself to think about what that might look like or sound like. But now I’ve seen and heard it, and based on what’s going on below the waist, my body would very much like to witness that again. I shake my head, trying to make the images disappear and force my body to calm the heck down. “I’ll get breakfast started.” I figure the best way to deal with this is to go about things like normal and pretend it didn’t happen.

I’ve managed to get my body under control again by the time Avery appears in the kitchen.

“Hey!” I cringe at the high, almost-prepubescent pitch of my voice and the excessive chipperness.

All I get in return is a grunt. She adjusts her crutch under her arm, hops a couple of times as she finds her balance and opens the cupboard door.

“What do you need? I can help.”

She wobbles, and an elbow gets me in the side as she reaches up to open the cupboard. “I got it, thanks.”

She finally manages to grab the knob, but she loses her hold on her crutch in the process and hops perilously on one foot. I catch it before it hits the ground and wrap my other arm around her waist to keep her steady.

“I’m really sorry, Ave. I thought maybe you’d fallen and hurt yourself. I should’ve knocked first.”

“I should’ve locked my door,” she mumbles, face red, refusing to meet my gaze.

“You don’t need to be embarrassed about it, okay? We all masturbate.” I pull down a coffee mug and move around to her other side to grab the carafe. The last thing I need is Avery spilling hot coffee on herself.

“Please, Deck, I’m good without the pro-self-exploration pep talk.”

“It’s a good thing you’re getting your drive back, right? It means you’re healing.” I fight a cringe. There’s a solid chance I’m making things worse. While we’ve jokingly talked about my masturbation habits in the not-so-distant past, talking about it and witnessing it firsthand are two totally different things.

“Seriously, Declan, can you please drop it? The cheerleading isn’t really all that helpful.” She dumps a heaping spoon of sugar into her coffee and stirs it aggressively. Coffee sloshes over the side of the cup.

“You’re not mad at me, are you? It was an honest mistake.” I can’t read her right now.

She sighs and tosses the spoon into the sink. “I’m not mad at you. I’m frustrated.”

That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. “Shouldn’t you be relaxed?”

“Yes, Declan, I should be relaxed, but I’m not because I couldn’t finish. I can’t maneuver properly and it’s too freaking awkward to manage dual stimulation.”

“Dual stimulation?” I have no idea what she’s talking about, and I’m pretty sure where my mind has gone can’t be right.

Her face turns red. “Both buttons need to be pressed at the same time.”

“Both buttons?” What the hell kind of high-tech vibrator is she using?

“The G-spot and the bean! I don’t even know why I’m explaining this to you. It’s the girl equivalent of blue balls!” She waves her left hand around. “I’m probably not going to have a freaking orgasm until this stupid cast comes off, unless you’re planning to help me out with that too!”

© Helena Hunting


Spark House Series

Helena Hunting by When Sparks Fly Cover
Helena Hunting Starry Eyed Love Cover


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