If you’ve read Goddess of the Hunt, you already know that I find this an irresistible romantic trope: the poor guy who falls under the spell of his best friend’s little sister, all grown up. For years, she’s been nothing but a sister to him, or a friend–perhaps even an annoyance. And suddenly, Little Sis has grown into that awkward coltish frame, set aside her hoyden ways (well, in Lucy’s case – never!), and become a woman. So tempting, and yet so forbidden.

On her side, she’s been yearning for him for years (or, in Lucy’s case – that other guy he hangs out with), just hoping one day he’ll stop cavorting with a string of brainless beauties, put down the brandy flask, and notice her. She’s knows in her heart they’re meant to be, and in almost every case (ahem, Lucy once again being the exception. She’s incorrigible, what can I say?) the heroine’s proved right, and all her years of awkward teenage hoping are vindicated.

I never tire of this setup, in historical or contemporary romance. Some recent favorites have been Victoria Dahl’s Talk Me Down and Beverley Kendall’s debut, Sinful Surrender.

Today, a brand new take on this ever-popular theme hits the shelves: Promise Me Tonight, author Sara Lindsey‘s utterly charming debut historical romance. Here’s the blurb:

Isabella is determined to marry James…

Isabella Weston has loved James Sheffield for as long as she can remember. Her come-out ball seems the perfect chance to make him see her in a new light.

James is determined never to marry…

James is stunned to find the impish girl he once knew has blossomed into a sensual goddess. And if he remembers his lessons, goddesses always spell trouble for mortal men.

A compromise is clearly necessary.

When Izzie kisses James, her artless ardor turns to a masterful seduction that drives him mad with desire. But, no stranger to heartbreak, James is determined never to love, and thus never to lose. Can Isabella convince him that a life without love might be the biggest loss of all?

I’ve been lucky enough to read this book in several incarnations from first draft to print, and I can tell you James and Izzie, and indeed the whole Weston family, are a complete delight. Sara Lindsey’s voice is humorous and sexy, her characters are completely endearing, and the tension between them is scorching. If you’re in need of a fun, funny, sexy, sweet read to brighten up your February, you couldn’t do better than Promise Me Tonight! Best of all, it is the first in a series – woohoo!

Are you a fan of the best friend’s little sister setup? What are your favorite examples? Leave a comment, and you could win a copy of Promise Me Tonight! Deadline is midnight Friday, PST.

ETA: Courtney Milan is also giving away copies here!

38 comments to “Best Friend’s Little Sis”

  1. Babs
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 10:15 am · Link

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the best friend’s little sister setup. Always have.

    I think it is the fact that the hero usually has no chance…the determined little sister who knows EVERYTHING from when they were growing up (usually)?!?! Just can’t resist that!

  2. Laura B.
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 10:36 am · Link

    I like this setup a lot too. Also when the heroine has been in love with her best friend’s older brother forever, a la Romancing Mister Bridgerton.

  3. Danielle Yockman
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 10:39 am · Link

    Love it! Of course big fan of GOTH. I think I remember Johana Lindsey using that one as well (Gentle Rogue?). 🙂

  4. alisha woods
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 10:43 am · Link

    Love According to Lilly by Julianne Maclean. There are many more that I like, but this is one that has always stood out with me. I also like the romances where they have known each other their whole lives and then something clicks and they realize they are not kids anymore and that there is something there.

  5. Catherine Gayle
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 10:56 am · Link

    GOTH is probably my favorite of this particular trope, but a favorite with a similar theme (girl falling for best friend’s older brother) would be Romancing Mister Bridgerton. I mean, who isn’t in love with Colin Bridgerton?

  6. Emily
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 11:03 am · Link

    Sounds like a good read. =)

  7. Lori
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 11:40 am · Link

    I do love this trope. Usually older brother is all hypocritically against any hookup, cause what he does with his friend is NOT what he wants little sis doing. Heh.

    Oooh, I forgot that was the trope of Love According to Lily! What a great series that was.

    And thanks for bringing this book onto my radar. Sounds right up my alley.

  8. Kim
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 11:59 am · Link

    I do like this particular plot. GOTH and the last book I read, Sinful Surrender, had this exact set-up.

  9. jamie murawski
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 1:20 pm · Link

    i love this trope.

    I just read Talk Me Down and well who wouldn’t love Quinn even if he gets alittle distracted by work.

    Julia Quinn’s Romancing Mister Bridgerton is a good one too because everyone love Colin but also The Duke and I is great with Daphne Bridgerton and Simon. Beside you have to love Anthony trying to “protect” his sister from his best friend.

    and in GOTH you get that whole confused when did she grow up moment. Its a great story line. I will def be looking into Sara Lindsey’s debut!

  10. Lexie C.
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 1:22 pm · Link

    Definitely Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn, I was right there with Penelope the entire series hoping she’d get her man.


  11. Sidney Ayers
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 1:25 pm · Link

    The last story I read with a little sister is GOTH. It was my favorite read of 2009. If you don’t believe me, ask the lady I gave it to at my writing group’s Christmas party 🙂
    I swear I am not trying to butter you up!

  12. limecello
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 1:35 pm · Link

    Oooo I so love this trope – of course I’m blanking on titles now – but I know I’ve read some. In a way, the opposite occurs in Prince of Dreams by Lisa Kleypas. The hero knows he’s going to marry the girl forever. Actually. sometimes similar in Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas, right?

    But… for best friend’s little sister… Well, how about Pleasure for Pleasure by Eloisa James? So, not a little sister- but a ward. (And really all the books in that quartet excluding Annabel’s…)

    Congratulations to Sara on her debut novel! It sounds fabulous.

  13. Jane
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 2:12 pm · Link

    Congrats to Sara. I do enjoy books with this set up. One of my favorites is Julie Garwood’s “Heartbreaker.”

  14. Julie
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 2:44 pm · Link

    Ooooh, I like the best-friend’s-little-sister plot! I know for sure the last one I read was Sinful Surrender, and that one was lovely. I know Suzanne Brockmann had one that I really enjoyed as well, but I don’t remember the title, sorry. :X

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  15. RachieG
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 3:43 pm · Link

    I love this kind of a story. Something kind of sweet about the story, each and every time. I think my favorite is “Romancing Mr. Bridgerton” by Julia Quinn. All that Lady Whistledown drama made it even better. 😀

  16. willaful
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 4:34 pm · Link

    I was also going to nominate Love According to Lily. Though the follow-up, Portrait of a Lover, has a trope I like even more – brother’s enemy!

  17. Fedora
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 4:54 pm · Link

    Ooh, best friend’s little sister! LOVE it! As others have mentioned, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton’s a classic. Also have Suz Brockmann’s Taylor’s Temptation on the keeper shelf 🙂 A bunch of others, but blanking right now…

  18. catie james
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 5:18 pm · Link

    Oh I love the lil’ sis set up and dagnabbit, I saw this very title in the store today, but didn’t try it because this author/title weren’t even on my radar! Okay, so now it’s on my list.

    As for favorite titles w/the little sister set up? A couple of recent titles were Bree Despain’s THE DARK DIVINE, Alyxandra Harvey’s HEART’S AT STAKE, Anne Stuart’s INTO THE FIRE (okay so it was a younger cousin, but they’re relationship was sibling-like), Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ THIS HEART OF MINE (keeper shelf), Eloisa James’ PLEASURE FOR PLEASURE, Jennifer Crusie’s FAKING IT (although, I’m not sure that one *really* counts in this category) and (of course) GODDESS OF THE HUNT. 🙂

  19. Amber E.
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 5:24 pm · Link

    I love the falling for the best friend’s little sister plot, can’t get enough of them! I’m like the others the one that comes to my mind right now besides yours is Julianne Maclean’s “Love According to Lily”, and my most recent read Beverley Kendall’s “Sinful Surrender”. I would love to find more books that have this theme in it.

  20. michelle santiago
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 5:29 pm · Link

    i really like the best friend’s little sister plot line but i haven’t read many with this one. one that comes to mind is stephanie laurens’ a secret love. i’d very much would like to read ms. lindsey’s book. i love the sound of it.

  21. Lyoness2009
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 6:21 pm · Link

    I enjoy this theme as well. Julia Quinn’s book is probably my favorite of this theme, but there are a ton others out there that I enjoy too!

  22. Maya M.
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 7:27 pm · Link

    wasn’t that the setup in ‘An Ideal Husband’? I never read the Oscar Wilde original (I really should) but loved the Rupert Everett/Minnie Driver film.

  23. Laurie
    · February 2nd, 2010 at 8:30 pm · Link

    It’s funny that everyone keeps mentioning “Romancing Mr. Bridgerton” since it’s “The Duke & I” that features the best friend’s little sister. I think it’s probably because we (well at least I do) look at it from the heroine’s perspective — so we’re intrigued by the heroine falling for her best friend’s older brother! Anyway I do love RMB and of course GOTH and am looking forward to reading about the Westons!

  24. Monica M
    · February 3rd, 2010 at 4:21 pm · Link

    Ohhh, love this as well. My favorite is contained in Into the Fire by Suzanne Brockmann. There is a “sub-story” about Izzy and Eden. Their book is due to come out in 2011. CAN’T WAIT!!! I also really enjoyed Romancing Mister Bridgerton and The Duke & I by Julia Quinn and Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood too!!

    Congrats on the new book Sara! Can’t wait to read it! I’m quite partial to the name Isabella (Izzie), as that is going to be my niece’s name once she is born this April 1st!! ZOE ISABELLA!!! 😆

  25. cheryl c.
    · February 4th, 2010 at 10:00 am · Link

    This sounds like a delightful book, and I love the best friend’s sister premise. I especially like JQ’s The Duke and I. The best friends even have a duel over the sister.

  26. Santa
    · February 4th, 2010 at 2:45 pm · Link

    I love this theme and, more importantly, the latest crop of books on this theme. Yours chief among them.

    I can’t think of any off hand except Eloisa James’ Josie from the Essex Sisters series. Her own book which she gets her man (and the man so many readers coveted) Mayne. Pleasure for Pleasure was a delight.

    I, too, read Sara’s book in increments and am sooo happy to see this debut.

    Please choose someone else. I have my own adored copy.

  27. iokijo
    · February 4th, 2010 at 2:47 pm · Link

    Have to say I haven’t read any that I can think of..
    Just started reading cont. rom. Usually just read para.rom. and none of those jump out as fitting.
    So this could be my first 😉
    Thanks for the chance to win it. Good luck everyone.

  28. Jennifer
    · February 4th, 2010 at 4:55 pm · Link

    This is a great set-up that works in any time period. I just finished GOTH and loved it. What a fabulous debut!

    Sara’s book sounds really great, too. I look forward to reading it!

  29. Kelly S
    · February 4th, 2010 at 5:05 pm · Link

    I just finished Goddess of the Hunt and it was a great Best Friend’s little sis plot line. I like that she ended up with a different brother’s best friend that she first sought.

    I also love Victoria Dahl’s contemporaries. (I haven’t read any of the historicals yet.) Talk Me Down was quite naughty and fun! It was neat that his sister was really up for the relationship.

  30. Kelly S
    · February 4th, 2010 at 5:10 pm · Link

    Oops! I realized I messed up in my last post.

    Talk Me Down was with the sister going for her brother’s best friend. This actually is my favorite of the 3 stories. Start Me Up was the one with the ladies being close if not best friends and went for her older brother. Close but not the same.

  31. Etirv
    · February 4th, 2010 at 5:56 pm · Link

    I like best friend’s little sister setup. Current favorite: Goddess of the Hunt!

  32. Robin K
    · February 4th, 2010 at 6:26 pm · Link

    I too love this setup as it often involves some humor and always shocks the characters, particularly the men. I honestly cannot, for the life of me, remember the last time I read such a plot. I am more frequently finding the suitor who is suppose to protect his friends daughter and falling in love with her.

  33. Shabana Y
    · February 5th, 2010 at 7:17 am · Link

    Hi 🙂

    I LOVE the BFF little sister set-up..although, sometimes you get so caught-up in the plot you don’t recognize the cliche on it’s basic level…

    but…my favorite one would have to be Sin and Sensibility by Suzanne Enoch. I see a lot of people mentioned Julia Quinn and I loved those too, but SAS still holds my heart…Deverill is swoon worthy 🙂

  34. Spav
    · February 5th, 2010 at 7:52 am · Link

    I really like that setup. My favourite book with it would probably be “Just One of the Guys” by Kristan Higgins.

  35. Tessa
    · February 6th, 2010 at 9:08 am · Link

    And the winners of copies of Sara Lindsey’s PROMISE ME TONIGHT, as determined by Random.org, are….

    Emily (#6)
    Willaful (#16)

    Congratulations! Please use the contact form to send me your snail mail address.

    Thanks to everyone for a great discussion of the Best Friend’s Little Sister trope. There were so many mentioned that I love (The Duke and I! sigh – Pleasure for Pleasure! yum) and several that were new to me, as well. I need to check out LOVE ACCORDING TO LILY!

    And thanks so much to those of you who mentioned Goddess of the Hunt fondly. 🙂

  36. britt
    · December 28th, 2011 at 10:36 am · Link

    Dangerous grounds by shelli stevens

  37. starsister
    · December 30th, 2012 at 11:42 am · Link

    can anyone please tell me who the author of goth is ??? i am dying to read it but the only goth i can find on the net is about murder and stuff so pleaseeee help me out??

    • Eris
      · February 13th, 2013 at 3:24 pm · Link

      It called Goddess of the Hunt.