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The angst of Just Tell Her

Way back when I first wrote Charlie and Hailey in THE BEST LINES, I had no intention of writing a whole series of books. THE BEST LINES was going to be a stand-alone, with mentions of Alyssa and Hannah from FRESH START, but as I started to bring them more into the plot and got to know Ember’s friends a bit, I knew I wanted to write a book where Charlie and Hailey fall in love.

Now, for the plot. This was interesting because there’s a friend (Charlie) who’s been in love with her friend (Hailey) for about a decade, so the challenge was that I had to give a reason why Charlie would tell Hailey now. It couldn’t just be because Ember was getting married. That would’ve been too easy. So, I gave Hailey an ex-girlfriend. The ex-girlfriend that every other girlfriend gets compared to. So, even if Charlie felt like maybe with Ember getting married, it was about time she told Hailey how she felt, there was still the specter of Emma lurking around every corner.

Emma reappears, is single, and now, we have conflict. Charlie decides she needs to finally move on right around the time Hailey is realizing Emma isn’t the same Emma she was when they were together. Charlie finally tells Hailey how she feels and starts dating someone new. On and on it goes, and I know many people thought this book had A LOT of angst.

Not one for a ton of that stuff myself as a reader, I usually don’t write much angst in my books unless there’s a crime element or something where it’s needed. But here, I wanted it. I wanted them to earn being together in the end, because it’s not easy, going from being best friends for a decade to falling in love, to then being together and making it work in reality.

Charlie worries about Emma and being compared to her. Hailey worries that she’ll never live up to the fantasy Charlie has built up in her head all these years. There are ups and downs. They both make mistakes and flee, but they come back to each other when they realize they’ve always loved each other in spite of their flaws and for them, and that they were always meant to be more; they just had to get there and work for it.

It’s more real this way. Best friends don’t just say, “Hey, I feel a thing. Do you feel a thing?” and start dating. They contemplate. They fear. They think twice. They might even run. I wanted the book to rip your heart out when you worry Charlie and Hailey might not end up together because that meant you were really rooting for them and saw them as soulmates.

Yes, it’s got some angst. But in the end, Hailey realizes that Charlie has always loved her for her and not because she was a fantasy. And Charlie realizes Hailey’s not comparing her to Emma - she’s comparing everyone else to Charlie, which is why it never worked out with other women.

They were always meant to be.


Just Tell Her

  • Chicago Series Book 2

  • Genre: Contemporary Romance

  • Release Date: May 25th, 2018

  • Formats: Kindle, Paperback

  • Length: 106,620 words


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Yes there was more angst but it felt right in terms of the characters and the series, Charlie and Hailey had to get over themselves to understand each other in a relationship, the last third of the book was stronger for the journey they had been through

Nicole Pyland
Nicole Pyland
May 21, 2023
Replying to

I agree with you there. They had to earn it for it to be believable.


I just read this one and it has me actual searching for a book with a little more angst. I want to know there is a HEA but have them fight it out a little. I loved the way Haley threw some verbal jabs at Charlie when she was hurt. As always, love your stuff!

Nicole Pyland
Nicole Pyland
May 20, 2023
Replying to

Thank you! I wanted to make this one as real to life as possible.

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