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"Barrett writes sensitively about the challenges Jesse and Lulu experience, along with wonderfully tender and sexy scenes..."

- Library Journal

Jesse Logan doesn’t want a fresh start. He wants his old life back—before an injury made his career as a firefighter impossible, before his grandfather’s Alzheimer’s got so bad he doesn’t recognize Jesse anymore. When a friend tells him about a paid psychological study, Jesse sees it as a chance to get back to the man he was while making a little extra cash.

All Lulu Banks is asking for is a fresh start. Back home after a devastating breakup, she’s struggling to find her place. She’s always been a lot—too loud, too eager, too obvious about her feelings. The friendship study seems like a great idea…until she’s paired with Jesse Logan, who recently ghosted her after a blind date that led to a steamy make-out session.

Now that old familiar tension is back. Despite the program’s strict “no romance” rule, Jesse and Lulu are quick to find a work-around that allows them to explore their tenuous connection. And soon they’re on their way to total self-improvement…

As long as they don’t get caught.

A note on content warnings: 

The Friendship Study deals with a parental figure with dementia, disclosure of sexual assault (assault is not on page and not between main characters) and descriptions of a car accident and of injuries, including blood. There is explicit sex and representation of bisexuality, undiagnosed neurodivergence, and use of mobility aids. 


"The fantastic friends-to-lovers romance...offers heat and tenderness as Jesse and Lulu find love and belonging." - Library Journal

"Soft, sensual, and refreshingly bittersweet - Ruby Barrett expertly portrays the visceral experience of being human—the way we crave, the way we ache, and the way we heal— sometimes slowly, almost never in a straight line. This is the rare book that can both singe off your eyebrows and soothe a jagged piece of your soul. In The Friendship Study, Barrett writes with tremendous care for anyone who has ever felt lonely." —Rosie Danan, author of The Roommate

"Reading a Ruby Barrett book is always like spending time with the dearest friend. In The Friendship Study, Barrett so perfectly depicts two lonely people who carefully, deliberately make their way to each other. But when they can't keep their hands to themselves, will it elevate their friendship or destroy everything? I was so invested in Jesse and Lulu's journeys both together and as individuals." - Alicia Thompson, bestselling author of Love in the Time of Serial Killers

“Sexy, smart, and sizzling with romantic tension, THE FRIENDSHIP STUDY is a delight. Jesse and Lulu have my whole heart." - Ashley Herring Blake, author of Delilah Green Doesn't Care, Astrid Parker Doesn't Fail, and Iris Kelly Doesn't Date

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