As I looked back at my various books, I realized that most of my characters do have a best friend they rely on throughout the book in one way or another.
In my debut, This Time for Always, the heroine Sharlie has a group of friends at the bar where she works. When Logan comes back to town intent on buying that very bar, her friends, Zach and Pete in particular, provide support and comfort.
In Wild Wedding Weekend, Abby's best friend is Claire. The relationship between Noah (the hero) and Claire provides some of the conflict in the story. Although toward the end Claire helps Abby through an emotional time, and provides a way for me as the author to let the reader know how Abby is feeling without having to do a ton of internal introspection.
In This Can't Be Love, it's Zach (the hero) who has a buddy. Jake provides relationship and career advice to Zach. Again, this relationship also helps to cut down on long streams of internal dialogue.
For another manuscript, "Family Secrets", Erika has a best friend. Per the usual, the friend provides support, advice, and encouragement, and saves me from too much internal thought on the heroine's part.
My current WIP ("This Feels Like Home") features Jake as the hero. We first meet Jake in Always, and get to know him a little better in Love. Being the hero in the third of a set, Jake does have an established group of friends, who will play background roles in his story. My heroine, Amber, has a cousin who will be her "sounding board" when it comes to her romance with Jake.
Secondary characters help move the plot along, provide support for a hero and/or heroine, and can be used to save readers from loads and loads of internal introspection from your main characters. Pretty important jobs, I'd say. (And sometimes it's fun to give those background characters stories of their own!)
Until next time,