I wouldn't necessarily suggest/see myself jumping to expressing 'love' to my friend, however, I see 'hinting' that you 'like them more than a friend' as suitable.
But for sure, I would definitely tell them I like them..just not necessarily 'love' right away aha.
would you please say Hello to Stephen Pimenetel? He is a huge fan and he listens to loveline everynight. He had a stroke in 2011 and is recovering. It would mean alot if you could say hi and mention him. Thank you!!