Romance

My Review: The Spanish Love Deception (Spanish Love Deception #1): by Elena Armas

Publish Date: February 8th, 2022
Number of Pages: 448 Pages
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre(s): Romance

Total Star Rating: 3.25 Stars

‘I’ll give you the world,’ he said against my mouth. ‘The moon. The fucking stars. Anything you ask, it’s yours. I’m yours.’”

– Elena Armas, “The Spanish Love Deception”

What It’s About:

the official synopsis:

Catalina Martín desperately needs a date to her sister’s wedding. Especially since her little white lie about her American boyfriend has spiraled out of control. Now everyone she knows—including her ex and his fiancée—will be there and eager to meet him.

She only has four weeks to find someone willing to cross the Atlantic and aid in her deception. New York to Spain is no short flight and her raucous family won’t be easy to fool.

Enter Aaron Blackford—her tall, handsome, condescending colleague—who surprisingly offers to step in. She’d rather refuse; never has there been a more aggravating, blood-boiling, and insufferable man.

But Catalina is desperate, and as the wedding draws nearer, Aaron looks like her best option. And she begins to realize he might not be as terrible in the real world as he is at the office.

~~~

Around the time this book was released, it had gotten A LOT of hype surrounding it, and I’d had several fellow bookstagrammers gushing about how hot this guy named Aaron Blackford was….Predictable me was intrigued and had to look into this dude, and it turned out he was the main guy in this book! Since I was such a big fan of The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, which has a very similar premise when compared to this book, I had to give this book a try!

The story revolves around Catalina, who is desperate to hire an actor to play her boyfriend for her sisters wedding back over in Spain where her family still lives. She’s been lying and saying what a dreamboat her guy is when in actuality, he’s about as real as me ever having abs…not gonna happen. Aaron Blackford, who’s the hot office grump, offers to be said stand-in boyfriend, but with a rivalry between the two, Catalina is not THAT desperate as to use her mortal enemy! But as the wedding date draws closer, she gives in and they start to spend time in order to pass as an actual couple.

To be honest, this book started off incredibly slow…like I was really questioning why this book was getting so much hype as it was! It wasn’t like it was badly written, it was more about how it felt like there were too many scenes leading up to them actually leaving for Spain for the wedding. I felt like a few chapters of that content could be cut and it wouldn’t terribly detract from the story all that much. This book is 448 pages, but it could’ve easily been at least 100 pages less in order for us to get the message.

When they finally get the Spain and really start pretending, THAT was when the story picked up for me! The sexual tension was finally showing itself, and if it wasn’t obvious by then, it became SUPER obvious that Aaron had it bad for Catalina! She was definitely feeling it too, but she couldn’t decide if Aaron was faking it, or if it was worth going further and making things real because lets remember: their rivals…

Throughout the book, Aaron is this introverted, stoic, but smoking guy, but when he starts to talk dirty….oh man! My heart, my body, my soul is his! He’s HAWT! And I totally saw what other readers were saying about him!

If you like those office “enemies-to-lovers” kind of story’s, again just like The Hating Game, you’ll probably like this book too! It’s got some really cute moments, and I can definitely assure you that Aaron Blackford is a definite hot piece of male romance novel ass!

What I Liked:

  1. Aaron Blackford Is GOALS! I really can’t gush about him enough! When he starts revealing his true feelings to Cataline, my heart is fluttering alongside hers….and when he’s talking dirty to her, just YESSSS YES YEs! I’m also a huge sucker for when the grumpy stoic guy admits he’s had feelings for much longer than we originally knew about!
  2. The Smut Towards The End of The Book! Aaron Blackford can get down and dirty with his words AND his body, and he could have me anyway he wanted me if he ever decided to swing this way…if it wasn’t obvious by now, Aaron Blackford is the main highlight of this book for me!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. The Story Could’ve Been Shorter…Like I said earlier in this review, the book didn’t need to be over 400 pages in all honesty. The first half of this book really dragged, and I felt like quite a few scenes could’ve been cut and the story wouldn’t suffer at all for it.
  2. The “Enemies-to-Lovers” Trope Could’ve Been More Obvious…as far as office rivals go, I felt like the author didn’t go far enough with this aspect of Aaron and Catalina’s love story. There wasn’t as much aggravation between the two or hilarious banter as I was hoping for! Plus, Aaron offered to be her fake boyfriend which kind of killed their rivalry from my perspective…maybe if it was a more “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” kind of deal between the two, I’d have found it more believable
  3. The Reason For Their Rivalry Could’ve Been Stronger…When the reason they became rivals in the first place was revealed, part of me was let down because it just didn’t feel like it was a big enough deal, AND it just felt like a simple miscommunication, which I’m not a fan of when it comes to adding conflict…

Conclusion:

Overall, this wasn’t the greatest office rivalry, “enemies-to-lovers” style of story with some fake dating thrown in there too with the grumpy-and-sunshine type of characters…I do love these tropes in my romance stories, but it definitely could’ve been executed stronger than what it actually was.

Besides my critiques of the story, it was for sure still pretty enjoyable! Like I said earlier, the story really does pick up in the back half of the book, and ESPECIALLY when we get to see the spicier side of Aaron Blackford when he loosens that tie a little bit–or a lot!

Do I plan to read other books by this author?

Maybe! It’ll depend on what the story is about, and how long the book is…I may skip if its something thats over 400 pages, just to save me some time!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

New Adult Romance, Romance

My Review: Hook, Line, and Sinker (It Happened One Summer #2): by Tessa Bailey

Publish Date: March 1st, 2022
Number of Pages: 400 Pages
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre(s): Romance

**Warning!! This review contains spoilers from the previous book in the series, so continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!!**

To see my review of book #1 – It Happened One Summer – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 4.25 Stars

‘I could tell by the way you looked at her, she was something real special.’

‘How did I look at her?’ He was afraid to find out.

‘Ah, son. Like a summer day showing up after a hundred years of winter.’

– Tessa Bailey, “Hook, Line, and Sinker”

What It’s About:

The official synopsis:

King crab fisherman Fox Thornton has a reputation as a sexy, carefree flirt. Everyone knows he’s a guaranteed good time–in bed and out–and that’s exactly how he prefers it. Until he meets Hannah Bellinger. She’s immune to his charm and looks, but she seems to enjoy his… personality? And wants to be friends? Bizarre. But he likes her too much to risk a fling, so platonic pals it is.

Now, Hannah’s in town for work, crashing in Fox’s spare bedroom. She knows he’s a notorious ladies’ man, but they’re definitely just friends. In fact, she’s nursing a hopeless crush on a colleague and Fox is just the person to help with her lackluster love life. Armed with a few tips from Westport’s resident Casanova, Hannah sets out to catch her coworker’s eye… yet the more time she spends with Fox, the more she wants him instead. As the line between friendship and flirtation begins to blur, Hannah can’t deny she loves everything about Fox, but she refuses to be another notch on his bedpost.

Living with his best friend should have been easy. Except now she’s walking around in a towel, sleeping right across the hall, and Fox is fantasizing about waking up next to her for the rest of his life and… and… man overboard! He’s fallen for her, hook, line, and sinker. Helping her flirt with another guy is pure torture, but maybe if Fox can tackle his inner demons and show Hannah he’s all in, she’ll choose him instead?

In the follow-up to It Happened One Summer, Tessa Bailey delivers another deliciously fun rom-com about a former player who accidentally falls for his best friend while trying to help her land a different man…

~~~

Continuing off the events of the last book, Hook, Line, and Sinker is another addition to what I found to be an entertaining, hilarious, sexy, and just light-hearted romantic story that centered around the Bellinger sisters! This time the younger sister, Hannah, gets the spotlight on her despite how she feels being in the background and usually preferring it that way…

This story takes place a year later when Hannah is working for a production company in LA, and to impress the director she has her eye on, she suggests Westport–the town her and her sister rediscovered–so they return to continue filming.

Her and Fox have an interesting relationship where they’re sort of friends, but there may be some secret feelings both may be harboring for each other….You’ll have to read it yourself to see how it all plays out!

I read this book all within one day, I couldn’t put it down, and the sexual tension that was slowly building between the two main characters was for sure what was the main drive was all about. While this book wasn’t as spicy in terms of quantity with less sex scenes, the moments we do get are twice as intense and felt like a deeper and more meaningful reading experience if I’m being completely honest.

Its a contemporary romance, and once again Tessa Bailey really impressed me with her writing craft and I continue to say she has a fan in me! I can’t wait to get my hands on her books from here on out!

What really surprised me was how the emotional/inner growth actually came from the male character in this romance story! Fox actually has a lot of emotional baggage that is touched upon, I go into more details about what it is exactly later down in my lists, but as a male reader, I’ll say it was refreshing to see a male character get this kind of development in a book, men do face certain societal pressures and also have emotional depth but are told to “man up” and hide it beneath the surface. Men can be victims too, and as I’m typing this review in May 2022, the court battle currently going on between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard is a great example to justify me saying this! But that’s all I’ll say about that on this book review…

~~~

You can’t live life worrying about what people will think. You’ll wake up one day, look at a calendar, and count the days you could have spent being happy. With her. And no one else, especially the ones wagging their tongues, are going to be there to console you

– Tessa Bailey, “Hook, Line, and Sinker”

What I Liked:

  1. The Sexual Tension! My, oh my, things were getting hot and heavy between Fox and Hannah as the story progresses and this is mainly why I read this whole book in less than a day! I really thought they had great chemistry, and even though this book was much more of a slow-burn, when things reach their climax in more ways than one, it feels so much more intense and rewarding!
  2. The Author Touches on Important Topics for Men! Surprisingly Fox is the one who gains more inner/emotional growth in this story; its a rarity to see this with a male character instead of the woman in a romance novel! Tessa Bailey expertly touches on important topics like toxic masculinity and male sexualization and imposter syndrome with Fox. In the book, he has a certain reputation amongst his friends and the townsfolk, to even Brendan–his best friend–doesn’t trust him to be alone with Hannah, his fiancé’s younger sister! It’s even lead him to believe he doesn’t deserve a position of power and authority as captain like Brendan wants him to be. I thought Tessa Bailey shed some light on these important lessons and shows that men do face issues with showing emotions and being vulnerable because society tells them to “man up.”
  3. The Dirty Talk Improved! I mentioned this in in the previous review of book #1, but the dirty talk had some cringe moments….BUT luckily I didn’t think this at all in this book!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. There Wasn’t As Much Drama with the Fake Dating…Part of the plot of this story was Hannah asked Fox to pretend to be dating her to make another guy jealous: the director who’s filming the movie they return to Westport for. I thought this was downplayed too much for my preference, and it really only made an appearance once or twice in the book, so part of me was like “what was the point of that then?”….
  2. It wasn’t as Spicy…Don’t get me wrong, there IS spice in this book like the previous one, but just not as much…like season 2 of Bridgerton on Netflix, this sequel was very much more of a slow-burn before the characters do the no-pants-dance.

Conclusion:

Overall, this was an excellent addition to It Happened One Summer, and gave some much needed attention to Hannah and Fox, who also both deserved their own spotlight in this story! There wasn’t as much of a Schitt’s Creek feel to this book as much, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t love this book either!

There’s an epilogue scene that is so wholesome and warm and touching; it was the perfect way to end these books, and made me even more of a fan of the author. I really liked these books, I of course recommend them to anyone who enjoys those light, breezy, beachy reads with romance…

Thanks for reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Romance

My Review: It Happened One Summer (It Happened One Summer #1): by Tessa Bailey

Publish Date: July 13th, 2021
Number of Pages: 397 Pages
Publisher: Avon
Genre(s): New Adult Romance, Romance

Total Star Rating: 4 Stars

‘Eh.’ She waved a hand. ‘There are thousands of me there.’

Brendan snorted at her joke. And then he realized she was serious.

‘Piper, there is nobody like you.’

She smiled like she was humoring him…

He pulled the car onto the side of the road, slammed on the brakes, and threw it into park. ‘Did you hear me?’ He reached over to tilt up her chin. ‘There is nobody like you.’

‘Why are you getting so worked up?’

‘Because I . . .thought I was an intuitive man. A smart man. But I keep finding out new ways I’m flying blind when it comes to something so important. You. You are important.’

– Tessa Bailey, “It Happened One Summer”

What It’s About:

The official synopsis:

Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington.

Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.

Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart. 

Tessa Bailey is back with a Schitt’s Creek-inspired rom-com about a Hollywood “It Girl” who is cut off from her wealthy family and exiled to a small Pacific Northwest beach town… where she butts heads with a surly, sexy local who thinks she doesn’t belong.

~~~

Schitts Creek is easily one of my top favorite shows; I watched it 7 or 8 times in 2020 alone to get me through that train-wreck of a year, and In loved the comedy, the themes of family and perseverance, and even the queer acceptance and representation! It is perfect and I felt like I related to both David and Alexis Rose on different levels based off their personalities and behaviors…but the reason I’m mentioning all this in a book review is because this book was heavily compared to the hit comedy show, and once I heard this, I knew I had to get my hands on this book!

It Happened One Summer was a fun, uplifting, cute and even a little spicy summer romance read that is definitely one to pick up! The Schitts Creek is spot on, and I can even add that anyone who really enjoys those small town stories like Heart of Dixie, Virgin River, or even Sweet Home Alabama will absolutely love this book!

The story is about Piper Bellinger, a total Paris Hilton, Elle Woods, Kardashian, Alexis Rose type character who goes a little too far with a rooftop party one night after she gets dumped, and then as punishment is forced to relocate to a small fishing town in Washington; she and her younger sister must operate her late father’s dive bar.

From there, she learns about what sort of legacy her father and their family have left on the town, and she meets burly fisherman, Brendan Taggert, who is convinced she won’t make it a week without all her luxuries she’s taken for granted for so long…but before you know it, sparks begin to fly as they discover there’s more than meets the eye with each other…

The romance was done incredibly well, and both characters really helped each other out with their own inner baggage, which is so integral in order to make a romantic relationship believable and engaging. They really did have some great chemistry and some equally sweet and sexy moments between them.

It’s an easy, breezy sort of novel that’s easy to put up and down on the side table next to your beach bag while you catch some rays and/or sip on some drink with a mini umbrella as garnish–whether there’s alcohol in there too is entirely up to you!–but with how well written this story is, if its the kind of book you’re into, this is another great addition to your library or summer reading list!

~~~

It won’t let me just use my own name as my username.

‘Yeah, probably because about nine hundred Brendan Taggarts joined before you.

‘So what should I use?

‘CaptainCutie69,’ Fox spat out.

‘IGotCrabs4U,’ Deke supplied.

‘SlipperyWhenWet.

Brendan stared. ‘You’re all fired. Go home.’

– Tessa Bailey, “It Happened One Summer”

What I Liked:

  1. The Spicy Sex Scenes! Okay, so looking at the cover, it’s pretty subtle and makes you assume this story is going to be pretty clean and wholesome, right?……..WRONG! I was happily surprised to see that were was some spice sprinkled into the romance and while I’m not unfamiliar with erotic content, I still raised my brow at a few things that went down in this book, ONLY because I wasn’t expecting it to happen in this type of romance novel!
  2. The Hint of More to Come With Another Character! So while this book revolves around Piper and her personal story of growth moving from LA to a small town, I liked that her sister, Hannah, also got some attention and it’s hinted at how there’s more to her story that continues! I’m glad Piper had a more level headed sister to help her with her predicament, it also gave us some lovely moments of family and sisterhood.
  3. The Grumpy/Sunshine Trope! Total opposites attract here with Piper and Brendan when they meet each other and unexpectedly start to fall for each other! Think a Hollywood Paris Hilton, Elle Woods, Alexis Rose type of character falling for the rough, tough, burly, rugged, and moody fisherman, and they’re dynamic is actually such a huge highlight! I loved their romantic development as they went from weary acquaintances-to-friends-to-lovers.
  4. The Deeper Messages/Themes! You’d probably expect a story like this would be pretty shallow and just pure fluff entertainment, but much to your shock, you’ll discover that there is actually some hidden depths to the story and that there were some worthwhile lessons to be learned! Stuff like inner vs. outer beauty, change vs. tradition, grieving the death of a loved one, moving on, self confidence, materialism and wealth, growing up, and of course family!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. Some of The Dirty Talk is CRINGE…While I loved that there were some pretty sexy scenes within this book, I will also admit that once or twice there were times where the dirty talk was so bad, I swear i’ve heard better lines in a bad porno…It made me laugh, and while this book is a fictional rom-com, I wasn’t laughing for the right reasons.

Conclusion:

Overall, this was a funny, uplifting, heartwarming, and even heart-rate accelerating summer romance novel that is a great selection for anyone who loves these sorts of books, or for anyone who wants a book to read because of their love for movies/shows like Schitts Creek!

I originally thought this was going to be a standalone novel, and it totally could work as one if the author wanted it to, but there is a sequel titled Hook, Line, and Sinker expected to release March 1st, 2022 according to Goodreads! You can bet I’ll want to get my hands on a copy and keep reading this wonderful story full of wonderful characters!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Fancasts/Dreamcasts

My Fancast/Dreamcast: The Kingdom of the Wicked series by Kerri Maniscalco

Image courtesy of Bookstagram account: @xenatine

Hello readers!

I’m back with another Fancast article, this time it’s a demonic, witchy series that has become a favorite of mine in 2021 as I started reading it, “Kingdom of the Wicked” is a spooky delight with enemies-to-lovers and (surprisingly) amazing food prep descriptions that may add on to my quarantine 45!

The story revolves around Emilia, whose family is full of witches who must keep it a secret from witch hunters, they live among the mortals of their island town. Her twin sister, Vittoria, is mysteriously & brutally murdered, and Emilia goes looking for answers, and reluctantly joins forces with one of her mortal enemies: a demon Prince from hell. They rule the kingdom of the wicked, and Prince Wrath may be incredibly easy on the eyes, but never before has a witch ever formed an alliance with demon royalty, but as they dig deeper into this murder mystery, they discover there are much more malicious forces at work, and dark prophecies may soon come to light…

I am making this Fancast/Dreamcast as I’ve recently finished the second book that’s released – Kingdom of the Cursed – as I’m typing this. I’m so relieved that Kerri Maniscalco decided to go in more new adult direction with this series; Wrath was WAYYYYYYYYY too hot to stay in YA!

Anyways, not everyone has been cast yet, but not to worry! I plan to add characters as I find a face to the name, so refer back to this post as books release and it’ll be updated as quickly as possible!

~~~

To see my review of book #1 – Kingdom of the Wicked – Click HERE

~~~

Here’s My Official Fancast/Dreamcast:

~~~

Emilia/Vittoria di Carlo: Sophia Miacova

She isn’t an actress, but this model definitely has the look I imagine these magical twins having! She’s got the Latin looks, even if I’m not entirely sure if she ethnically matches up to the characters.

Nonna Maria: Stevie Nicks

Again, I’m not getting an A+ on authenticity because Stevie Nicks doesn’t have any Italian descent in her blood, but there’s no doubt that she has a witchy, haunting vibe to her…hell, she played a witch in “American Horror Story” when she’s made surprise appearances!

Antonio Vincenzu Bernardo: Rafael Silva

I love Rafael in Fox’s “9-1-1: Lone Star” and he has such boyish good looks that I imagined Antonio having! Who wouldn’t have a crush on a face like that if they grew up with him like Emilia?

Prince Wrath: Clayton Brannon

Okay, but Prince Wrath was easily the hardest to cast because this is going to sound shallow, but who could possibly be good looking enough to play this sexy demon Prince from Hell?!?! Luckily, I remembered I follow this model on Instagram and I do believe he is an excellent choice even if he’s not an actor, he’s who I picture as Wrath!

Claudia: Jeanine Mason

I first saw this actress in a season of “Grey’s Anatomy” and she’s also in the show of “Roswell, New Mexico” but also who I picked to be Emilia’s cousin in these books.

Prince Envy: Mario Zabal

Again, apparently demon princes from Hell are sexy AF, because here’s another model who matches up to this Prince of the green sin…he’s got sharp features that I think really encapsulate the prince’s ethereal beauty!

Prince Greed: Daniel Gillies

So if you’ve seen my other Fancastings, you know I love “The Vampire Diaries” and for some reason, “Elijah” here came to mind when it came to the demon Prince who ran an underground speak-easy/casino to lure the weak minded into losing everything…

Prince Lust: Clint Mauro

Clint Mauro is someone who I consider to be one of the sexiest men in existence, so why not have him play the Prince of Lust! I even found a picture of him shirtless on a beach because a beach is where we first met him! You’re welcome!

Alexei: Jarred Blakiston

So this actor is obviously wearing a wig, but seeing him in full costume in the Netflix show “The New Legends of Monkey,” he looks like an evil elven Prince, or in this case, a certain vampire who does the bidding of Prince Envy!

Anir: Charles Michael Davis

I was struggling to find someone who wasn’t Ne-Yo or Tyson Beckford in who has both an African and Asian background since that’s how the character is described, but I found out that Charles is part Filipino, so it fits! Another TVD favorite who played Marcel!

Fauna: ???

I’m struggling to find someone who looks like what I imagined this character looking like….stay tuned!

Prince Gluttony: Darren Criss, or Adam Brody

This Prince is not a larger sized guy like you might think, in fact even Emilia describes him as not appearing how she expected either. He’s described as being shorter with brownish-maybe dark red hair and hazel eyes, so I pictured either of these actors playing the Prince of not eating too much, but simply enjoying ALL of life’s pleasures in excess!

Prince Pride: Adam Demos

Prince Pride finally makes an appearance in KOTC, and as soon as we figured out what he actually looks like, I pictured this hot Aussie actor to play him and continue to heat up the screen you’re viewing this post on! If he looks familiar, it’s because he’s on the hit Netflix show “Sex/Life.”

Celestia: Kristin Bauer van Straten

She played the dark queen Maleficent in ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” and also just so happens to play this character who works as a medicine woman down in hell who’s way more than meets the eye…

~~~

Remember: this Fancast/Dreamcast will be updated as more books release for this series, and as I figure out more characters, so come back over time to see any new additions.

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Erotica, New Adult Romance, Romance

My Review: Four Letter Word (Dirty Deeds #1): by J. Daniels

Publish Date: October 4th, 2016
Number of Pages: 416 Pages
Publisher: Forever
Genre(s): New Adult Romance, Erotica

Total Star Rating: 4.25 Stars

Love was a risk. It was wild and unpredictable. You could either hold on for the ride, not knowing how it would end, or you could let go and never know the amazing you could have had.

– J. Daniels, “Four Letter Word”

What It’s About:

The official blurb:

Fate. Hate. Love. Lies.

Which four letter word will change their lives forever?

Sydney Paige was never so mortified to hear the words “wrong number” in her life. She meant to tell off the guy who broke her best friend’s heart but unleashed her anger on a perfect stranger instead. And now her world is turned upside down by the captivating man who wants to keep her on the line.

Brian Savage is living a life he’s quickly come to hate-until Sydney’s wild rant has him hooked and hungry for more. Soon the sexy woman on the phone becomes the lover in his bed. But Brian has secrets, and the closer he lets Syd get, the harder it is to shield her from the devastating mistakes of his past . . .

~~~

Hey guys, Glad to be back with my latest review on here, and I gotta say that this latest erotic romance title was a VERY happy surprise for me; I really enjoyed this book! I’ve never read books by this author before so I had no idea what to expect, but she really brought the spice! I was worried for the first chunk of the book because of how somber and depressing the tone was surrounding the main character, Sydney, and her predicament. But the book really picked up quickly and got a lot better from there on!

Sydney Paige has hit rock bottom as she walks out on her husband who doesn’t even look away from the TV as she does so, and moves to a new town to move in with her best friend, Tori. She decides to have a full fresh start; new home, new hair, new job, almost new everything. Both girls have been burned by the men in their lives, and Sydney does something really out of character one night and decides to call Tori’s ex and give him a piece of her mind! She calls the wrong number that’s off by one digit and that’s where the story really starts to begin…

She inadvertently meets Brian Savage and their relationship starts from there from calls and texts and late night conversations to the possibility of meeting in person. He’s not in a good place in his life either, and Sydney quickly becomes the only light he can see above all the darkness.

I quickly got wrapped into the story and really enjoyed how Brian and Sydney’s relationship developed throughout the story and how much both of them grew individually along with it. When you summarize their story it would seem so extra and over the top—I mean, what are the odds of meeting someone like this based off one wrong digit for someone’s number?—but reading it makes you really, truly believe it and that love does exist in this dark and crazy world we’re all living in.

It was a rather quick read and not too heavy, just how I like my romance novels, and the added spice of the sex scenes made it even more enjoyable than others.

I say if you’re looking for a well written, smut-filled romance that has both spice and utter sweetness, this is a choice I definitely recommend!

What I Liked:

  1. How Long It Took For Brian and Sydney To Meet! Part of the journey was how long it took these two to actually meet in real life. They start off as speech bubbles in their text chain and get closer and closer and they even have a few close calls where they would’ve met up in real life and it fills you with anxiety in the best way because you wonder if it’ll happen now or not. The author dragged out their eventual meeting in such a good way, when they eventually do it just makes it all the more explosive—in more ways than one!
  2. The Smut! This book was hot, nuff said. There were plenty of angsty, heart-wrenching deep moments in the book, but there was also a lot of hot-as-hell dirty scenes and oh so amazingly descriptive. Smut lovers will especially enjoy this book for this factor alone!
  3. Tori and Jamie! I really became invested in these two as a potential couple down the road. Tori is Sydney’s best friend, and Jamie is Brian’s, and their relationship definitely adds some sexual tension with the promise of more down the road! Tori is waitress at a local beachfront diner and Jamie is a pro surfer and total player, so him chasing her and her rolling her eyes at his lines and player antics were a fun addition to the story!
  4. How Brian and Sydney Help Heal Each Other! Both have some massive baggage going on in their lives even before they met each other, but I loved how they both help each other fight through the issues in order to become stronger on the other side of it all. It helps make their relationship and their love feel all the more powerful and real.

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. The Ending…I swear I say this about every romance novel I read, but the ending just feels really rushed and tossed together. There’s usually some issue that drives a massive wedge between the lovers and they get together in the end, but it seems like the authors just always have to throw in some last minute crisis just to add that much more drama, and it’s just something I’ve seen too often in this genre and am just not a fan of.
  2. I Didn’t Care For A Lot of the Side Characters…Besides Tori and Jamie, I just wasn’t really invested in any of the side characters. Sure, maybe that’ll change in the next books since this is a series, and they’ll get more attention when it’s their turn/book, but again besides Tori and Jamie, I’m not all that interested to see what happens down the line with most of the side characters…

Conclusion:

Overall, this was an incredibly well written erotic romance that I definitely recommend for anyone who’s looking for another of these types of books to enjoy. It’s one that isn’t by Colleen Hoover or on Booktok, but it’s still a very good story, and if you like romance novels with some good smut, I say give this a look!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell