Overall: 3/5 ⭐⭐⭐
Steam: 2/4 🔥🔥
~QD Story Details~
Tear jerker: No
Character age range: 20s
Lead: Charley Winters
Love interest(s): Ben Hayes
~QD Book Info~
Kindle Unlimited: Yes
Series: No – Stand Alone
Sex/kink type: penetrative, oral
Possible triggers: Public humiliation, consent violation, rape, mention of child from rape
Ok, first, before I even talk about content, I have to say that I love the originality of including links throughout the book to YT videos of the music that is the “soundtrack” of the story. B R I L L I A N T.
I used to be madly in love with Cassia Leo’s writing, back when I read Shattered Hearts and everything subsequent to that. The Evergreen Series is what put me on really shaky ground with my CL love affair because I just couldn’t connect and while this book has its issues, I feel like I’m at least headed back in the right direction.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to fare after the first chapter but I expected there had to be a pretty epic twist in order to make up for what Ben did. Cassia Leo delivers on that.
MILD SPOILERS AHEAD — LOOK AWAY IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW.
Here are my issues and why I only gave it 3.5 stars:
First, Ben very clearly has a drinking problem (his getting blasted is mentioned several times) but it is never fully addressed or resolved beyond one of the characters mentioning that with Charley around he doesn’t drink anymore.
Second, the heroine is weaker than what I’m used to Cassia Leo writing. I think this was one of the reasons why I couldn’t connect on the Evergreen Series either. Charley, sweet and at times very witty, is quick to forgive Ben after something that would be unforgivable to most of us. He publicly annihilated her and she forgives him with what amounts to a “my bad, you’ll understand my reasons later… when I choose to tell them to you. Trust me, I have reasons for causing the complete destruction of your life.”
Lastly, while the book did mention the #MeToo movement, I wish that the rapes that were discussed weren’t bypassed quite so quickly and easily. Beyond what the character who was raped must do to protect another character, there doesn’t seem to be any emotional blow-back or fall out. It seemed more like the rapes were put in the story as a means to an end.
I’m always honest because smoke-blowing sucks, and I can say I didn’t love this one, but I feel like it’s headed in the right direction so I’m looking forward to the next one.
My brother’s best friend.
The bad boy next door.
My sworn enemy…
Now he’s back to claim what’s his.
For most of my life, Ben Hayes was the gorgeous bad boy musician next door. My brother’s heart throb best friend.
Then, he was my boyfriend for six of the happiest years of my life. Until he dumped me on social media in front of millions of people, officially cementing his role as my worst enemy.
Three years later, Ben returns to our small beach town with an ego the size of California, a drinking problem, a movie deal that’s about to fall through, and a secret that only he and his dying father know.
I’m not the same pathetic girl I was when he broke my heart. I’m stronger now. I won’t let him break me again.
But it’s hard to resist those ocean-blue eyes, that sculpted, tattooed body, that smooth voice, that enormous… Well, you get the picture.
Every time he makes me laugh or swoon, my defenses fracture. The walls around my heart are crumbling fast. And Ben’s wrecking ball of a secret is about to deliver the final blow.
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Shattered Hearts Series comes a sweet and sexy stand-alone rock star romance.