Rating: 4 Stars
Heat Rating: 3 Stars
All The Feels Rating: 3.5 Stars
Genre: New Adult Romance
Release Date: August 22nd, 2016
ARC received in exchange for an honest review
He told me to ‘settle, girl.’
He asked if ‘something was wrong with me?’
He said I was an ‘easy target.’
That was within minutes when I first met Caden Banks.
I labeled him an *sshole, but he was more than that. Arrogant. Smug. Alpha.
He was also to-die-for gorgeous, and my stepbrother’s fraternity brother.
Okay, yes I was a little naive, a tad bit socially awkward, and the smallest amount of stalker-ish, but if Caden Banks thought he could tell me what to do, he had another thing coming.
I came to college with daydreams about being with my stepbrother, but what would happen if I fell for the anti-stepbrother instead?
The first thing that comes to mind while trying to sum up Anti-Stepbrother is ‘dramalicious’. Is that a word? If not, it really should be. It’s also angsty, funny, sexy, and romantic. It’s one of those books that make it hard to review, since you don’t want to give too much information. You don’t want to miss this book.
When Summer Stoltz arrives at college, she has one mission: getting her step-brother Kevin’s heart. Arriving at a party unannounced seemed like a good idea, until all too quickly Summer realized it wasn’t. Not only was her mission temporarily aborted, she ended up meeting Caden Banks, the biggest asshole she had ever met. Otherwise known as Kevin’s frat brother.
It’s easy to say that Summer and Caden don’t get off on the right foot, though after several random run in’s with each other, they start to becomes friends. It’s not so easy, since Caden and Kevin can’t stand each other. Eventually, those friendly feelings that Summer has for Caden’s changes into something completely different, something much more intense. But they are just friends. Caden doesn’t seem like the boyfriend type, and if he was, it wouldn’t be with a girl like Summer. Right?
I have to say my favorite thing about this book is how freaking natural and realistic Caden and Summer’s relationship felt. The progression was amazing, it wasn’t rush and didn’t feel forced- you honestly could feel the connection growing between them. You could also feel the sexual tension, which was a delicious torture, since this book was a bit more on the slow burn side. I loved Caden. He was the perfect mixture of alpha male and sweet guy. There were layers to him, he wasn’t just a character that goes around punching other guys that look at his girlfriend. Summer was naive but insightful. Funny, but a tad awkward. At times she was immature, but that is true to her character’s age, being a freshman in college.
I loved getting to know Marcus, Caden’s brother, and the rest of Caden’s family. That story line was unexpected and tugged on the heartstrings. I also enjoyed Avery, who starts off as Summer’s RA and quickly becomes one of her best friends. I didn’t like Kevin, but then again, I don’t think we are suppose to. 😉
Being as they are in college, there is often talk of parties/drinking, relationship issues, and as I mentioned before, it is dramalicious.
The only issue I had was that while Caden and Summer’s relationship was the perfect pace, other aspects in the book seemed to drag on or go too quickly. It wasn’t a huge deal though, and all in all, I really enjoyed it.
He wasn’t looking at me any more. I wasn’t even sure he was really in the room.
I needed to leave this alone. He had given me the clues—looking away, his jaw clenching, pain like I’d never heard from him sounding loud and clear. My instincts were telling me to shut up, but I couldn’t. I had this burning need to know more about Caden. I needed to get in there, past his walls, and I wanted to understand him.
I wanted to help him.
Caden was hurting, and I wanted to take that away.
Caden turned his gaze to me now, and I felt branded by the pain I saw. His eyes were stricken. “Does it matter?”
“No.” My breath caught and held in my chest. I wanted to go to him, but I also wanted to slink away. I was stirring up his pain, but I had to know. “What happened, Caden?”
“Why do you have to know?”
“Because it’s hurting you.”
I made a decision, though I had no idea what the ramifications were going to be. I stood, my legs going numb and my stomach clenching, and I moved to his side. He leaned back, his head falling to the couch, and he watched me.
The need to ease some of his hurt outweighed the fear of what would happen next. Swallowing tightly, I stepped over to straddle him and sat down.
“What are you doing?”
He asked that softly, still holding his beer. I took it from his hands and put it on the stand next to the couch. Then I just sat there. He had to do the rest. I’d already made the first move.
I glanced down at his hands, feeling like an idiot. “What happened?”
“Why are you pushing this?”
I looked back up to find confusion warring with need in his eyes. He wasn’t pushing me away, so I sank further into his lap.
“You haven’t told anyone else about this.” It wasn’t really a question, but I saw the confirmation in his eyes. My chest tightened, thinking about whatever secret he held. “Please tell me.”
“No.” He shifted forward, and I braced myself, expecting him to push me away. He didn’t. His hands grasped the backs of my legs and lifted me so I was more fully on his lap.
I could feel him between my legs, and my breasts almost pressed against his chest. I waited. I wanted to see what else he’d say
“But not because I don’t want you to know,” he added. “Because it’s not my secret to tell.”
I nodded, my stomach doing somersaults now. “That makes sense. I can respect that.”
And there we were. His hands cupped my ass, and the pain in his gaze became something darker, something I felt too, something that began to turn off all rational thought.
“What are we doing here?” he questioned, his voice like a caress in itself.
I leaned forward, my gaze lingering on his lips. “I didn’t really think it through.”
“Still not thinking it through.”
“You’re okay with that?”
In that moment, the truth exploded in me. I wanted him. I wanted this—but it was more. I needed this.
I didn’t answer.
I closed the distance between us.
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I didn’t begin writing until after undergraduate college. There’d been storylines and characters in my head all my life, but it came to a boiling point one day and I HAD to get them out of me. So the computer was booted up and I FINALLY felt it click. Writing is what I needed to do. After that, I had to teach myself how to write. I can’t blame my teachers for not teaching me all those years in school. It was my fault. I was one of the students that was wishing I was anywhere but at school! So after that day, it took me lots of work until I was able to put together something that resembled a novel. I’m hoping I got it right since someone must be reading this profile! And I hope you keep enjoying my future stories.