on March 6th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I met him before I knew.
I loved him before I knew.
I didnÔÇÖt know he was my stepbrother when I fell for Bladen. I fell for a mystery guy who I spent a long, amazing weekend with. Then he got up and left me, without even a goodbye. I was nothing more than a bit of fun.
He broke my heart.
I didnÔÇÖt see him again.
Until my mom and her new husband, Jack, decide to take us all on a family vacation to the lake so I can meet my new stepbrothers for the first time.
I donÔÇÖt see it coming.
When he gets out of that car, my world stops. My passionate lover isÔÇªmy stepbrother.
He isnÔÇÖt the same man. HeÔÇÖs a prick and he makes sure I know it.
IÔÇÖm not the same woman. IÔÇÖm in love with him and I very much plan to make sure he knows it.
He wonÔÇÖt make my life easy. I wonÔÇÖt give up.
ItÔÇÖs not a secret that IÔÇÖm a huge Bella Jewel fanÔÇöitÔÇÖs bordering on obsession. IÔÇÖve read everything she published so far and loved it, but Step-Lover just blew me away. It gave me so many feels and made my heart ache so badly for the characters. IÔÇÖve read it in one day and just couldnÔÇÖt get enough. I needed to know whatÔÇÖs going to happen and I just couldnÔÇÖt leave the characters behind.
Aria, a young woman meets the perfect guy. Or so she thinks. She spends a wild and passionate weekend before he vanishes from her life. A year later she meets Blade againÔÇöto her surprise and shock heÔÇÖs now her step-brother. Talk about awkward. What makes things worse is that she still has the feelings for him she did a year ago, only now she canÔÇÖt act on them because she doesnÔÇÖt want to hurt her mother and jeopardize her motherÔÇÖs happiness. But dealing with her emotions isnÔÇÖt easy and itÔÇÖs made harder by the fact that BladeÔÇÖs behavior is giving her whiplash. He goes from being a total jerk to being sweet and caring in a nanosecond. And as if that wouldnÔÇÖt be enough to drive any girl insane, she also has to deal with having a new familyÔÇöa family she canÔÇÖt let in due to guilt and pain that she carries around with her since her childhood. When the past repeats herself and her heart gets broken by Blade yet again, she is willing to move on, to leave Blade behind. But those two are like magnets. They canÔÇÖt be without each other. True love doesnÔÇÖt care about right or wrong, appropriate or not.
I loved Aria. She was sweet and fun despite being haunted by her past. She was smart and strong, but still allowed herself to be emotional and vulnerable. It was easy to understand her pain and her tormentÔÇöboth about Blade and her new family.
The way the guilt had a grip on her, nightmares not letting her forget what happened, was intensely heart-wrenching but honest. When you go through what Aria went through, you keep your heart guarded and are scared of letting anyone near. Therefore, it was even more meaningful, when she slowly started to accept her new familyÔÇöher step-father Jake and her step-brothers Brody and Ripley. The torture she felt being around Blade, the feelings she couldnÔÇÖt show, his sometimes cruel behavior, made my heart break for Aria. And just when I thought she couldnÔÇÖt be faced with more drama and heart-ache, Bella Jewel proved me wrong.
I also adored Blade, although I often felt the urge to punch him. Hard. He could be so sweet and caring, while still being all manly and hot that it made my toes curl and my heart thump like crazy. But then he would do something that made me want to strangle him. One minute he was all hot, the next he was cold as ice. I get that he was just as confused as Aria. Not only about seeing the woman he spend an incredible weekend with suddenly turn into his step-sister, but also about confronting his own feelings and figuring out if heÔÇÖs capable of more than just a fling. Bella Jewel has done an incredible job of portraying how he was fighting himself over his feelings and over his loyalty to his father. Amazing and so intense. ThatÔÇÖs why I couldnÔÇÖt stay mad at him for long. It was obvious he didnÔÇÖt want to hurt Aria. He just didnÔÇÖt know what else to do. And the fact that heÔÇÖs sexier than sin helps to forgive him some of his transgressions as well.
I loved how the story captivated me, how the back and forth and the tension between the characters kept me reading at lightning speed to find out what happens next. There was so much depth and beauty in the story. It was incredible. It wasnÔÇÖt just about love and sex (really great sex by the way), but also about guilt, moving on, letting go, finding your own place in life, standing up for what you believe in and acceptance.
The supporting characters were fantastic and I hope each and every single one of them gets their own book.
I wish I could go back in time and read it again for the first time.
4 you-always-meet-someone-twice stars.
~Review by Paula
(Previously posted by TBE)