Genres: Contemporary Romance
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.
STEPSISTER. He hated that f*cking word.
When their parents got married, the only thing Caleb Luxan had in common with Wren Brashill was that they both hated their parents. When he was sixteen, Caleb discovered Wren's closely guarded secret and vowed to protect her: from that day forward she became the reason for every decision he made.
Jealousy and long-suppressed desire overpowered Caleb's fierce protectiveness and they spent one forbidden and unforgettable night in each other arms, but the aftermath left Caleb panicked, Wren heartbroken, and their relationship in shambles. In the time since that fateful night, heÔÇÖd only seen her once and had only managed to make the situation even worse.
The sudden death of his estranged father calls Caleb home and face-to-face with Wren for first time in years. He is presented with a choice that forces him to confront the painful memories of his youth and his many regrets with Wren.
Like it or not, his father's last, hard lesson, will demand Caleb deal with his long denied emotions for Wren, or let go of her forever.
The only had each otherÔÇª
Until one forbidden night ruined everything.
This new sexy stand-alone STEPBROTHER is
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I admit it…I am a huge sucker for the stepbrother genre. ┬áThere is something about the taboo nature of it that makes it so much fun to read. ┬áI appreciate how Aymes set up the relationship between these so that you can enjoy the naughty nature of it without feeling icky about it. ┬á(Thank you, Kahlen!).
The story is pretty complex with a girl who was forced to hide within herself, a cocky guy who tortures himself, a dad who tries to makes things right when it’s almost too late, a sad excues for a mother, and a story of near misses. ┬áDid that blow your mind? ┬áYup…it did mine, too. ┬áThere are a lot of flashbacks in the story which causes you to do a lot of time hopping. ┬áIt was sometimes hard to keep up with what was going on, but you need the flashbacks in order to know who these characters are and why they choose their decisions. ┬áSeriously, a complex tale with lots of ups and downs!
Caleb is a pretty complex guy. ┬áThere were times when I wish he would have gotten his head out of his butt; his was so intent on protecting Wren that he would cause immense emotional damage to himself. ┬áThe way the story is set up, you can understand the reasoning, but it doesn’t always make you feel better. ┬áOverall, he’s a good, decent, kind, loving, and protective guy. ┬áYou can’t help but like him.
Wren may be named after a bird, but she blossoms more like a flower as she grows under the love/protection of the Luxon men. ┬áI admire her strength; I certainly didn’t expect her to have any backbone or personality based on her mother’s personality (AWFUL WITCH!!!). ┬áHowever, I was pleasantly surprised to see te woman she became.
I think the only truly difficult ┬áor adverse thing for me in the book is the quickly alternating persons in the text; the chapters are not separated by POV. ┬áWhile this is a stylistic choice of the author, I find it a bit hard to follow at times. ┬áI found myself rereading passages to make sure I knew whose head I was in at the time. ┬áRegardless, the story is wonderful and certainly worth reading. ┬áI hope you enjoy Caleb and Wren incredibly woven story, and enjoy watching their love take flight.
CalebÔÇÖs muscled frame was rigid and as Wren looked at him, she studied his profile, and could feel his coiled tension. ┬áThe fingers in his right hand curled into a fist. ┬áÔÇ£I was so mad. ┬áSo many times, I wished heÔÇÖd been the one to die.ÔÇØ ┬áHis voice was full of pain, as the words tore from him. ┬áÔÇ£I fucking hated him with every breath I took. ┬áYou saw how much.ÔÇØ
Wren nodded, though he didnÔÇÖt see her acquiescence. ┬áShe knew what he went through growing up when they had formed an affable alliance against their parents. ┬áShe hated her mother at least as much as Caleb hated his father and she understood his anger and pain; then the apathy that became a welcome alternative. ┬áTheyÔÇÖd been unlikely allies against a common enemy.
ÔÇ£Maybe I deserved his indifference.ÔÇØ
Wren got up and went to Caleb, standing behind him as he stood still as stone, and staring out the window. ┬áHer heart ached with love and grief for Caleb. She wanted to touch him; to offer reassurance, to take away the ache in his voice and heart. ┬áWithout considering her actions, her arms slipped around his waist and she pressed up against his strong back and leaned her head against him, between his shoulder blades.
Caleb was massive in comparison to her, and she was like a flower curling around him. ┬áHer hands fanned out against his hard stomach, her fingers finding the definition of his abs beneath his shirt. ┬á┬áÔÇ£Stop, Cale. ┬áI wonÔÇÖt let you do this to yourself. ┬áYour dad wouldnÔÇÖt want that. ┬áNone of it was your fault.ÔÇØ ┬áHer arms slid fully around him and held him tight against her body. ÔÇ£I canÔÇÖt bear it. ┬áYouÔÇÖve had enough pain. ┬áEnough.ÔÇØ
Caleb sucked in a deep breath, the action bringing her even closer. ┬áHe could feel every curve of her body pressed so closely against his back. ┬áHe could feel her breathing, could feel how she shared his pain. ┬áHis hand came up and he ran the flat of his hand from her elbow down to her hand, and then wrapped his fingers around hers.
ÔÇ£When did you turn into the strong one?ÔÇØ
WrenÔÇÖs arms tightened around him. ┬áÔÇ£When I met you. ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Oh, Wren.ÔÇØ Should he just spill his guts? Would it fix everything? ┬áÔÇ£IÔÇÖve got so much to say to you. ┬áHow long can you stay?ÔÇØ
She nodded against him, unwilling to end the contact between their bodies; needing the closeness as much as he did.
He wanted to apologize for how he acted the last time heÔÇÖd seen her, he wanted to say a hundred thingsÔÇª he needed her forgiveness.
ÔÇ£How long do you need me?ÔÇØ
In that moment a miracle happened; a sort of beautiful irony that taunted Caleb with itÔÇÖs fragileness. ┬áIt was as if heÔÇÖd never screwed everything up between them. ┬áBut would it stay this way?
How long do I need you? Caleb thought. ┬áHis heart raced to the point of exploding, and he wondered if Wren could feel it.
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