arc · contemporary · review · romance

Half Truths by Claire Contreras

Half Truths
by Claire Contreras

Rating: ★★★★★
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You’ve heard of these groups – the secretive ones that only the crème de la crème are invited into, the ones outsiders speculate about for centuries – I’m the second in my family invited to attend, but to them, I’m fresh meat. New blood. New money, too.
They think they’ll elbow past me, that I’m here for their amusement, for them to walk all over, they’ll find out soon enough that I’m not.


I may look like one of them, with my designer bags and clothes straight from the Parisian runways, but I’m not. I’m here for answers, to take revenge for blood spilled on their centuries-old Persian rugs.
I transferred here in search for answers about what happened to my older brother, who hightailed out of here, and my friend who seemingly disappeared into thin air. I certainly wasn’t here for the attention of the star hockey player, regardless of how much he willed my eyes his way. I wasn’t here for his scrutiny or his judgment or to read into his mysterious aura. I was here for the society, because only they held the answers I needed. That was, until I found out that in order to get those answers, I needed to go through him. He’s saying if I want in, I have to play by their rules, follow their lead.
It’s a game I’m willing to play.


I may be the second person I know of to be invited into their society, but I’ll be the first to make it out intact.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Half Truths is this perfect narrative constructed by some of my favourite tropes—secret societies, enemies to lovers and college sports—beautifully weaved together and set within an eerie, sinister environment that clutched every fibre of my being without remorse. Carefully crafted, Claire Contreras delivered a suspense-filled romance that left me on edge, wondering what questions will be answered and secrets unveiled as each page flew by in the most riveting blur ever.

He had a mysterious aura about him that matched his namesake.

I’m in absolute love with Logan Fitzgerald, a perpetually brooding hero surrounded by an aura of alluring mystery and captivating intrigue. Mean and detached though somehow charming, Fitz’s disinterested attitude is overshadowed by an unforeseen softer, sweeter side hidden beneath the complex multi-facets he possesses. Receiving glimpses of this unattainable hero left me an unashamed wanton mess, desperate to have more of this conceited character because there’s nothing better than having a mean yet romantic hero.

He left a lot to the imagination. Maybe that was it. He gave just enough to pique interest, but not enough to satisfy.

Amelia Bastón’s characterisation truthfully astounded me. She’s more than just a ‘rich girl’ surrounded by materialism and superficiality. Mae’s determination to become more, to achieve her dreams beyond her family’s desires is an admirable and relatable quality that will resonate with readers. Furthermore, her irrevocable love for her brother is an endearment. Combined with an unfettered resolve to uncover some hidden truths unveils a character that’s fierce and intelligent and ambitious; a woman who loves wholly and unconditionally.

“I want you forever, Amelia,” he said against my hair. “And forevermore after that.”

Started as enemies, but turned into lovers, Fitz and Mae’s connection transitioned with such a delicious slow burn, my heart ached to have more once the torture finished. Despite the constant bickering and bantering, the sexual tension and chemistry between them kindled and crackled into something undeniable as it flared across the pages. Even though the romance doesn’t dominate the narrative, Fitz and Mae’s bond progresses naturally and beautifully.

Countless secrets and creative foreshadowing increase the tension and suspense tenfold flowing through this intricate narrative. I’m in absolute love with enemies to lovers and the feature of secret societies and college sports made me more enamoured than I anticipated with Half Truths. It’s as if my heart waited for something this brilliant, a faultless blend of romance and thriller, to be written for years.

arc · contemporary · review · romance

Covet by Ella James

Covet (Sinful Secrets #3)
by Ella James

Rating: ★★★★
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Homer Carnegie. Admit it—you know my name. Your kid’s got my e-trading card. Your husband sits up straighter when I stroll onto the TV screen. He knows I’m going to crack the bat and save the day. Even your grandma’s jonesing for my autograph. But women my age? They’re the worst. Or would that be the best?

It’s not my fault they line up at the door. They catch my balls all right, two at a time sometimes. Believe me, everybody wins.

At least they did—until the video. I heard TMZ paid a million for a bird’s eye view of Homer on his A-game. The only folks who didn’t watch with eager eyes? Red Sox management. They want me benched, or worse, shipped off to rehab.

It’s a long story, what happens next. How I end up on a boat, bound for the world’s most remote island: Tristan da Cunha. Just a speck of dust in the Atlantic.

Except my heart is there.
I don’t know that when I step onto the boat.
I don’t know a lot of things.
What I’ll covet…
What I’ll lose…

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Covet went beyond my expectations. I assumed a passionate though romantic enemies to lovers, but this was so much more. Darker than anticipated, this emotionally raw and harrowing narrative will leave your heart bruised and aching for Declan and Finley as they navigate a relationship where addiction is inescapable. Depicted realistically and unapologetically, the repercussions of substance dependence is broadcasted in distressing matters, but the poise this author approaches the subject with is astounding.

I didn’t know. I didn’t know that loving him would ruin both of our lives. But if I had, I would have done it anyway.

Finley Evans isn’t a stranger to traumatic experiences. However, she’s grown up to become a caring nurturer; a gentle, self-reliant woman with an abundance of love to give. And despite her endearing shy quietness, she doesn’t hesitate to stand up against Declan. She’s, without doubt, the epitome of a simple woman with a glowing disposition that manages to calm Declan’s inner turmoil.

Haunted by devastating memories, hunted by an unavoidable past and self-destructive through substance abuse, Declan Carnegie is damaged. But the suffering and hurting he experiences is soothed by Finley’s delightful and inquisitive presence. While he doesn’t love himself as he should, he can’t stop himself from gravitating towards the woman who soothes his shattering soul.

Love is reckless, and the heart gets out ahead of the soul. Mine feels like an anchor dragging me down through the floor.

Despite the dominating melancholia of this story, there are tender and heartwarming moments, even humorous situations, that eases the angst. Finley and Declan’s relationship is slow burn, but the journey is enticing and riveting. And when they are finally together, it is carnal and primal; heated and intense, an all-consuming and sensually erotic forbidden connection that sends the heart soaring.

I wasn’t certain what to expect with this—it wasn’t an emotionally captivating, heart-wrenching narrative featuring a couple traversing the difficulties of addiction; learning that love, in all its raw formations is both conflicting but wonderfully fulfilling, an experience that simultaneously heals and hurts. Newly found author to me, Ella James wowed me with this difficult, but beautifully written romance. It captivated me straight away, keeping me invested throughout as Declan and Finley traversed the seeming impossibilities of having a relationship.

I’m choosing bliss for all the moments we can find it. When the game is over, no regrets. Even though I know I’m going to lose.

If you want a romance that will leave your heart aching; your emotions soaring; your mind reeling; a story that will pique your interest straight away; a forbidden attraction and gruelling situations, I recommend Covet. Prepare yourself as this journey doesn’t hold anything back in emotions or in deliverance, as this author is an undeniably gifted wordsmith.

arc · contemporary · new release · review · romance

Cruel Money by K.A. Linde

Cruel Money (Cruel #1)
by K.A. Linde

Rating: ★★★
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She was supposed to be a one night stand.

A way to sate my sexual appetite.

I gave her a glimpse of the man I am. The face that I hide behind my carefully cultivated life. But she ripped open that divide—and there’s no going back.

Now, she’s here. In my city.

I don’t care that I’m Manhattan royalty and she’s the help. Only that she’s living in my summer home. With me.

And I want more.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Think Gossip Girl or Cruel Intentions and you have Cruel Money—a second chance romance set within the glitz and glamour of New York’s upper class society. It is devious and abundant in delicious drama, characterised by deceitful personalities brimming with lies and scandalous propositions.

Delightfully addictive, without doubt compelling and unputdownable, Cruel Money, with an insurmountable level of intrigue and intensity, will have you invested throughout. It doesn’t just have angst and drama, it also contains seduction dripping with manipulation, deception flowing with tension and sweet lies coated in deviousness.

Our worlds didn’t connect. Our lives were so far from normal. I didn’t want to want this. I didn’t want to want him.

Penn Kensington and Natalie Bishop’s romance is twisted, yet fascinating—a train wreck of malicious intentions and inescapable heartache that you can’t turn away from. I became so engrossed in this narrative of cruel words and vicious actions that everything else faded away.

However, I couldn’t fully fall in love with these characters. Natalie does have some positive qualities—she’s confident, determined and she has serious backbone, but she’s also dense and unobservant, despite being a writer with certain qualities. Penn is an undeniable gorgeous, enigmatic figure, but there’s something missing.

Penn Kensington had gotten under my skin. He crawled beneath the surface and there was nothing I could do about it.

I know I will fall in love with this series. Cruel Money is filled with some of my favourite tropes combined into this enticing series. If you’re searching for something brimming with deception; a narrative with characters you’ll love to hate, or hate to love; the glamorous, lavish lifestyle of upper New York, this series will grip your attention.

I’m more than ready for Cruel Fortune (sadly, months away!)

arc · contemporary · review · romance

Ruthless King by Maya Hughes

Ruthless King (Kings of Rittenhouse #3)
by Maya Hughes

Rating: ★★★
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My dick never got me in half as much trouble as my heart…

We were high school sweethearts. I was head over heels for her and no one could tell me we weren’t going to last forever. College? Going pro? My family’s money? None of it mattered. She was all I needed.

Then she ripped my heart out. But I’m not going to let that happen again.

She’s back. Invading my life and acting like she was the wronged one. The pain is still there, but I can’t keep my eyes off her. I can’t stop thinking about her and how much was left unsaid between us. Being this close is making me question everything I thought I knew about her.

This time everything will be on my terms. Everything…

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

I have been dying to read Avery and Emmett’s second chance romance since starting Kings of Rittenhouse. Once having experienced an enviable, near perfect romance, only to have that dream shatter, ending tragically, Avery and Emmett’s relationship started to be filled with undeniable animosity. And many questions started swirling in my head, piquing my interest, about this couple’s reasons for separating.

Ruthless King was overall more enjoyable than Shameless King and Reckless King. However, I seem to have an issue with each installment. In Shameless King, Declan’s virtually non-existent relationship with his dad was pointless; in Reckless King, the forbidden relationship came too late and wasn’t worth being a point of contention.

Avery Davis had dismantled me and left me as a shell. Even knowing the pain she’d caused, every night I closed my eyes, it was her I dreamed about.

Complete, utter disappointment consumed me when we finally received details about the separation. I understand that sometimes a situation appears worse than it is, but unless you really saw something, or find definitive proof, having a smidge of maturity really saves a person from experiencing unnecessary heartache. Miscommunication is my least favourite reason to separate a couple for prolonged periods of time.

Avery could have been honest, saving herself being subjected to bullying by an ex-boyfriend, but instead remained quiet about everything that happened. She didn’t trust herself, nor her relationship. I experienced inconsistencies with her less than fabulous personality—one minute, she’s angry at Emmett for not believing her; the next, she admits she didn’t want to cause issues by upsetting Emmett. You can’t be annoyed at someone over a situation you’ve been secretive and dishonest about.

“I never stopped loving you. Even when I hated you with all of my being, even when I hated myself for it and wished I could carve my heart out of my chest, I still loved you.”

I started enjoying this more towards the end, because the narrative moved forward and the characters developed some. However, relationship development felt stagnant. I have some very good feelings regarding Ford and Olivia (that ending!) in Fearless King. If you love second chance sports romance, I recommend reading this series!

contemporary · reveal · romance

Cover Reveal: Text Me Baby One More Time by Teagan Hunter

I’m excited to be sharing the gorgeous cover for Teagan Hunter’s next standalone romcom, Text Me Baby One More Time.

Author: Teagan Hunter
Series: Texting #4
Release Date: February 11, 2019

I love you, he said.
Forever, he said.
Turns out, he lied.

When he leaves me high and dry after a cross-country move, I push him out of my life as much as I can, which is hard to do when the guy who broke your heart also happens to be the most famous dude in town.

After a disastrous year, he’s aiming to rehab his reputation, and I just so happen to be aiming for a promotion at the paper.

So, we strike a deal, and it’s a win-win all around.

Besides, what’s the harm in a few dates to charity galas anyway?

He’s arrogant, a total jerk. There’s no way I’ll fall for him…again.

I used to love him. Now I hate him…I think.

You don’t want to miss the other standalones in Teagan Hunter’s series, Texting!

Let’s Get Textual | I Wanna Text You Up | Can’t Text This | Text Me Baby One More Time

TEAGAN HUNTER is a Missouri-raised gal, but currently lives in North Carolina with her US Marine husband, where she spends her days begging him for a cat.

She survives off coffee, pizza, and sarcasm. When she’s not writing, you can find her binge-watching various TV shows, especially Supernatural and One Tree Hill. She enjoys cold weather, buys more paperbacks than she’ll ever read, and never says no to brownies. For more information, please visit http://www.teaganhunterwrites.com.

Website | Facebook | Reader Group | Twitter | Instagram | Book+Main | Pinterest | Amazon | Goodreads | BookBub

arc · contemporary · new adult · review · romance

Fixed by Emma Louise

Fixed (Flawed Love #2)
by Emma Louise

Rating: ★★★★
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He’s my best friends brother.
She’s not over her ex.

Elliott.

I should have seen it coming, my world being shattered by the man that was supposed to love me. But I didn’t and now I’m trying to find the pieces of me he left behind. 
Duke.

I can’t fix her, not when I’m just as broken as she is. I should leave her alone, she’s too good for me. But, fighting the attraction that pulls us together is getting harder everyday.

It doesn’t take long until we’re a tangle of limbs and pleasures. 

No promises are made, no guarantees. 

Just a vow to keep our hearts out of the bedroom. 

Simple, right? 

Except, now we both have to try and avoid getting cut on each others broken parts.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Fixed is my first story by Emma Louise—a second chance romance between a single mother and her best friend’s older brother. It screams ‘forbidden’. Taboo. However, it is filled with heartache for someone who forget what self-love is; for another who has returned to Savannah, a little bruised and shattered himself.

Something about her calls to me on a level that I don’t understand.

Divorced and feeling defeated, Elliott is re-learning to love herself; to re-acquaint herself with long lost confidence and independence. She’s alone, desperate, raising two young girls within a home that isn’t hers. But she’s determined to never beg another man for anything. Duke is finally returning to Savannah after leaving the military, ready to discover his purpose and start living. Despite being Elliott’s opposite in appearance—she’s wholesome, whereas he’s gruff and rough around the edges—they compliment each other well!

“I can give you this if you want it. Me. It’s not much, but I guarantee you I’ll make it good if you say yes. The only promise I can give you is that our hearts won’t get hurt.”

Elliott is an inspiring woman. I admire her tenacity; it is difficult to love yourself, to know your self-worth, when someone, who’s supposed to have unconditional love for you, repeatedly crumbles your self-esteem. Doing this, whilst raising two inquisitive children, is an incredible feat that every modern woman experiencing a similar hardship deserves an applause.

Duke and Elliott have an intense, heated chemistry that they initially refuse to embrace. However, once they allow their insecurities and hesitation to fall away, they’re passionate and explosive after years of quiet fervid longing. In seamless manner, Duke fits in Elliott’s life, becoming an admirable father figure to Brooke and Bailey, and loving both of them with ease.

contemporary · new adult · new release

Release: Jock Rule by Sara Ney

Jock Rule (Jock Hard #2)
by Sara Ney

Rating: ★★★
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Kip Carmichael is no pretty boy.

He’s a rough. Dirty. Giant. Hair so unruly, and a beard so thick, his friends on the team call him Sasquatch.

The first time Sasquatch lays eyes on Theodora “Teddy” Johnson across the keg at a party one night on Jock Row, she’d been relegated to the sidelines by her jock hungry “friends.”

Week-after-week, he watches beautiful but bashful Teddy getting overshadowed, and overlooked. Sasquatch finally broad shoulders his way through the crowd, offering to to be her hairy godmother. But the minute their eyes meet? He’s a goner.

Teaching her the RULES for winning a jock will be the easy part. Not falling in love with her is going to be a losing game.


Sara Ney is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the How to Date a Douchebag series, and is best known for her sexy, laugh-out-loud New Adult romances. Among her favorite vices, she includes: iced latte’s, historical architecture and well-placed sarcasm. She lives colorfully, collects vintage books, art, loves flea markets, and fancies herself British.

She lives with her husband, children, and her ridiculously large dog.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter | Website

arc · contemporary · review · romance

Secrets by Aleatha Romig

Secrets (Web of Sin #1)
by Aleatha Romig

Rating: ★★★★
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I’m Sterling Sparrow. You’ve no doubt heard my name or read it on the top of tall buildings. There’s more to my business—my realm—than what is seen aboveground.

Within the underbelly of one of America’s largest cities lives a world where a man’s word is either his most valuable tool or his most respected weapon. When my father ruled that world and that city, he promised me someone who would one day make my reign complete.

Since that day, long ago, Araneae McCrie has been mine.

She just didn’t know.

My father is now gone.

The city and the underbelly are now mine.

The time has come for me to collect who was promised to me, to shred her life of secrets and make her who she’s always been—mine.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

2018 is becoming my year of introducing myself to different, fabulous authors. I haven’t read anything by Aleatha Romig, though I’ve heard about her romances—the twisted darkness she weaves throughout and the commanding men she writes about, she’s an author you’ll want to read!

Secrets is filled with everything a reader could want—lies, secrets, deception, all unexpected yet enthralling, complex characters and captivating dark, delicious romance. Sterling and Araneae are multi-faced, intriguing characters that will demand your attention within an intricate storyline.

I knew since that fateful afternoon that Araneae and I were meant to be, with too many factions at work, the timing was imperative and her ignorance of her fate necessary.

Araneae McCrie/Kennedy Hawkins is gorgeous, intelligent and selfless. She’s also shrouded in almost impenetrable secrecy. Ultimatums and warnings are thrown her way every moment, but she remains grounded and filled with independent sass. 

Sterling Sparrow is arrogant and demanding, enigmatic and sinfully wicked. Countless secrets and uncertainties surround this mysterious businessman. And he’s the only person capable of giving Araneae the information she covets. 

In all situations, Sterling Sparrow moved like a lion: majestic, strong, proud, and above all, powerful. He was the king of the beasts and everyone within his realm was either a peasant, present to do his bidding, or prey, waiting to be devoured.

Fiery tension and tangible chemistry is rife in Secrets. When Araneae and Sterling come together, they’re explosive and passionate. Always pushing and pulling. Defying each other. Bantering and engaging in battles of wits. 

I cannot wait to have more of Araneae and Sterling in Lies, as well as receiving answers to innumerous questions, especially to that cliffhanger.

contemporary · review · romance

Review | Where I Belong by J. Daniels

Where I Belong (Alabama Summer #1)

by J. Daniels

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SYNOPSIS

When Mia Corelli returns to Alabama for a summer of fun with her childhood best friend, Tessa, there’s only one thing keeping her on edge. One person that she’d do anything to avoid.

Benjamin Kelly. World’s biggest dickhead.

Mia hates him with a fury and has no desire to ever see him again. When she decides to start her summer off with a bang and finally give away her v-card, she unknowingly hands it over to the one guy that excelled at making her life miserable, learning a valuable lesson in the process.

Always get the name of the guy you’re going home with.

Ben can’t get the girl he spent one night with out of his head. When she leaves him the next morning, he thinks he’ll never see her again. Until he sees her lounging by the pool with his sister.

Mia is determined to hate Ben, even though she can’t forget him.

Ben is determined to prove he’s not the same guy he used to be.

What happens when the one person you wish never existed becomes the one person you can’t imagine being without?


REVIEW

You can also read this review on Goodreads!

I remember reading Sweet Addiction and Sweet Possession back in 2014 (I feel old), making me fall in love with J. Daniels’ writing and the characters she creates.

Back then… I don’t even know what happened, but I didn’t continue reading more of J. Daniels, that’s for certain. I regret not picking her newest series then up.

Now, four years later, I finally understand why everyone loves Ben, Mia and Nolan, because I love them as well! In short, Ben is an enticing, dirty man; Mia is sassy and Nolan is sweet. Where I Belong is everything light, fluffy and wholesome.

“This is where I belong. Wherever you are. Always.”

Before spending the entire summer with Tessa in Alabama, Mia has this great idea of losing her virginity to some stranger.

When Mia finds the perfect candidate, she doesn’t realise the handsome stranger is Benjamin Kelly, the reason for Mia’s miserable childhood and her best friend’s older brother.

The boy I once wished never existed was now the man I wanted to spend every second with.

Ben and Mia have complete opposite reactions when they meet each other again.

She hates him with a passion, but he can’t stay away from the woman who occupies his mind. Ben wants more than one night, but Mia is ready to ignore her childhood tormentor, no matter how good he makes her feel.

Where I Belong is a romantic comedy chick flick (my favourite kind of film) in paperback form. I love it, from the conventional drama, to sassy as hell heroine and the cheesiest scenes ever written. I needed this, especially the tattooed single dad beauty that is Benjamin Kelly, after some less than stellar recent reads.

The girl I once couldn’t get far enough away from had become the woman I couldn’t get close enough to.

contemporary · review · romance

Review | Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

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Birthday Girl
by Penelope Douglas

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JORDAN
He took me in when I had nowhere else to go.

He doesn’t use me, hurt me, or forget about me. He doesn’t treat me like I’m nothing, take me for granted, or make me feel unsafe.

He remembers me, laughs with me, and looks at me. He listens to me, protects me, and sees me. I can feel his eyes on me over the breakfast table, and my heart pumps so hard when I hear him pull in the driveway after work.

I have to stop this. It can’t happen.

My sister once told me there are no good men, and if you find one, he’s probably unavailable.

Only Pike Lawson isn’t the unavailable one.

I am.

PIKE
I took her in, because I thought I was helping.

She’d cook a few meals and clean up a little. It was an easy arrangement.

As the days go by, though, it’s becoming anything but easy. I have to stop my mind from drifting to her and stop holding my breath every time I bump into her in the house. I can’t touch her, and I shouldn’t want to.

The more I find my path crossing hers, though, the more she’s becoming a part of me.

But we’re not free to give into this. She’s nineteen, and I’m thirty-eight.

And her boyfriend’s father.

Unfortunately, they both just moved into my house


You can also read this review on Goodreads

Birthday Girl is my first story by Penelope Douglas. I know, I’m a terrible person who takes way too long to jump into good things. We’re here now and it won’t be my last story. I couldn’t resist the cover; it is gorgeous. And the blurb? So enticing! Those two are what really propelled me into finally reading something by Ms Douglas.

I normally can’t stomach significantly older men/fathers. Often the trope is weird, creepy and cringe-worthy. However, Ms Douglas managed to succeed in delivering that trope without it turning into an awful mess. And the taboo aspect made it so much more worth it.

And that’s what I am. Her boyfriend’s father. Nothing more. But deep in my heart, the small ember growing bigger and bigger every day knows that’s a lie.

Jordan Hadley is an interesting heroine. Despite being young, she’s mature, wise beyond nineteen years. That’s what happens when your mother leaves and your father is nothing more than deadbeat, trailer trash; she was forced to grow up quick and start fending for herself.

Moving into her boyfriend’s father’s house rent free will allow Jordan plenty of opportunity to save money. But this seeming amazing chance brings more complications than she ever anticipated.

We’re victims of circumstance. At least I can feel confident that I would’ve liked him no matter what. If he were any other guy who came into my bar, sat down, and talked to me, I would’ve wanted him…

When nineteen himself, Pike Lawson became a father. Without hesitation, he started working numerous jobs, sacrificing his social life and giving up his dreams to support his son.

The romance between Jordan and Pike is explored so wonderfully. It isn’t salacious or obscene; it is dealt with tact and sensitivity. Their mutual concerns and fears of others judgements is realistic and understandable. Birthday Girl is about a taboo romance, but it is also more than that: it is about forgiveness, family appreciation, raw sensuality and working hard towards your dreams.

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