on August 21, 2016
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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.
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?
Anti-Stepbrother is a refreshingly different college romance. It didn’t feel childish or focus completely on sex and drinking!!! The writing is great, and the story immediately drew me in and entertained me with Summer’s snarky humor.
“I didn’t know who it was under that tree with Kevin, but I had one guess. It started with M and rhymed with saggy.”
Summer Stoltz follows her stepbrother, Kevin, to college in the hopes of having a relationship with him. Her daydreams are squashed and her eyes gradually open to reality when she arrives at school. Summer dives into college life and begins to form friendships without the help of her stepbrother.
“He was about as far from Kevin as it was possible to get—the anti-stepbrother….Caden was so much more. He was the real deal.”
Summer becomes friends with Kevin’s fraternity brother, Caden. Caden is gorgeous, tattooed, built, and swoon-worthy!! Both Summer and Caden seem to want to avoid or ignore the chemistry between them.
“The realization was a bomb exploding inside of me. I knew there were feelings, but this… I wasn’t prepared for this. I couldn’t take a risk like this.”
I loved how real and relatable and fully developed all of the characters were. Right from the start of the book, I was invested in Summer’s story. My heart broke for her when she felt betrayed and I swooned right along with her over Caden’s loyal and protective friendship and more. I loved being in this story and didn’t want to leave!
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.