Genres: New Adult
Also by this author: Fallen Fourth Down, Fallen Crest University, Cole, Eye Candy, The Boy I Grew Up With, Bennett Mafia, Teardrop Shot, The Insiders
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?"
So, I will pretty much read ANYTHING Tijan writes. She does the new adult genre beautifully. Characters who are still figuring themselves out, making some less than wise decisions, and falling in love. Its all delicious drama and steamy encounters. Anti-stepbrother is no different.
Summer had a 1 night stand with her step brother Kevin. Kevin is a GIANT douche. I was a little irritated with Summer because she watched him parade girls in and out of his life, cheating on them and using them. But, she was somehow convinced she would be different. You can guess how that turned out…
Kevin’s fraternity brother Caden runs into Summer a few times and they strike up an odd friendship. I liked this aspect of the story. Weeks go by of them just hanging out and doing normal stuff-watching TV, studying, going bowling. To me, THIS is how a real relationship begins. Caden is not a fan of Kevin (WOOHOO!!!) and the 2 have come to blows before.
Because the story is told only from Summer’s POV, you never really know whats up with Caden. He has a bit of a reputation at the school for being standoffish and ‘above’ everyone else. I was always curious about what was going on in his head. I think it adds to the tension of the story. As Summer is starting to have feelings for him, you really have no idea how he feels. And, as we already established, Summer doesn’t exactly have good skills at reading people.
I loved that Summer didn’t change who she was either. She is kind of weird and a bit scattered at times. She didn’t want to change her appearance or be a person she wasn’t. She kind of just embraced her personality. She admitted to being dull in high school and she didn’t want to be that any more; However, she didn’t have to change her personality or who she was in order to be ‘not dull’. It was refreshing to read a college aged character who wasn’t so debilitatingly self conscious and desperate to be someone she isn’t.
I did get a bit irritated at the back and forth romance. She has feelings for Kevin, then she doesn’t, then she does. Then she loves Caden, he tells her she doesn’t love him. Its so NA but it really gets kind of old after awhile. You just want to shake them all!!!
- POV: 1st (there is 1.5 chapters in Caden’s POV)
- Tears: No
- Trope: friends to lovers
- Triggers: none
- Series/Standalone: stand alone
- Cliffhanger: No
- HEA: View Spoiler »Oh my gosh Tijan makes you wait until LITERALLY the last minute, but its good. No epilogue. « Hide Spoiler
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.