Monday, June 15, 2015

ARC Review: 5 Stars for The Girl Next Door (Bend or Break #3) by Amy Jo Cousins

When it comes to love, go big or go home.

Bend or Break, Book 3

Charles “Cash” Carmichael traded his high-rise condo and family-firm career for a job coaching soccer for Chicago’s inner-city kids. He’s adjusting to living on minimum wage when his young cousin, newly out and running away from home, shows up on his less-than-luxurious doorstep.

Angsty teens definitely aren’t Cash’s thing. He needs local backup, and there’s only one name he can think of: Stephany Tyler. Back in the day, the bisexual Steph was the perfect friend with benefits until she fell in love with a woman.
To his relief, his former friend steps up to the plate. Soon, though, Cash finds himself feeling the familiar need to keep her in his bed, and in his life. But Steph, burned by the ex-girlfriend and by the absentee dad she’s been trying to connect with, won’t risk her heart again.

Good thing Cash believes in leaving it all on the field. If he can just convince Steph to get in the game, there’s a chance they can both win.

Warning: This book contains ex-friends with benefits crossing boundaries a second time, several steamy encounters on staircases, copious discussions about gay sex from a “straight” guy, a shout-out to magic buttons, and an especially memorable going away threesome.

Pre-Order Buy Links

The Girl Next Door releases June 15,2015.

AmazonBarnes & NobleKoboiBooks, Google Play

What I thought about The Girl Next Door
In this third book in Amy Jo Cousins' Bend or Break series, the gang from Off Campus has graduated and they've gone their separate ways, that is until there's a bit of a crisis when Cash's young nephew comes out and he ends up in Cash's small apartment.  Cash reaches out to Tom, Reese and Steph for help with the situation, and in doing so, sets himself up to deal with some unresolved feelings for Steph. 

In spite of the title, The Girl Next Door is all about Cash, and he's pretty awesome.  I'm going to gush about him, which I rarely do in a review, but Cash is one exceptional male protagonist, unique and refreshing to this reader. There were so many things I loved about him--he's brave, always putting himself outside of his own comfort zone. He's adventurous and open-minded, especially when it comes to sex. He's incredibly sexy and considerate toward his lovers. He's loyal, a good friend, and an understanding relative. He takes time to understand his own feelings. There is just so much to like about him.

All of these traits make him a perfect match for Steph. I loved the dynamic between them, with Steph the more alpha partner and Cash a little more easy-going, with a "take life as it comes" sort of attitude. That's not to say that Cash is a pushover because he's not. These are two people who know and speak their mind, but yet when it comes to their relationship, they hesitate. They have trouble finding the words to address the one thing that has the potential to be an all-important conversation. Just like in real life, they dance around their own relationship and struggle with being totally honest with each other.

There are some nice scenes with Tom and Reese from Off Campus, and I liked how these friends helped each other out.  The story is unlike anything I've read in the romance genre, and the strong character development had me falling for the lot of them. This book really worked for me, and it has one of the sexiest m/m/f scenes I have read in a very long time. 

So five big, bright beautiful stars for The Girl Next Door. This one will definitely be on my Best of 2015 list. 

ARC provided for review.  

Other books in the Bend or Break series

I'm a bit of a sucker for cover art as you can see! Okay, so Level Hands isn't out yet, but it's such a pretty cover line up I had to use it!  You'll be wanting Level Hands once you finish The Girl Next Door, trust me. 

Off Campus Buy Links

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, or at the Samhain website

Nothing Like Paris Buy Links

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and Google Play.

The Girl Next Door preorder/ buy links

AmazonBarnes & NobleKoboiBooks, and Google Play

About the Author 

EBK Photography
EBK Photography

Amy Jo Cousins writes contemporary romance and erotica about smart people finding their own best kind of smexy. She lives in Chicago with her son, where she tweets too much, sometimes runs really far, and waits for the Cubs to win the World Series.

Readers interested in autographed copies of Amy Jo’s paperback books can order them from Chicago’s fabulous independent bookstore, The Book Cellar. They can ship anywhere, and will email me to let me know there are books to be signed if you care to order them!

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