***5 ‘Damn you, kale. Damn you.’ Stars***
That cover was the hook. Hands down and I won’t apologize for wanting to lick it because it’s freaking hawt! But then I read the blurb and it was all over. Quirky female. Broken male. Sign me up baby and what a ride it was. I was expecting a romcom and trust me there are some hilarious moments, but what I wasn’t prepared for was to have my heart ripped out of my chest. Don’t worry, it was put back and in fine working order and Stroked Long ended up being a fun read that had me going through all the feels known to humankind and had me wanting to dive into arctic waters to cool off.
What Bodi went through as a child and how it broke him at a fundamental level was what ripped my heart out along with how he saw himself in the aftermath and has done everything he could to keep people away, even though he is an Olympic swimming god, so while he can put on a good front when necessary, he’s a bit socially awkward but that only made him more adorable in my eyes. His conviction that he is to blame for the crime that has made him curl up into himself is frustrating and heartbreaking because it’s made him blind to how generous his heart is.
Ruby I really liked and I loved how adorkable she was, but her verbal vomiting skills had me going WTF?!? In the beginning. I mean they are epic, I think you can safely say that she is the Grand Empress of verbal vomiting. If there was an Olympic event for it, she’d win the gold. No questions asked. But after awhile I got used to it and looked forward to what was going to come out of her mouth and much of that had to do with how comfortable in her own skin she was. She wasn’t blind to her quirks, and at times got embarrassed when she thought she’d gone too far, but she owned them and that confidence made it easy to like her. She’s perky, sassy, outspoken and has a heart of gold, which is fitting considering what her surname is.
I loved how they went from colleagues to friends to lovers. It felt like a natural progression and wasn’t rushed. There was mutual physical and sexual attraction going on, but they got to know each other, at least as much as Bodi would allow, so the pace was slow, but oh so worth it. To watch as Ruby drew Bodi out of his self constructed prison was a lot of fun. She pushed and teased, but didn’t pester and would switch gears when she noticed his anxiety levels rising but never changed who she was at her core. And Bodi? Bodi without the shackles was lethal. He was still adorably socially awkward, but holy sexy alpha male vibe and the snark? Lethal. Of course there were a bunch of bumps in the road and the big sinkhole was expected, but still broke my heart, but I like how they worked through them and in the end it was easy to see how these two people fit so well together.
While this isn’t the first time I’ve read something by Meghan Quinn, it is the first one where she’s been the sole author. (Yes, I know bad me *slaps own hand* I will go back and read Stroked even though I’m a little sketchy about Pocket. And yes Stroked Long can be read as a standalone) and I enjoyed the journey she took me on. The writing was engaging and I thought the dual 1st person POV’s were done very well. I also like how she presented Bodi’s issues (I’m sure there is a better word to use, but that’s what I got at the moment) it was candid and respectful and an eye opener to how those with anxiety issues/OCD live day to day. I also like that while Bodi and Ruby do get their HEA, the demons that plague Bodi aren’t suddenly gone because he’s found soulmate. There is still a long road ahead of him and he may never overcome all of them, but he’s working on it. The secondary characters were fun and well developed, Lauren is probably my favorite, and I’m definitely going to be picking up Stroked Hard as soon as I am able to because of that lovely little excerpt.
~ ARC received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review~
From his dirty-blond hair and breathtaking smile, to the abs from heaven and the irresistible V in his waistline, everything about Bodi Olympic-gold-medalist Banks screams hot piece of @$$.
Yet there’s more.
Dark shadows lurk behind his soulful, serious eyes.
I’m enamored. He’s captured me.
How can running an art foundation with Bodi Banks turns into a slow-burning, epic romance, even though he tries to push me away at every chance? How can I stay away from a broken, routine-driven man whose soul cries to be forgiven for a crime only he believes he committed? Or is that a lie?
When I was in high school I occasionally read books but was consumed by other teenage things so I didn't take the time to appreciate a good book on a cloudy day, wrapped up in a blanket on the couch. It wasn't until I received a Kindle for Christmas one year that my world completely flipped upside down. When looking for books I came across the Contemporary Romance genre and was sold and I haven't turned back since.
You can either find my head buried in my Kindle, listening to inspiring heart ripping music or typing away on the computer twisting and turning the lives of my characters while driving my readers crazy with anticipation.
I currently reside in beautiful Colorado Springs where the sun is always shining and there is a trail waiting to be hiked on every corner. I share a lovely and warm home with the love of my life and my five, four-legged children.