I have to admit that step-brother romance stories have always been a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. I love them and can't ever seem to get enough. However I have been a bit skeptical to pick up some with the recent explosion of them, thinking that they would all be pretty similar. When I saw Bella Jewel was releasing one though, I knew I had to read it. I have to say though, that this felt different than everything I have read by her and I am not sure that is a good thing. If you are a Bella Jewel fan you might want to give this one a shot, but I will warn you that there are some big things that I had issues with that I think others will too.
After losing her father and sister in a tragic accident when she was younger, Aria has grown up with just her mother. Now her mother has Jack, and they have just gotten married. Jack has three sons which Aria has never met since they live with their mother in California. But when they decide to relocate after one of them gets a job in the same town Aria lives in, her mom and Jack decide that all of them should go to his lake house for the summer to get to know one another better. When the guys show up, Aria quickly realizes that the oldest, Blade, is none other than the guy she shared a passionate weekend with a year before. Aria woke up at the end of the weekend with him and his things gone, and she never did get any of his information including his name. She thought that they had shared a connection, but she was left with a broken heart knowing he didn't feel the same. Though they have been apart for a year, Aria and Blade are still drawn to one another though they know that nothing can happen between them. But Aria and Blade find it harder to stay away from one another the longer they are around one another.
One of my biggest problems of this entire book was Blade. He had been so sweet to Aria on their weekend together (we see their past through flashbacks) and while he admitted to her that it was casual, you could see that it was becoming more for both of them. They had fun and really got along well, not to mention that they had smoking hot chemistry. But then in the present, Blade is a complete jerk to her. Gone was the nice guy, and I didn't even recognize who he had become. He would have moments that you could see through a bit of his facade, but then he would immediately change again. One minute he wanted nothing to do with Aria, and the next he was running off any guys in the area so that Aria wouldn't be able to be with anyone. He didn't want her, but he didn't want others to have her either. Then he hooks up with Peyton and rubs it in Aria's face. Finally you think he is coming around, and then he up and leaves her just like he did before. I felt bad for Aria, but I also felt like she just kept letting him get away with it. I did like her though, and I could tell that she really cared for Blade. She had felt a connection and wasn't shy about letting him know how she felt. I admired her for trying to not give up and how she kept putting herself out there for him, but after awhile I wanted her to tell him where to stick it.
My other huge problem had to do with Blade and Peyton. After he left Aria, he ended up getting together with Peyton as more than just a way to make Aria jealous and they were actually together for quite awhile. I won't go into details of what happened so as not to spoil the story, but I found the way Blade handled things was horrible. I honestly don't know if I believed any of what he was saying to Aria and I wanted her to end things with him once and for all. He made me so mad, and he was even more of a jerk to her than he ever had been before. This was all in the second half of the book, and I was more than over how he had treated Aria at this point. The first half of the book was so good, and I was instantly drawn into the story. But the second half I felt should have been about Aria and Blade overcoming their issues and finally figuring out what was between them. Things just got worse though, and it honestly made me dislike Blade even more. I will say that I absolutely loved the secondary characters in this story, and honestly they are the reason that I kept reading this book. I loved Aria's mom and Jack, and his other two sons Riley and Brody were amazing! I loved the relationships that Aria formed with both of them, and I thought that they were so great with her. I absolutely cannot wait to get Brody's story with Aria's friend Melanie. While I have really enjoyed books by Bella Jewel in the past, this one wasn't my favorite. I really think that Blade was the problem this time around, and I just never could get over how he acted. I know that I will read more from Bella Jewel in the future though, and I think if this one sounds interesting that you might want to give it a shot. I just didn't like the hero and his jerky attitude and the constant hot and cold, especially when you bring someone else into it.
**ARC Provided by Give Me Books**