This is a sneaky novel by my new favorite author, released with little warning and fanfare. Mean guy? Dark secrets? Hell yes. My grabby hands swiped it up.
Charlotte is a slightly geeky, rather body conscious, absolute sweetheart. She moved into the run down development of Shady Oaks after selling her home and giving away all her money. Her twin sister was in trouble, and our girl is a total giver.
As an illustrator, Charlotte can earn her way out of poverty, so the duration of her stay in the slums is limited. Unless, that is, she has a reason to hang around.
Enter Jesse. Yum. Cut, total bruiser, and as dangerous as he is handsome. He lives right next door and gets up to all sorts of shenanigans, which Charlotte finds verrry interesting. She’s always lived for other people, and it’s about time she lived for herself.
I’ve got a real thing for bad boys like Jesse. He’s so mean but there’s just enough good shining through that you can see he’s worth a little effort. He’s a classic Be Mean To Keep People At Bay kinda guy, but Charlotte, with her softness and sweetness, creeps under his skin.
Our anti-hero is an illegal fighter, and he likes to fuck after his fights. Girls, guys, it doesn’t matter as long as he gets off. Charlotte, one day, hears this going on through the thin walls. And joins in.
This was something I worried about when I read the blurb. In my romances, I don’t like seeing the hero or heroine having sex with anyone else. Monogamy is essential. And whilst there is a four-way scene in this book (not an orgy, you need five or more people for that, I learned), there’s only watching, not participating for the H&H. So rest assured there’s no cheating here.
Jesse and Charlotte are equal in having no idea what love is, but they do know sacrifice, and they definitely know family problems. All of these things impact their fledgling relationship and I was gripped by wanting them to overcome all the baggage and barriers between them.
One of the things I like most about this author, is that she writes plainly, without oodles of overselling the drama, and the set isn’t fancy. All the heart and warmth and wonder comes from the interactions between the characters. There’s no over plotting, or use of fast cars or expensive locations to keep me interested. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind these things in other books, sometimes it’s just perfect to have a glittering backdrop, but it isn’t always needed.
Charlotte and Jesse spend most of their time between their crappy apartments, and the contrast and simplicity is beautiful.
Overall, Bad Neighbor is hot, tender (with both H&H’s emotional state nailed perfectly), too short but I loved it.
My only criticism is that Jesse needed to backtrack for being mean one too many times near the end. He said some stuff he needed to take back, and he deserved a telling off but our girl was too nice for that.
I’m assuming there’s going to be a book two to this, as the setup is there. The protagonists for that are super interesting too.
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Molly O’Keefe
Release Date: November 21, 2016