If someone told me that Bella Andre was writing a book about the mating habits of porcupines, I’d be first in line, waiting for it with bated breath. That is how much I love a Bella Andre kind of fairy tale. So, it comes as no surprise that I started longing for this particular book from the moment I heard there was a New Adult series in the works. I admit that the palpable chemistry between her characters and the hot sex scenes are what first drew me to her stories, but it is ultimately the once-in-a-lifetime type of connection between the characters that keeps me coming back for more. Bella feeds the dreamers in all of us, her books are like every hot-blooded woman’s fantasy come to life, and I can’t get enough of them. With this first ‘toe dip’ into a much more subdued genre, she has proven once more that her stories can melt our hearts even with little more than toe-curling kisses, because no one does sweet romance like Bella Andre.
“… it was their sweetest, sexiest, most incredible kiss yet. One that swam through her bloodstream like a drug she’d always crave more of.”
Serena Britten is a world famous model on the cusp of a brand new acting career, and while her beautiful face has graced the front pages of countless covers all around the globe, at nineteen, she has never been in the driving seat of her own life. Managed since childhood by a mother whose first priority has always been Serena’s career, she desperately craves a normal mother-daughter relationship, one that is separate from her modelling career, one where she feels loved and accepted by her, unconditionally, rather than judged and always forced to please her. She craves the freedom to make her own decisions about her career path, her interests, but above all, she craves everyday normalcy. In her first act of rebellion in nineteen years, Serena enrols at University, leaving her modelling career behind, determined to find her true passion in life, whatever that may be.
“Serena wanted, more than anything, to live a life that she was passionately excited about. She wanted to wake up each morning feeling exhilarated. She wanted to laugh and love and feel.”
Sean Morrison is the popular jock, the boy whose skills on the field and strikingly good looks have also made him the biggest player on campus, but behind the cocky exterior hides a wounded heart, one which is guarded fiercely from the world around him, and even more from himself. He seeks numbness daily, very few things granting him that escape from his thoughts and feelings, and during one such alcohol-induced escape from reality, Sean meets Serena and his world comes to a standstill.
“For the past three months, everything inside his chest felt raw. Splintered. Broken.”
Their attraction is immediate, their bodies’ reaction to each other unquestionable, but from the moment they meet they are both aware of how unique their connection is and how easy it would be to lose it all by moving too fast. A beautiful friendship is born, one that gives them both the strength to face their harshest demons and stand up to them. Sean’s unrelenting support and encouragement help Serena choose her own path in life, but it is his patience and understanding that allow her to slowly embrace her sensuality and passion, thus awakening the woman in her. And in return, Serena’s trust and bravery break through Sean’s defensive walls, forcing him to face his pain and learn to live with it.
“… when I’m with you, I forget to feel bad.”
None of the usual sizzle is present, this is a much softer version of a Bella Andre romance, but her signature touch is woven tightly throughout the storyline, making this a sweeter that usual flick of this author’s brand of magic. Her sensual prose, elegant and expressive, draws you in from the start, just like always, and her characters get under your skin simply by wearing their hearts on their sleeves. But the focus is on the journey that the characters travel, on the lessons learned and the hurdles they overcome, and on the connection that pulls them to one another, rather than their sexual chemistry. I loved every delightful moment, and even though I occasionally missed the sizzle, I believe this new series will not only please readers of this genre, but also some of the more seasoned romance readers like me.
“You keep talking about wanting to be normal. But I don’t get why you would want to be anything other than as extraordinary as you are.”