FicCentral received a free copy of this book from IndieSage PR.
Series: Kendrick Place #1
Publisher: Entangled Bliss on March 20, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (Adult)
Shay Matthews moved to Boston for a fresh start...new apartment, new job, new routine. After too many years being coddled by her overbearing older brothers, Shay’s ready for some freedom and maybe a nice, easygoing guy. She wasn’t expecting to literally run into the scowling, brooding, (and unfairly smoking hot) guy next door.
Fresh off a haunting undercover assignment, detective Wyatt Daniels is jaded about life, relationships, and especially happily-ever-after. But there’s something about the independent and beautiful Shay that makes him want to dig deeper. Or stay away, which is definitely the smarter option of the two.
But the more Shay tries to convince herself that her sweet building manager, Brady, is the guy for her, the more Mr. Completely Wrong-for-Her Wyatt invades her mind and her heart.
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
The Bad Boy Next Door by Jody Holford
The Hook: Shay’s starting over, and she’s determined to show her parents and overprotective brothers that she can do it all on her own. Moving into her own apartment in Boston is the first step, and then she’s got to get her event planning business off the ground. But even as she stays on task and takes care of things herself, she’s distracted by the hot, brooding neighbor, the one she’s been warned to stay away from. If only she didn’t catch glimpses of kindness behind his distant attitude…
The Awesome: Despite the trite title, The Bad Boy Next Door isn’t about your stereotypical bad boy. In fact, aside from Wyatt’s stand-offish demeanor and issues adjusting to normal life after having been undercover, he’s not really a bad boy at all. He’s more of a hard-to-get-to-know boy, a mixed-signals boy, a not-very-outgoing boy. If a 30 year old man can be considered a boy, that is. But that’s actually a good thing, straying from the overdone formula that so many other romances rely on. If anything, Wyatt is a good guy that no one really knows all that well, and Shay’s one of the few people to see past his social issues and just reach out to him.
Shay is very much Wyatt’s opposite. She’s friendly and engaging, outgoing and receptive, and even though she’s had some bad luck with men in the past, she’s trying to put herself out there again. She’s also not so awestruck by Wyatt that she doesn’t at least try to date someone more in tune with her. Of course, that doesn’t ever really get off the ground, and with a little danger lurking, Shay soon brings out Wyatt’s protective nature.
The Not-For-Me: Shay’s got a lot of growing up to do. As with almost all good romance novels, the relationship begins to get good, there’s some conflict or drama that gets in the way, and then everything comes back together for an HEA. The conflict, in this case, was just Shay’s inability to see past herself, and that’s never a good trait in a main character. She saw what I first assumed was your typical “it’s not what it looks like” that the women in romance novels always read wrong and freak out over. But while she initially tried to reason with herself, she then asked Wyatt about it in a very roundabout way, and when he didn’t give her the detail she needed/wanted, she kind of lost her mind. And then later that night, she went totally off the deep end, put herself in danger, and then avoided him like the plague because… Well, I’m not really sure why because none of it was logical. Someone really just needed to slap her.
Also, partway through the book, I began to suspect I was missing something, like there was an earlier story I should have been privy to. When the feeling got too nagging, I went looking, and sure enough, this isn’t the first book in the series. It definitely works as a standalone, but I wish that had been clear before I requested it. I sooooo hate reading series books out of order.
The Verdict: Despite my irritation with Shay, The Bad Boy Next Door turned out to be a pretty fun read. I kind of expected a formulaic plot, but story didn’t fall victim to all the usual romance novel cliches. Wyatt wasn’t overly angsty, Shay was pretty forthcoming about her feelings, and the straightforward honesty they both gave each other as their relationship was beginning was something readers just don’t see often enough. I loved that even though both Shay and Wyatt worried a bit about putting their hearts on the line, neither was so afraid that they held back who they were or what they wanted. The cast of characters around them was also interesting, and I’m really curious about what’s in store for Brady — pretty sure it’s Mia. Overall, it was a fun, light romance with just a hint of danger and mystery to keep things interesting.
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