Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Review: Pretending He's Mine

Remember, since this is a Royal Pick, come back on April 26th for a chance to win an ecopy of your own!

Pretending He's Mine by Mia Sosa
Publisher: Avon Impulse (April 10, 2018)
Series: Love on Cue, 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Dual 1st POV

Mia Sosa returns with another fun, flirty romance in her critically-acclaimed Love on Cue series!

For Hollywood agent Julian Hart, representing his best friend—megastar Carter Williamson—means it’s nearly impossible to keep his personal life and career separate. To make matters worse, Carter’s younger sister has been starring in Julian’s wildest fantasies more often than he’d care to admit. He knows she’s off-limits, but when Ashley shows up on his doorstep, needing a place to crash… suddenly his greatest temptation is sleeping down the hall.

Free-spirited Ashley Williamson doesn’t do commitment. Jobs, apartments, men… why let herself be tied down? But she’s had a crush on her older brother’s best friend for years and she’s committed to making Julian want her, one towel-clad midnight encounter at a time. But just as things start heating up, their steamy flirtation is interrupted by Carter’s east coast wedding. Ashley has no desire to go home and face her reputation as the family disappointment. But living with—dare she say dating?—a successful, sexy film agent could give them something else to talk about.

Julian can’t believe he agreed to fake a relationship with the one woman he can never have. And it’s going to take more than a little willpower to remember it's all pretend. Or is it?

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My Review:

Mia Sosa’s debut, Acting on Impulse, was a joy to read last year. But I have to say, Julian and Ashley’s story was EVEN MORE SO. Pretending He’s Mine was a goddamn treat for me, from beginning to end. Now yes, I have two small complaints, which I’ll get to at the end, but they were not nearly enough to ruin my overall enjoyment of this book.

Pretending He’s Mine combines a few trope catnips: best friend’s little sister – with the addition of the best friend also being Julian’s client, so double “forbidden” conflict there – combined with temporary roommates and finally some fake dating.

I KNOW! I just sold you the book, didn’t I? I can just go home now, there’s nothing more to say about it.

Except there’s so much more to say. Because this book was so much fun. A fun, tropey rom-com that’ll make you smile and giggle.

Just as an example:

“You’re not being fair, Julian. I can’t keep up with you. One minute you’re adamant that we shouldn’t act on our attraction. The next minute you’re snaking your tongue down my throat.” 
Her eyes go wide as soon as the words are out, and she presses her fingers against her temples, a small smile lifting the corners of her mouth. “Dammit.” She narrows her eyes on me. “Did your brain go there, too? Because I just envisioned something longer and thicker than a snake.” 
I drop my head into my chest and laugh so heartily my chest rumbles. “Yeah, my mind went there. You’re a bad influence.” 
“It is longer and thicker than a snake, right? I’m asking for science.” 
 “Well, it’s not boa constrictor thick, but it’s not a garden snake, either.” I shake my head. “How’d we come to this?” 
She snorts. “We should both stop talking. It’s safer that way.”

Or even this interaction, between Ashley and her new friends:

“An oral sex light.” She reads the package: “Don’t go down without it.” Then she acts out “4 U Both” like she’s Prince in his “I Would Die 4 U” video. 
Tori and I blink at each other and fall over in laughter. “Yes,” Tori says as she wipes her eyes, “because I want to look like a miner as I go down on him.” 
“Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to suck I go,” I say in a singsong voice. 
Eva cackles. “It’s official, Ashley. You’re one of us now.”

Now besides the fun, there’s a lot of conflict and tension going on. Best friend/client’s sister, remember? BIG NO-NO. But they want each other! But they can’t do this. BUT THE MUTUAL LONGING! But really, we shouldn’t be doing this . . . damn it, how did we end up in a real relationship after all?!

Needless to say I loved every minute of that push-pull tension. And oh, it pays off in the end, don’t worry!

Between all that tension is a slow burn. Like, they don’t sleep together until 75% or so. BUT when they do? Damn, Mia Sosa brought the heat and I was so there for it!

“It’s so good,” she moans against my ear. “But I need more.” 
I should stop, but the selfish corner of my brain convinces me that I can’t leave her dissatisfied. Seeing her this way, her mouth open and glistening, her eyes glazed and unfocused, fuels me. I use my feet to spread her wider, then I dip my leg between hers. I slide her hands up against the wall, caging her torso with my frame. 
“Ride my thigh,” I murmur against her jaw. “Make yourself come.” I draw back slightly, fascinated by the way her golden brown eyes darken. Without a word, she slips her arms around my neck and lowers her body. She’s writhing against my thigh, undulating in a slow and steady rhythm, and when she appears to hit the right spot, she throws her head back, a sensuous goddess consumed by lust. 
“Oh God. Yes, yes, yes.” What the fuck was I thinking? This isn’t any less tempting. Now instead of envying my fingers, I’m jealous of my quads. My mouth lands on her throat, and I suck hard. She’s sweet and salty, like pretzels dipped in chocolate. 
“Oh,” she says, a note of surprise in her voice. 
She lowers her head and cradles the sides of my face. “More, damn you. I won’t get off like this.”

Trust me, not only does she get off in that scene, but that’s just the tip of the A++ sexy-times iceberg. JUST. THE. TIP.

[That’s what she said.]

[What?! I can’t help it.]

While we’re on the sexy times: I also LOVED that we got a masturbation scene – technically two, as first Ashley then Julian take care of things for themselves. You know that’s my catnip! And as a bonus, it was pretty damn hot.

“Oh shit,” he grunts. This time there’s no hiding the tremors coming from his side of the bed. Then a soft string of words follows. “Yes, that’s it, baby. Right there, Ash. Yes. Yes. Fuck. Aaash.” 
The bliss in his voice wraps itself around me, caressing me like strong, confident hands. The throbbing between my legs narrows and settles on my nub, and for a second I wonder if I’m coming, too. Jesus. When the shaking stops, I blink my eyes open and wait. Seconds pass before he eases out of the bed, and then his shadow blankets my side of the room as he creeps to the toilet. The door closes softly. 
Moments later, water splashes in the sink, and I let out a breath I didn’t know I’d been holding. 
This is my ghost. Ashley Williamson is dead.

Same, Ashley, same.

However, I will say that the masturbation scene also ties into one of my (very small) complaints. Because Ashley’s reaction during that scene didn’t quite fit with her character for the rest of the book. Let me try to explain. This is when they’re fake dating at her family reunion/brother’s wedding, and Julian walks into their bedroom late that night to find her mere seconds away from climax. She sees him after and freaks out, embarrassed to be caught fingering herself with his name on her lips. Which . . . I kinda get? BUT this wasn’t like her character up to this point, or even after this. She’s very forward and has no shame about her sexuality, has a tight grip on her own sexual agency. Hell, earlier she had him finger her and when he tried to distance himself during the act by making it sound like SHE was the one giving herself the orgasm, she stops him and tells him either he owns that he’s the one with his fingers inside her or he can leave.

“You’re incredible, Ash. Fucking perfect. Keep going—just like that.” She lifts her head, narrowing her eyes into slits. “You want to absolve yourself of responsibility? Pretend it’s me and only me making this happen? I won’t let you.” Without preamble, she withdraws her fingers and stares at me defiantly. I don’t react, in part because I’m dying to know where she plans to take this. And partly because . . . I’m just dying, teetering on the edge of control, loving the feel of her pussy and tying myself in knots over it. “Touch me, Julian. All by yourself.”

On top of that, early in the book she goes off to masturbate and has no shame about it.

With my sumptuous plate of strawberry-topped waffles in hand, I rush to my room in search of my battery-operated boyfriend. After all, Julian did tell me to take care of myself, and given my current state of sexual frustration, I have plans to do just that. 

[By the way, I fell in love with her right then and there – food and orgasms = a girl after my own heart!]

So to see her running around the bedroom all embarrassed about being caught masturbating, and unable to look/talk to him about it and all that? It just didn’t quite fit.

Like I said, not a big deal and obviously it didn’t ruin the book, or that scene, for me. But I did want to mention it. Because while I loved the masturbation scenes otherwise, I was a bit surprised by her out of character reaction during it all.

While we’re at it, my only other complaint is the ending. The pacing through the rest of the book was good, but I felt like the last, oh, 2 chapters or so were far too rushed. Yes, they get their HEA. And I believe it. And while I suppose I did get all the important answers before the book ended, I didn’t quite feel satisfied by how I got them, if that makes sense? It seemed too rushed and a bit lacking in that sense, and I actually thought I had missed something when I flipped the last page; I actually went back to reread the last chapter to make sure. Again, technically Sosa wrapped things up, but I was left wanting a bit more from the wrap up execution itself, you know? Now, to be fair this could be partly my knee-jerk reaction of “BUT WAIT I DON’T WANT THIS BOOK TO END IT’S SO GOOD!”.

Again, that didn’t ruin the book, but it would be the reason for 4 ½ rather than a solid 5 stars.

If you’re looking for a fun, flirty read with great tension and a slow burn that turns into a firecracker by the end, don’t miss out on Pretending He’s Mine! You can easily read this one as a standalone, but I do recommend reading book 1 as well, because it’s also a fun read. Mia Sosa is definitely an author to keep an eye on.

I cannot wait for the final book, with Eva and Antonio, who do NOT get along well and oh, the sparks were flying so I can only imagine what their book will be like. GIMME.

“And who’s this Tinkerbell?” Eva freezes, and a small vein appears at her right temple. 
“I’m Eva, an adult woman with a black belt in tae kwon do who doesn’t appreciate being called Tinkerbell.” 
He holds up his hands in surrender. “Warning issued and heeded. I won’t make that mistake again. But as a sixth-dan black belt, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that someone with tae kwon do training shouldn’t be so quick to show her temper.” 
 Eva huffs. “Someone who knows nothing about me shouldn’t be so quick to give me his unsolicited advice.” Julian and I glance at each other and step away from the fireworks."

4 1/2 STARS! 

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Source: Edelweiss ARC

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Until Next Time,

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