“No one goes looking for pain, but that doesn’t mean they won’t find it anyway.”
Very rarely do I come across a book that ends up with me on a mission to read every book that author has ever written. As you all know by now (well you should) forbidden romances are my drug of choice; the dirtier the better. But sometimes I want to give my lady parts a break and just want a swoon-worthy and sweet story to read. And now Donna Alam is my go-to because she perfectly blends the sweet and swoony, with crazy funny and mild smut smut. Her writing style is pure comedy and makes the reader loose themselves in a whimsical type of love that leaves you feeling all warm inside and believing in happily ever after. I popped my Donna Alam cherry to Down Under and I nearly died from laughing so much. So naturally I went into this knowing I’m going to be in stitches and I was not disappointed. Her inner monologues…I don’t know how she comes up with the things she writes.
“You gave me your body and you heart…Let me give you my all forever in return.”
We first encountered Rafferty Phillips in Down Under as one of Byron’s younger brothers. Growing up as the poster child of a fuck-up, Rafferty drives that point home when he sleeps with his brother’s girlfriend (so he thought). A mistake that he was a too much of a coward to face hence keeping him away from home for two years. But with said brother’s up-coming nuptials looming, in his wisdom, he enlists the help of a total stranger to step in as a fake girlfriend in the hope that it gives him the strength to finally face up to his mistake, while sending a clear message to the one night stand that he’s off limits. He’s the epitome of a player; rich, handsome, sexy, and naturally, a commitment-phobe. So when this stranger makes a prerequisite condition to his request to be his fake girlfriend, he can’t deny the sexual chemistry, so his organ below the waist waste no time in consenting to the idea. What he didn’t envisage happening is the organ in his chest taking part in this arrangement at all.
“I realised I wasn’t mourning our relationship. It was the time id wasted on a dream that wasn’t real.”
Upon discovering her fiancé’s very untimely philandering antics, Alyssa Montgomery sets off on a honeymoon for one. When she wakes up in a stranger’s house, following an excursion at a brothel, she finds herself stuck with said stranger after she loses her wallet, luggage and misses her cruise ship. Fortunately for her, the stranger is hot, rich and kind enough to host her. In a new found determination to live life to the fullest, she makes a daring proposition that is mutually beneficial; she pretends to be his girlfriend at his brother’s wedding in exchange to unlimited sex sessions. She’s in a foreign country, living under the same roof as a very sexy man, she’s spent her life being a good girl. All she wants right now is to be bad in the best way possible; she wants toe-curling, neighbour-waking sex, preferably with endless orgasms, preferably with no strings attached sex, preferably with a sexy stranger that is Rafferty.
“It’s not your fault that the male ego is as fragile as a woman’s heart.”
Alyssa is everything Rafferty wants in his woman; sexy, petite, homely, beautiful. So their proposal sounds simple enough. Tit for tat of sorts. Friends with benefits. So when they start to develop feelings for each other that neither one of them is neither ready for nor experienced with, they decide ignoring them is the best option…until they can’t.
“In order to spend forever with Alyssa Montgomery, having wonderful, with tethers, ropes, chains, and strings, and a lifetime of no holds barred sexy-times, I need her to understand:
I love her
I want to be with her
I’ll do whatever it takes to walk through life holding her had “
The author does a wonderful job of telling the whimsical, easy going flow of Alyssa and Rafferty’s relationship. She takes time to tell the story of the couple’s individual struggles while they try to deal with them. This is a slow burn, so majority of the story is set on the build-up of the relationship, and because it’s narrated from both character’s point of view, we’re able to hear their thoughts on the progress of their arrangements. This book and Down Under have, hands down the best inner monologues I’ve ever read. She says the most random things.
Because the story was set in the events leading to their declaration of love, after that it just sort of…ended. Not much regards was given to the aftermath of their falling in love. The epilogue just fast-forwarded to a year later. I would have liked to see how they dealt with all the things that Alyssa had insisted required her to go back home like her parents etc.
Although this book is part of a series, it could be read as a stand-alone albeit it might give you the impression that the supporting characters were under developed as the plot and characters are intertwined with those from the previous books. But not too much that to read it as a standalone would completely ruin it. However, because I read Down Under, I found that I enjoyed it more. There were some side events, especially surrounding the support characters that I thought were left hanging (like Tom’s issue at work) that I wish were given a bit more flesh. But it didn’t ruin the story so it’s neither here nor there.
“Happiness is a talent we can all perfect. It’s not diamonds or holidays or that perfectly posed imaged posted on Instagram. It’s in the way we recover from life’s disappointments because anything worth having is usually difficult at first.”
Other Books in the Series