Tuesday, October 23, 2018

ARC Review: One Step Back by Edie Danford

When you fall for a guy who's about to become your stepbrother-do you listen to your heart and risk everything? Or listen to your head…and take one step back?

In high school I had a hundred reasons to steer clear of my soon-to-be-stepbrother, Joe Beneventi. He was a hothead, and I was reserved. His life was football, mine was academics. He wanted to be out and proud, and I desperately needed to keep my orientation secret.

But when we fell in love, my heart took the wheel, and I took every risk to be with Joe. Then one horrible night our secrets shattered. Joe disappeared-wrecking our families and breaking my heart.

Eleven years later, I landed a challenging job at a premier PR firm. And the hotshot publicist who's been assigned to my first big account? Yep. It's Joe.

Fate truly hates me because now Joe and I have three days to hole up in a Chicago hotel room and nail down a deal that could make or break our careers. He keeps distracting me, but I'm too jaded to fall for sexy smiles, bedroom eyes, and his impossible-to-ignore body. Except …

I like being close to him again. A little too much. Working together 24/7 is showing me sides of Joe I've never seen before. And when we touch, being together seems like the only step worth taking.

Dani's rating:

Edie Danford writes hot sex and troubled characters who overcome the odds to be together. One Step Back is just angsty enough to be interesting, but the angst doesn't overtake the second chance romance between two men who meet as teenagers and reunite eleven years later.

Joe has always been irresistible. He was the troublemaker, the rebel, the kid who pushed boundaries but tried to clean up his messes the best he could. Joe loved life, and he loved Asher. But Asher pushed Joe away; he wasn't willing to take a leap of fate.

While I liked the push/pull between the men when they see each other again after more than a decade apart, I thought the plot was too focused on their jobs as public relations specialists for the same company.

The story is told in a dual first-person, present-tense POV. I typically abhor present-tense narration, but Danford pulled it off. I just wish there had been fewer internal monologues. The men's thoughts and musings went on for pages sometimes, breaking the flow of the story.

I'm also not a fan of flashbacks, and Danford flashes back several times to the last summer the guys spent together as teenagers on the brink of adulthood. I can see why the author did this, but I ended up skimming these chapters, eager to return to the present.

The blurb focuses on the stepbrothers trope, but it really doesn't play a big role in the story. There is nothing illicit about the men's relationship. Joe and Asher have never thought of themselves as brothers. They weren't raised together and didn't really live together except for vacations with their parents who dated and then got married when the boys were seniors in high school.

While there is no epilogue, the last couple chapters wrap up the story in a satisfactory way and leave us with a tentative HEA for Asher and Joey. I loved how Asher stood up for Joe at the end and how utterly committed he was to making the relationship work.

Get the book:

Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.
~Harper Lee

An ARC of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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