Title: Stepbrother Dearest
Author: Penelope Ward
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 29 2014
You’re not supposed to want the one who torments you.
When my stepbrother, Elec, came to live with us my senior year, I wasn’t prepared for how much of a jerk he’d be.
I hated that he took it out on me because he didn’t want to be here.
I hated that he brought girls from our high school back to his room.
But what I hated the most was the unwanted way my body reacted to him.
At first, I thought all he had going for him were his rock-hard tattooed abs and chiseled face. Then, things started changing between us, and it all came to a head one night.
Just as quickly as he’d come into my life, he was gone back to California.
It had been years since I’d seen Elec.
When tragedy struck our family, I’d have to face him again.
And holy hell, the teenager who made me crazy was now a man that drove me insane.
I had a feeling my heart was about to get broken again.
Stepbrother Dearest is a standalone novel.
**Contains graphic sexual content and harsh language. It is only appropriate for adult readers age 18+
Stepbrother Dearest is not what I was expecting at all. I could not put this down! ONE DAY! I don’t really like reading a book in a single day or in one sitting. It skews the feeling of the passage of time for me if I don’t put it down periodically. But, THIS, THIS BOOK … ugh this book! Penelope Ward writes in a way that whether I read it in a marathon session or over a few days, the feeling still would have been exactly the same. You’re probably thinking that’s weird, but that’s a big deal for me. It’s really hard to find a book I can read in a single sitting so when I do I get a little bit excited.
When rebellious teenager Elec comes to live with Greta and her family, it becomes Elec’s sole mission to torture and make Greta’s life a living hell. Think back to grade school on the playground when the little boy would pull the girl’s pigtails. Take that, multiply it by a hundred, add in high school and that’s what Greta lives though with Elec. No matter what Elec does to her, Greta is determined to kill him with kindness. Elec wears Greta down with his relentless torture; he knows she’s attracted to him, and he uses that to his advantage. But Greta also wears Elec down, too. She sees more to him than the facade he hides behind. The pair end up forging an unconventional “friendship” while learning to live together under the same roof. One night everything changes, and Elec flies out of Greta’s life just as fast as he swooped in, leaving Greta heartbroken.
“You were the best thing that ever happened to me. I hope someday I can say you were one of the best, but for now, it’s only you.”
Years pass before Elec is forced to come back and face Greta. At the sight of Elec, all the feelings she’s locked up come rushing back. Neither Elec nor Greta can deny their feelings for one another. They say time heals all wounds, but what happens when the one person that caused the damage comes back to open that wound all over again? With only 48 hours, will either Greta and Elec go after what will make them whole or will they let their twice in a lifetime opportunity slip through their fingers?
“I know I’m not supposed to care. But when it comes to you, what I’m supposed to be feeling has never seemed to matter.” – Elec
Talk about a love/hate relationship. Penelope Ward has perfected it with Elec and Greta. My frustration level was off the charts. Elec cannot only push Greta's button's but the reader's too. Elec will make you want to slap him then turn right around and kiss him like he's the air you breathe. This book is all about the feeling. Penelope does a great job making you feel all of it all right along with Greta.
The story may be NA, but it doesn’t feel that way and it never once felt forbidden either. Sometimes I cringe at “forgidden” subject matter, not that I won’t read it, it’s just that sometimes it pushes my comfort zone; but, Stepbrother Dearest never did that. Penelope Ward has a way of writing that I didn’t really think of it in the light AT ALL. This book is so emotional. Frustration, angst, anticipation, and heartbreak are the foundation of Stepbrother Dearest. Penelope Ward had me crying my eyes out. I’m still not ready to start a new book. I’ve been rereading parts because I don’t want the feeling this book has given me to go away anytime soon. This book is a one you remember not only for the story but everything it made you feel along the way.
Guest Post from Penelope
We asked Penelope to talk about the inspiration behind Stepbrother Dearest.
Stepbrother Dearest was a surprise book, even to me. I hadn’t planned on writing it. The idea for the book literally popped into my head one afternoon in early July and I started typing the first sentence and never stopped. Three months later, a full-length novel is released.
I always love taboo romances, teacher/student or stepsiblings etc. In the case of my book, the characters did not grow up together, so they are virtual strangers when they first meet.
I liked the idea of a guy who moves in with his father’s new family and tries to make his stepsister’s life difficult. He is a real jerk at first, and it was fun to write him. Meanwhile, the main female character can’t help her attraction to him. She’s not quite sure if it’s going to be reciprocated. Then, slowly, it eventually becomes clear that all is not what it seemed with him.
There is a separation and their reunion later in the book creates a whole new set of challenges, and secrets are unraveled. I like to create conflicts and surprises along the way in my stories, and there are a few in this book.
Overall, it’s meant to be a fun ride for the reader, just as it was for me writing it.
She grew up in Boston with five older brothers. She spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family-friendly career.
Penelope lives for reading books in the new adult genre, coffee and hanging out with her friends and family on weekends.
She is the proud mother of a beautiful 10-year-old girl with autism (the inspiration for the character Callie in Gemini) and a 8-year-old boy, both of whom are the lights of her life.
Penelope, her husband and kids reside in Rhode Island.
She is currently working on her fifth novel, Jake Understood. She is the author of Gemini, Jake Undone, My Skylar and Stepbrother Dearest.