He Belongs with Me by Sarah Darlington (Book Review)
I was kindly approached by author, Sarah Darlington, to read/review her debut novel, ‘He Belongs with Me’. Quite frankly, after getting a glimpse of the beautiful cover how could I possibly refuse? That and I was promised a happily ever after, which I’m a total sucker for.
Two girls. One Leo.
Identical twins, Maggie and Clara Ryder, both grew up with Leo Maddox, billionaire playboy, apparent alcoholic, and heir to his grandfather’s world-famous Maddox hotel empire. Their roles were cemented long ago: Maggie, as his best friend and Clara as his childhood nemesis.
But when a simple twist of fate changes everything and both girls start to fall for the lean, mean, ridiculously sexy and seemingly spoiled Leo… which girl will win his heart?
Throw in a little mischief, drama, and one smoking-hot bartender and lines are sure to blur. But one thing’s for certain, neither good-girl Maggie nor rebellious Clara will be satisfied until they each figure out where they belong.
*NEW ADULT ROMANCE. Recommended for 17+ due to sexual situations and adult language.
*ARC generously provided by author in exchange for an honest review*
*3.5 Just Peaches Stars!*
This is a story of two girls, one beautiful lonely boy and a gorgeous blast from the past.
21 year old Clara Ryder wants to break free from her privileged greener pastured life in search of a more arid climate. She feels suffocated by the golf country club monotony that surrounds her. Being the rebellious twin daughter of a beloved golf legend can sometimes feel pretty lonely. Avenging her sister’s honor was supposed to make an otherwise uneventful summer somewhat entertaining. Instead, Clara got a whole lot more than what she bargained for…all because of him.
Leo Maddox (picture a much younger & hotter version of Robin Thicke sans the singing voice) is the not-so-unfortunate-looking son of a hotel magnate, next door neighbor and best friend to Maggie Ryder, the good twin. Not only is he gorgeous (not that Clara’s ever noticed) but he’s a label whore just like her superficial sister, all part of keeping up a perfect image. Always suited up and with a drink in hand, Leo is not intimidated by anything or anyone, Clara included. Her smart mouth only feeds the poison his venomous tongue unleashes when provoked (which is constantly). However, there is a fine line between love and hate…one he’s more than willing to cross just for her. An impromptu joyride turns Leo and Clara’s combative non-relationship into something more. Although unexpected and unwelcome, it’s quite impossible to deny or ignore.
Maggie Ryder is a slave to pretenses. Together with Leo, they’re the answer to that age old question of whether men and women can be friends only (especially when they’re ridic attractive). Their strictly platonic camaraderie has always remained clear until it wasn’t (for her). Recovering from a failed four year relationship, she’s come to terms that her heart is elsewhere…but where? Is it with the boy who broke it six years ago? Or, the one that helped pick up the pieces while always being there for her?
Enter Dean (Robby Harvey), Maggie and Clara’s former step-brother turned hot bartender/business owner. During a brief three month run as a step-brother, Robby and Maggie shared stolen kisses and something a lot like love. Promising to return for her as soon as he could, Maggie held on to the hope of one day reuniting. Years passed and Robby’s silence could only mean one thing, he’d moved on. Determined to live life, she ended up in the arms of a douchebag…unbeknownst to her. A secret and forces beyond his control have kept him from true love. Now that he’s back (with a new name) and sexier than ever, his goal is to claim what’s his; but is he too late?
I LOVED Leo Maddox! He’s the perfect combination of sexy and sweet. Clara was an amazing character with her free-spirited attitude. Maggie on the other hand was annoyingly self centered and although she was pivotal in the story, I couldn’t sympathize with her “struggle”. Her storyline was the reason for not giving this book a higher rating.
Sarah Darlington’s debut novel, ‘He Belongs with Me’, is a well-written light read about second chances, reminding us that there’s no place like home. Looks can be deceiving and sometimes the escape you so desperately seek is not always a where but a whom instead.