Note: This ARC was provided by InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review.
This wasn't your average love story.This wasn't man meets woman, they fall in love slowly, they live happily ever after.This was man gives woman tequila, they get married, they fuck, and then they are fucked. There was no natural life adjustment for us. It was literally an explosion, a world-rocking quickness that was hard to swallow.
One of my favorite romantic comedy reads this year was Stripped Bare by bestselling author Emma Hart. Now, she's followed that with another fantastic romp of a read, Stripped Down, both books belonging to the Stripped series. Whatever expectations I had went out the window because this story and its main characters, of which includes a precocious six-year-old, had me smiling, snickering, and sniffling quite a few times throughout. This series is my favorite of the author's and definitely lands on my list of top series for 2016. Dare I say that the Stripped books are Emma Hart at her best, and West Rykman and Beckett Cruz have joined my select group of all-time best book boyfriends. This was a squee- and sigh-worthy read and one that I'm still experiencing one major book hangover from. If you haven't read it yet, you're seriously missing out. The two books are standalones, but I highly recommend that you read them in order, with Stripped Bare first, which is West's story with Mia O'Halloran, followed by Stripped Down, which is Beck's story with Cassie Gallagher and her daughter Ciara. You won't regret reading these books.
Stripped Bare is the story of twenty-three-year-old Cassie Gallagher, who works at The Landing Strip, one of two strip clubs owned by Rykman and Cruz Enterprises. She's a single mother and working as a stripper is the only way she can afford to have enough money to take care of her six-year-old daughter Ciara and to help out her parents, especially with her father's cancer returning, in any way she can. When her troubles affect her performance, she's called in by her boss, thirty-year-old Beckett Cruz. He offers up a sympathetic ear and a bottle of tequila to go with it. Several alcoholic drinks later, Cassie wakes up to find a ring on her left hand, and she doesn't fail to notice that Beck has one of his own on his left hand. A consummated marriage nixes an annulment, but they could get divorced, and the sooner the better for both parties. Except now, they seem to be spending more time together than they ever did before. As much as Cassie pushes Beck away, he doesn't take no for answer nor does he take rejection well. With CiCi falling for Beck, Cassie knows she needs to nip this situation in the bud. But CiCi isn't the only one falling...
Goodness, how I adored this book! Yes, it ends with a happily-ever-after, but getting to that HEA wasn't easy for our main characters and the journey was truly a heartwarming one. Cassie is both an independent but stubborn woman, one who's had to learn how to take care of another human being without the aid of a partner by her side. She recognizes how different she and Beck are and uses that as just one of the reasons why she doesn't think they're suited for one another, but Beck refused to give up. What can I say about Beck that won't make me sound like a swoony fangirl? He was funny and sweet and a filthy, sexy guy to boot. And those moments he had with little CiCi? Major le sigh! I so wanted Cassie to see how perfect she, Beck, and CiCi were together, but my frustration was just one sign of how invested I was in their story. The mention of Flynn Rider from Disney's Rapunzel had me grinning because that movie is a personal favorite and now I have Flynn as my main reference as far as how Beck must look (along with Pascal the chameleon on his shoulder). Stripped Down was a tale about fighting for true love and deservedly gets five-plus stars. ♥
Read my reviews for the Stripped series:
Stripped Bare (book one) - five stars - My Review
Stripped Down (book two) - five-plus stars - My Review (posted above)
Date Read: 03 September 2016
Learn more about Emma Hart.