Desired Afflictions by C.A. Harms

College freshman heroine tries to avoid long-ago crush Hero when she sees him at his fraternity party. She continues to struggle with the traumatic effects of being raped by his cousin 6 months ago. Hero pursues her & doesn’t understand her resistance to him until her best friend & her boyfriend(his frat brother) clues him in on what his cousin did. The truth makes Hero feel more protective over heroine & they start their romance. But his cousin’s harassing texts to heroine shakes her up. Does it manage to shake up their burgeoning relationship as well?

This novella was hard to follow. It alternated between the POVs(point of views) of Hero, heroine, & her cousin. Often it was hard to figure out who was speaking & who was responding. Or if it was a thought or a spoken word. I found myself going back quite a few times & re-reading the passages because I felt lost. 

The characters were all pretty immature. I’ve read quite a few New Adult romances & the characters might start out immature or do some immature things here & there but there’s usually some kind of maturing along the way. This one does not. The main characters & their best friends are partying, binge-drinking, & sexing it up from start to finish. There is brief mention about studying or class & visit to their parents. I don’t mind that if the focus of the story was on the romance but this was mostly about drinking, frat-parties, & hooking-up. I didn’t care for it. What’s worse is that the main character’s coping mechanisms were destructive:

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Hero with his easy hook-ups (i.e., he was finger-sexing his previous lover within minutes after he had sex with heroine & broke up with her) & heroine with her binge-drinking & drunken hook-ups (Wouldn’t her drunken 1-night-stands worsen her trauma? Wouldn’t it have been like being raped again & again by these naked strangers she’s waking up with? Yet she chose to do multiple times in 6 months. I don’t get it).

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They may have patched up their differences by the end but these 2 still have a long road towards emotional maturity that I doubt their HEA(happily ever after). They are definitely a happy-for-right-now but even the next month of their HEA is dubious.

I hardly recommend this book as a happily-ever-after romance.  
1.5-star

*ARC courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.

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