BLOG REVIEW: Stone by Michelle Hughes

21yo heroine is a recent college grad 
who's been leery about approaching her brother's best friend's, 25yo tattoo-artist Hero,
since that drunken night she tried to seduce him 5 years ago.
 But she desperately needs his help now in finding her brother & convincing her brother to leave the biker club he recently joined, before their already emotionally-frail mother finds out. Hero agrees but only if she pretends to be his girlfriend, when they go to the biker bar of the club her brother recently joined. 
Pretending to be his enamored biker girlfriend though
makes it tougher to steel herself from her rekindled attraction to him.
Especially now that his desire for her is unconcealed.
He thinks she now has the experience that she didn't have 5 years ago. What happens to their relationship when she informs him that she's still a virgin? 

I really liked Michelle Hughes' Sin. But, this one, not so much. Heroine was a pushover because of her feelings & desire for Hero. She was too obvious. He knew she wanted him at 16 & now at 21. She did acknowledge her struggle with wanting to resist him and her desire for him. But her resistance was very short-lived & weak. When he'd manhandle her, she'd give him a little bit of lip but soon easily succumbed to his dirty talk & demands. I do like softer heroines but ones that have some inner resolve. This heroine did not. She tried to externally appear as if she was strong inside but she really wasn't. She's supposed to be this staid and conservative woman. But she was easily pressured by Hero & to follow the unsavory crowd they started hanging out with. She became TSTL (too stupid to live). She also let her 1 sexual experience with Hero color her self-worth:

  --------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details---------

When she was 16, she & her brother had a party at her house when their parents were both away. She got drunk with her teenage friends, which gave her the courage to do something about her big crush on 20yo Hero. She went downstairs & climbed on top of Hero, who was asleep on their couch. She touched his genitals & woke him up. He flipped her over & proceeded to oral her to her 1st ever orgasm.

They didn't talk about what happened & Hero never set a foot on their house again, when she was at home. She took his rejection & avoidance as due to something distasteful about her, including her physical taste. She became sexually insecure & shied away from dating other men. She focused her energy on her college studies instead. Thus, remaining a virgin.

In the meantime, Hero was very sexually active. No meaningful relationships. Just hook-ups. Although he didn't get to have full-on sex with heroine (he oraled her & stopped) when she was 16 & distanced himself from her after that, he'd never felt such a strong pull with other women as he did with her. When they started having sex, she was the best lover he's ever had. He seemed consistent with condom use, including with heroine. 
-------------------------------------------------------END SPOILERS--------------------------------

She continued to let Hero determine her self-worth. Thankfully for her, he thought she was hot & worthy of his attention. But, as the book progressed, heroine became ruled by her desires & her smartness receded. She began acting like an impressionable college freshman, binge-drinking & getting talked into dancing with her top off while in a dangerous biker bar on a mission to find her brother.

Hero was an arrogant smirking dude. He was very self-confident and demanding but caring of heroine's family nevertheless. He was attracted to heroine, even 5 years before. But heroine's brother disapproved due to her age & wanted Hero to stay away from her. So, he did, except for that 1 night. He took advantage of his second chance with her now, when they're alone. Yet, he refrained from doing anything sexual with heroine, when they were both staying at her mom's house. Hero stayed at their house for months to help her brother recover from his bike injury. Those months together at her mom's house made their romance seemed more sustainable. But it failed to give it the emotional depth that was possible. It was more tepid, with spurts of excitement when they'd get together elsewhere & the side action of the biker club events.

Overall, the sex scenes, plot, and overall writing were ok. But 1-star less for the character degeneration of heroine. Minus another star for the boring parts in the book, after she & Hero became an item & her brother was brought home to rehab. That took a big chunk of the middle towards the very end of the book. I ended up skipping some pages for the sex scenes. But even that became kinda meh. So, another 1/2-star off for the explicit sex scenes that lacked emotional depth.

I cautiously recommend this book.  

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