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on April 16th 2013
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Escaping a cheating ex, finance whiz Sara Dillon’s moved to New York City and is looking for excitement and passion without a lot of strings attached. So meeting the irresistible, sexy Brit at a dance club should have meant nothing more than a night’s fun. But the manner—and speed—with which he melts her inhibitions turns him from a one-time hookup and into her Beautiful Stranger.
The whole city knows that Max Stella loves women, not that he’s ever found one he particularly wants to keep around. Despite pulling in plenty with his Wall Street bad boy charm, it’s not until Sara—and the wild photos she lets him take of her—that he starts wondering if there’s someone for him outside of the bedroom.
Hooking up in places where anybody could catch them, the only thing scarier for Sara than getting caught in public is having Max get too close in private.
VIVIAN’S BOOK REVIEW: 5+ (I want to find me a beautiful stranger like Max) STARS!!!!
Dare I say this…I think I love Max and Sara even more than I love Bennett and Chloe. Oh yes, I did say it! And I meant it! I LOVE MAX AND SARA MORE! Something…or should I say someone *smirk* (that someone being MAX STELLA)…in this book just sucked me in. I have never read anything with the exhibitionist aspect in it before and let me tell you, Max knows how to do it 😉
Beautiful Stranger is about a woman trying to find herself again. Sara Dillon had been Andy’s “girlfriend” for 6 LONG years. After discovering how naive she was to his shenanigans outside of their “relationship”, she decided enough was enough!
Sara is described as an “old star”, (I love the way Christina Lauren wrote this description)“I was really more like an old star, out of fuel, my own gravity pulling me inward, crushing me. I ran out of energy for my too-perfect life, my too-predictable job, my loveless relationship—exhausted at only twenty-seven. Like a star, my life in Chicago collapsed under the force of its own weight, so I was leaving. Massive stars leave behind black holes. Small stars leave behind white dwarfs. I was barely leaving a shadow. All my light was coming with me. I was ready to start over as a comet: refuel, reignite, and burn across the sky.” She left her loveless relationship with Andy and quite predictable life behind in Chicago to move to New York, where she now works as the head accountant for Ryan Media Group (not so coincidently, same place Chloe Mills (from Beautiful Bastard & Beautiful Bitch) her best friend, works). She is determined to find herself again and not allow another man to overshadow her life like Andy did. “…Boring Sara in Chicago. Predictable Sara who always did what everyone expected of her. I didn’t want to be that person anymore. I wanted to be reckless and wild and young. I want to live for myself for the first time in my life. New home, new job, new life. New Sara.”
In enters, Max Stella (my beautiful stranger *wink*). He is everything Sara knows she should avoid: player that is potential to be just like Andy. But there is just something about Max that she can’t resist. He brings out the “true Sara” that has never been allowed out. The “free spirited Sara” that wants to be a comet and shoot across the sky. He makes her want things that she didn’t even know she wanted. He makes her long for the affection that she grew accustomed to not wanting with Andy because he never gave her any.
“I’m not interested in being anyone’s plaything right now.” (Sara) “I believe I’m asking to be yours.” (Max)
Sara is still deep down inside, broken and guarded from everything with Andy (My relationship with Andy had false depth and lacked any spark), so she devises a verbal agreement: Max gets her for one night a week. On that one night, they get together and do ANYTHING 😉 (Monogamy of course) (My relationship with Max was intentionally simple, and even seeing him from a distance made it feel like a torch ignited in my chest.) “For as much as Max was a playboy and seemed to be wrong for me in every possible way, he was letting me experience something I never would have felt safe enough to try with Andy.” Sara is finding herself through these new adventures with Max without even realizing it. Something in her is changing…for the better. She has Max to thank for that.
What starts out as an arrangement slowly becomes more! Piece by piece, Max begins breaking down these poorly constructed walls that Sara built around her heart and finds someone underneath that is perfect for him in every way. Does Sara’s history with Andy have the power to overshadow the possibility of more with Max?
And those sex scenes!!!! OH.MY!! One word…exhibitionism! HAWT! *Blushing*I might have to investigate the basement in the New York public library;) *smirk*
Sara: I LOVED reading about Sara discovering her “exhibitionist side”. She was just such a contradiction…definitely an example of “can’t judge a book by its cover” type of women. It was fascinating to read about her growth in her independence throughout Beautiful Stranger. She wasn’t this “push over” girlfriend she sounded like she was with Andy in the beginning of the book. She really was this woman that knew what she wanted with Max and took it…anyway she wanted! 😉
Max: Oh my beautiful stranger! Max makes me want to find a Brit hottie that tells me I’m beautiful every day; to find someone just like him that notices all the little things about me, like he does about Sara just by observing her. And his British accent…me likey very much! *Melting*I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT MAX!
EEK! I was biting my nails wanting to get to the ending (but not at the same time bc I didn’t want it to end!) I wanted to see if they would get their HEA or if this was just a book written about a women finding herself through a man and going on her merry way lol. THANK GOD IT WASN’T!
“I’d give you anything you wanted. I love how you transform when I’m f*cking you and watching. When I’m taking pictures, you lose your mysterious little shield and open up, like you’re finally breathing.”
ANGY’S AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: 5 STARS
The audiobook for the second book of Beautiful Bastard Series, Beautiful Stranger, was amazing. Grace Grant and Jonathan Cole did an amazing job with the narration. They both connected with the personality of Sara and Max. Grace’s voice was sweet and soft, just like Sara, and at the same time she projected Sara’s toughness and vulnerability at the same time. Grace’s voice transmitted fear for a new relationship and also her need for Max and everything he was willing to give her, and especially his willing to fulfill her fantasies. Jonathan, on the other hand, had a smooth and sexy british accent, perfect for Max. The tone of his voice was strong and charming at the same time. His voice talking Max’s sweet words was heart-melting and then his voice talking Max’s naughty words was panty-melting. For me it’s a perfect combination.
The interaction with the other character of the series, Bennett, Chloe and Will – the next beautiful men of the group *happy dance* –, and Max’s mom, were perfect. Grace and Jonathan made great inflections for their voices, suitable for their personalities.
Great book, great audiobook. 200% recommended.
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