Narrator: Grace Grant, Jonathan Cole
Series: Beautiful Bastard #2
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on May 28th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, Romance, Romantic Comedy
Length: 8 hrs. 6 mins.
Also by this author: Beautiful Bastard, Sweet Filthy Boy, Dirty Rowdy Thing, Beautiful Secret, Wicked Sexy Liar
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 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.
The Beautiful Bastard writing team of Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, aka Christina Lauren are back for more with the sequel Beautiful Stranger. Beautiful Bastard was pure escapist fun, silly and sexy, (review here) so I’ve been looking forward to reading the sequel this summer. In this Beautiful installment the focus is on a brand new couple, and I daresay I liked them even better than Chloe and Bennett. If you’ve read Beautiful Bastard then you know that these books are all about pushing the envelope with their sexual escapades. Beautiful Stranger continues that trend, and the hook for Sara and Max is that they are exploring exhibitionism.
Sara Dillon is Chloe’s friend and the new head of Finance at Ryan Media Group. She’s getting over a bad breakup and is now gun-shy about relationships, preferring something with no strings attached. Enter Max Stella, the sexy British playboy with a different girl on his arm every night. Sparks fly when they meet at a nightclub but due to having mutual friends and interests their one night turns into something more.
Since Sara was burned before she doesn’t want to fall into the same traps with Max. The relationship will be on her terms, and be almost like a business relationship. Sara is smart and nice like Chloe but a little less intense than her. She’s still a little stubborn and guarded but it’s understandable considering her relationship history.
Max Stella is like the anti-Bennett. He’s fun loving and doesn’t take life too seriously. There’s more to him than meets the eye though. In Beautiful Bastard, Bennett kept panties as trophies, while Max collects photos. Gosh I wonder what’s next? Max is friends with Bennett so that way we get to catch up with Chloe and Bennett’s goings on.
In this book again we get both Max and Sara’s perspectives through alternating POV. That format works well for this series, and helps us understand the characters better, when they’re not tearing each other’s clothes off.
The writing is light and witty, with good pacing. As the story progresses we get more insight into all the characters and that kept things interesting. There is a big misunderstanding towards the end that kind of made my interest fizzle-out temporarily, but as a whole the book is a lot of fun.
I listened to the audiobook, read by Grace Grant and Jonathan R. Cole. One of my call-outs with Beautiful Bastard is that I wanted a male narrator for the male chapters. Thanks for listening, Simon & Schuster Audio! I love this audiobook even more with male and female narration. Grace Grant is back from the Beautiful Bastard audiobook, and makes Sara and Chloe’s voices distinct. Jonathan R. Cole sounds very charming as Max, and I can’t imagine the audiobook without him. Both narrators shine the most with the voices for their own gender, and the duo makes a great team. I do think the audiobook makes the book even more fun and gives it more personality, though I’m sure these are good books to bring to the beach too.
Beautiful Stranger is witty, sexy and fun and again doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. Look for a novella called Beautiful Bitch that continues Bennett and Chloe’s story, due out June 24. And Beautiful Player is Max’s friend Will’s story and due out in late October.
Here’s an audio clip from Beautiful Stranger with Jonathan R. Cole as Max Stella: