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Beautiful Secret (Beautiful Bastard #4), by Christina Lauren

Beautiful Secret______________________________________________

AN UPTIGHT BRITISH EXECUTIVE. AN ADVENTUROUS AMERICAN NEWBIE. A SEXY INTERNATIONAL SCANDAL IN THE MAKING.

New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author Christina Lauren’s Beautiful and Wild Seasons series hook up in Beautiful Secret for an erotic intercontinental romp that celebrates the best of both worlds!

When Ruby Miller’s boss announces he’s sending her on an extended business trip to New York City, she’s shocked. As one of the best and brightest young engineers in London, she knows she’s professionally up to the task. The part that’s throwing her is where she’ll be spending a month up close and personal working alongside—and staying in a hotel with—Niall Stella, her firm’s top urban planning executive and The Hottest Man Alive. Despite her ongoing crush, Ruby is certain Niall barely knows she’s alive…until their flirty overnight flight makes him sit up and take notice.

Not one for letting loose and breaking rules, recently divorced Niall would describe himself as hopeless when it comes to women. But even he knows outgoing California-girl Ruby is a breath of fresh air. Once she makes it her mission to help the sexy Brit loosen his tie, there’s no turning back. Thousands of miles from London, it’s easy for the lovers to play pretend. But when the trip is over, will the relationship they’ve built up fall down?

______________________________________________

 “And what if after the rush of conquest wears off, you’ll realize that I’m not what you’ve built me up to be?”

I’m saddened to say that I wasn’t as into this book as I was with the last three. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it, because I did. Ruby made me laugh a lot with her infatuation with Niall and how awkward she was. But the fact remains, I had a harder time really getting into the story than I did for the last three books.

“In the past six months, I’d logged more covert glances at Niall Stella’s direction that if anyone was a qualified expert in the topography of his crotch, it would be me.”

I think the main reason was Niall. I had a hard time feeling him out. He was okay and interesting but where Ruby found his stuck-up-ness endearing and charming, I felt more like I couldn’t really get to know him. Especially in the beginning of the book, he was so in control that it was like listening to someone telling me a story about one of my colleagues. You know who they’re talking about, you kind of know the person but have never talked to them except for a “Good morning” here and there when you meet at the coffee machine, but you don’t really know them and what makes them special. I felt that way about Niall for a good chunk of the book and even though it didn’t stop me from reading and being interested in the story, I was still hoping to finally get to see what the real Niall, the one hiding behind all that proper-ness to finally show up.

“What was it you said about repressed sexual energy?”
“Enough to power the whole bloody city, if you ask me. That’s where his real urban planning skill would come in—hooking himself up to the grid .”

I guess that’s what made this book feel a little different from the other books in the series. It was a lot more vanilla in a way. Not during the steamy bits of the story. Ruby and Niall have good chemistry and the anticipation of them finally do it after spending so much time doing pretty much everything but have sex was really enjoyable. I love sexual tension between the characters in my books and when the wait before having sex while still experimenting is something I very much enjoy. It’s the kind of thing I love reading about and I never get tired of this particular brand of steam (ps: you should so check out Brother’s Keeper and Hard Time by Elizabeth Finn and Cara McKenna.)

I liked Ruby very much. She was sweet and funny and so awkward. I loved her voice and how infatuated she was with Niall. I also very much enjoyed that Niall wasn’t as sure of himself with the ladies as is his brother.

“It’s yours, you know.”
“What is?”
“My heart, of course, but also my body. My hands, my lips, my cock. I trust you with all of it more than I even trust myself.”

I guess it’s part of what made this book feel different but the fact that for once in this serie, the male characters isn’t a self-assurer man-whore was a change and a good one at that. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Max, Will and Bennett. But it’s so rare to have a male character who is actually a little awkward and clumsy around women that it made Ruby and Niall’s interactions quite funny and had me smiling like a complete goofball.

“Am I a mess?” I asked.
“Mmm,” he murmured, bending and kissing me once. “Quite. I rather like it.”

I like seeing Niall come out of his shell at Ruby’s contact and get more sure of himself. That he slowly felt more free to say and do what he felt like was really good to see especially when you know what kind of relationship he had before meeting Ruby and finally letting his hair down a little.

“You touch my breasts like you know them. You suck them. Like you’re greedy.”
“I am greedy.”

As always, the dirty talk and steamy bits in the book were really well done and made me feel all kind of hot. This first scene in particular is still fresh in my memory and I’m keeping it in a corner of my mind to (hopefully) reenact it. I’ll just pray for it to be as hot as it was reading it. But enough with me and my TMI. The point is, Ruby and Niall in a room = Holy Hotness!

“Do you think I’m weird?”
“Yes, weird in the sense that you are unexpected and I am rarely surprised by people. I think you rather exquisite.”

I wish Ruby hadn’t been so keen on making drama happen for them. I get why she was upset and need Niall to make up for it, but I thought the stalling and waiting was a little to much, especially since a good talk (or two) would have been enough to make things better. But anyway.

I would still recommend the book to the Beautiful Bastard lovers and fans out there because I enjoyed getting to know Niall and having the Wild Season‘s universe encounter the Beautiful Bastard‘s series. I don’t think we’ll have another BB‘s book after this one (don’t really see who it’d be about) but I’m happy this one was written and if Beautiful Secret does close this serie, at least it did it well.

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