Doing it at: 59%
Catnip: Stepsiblings: Not Quite Incest, Evil Villainess, My Sister My Surrogate, Beta Hero
Shame Scale: Medium-high. Conceptually, it’s trashy as hell, but in reality, this was pretty mild.
Fantasy Cast: Evan Peters, Taissa Farminga
Cheating, f**king, lying Snake!
I thought he was different than all the rest.
My stepbrother, Devan, was everything I longed for in a man: loyal, protective, and strong.
After being burned so many times by cheating scumbags, you can understand why. Devan’s the perfect guy; the standard I hold other men up to. If only I could have a carbon copy of him… tattoos and all.
But then he kissed me. And no matter how much I want him to be mine, I now see him for what he really is.
Another snake that can’t keep it in his pants.
He’s married, for f*cks sake!
Their marriage is in trouble, but that’s no excuse, and it just happens to be one of the reasons why I’m living with the couple… I’ve made a deal to be their surrogate.
How did my life become so complicated all of a sudden?
Because now, after just one amazing kiss, I can’t stop thinking about my stepbrother and the baby I promised to give him.
Stepbrother books are romantic palate cleansers. When I finish an exceptionally good book, or maybe one that’s exceptionally bad, I like to dive into something that I know is going to be fun and dirty. A stepbrother romance, or maybe a BBW shifter menage? Something silly and formulaic. They go on sale for 99 cents pretty much daily, and we hoard them for times when we just need to wipe the slate clean with a really dirty, smutty rag. So it’s extra disappointing when I go into something thinking it’s going to be a great trash book, and it’s not actually all that trashy.
With a title like “Snake,” and a cover that’s all tattoos and abs and chains, I had high expectations for some seriously kinky shit. This book had so much potential: Girl moves in with her stepbrother and his wife because she’s broke, and they need a surrogate to carry their baby. Girl and stepbrother have affair. Shit blows up. That’s basically what happened, but the execution was meh, and our hero was more of a beta jellyfish than an alpha dog. Spoilers abound in this one, #sorrynotsorry. There’s a predictable twist at the end, that I won’t reveal though, so you can still buy this book and be surprised.
Mila is working a crummy job and behind in her rent. She heads home for a family brunch, and runs into her stepbrother Devan and his wife Monique, who have been struggling to have a baby. Their marriage is on the rocks, Mila is about to be evicted, and a cousin suggests that Dev and Monique let Mila move into their garage apartment in exchange for Mila being their surrogate. Mila struggles with this life altering decision for about a day before she decides to go for it.
Monique, a textbook Book Bitch, has loads of rules and conditions that she requires Mila to agree to immediately. Including, becoming a vegetarian, no caffeine, no alcohol (duh), no sugar, and no sex. And even though Mila realizes that all of those demands (with the exception of the booze) are bullshit, she still decides to ignore what a cunt Monique is being and agrees to everything. And Devan The Human Doormat keeps his mouth shut, even though he also knows his wife is cray.
The last thing I wanted to happen was for Mila to eat a cheeseburger and go into early labour and have Monique blame it on her diet. Even though I thought her rules were excessive, I also knew that it was better for both Mila and me if we let Monique drive this bus.
Now, Dev and Monique have been trying to have a baby for ages, so I was willing to write off her over the top bitchiness (as were all the characters in this book), as due to the emotional toll that infertility takes on a woman. But then her first morning there, Mila heads into the house to use the bathroom (because her apartment doesn’t have one) and Monique is loudly banging Not Her Husband in the master suite with the door open.
Mila, who has already shown a not so great capacity for making good decisions, decides to keep it to herself. Her reasoning? If she tells on Monique, she won’t have a place to live anymore. And also? She promised them she would give them a baby, and she keeps her promises. And even though any rational person would accept that finding out that the family you’ve just agreed to MAKE A BABY FOR is imploding trumps any promise you may have made to them, Mila is pretty certain she’s doing the right thing.
I had half a mind to go back into the house and confront her, but that would be catastrophic for both Devan and for me.
I feared if I said one word to Monique, she’d kick me out of the apartment. I couldn’t risk it, not now that I couldn’t go back to my old apartment. I’d end up homeless….
Good plan, girl. Keep your trap shut, give them the baby, and keep the free apartment.
(Other places she could have lived: Her parents house. Her cousin’s house. A less expensive apartment than the one she previously had)
Dev takes Mila to her doctor’s appointment where they’re going to evaluate her suitability as a surrogate, and afterwards Dev decides to rebel and takes her out for a BURGER. And then a bunch of tequila shots. They’re both lusting after each other pretty hard, but doing a respectable job of pretending they aren’t, till they get back home and share a steamy make-out session.
Monique pulls in the driveway (and it’s pretty much obvious to everyone but Dev and Mila that she is returning from her boyfriend), so they break apart and all the regret sinks in. Mila is all, oh god, I’m a home wrecker, but he is a SNAKE. Dev is takes more of the, shit I fucked up, I need to save my marriage route.
And this is where Dev really really started to annoy me. He basically admits to himself that his wife is possibly having an affair, but it doesn’t matter, he wants to save things between them. Even after she looses her shit on him for taking Mila out for a burger, and says things like:
“By the way, Dev,” she added, her voice syrupy sweet and dripping with fake kindness as she once again turned her back on me. “I know you’re not man enough to give me the child I want, but the least you can do is make sure our mule takes care of herself.”
OUR MULE. If that’s not grounds for divorce, or at least seriously reevaluating who the fuck you are married to, I don’t know what is.
Meanwhile, Mila just keeps on keeping on, avoiding her stepbrother, and watching Monique and her boyfriend come and go as they please. It isn’t until she has a chat with her dad, that she realizes it’s kind of banana pants crazy to give these assholes a baby in the hopes that it will patch up their broken marriage. So she tells them she can’t do it, Monique predictably goes off the hook and threatens to sue her, and then Monique takes off.
Dev decides to go after his wife, even though by this point he’s crazy about Mila and she is everything he has ever wanted. He’s just a great guy, really. He follows her to a motel, where he finally sees her with her boyfriend and he can’t pretend he doesn’t know anymore. And this liberating event is what it finally takes for him to go back and bone the crap out of Mila. It was ok boning, but it was the only boning they gave
me each other till the end of the book, and I was pretty annoyed by that fact. And by this point the author had gone to great lengths to make the breaking of his sacred marital vows morally acceptable, so it wasn’t even the salacious adultery the book blurb promised. Plus, points deducted for use of bulbous:
There’s a heavily foreshadowed twist and a predictable HEA, but overall this book was a disappointment. If you’re going to give me a cover with a guy that has fucking random chains around his neck, I’d like there to be over the top dramatics, copious doing it, and a hero who’s so Alpha he burns all your pants. Not a Beta pushover (no offense to our favorite Betas tho, we loooove a good Beta) and a heroine who only does Dumb Book things.
It reminded me a lot of Molly McAdams’ Sharing You, except that her books are actually good-trashy. If you’re looking for books with overwrought emotional love triangles and cheating, you can’t go wrong with a Molly McAdams book. And Sharing You is a buck cheaper. I’m just saying.