Doing it at: 0%, but not will our couple till 64%
Catnip: Polygamy, Step Siblings: Not Quite Incest, But it was 99 cents…
Shame Scale: Medium shame for being a stepsibling, polygamist, teenage romance novel. (Medium shame lol – Mary)
Fantasy Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Colton Haynes
The last time my father beat me to a bloody pulp was the night he walked in on me banging my step-mother in his bed.
To be fair, she seduced me. And to be honest, I liked it. But to CPS, I was a victim.
They shipped me to Utah where my estranged mother lived with her husband and two sister-wives. And that’s when I met her. My innocent, wholesome, perfect step-sister. Well, one of many. But Waverly stood out because just like me, we’d been fighting a losing battle our entire lives.
Falling for her was a mistake, but shit, it’s not like I ever made good decisions.
Fuck being “family.” I must have Waverly Miller, and I won’t stop until she’s mine.
Mary: This book sounded so trashy. Stepmom banging, polygamy, and a step sibling romance. And it was 99 cents. We don’t even think twice when books like this pop up on our radar.
M: The premise of this book is pretty much exactly how the blurb describes it.
C: We open with Jensen literally INSIDE of his stepmother, a place he’s intimately familiar with. His dad comes home, catches them, and beats the crap out of Jensen. This is also nothing new.
M: Jensen has been hooking up with his (ex-stripper) stepmom since he turned 16, as a way for the two of them to get revenge on his abusive father. His dad is a pastor, and basically he’s above the law as the town hero/word of god. But this time his dad goes way too far, and the neighbors call the cops about all the screaming. Social services steps in, and Jensen gets shipped off to his estranged mother who he hasn’t seen in seven years. That’s not uncomfortable at all.
C: Since Jensen saw her last, his mom has remarried, and gained two sister wives as well. They live in Utah in a compound that’s very Big Love-esque.
M: He’s got a bunch of new siblings, some of them blood related, most of them not. There’s too many for me to remember/care about. The noteworthy one is Waverly. She’s gorgeous with curves for days, all hidden under her modest mormon clothes.
C: Waverly is the same age as Jensen, and has been asked to show him around school, and teach him the ropes around the household. On the inside, sweet, innocent Waverly is itching for freedom. Even though externally she is docile and quiet. She’s “keeping sweet” which essentially means listening to everything her father tells her and taking his word as law. We liked Waverly though, we could tell she was our type of girl.
I pulled out the old Harlequin novel stashed between my mattress and box springs and flipped to page one-seventy-six, reading the steamiest scene in the book and pretending it was us.
M: I’m not saying that we bookmark steamy scenes that we like to return to from time to time, but I’m not not saying that either.
C: Jensen thinks that Waverly is beautiful in her innocent way and starts thinking about what it would be like to corrupt her, but he decides that while SOMEONE should teach her the ways of the cock, it won’t be him because this is just a pit stop on his life plan. He’s going to graduate from high school and then go apprentice with the BEST TATTOO ARTIST IN THE WORLD. OK.
I just need to graduate from high school in a few weeks and crash here for the summer, and then there’s an apprenticeship waiting for me in Los Angeles with one of the best tattoo artists in the world. He called me himself the day he received my unsolicited drawings and told me there’s a spot for me in his shop this August.
M: Yeah that. I lol’ed so hard at that one.
Jensen and Waverly suppress their lust enough to fall into an easy friendship. He is pretty disgusted with the subservient role her father has trained her and all the other women in the household to take, and starts feeling very protective of her. When Waverly gets accepted into college and literally no one in her family congratulates her, he realizes that something fishy is going on, and that her dad is probably planning on forbidding her from going. And then things get worse when her father invites a creepy old Church Elder over, and he’s clearly appraising her and her older sister for possible arranged marriages.
Waverly is feeling like her life is out of her control after she sees what her dad wants for her – taking away all her choices, so she decides to give up the V to Jensen as a way to assert control over her own life.
C: Jensen and Waverly end up having sex in his bedroom, while everyone else in the house is downstairs at the dinner party. She’s an extremely inexperienced teenage virgin but it’s immediately really great for her. Again, OK.
There’s a condom in my wallet on top of my nightstand. I pull it out, tearing the foil packet and slipping it over my swollen cock. It barely contains me, but it’ll do the job.
M: Satisfying first time sexual experiences are really big in trash books, so we’re not going to deduct points for how ridiculous it is to think that a virgin is going to feel great having sex with a guy who BARELY FITS IN A CONDOM (also, HA). We’re here for the fantasy obviously, so lets keep reality out of the bedroom and out of our books please.
C: Both Waverly and Jensen act like the sex meant nothing but sex, like she’s versed in casual sex and its no big deal to lose your virginity to your stepbrother. But her super strict father is suspicious of their behavior, and thinks that in general Waverly has been getting a little too uppity for a female.
M: Her dad is awful. She’s trying to toe the line and make him happy so he’ll keep his agreement to let her go to college, and though she’s a pretty smart girl, she doesn’t see the giant anvils dropping all over the place that things aren’t going to go how she wants them to.
C: She’s supposed to be allowed to go to the University of Utah on her lonesome come fall, she’s been working towards it for years. Biting her tongue, helping with household chores, and earning a partial scholarship. Now, it seems her father is about to take that opportunity away.
M: Jensen can see it coming, but he doesn’t want to make Waverly sad, so he helps cover for her all summer, while continuing their consummate expression of love on the evenings when her/his dad is sleeping in one of the other houses.
C: The family belongs to a Mormon offshoot known as the AUB, and its not unusual for girls to be given to older men, to be their dutiful second, third, or fourth wives. I have always been morbidly fascinated with the polygamist culture, I watched all of Big Love and have read several books on the subject. The polygamy stuff isn’t a giant part of the plot in Arrogant Bastard, but it is a big piece of the third act drama.
M: Things fall apart towards the end, and I don’t think we’re spoiling anything (because you see this one coming by a mile) by revealing that Waverley’s dad tries to marry her off to some old guy in Nebraska (or somewhere) as punishment. As far as awful parents in romance land go, he would probably make the top 10 for me.
C: Regardless of your religious beliefs it is pretty not cool to try to sell off your daughter to a man several decades older than her. Like, at least forcefully marry her to someone who can still get it up without medical help and the risk of stroke (No offense older men! All offense religious crazies who treat women like property!).
Despite the title of this book, Jensen was not nearly as much as an asshole as I was expecting, he’s actually pretty sweet with Waverly and there isn’t any ambiguity to their relationship once they decide that maybe they are doing more than just fucking. There is the customary need to suspend disbelief over just how much tail this barely 18 year old kid has gotten in his lifetime. But I need to do that with pretty much all New Adult romances that have the characters start out still in High School. Those high school boys they’re all just known for their love making prowess nowadays, right?
M: And their giant dicks that don’t fit into condoms. And their mad skills at de-virgining….
C: The ending of the book kind of took an odd twist, which I am not going to spoil for you, but the wrapping up of all the story lines certainly didn’t end how I thought they would. So points for surprising me I guess.
This is not a masterpiece of a book, but it was a fun diversion, and a good palate cleanser after two books that were not what I wanted. Plus this was fun to read with Mary, so we could text about how Jensen can barely even fit in a condom.
M: We gave this one a B-, because even though it wasn’t a phenomenal book, it was exactly what we wanted, and exactly what we expected. We’ve read a bunch of disappointing step sibling romances lately that weren’t even trashy, so this one got bonus points for having a fair amount of actual sex in it. Plus, Jensen’s teen bravado was adorable:
“You’re so sure of yourself all the time. Doesn’t it get exhausting being so cocky?”
“I know what I am. I own it. And people respect me for it.” He climbs off the bed. “Now take off your fucking clothes before I rip them off you.”
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