Date of publication: February 3rd, 2020
Series: The Masons
Stepbrother with Benefits—Book 2
Where you can find Stepbrother with Benefits: Amazon
The first time I laid eyes on James Mason, the world stood still.
Unfortunately, the tether ball I’d just spiked didn’t, and when it ploughed into the back of my distracted head, I bit my tongue so hard I tasted blood.
I don’t know why I was so dumbstruck. All he did was ride up on his skateboard and call my best friend’s name.
Perhaps it was his confidence that roused me. Or the funny cowlick at the front of his dirty-blond hair. Or the way his jeans sagged on his hips… Not that I’d ever noticed the way a boy’s jeans fit before.
But it wasn’t my name he called that day, and it never will be.
Because guys like James Mason don’t fall for bookworms like me. And even if they did, that farfetched dream died the day he became the stepbrother I never wanted.
Not that I don’t want him.
I love the idea of him wrestling me to the floor and pinning me down with the weight of his body. But there’s nothing familial about the way I wish he would pull my hair, the way I wish he would pull me close.
I’ll be taking that secret to the grave, though, because our families have been through enough.
Besides, he doesn’t see me that way.
So I keep biting my tongue. As hard as it takes to keep my secret.
And only when I’m alone do I ever imagine that it’s him.
The first time I laid eyes on James Mason, the world stood still.Stepbrother with Benefits by Hazel Kelly
Stepbrother with Benefits is book 2 in The Masons Series. I keep going back and forth if you can read this book as a standalone. In some sense, yes, you can. But if you want to understand the dynamics of James and Brie’s combined family, then I would highly recommend reading book one first. It explains the backstory to the series better than this book does.
I am going to throw up a trigger warning. A professor sexually assaults Brie in the middle of the book. It wasn’t rape but a combination of grabbing (breast and genitals) and threats made against Brie. It was a direct reference to the #MeToo moment. If this triggers you, I suggest picking up another book to read. The author did a fantastic job of showing how raw Brie was after that and how she dealt with it.
Brie and James had some serious chemistry going on in this book. Even before they had sex, their encounters were sexually charged. When they had sex, it was flipping amazeballs. One of the best sex scenes I have read to date. Even I was left feeling fulfilled by reading it!!
I didn’t get the “Ewww” factor with Brie and James being stepbrother and sister. One reason: They weren’t blood-related. Another reason: They weren’t raised to think of themselves as siblings. Brie was Maddy’s friend way before James’s father, and Brie’s mother got married. So they knew each other. If anything, I thought that it was a sweet romance. It was evident that James loved Brie. I guessed that right from the beginning.
I liked Brie, and I had an instant connection with her. She was quiet and didn’t bother anyone. She was loyal to her best friend, to the point where she backed off when she thought her friend was interested in James. But, she was also a fighter and a survivor.
I loved James in this book. He had come across as uptight and controlling in Maddy and Quinn’s story. So to see him unbend in this book was excellent. What I loved is that he acknowledged his feelings for Brie reasonably early in the book, and he spent most of the book trying to win her over. The most telling scene was when he went after the professor but refused to do anything. I had tears streaming down my face. If only all men (and women) could act like that when a loved one had been harmed. I loved that he also fought for her. He started reading Harry Potter, and that scene in the ice cream store was sweet.
I will say that both Brie and James dealt with the backlash about their relationship fantastically. I loved how James put various people in their places.
The end of Stepbrother with Benefits was terrific. Not only did it set up Maeve’s story perfectly, but the way it ended with James and Brie was perfect. Put it this way, they both deserved the HEA that they got.
I would give Stepbrother with Benefits an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.
I would reread Stepbrother with Benefits. I would recommend it to family and friends.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**