Beautiful Stranger, by Christina Lauren.
He cleared his throat and looked to where Pete was returning with my shots. "Why are you carrying all these sticky drinks out to the dance floor?"
"My friend just got engaged. We're doing the girls' night out thing."
"So then you're unlikely to leave here with me."
I blinked, then blinked again, hard. With this frank suggestion, I was officially out of my depth. Way out of my depth. "I ... what? No."
"You're serious? You just met me."
"And already I have a strong urge to devour you."
Well, well! It looks like there's a new man in town, and his name is Max Stella. Beautiful Stranger is the sort-of sequel to Beautiful Bastard, which I reviewed back in February. I also got to interview Christina Lauren - or I should say, the two authors that write under that pen name - and they discussed both books with me.
Initially I was disappointed that Chloe and Bennett Ryan, the stars of the first book, were relegated to minor roles in this novel - but after reading Stranger, I definitely no longer feel that way.
A charming British Playboy. A girl determined to finally live. And a secret liaison revealed in all too vivid color. Book two in the NYT Bestselling series.
Escaping a cheating ex, finance whiz Sara Dillon's moved to New York City and is looking for excitement 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 and into her Beautiful Stranger.
The whole city knows 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.
Sara Dillon was briefly introduced in the first book, as one of Chloe's friends, but in Stranger, she takes the lead character role. She's just moved to NYC from Chicago to get over a cheating ex, whom she was with for many years, and one night, she sheds her inhibitions and has sex with a random guy at a club: Max Stella. However, it turns out he's not that random - he was Bennett's roommate at Oxford, and he is good friends with him. Sara and Max begin to see each other more and more, and eventually come to an arrangement ... the rules of which are constantly changed based on their needs.
Max Stella is a guy that any girl would fall in love with: he's hot, British, and sensitive, too. I really liked how he was able to read Sara so quickly, and see into her psyche, so to speak - to figure out her motivations and why she was kind of an exhibitionist, but wanted to be very private in public too.
I thought that Stranger was actually a little bit tamer than Bastard, even though both are books that definitely qualify as erotica. There's definitely many interesting (cough) situations in Stranger that Bastard didn't have - at one point, they go to a club where the rooms have doors, but anyone can watch - but overall it did seem a little different to me.
The next book in the series will be Beautiful Bitch, an e-book novella, on July 9th, which seems to chronologically take place after the events in Beautiful Bastard, and focuses on Chloe and Bennett, I believe before they (SEMI-SPOILER) got engaged. The next three, in September, October, and November of this year, will be Beautiful Bombshell, Beautiful Player, and Beautiful Beginning, with Player being the only full-length novel of the three (the rest will be novellas).
Beautiful Stranger is in stores today, May 28th. 4 stars out of 5.