From New York Times bestselling author, Penelope Ward, comes a friends-to-lovers story with sexy new characters.
After getting dumped, the last thing I needed was to move next door to someone who reminded me of my ex-boyfriend, Elec.
Damien was a hotter version of my ex.
The neighbor I’d dubbed “Angry Artist” also had two massive dogs that kept me up with their barking.
He wanted nothing to do with me. Or so I thought until one night I heard laughter coming through an apparent hole in my bedroom wall.
Damien had been listening to all of my phone sessions with my therapist.
The sexy artist next door now knew all of my deepest secrets and insecurities.
We got to talking.
He set me straight with tips to get over my breakup.
He became a good friend, but Damien made it clear that he couldn’t be anything more.
Problem was, I was falling hard for him anyway. And as much as he pushed me away, I knew he felt the same…because his heartbeat didn’t lie.
I thought my heart had been broken by Elec, but it was alive and beating harder than ever for Damien.
I just hoped he wouldn’t shatter it for good.
Author’s note – Neighbor Dearest is a full-length standalone novel. Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
Disclaimer: This can be read as Standalone, but has loose (or strong!) connections to Stepbrother Dearest!
So I have to be honest, Stepbrother Dearest is the only step-brother romance that I have been able to make myself read and this was before I actually started seriously blogging (so expect a review of that to come soon!) and I remember that heart in throat kind of situation that kept me hooked to the book right till the end.
So when this one came out, all I kept remembering was that feeling and thinking “Nope. No author can give me that feeling for her books twice!” And then, Penelope went ahead, and just freaking did it again! And I am going to try and explain how – the key word being try, for if you don’t read this one yourself, I promise you just might believe that I am exaggerating my feelings.
I’ll never forget the first day he told me about you. He said, “There’s this girl who moved in next door. She’s quirky, a little fucked-up in the head, can’t get out of her own way, but she’s beautiful, like the most natural beauty you’ve ever seen and the realest person you’ll ever meet. She came to complain about the dogs, and all I wanted to do was kiss her senseless.”
Chelsea, just moved to a new apartment, to get away from the one where she lived with her ex, Elec (aka the Step-Brother from Step-Brother Dearest!), a guy she was head over heels in love with, a guy she had envisioned spending the rest of her life with, only to wake up one day and find that she had been betrayed in the one way no woman ever dreams of.
The apartment complex has this one HOT GUY, who is also her neighbour, dubbing him the “The Angry Artist” with Supersonic Hearing and his two Rottweilers, who end up barking just at the wrong time!
The Angry Artist is none other than Damien Hennessey, her landlord and her neighbour! He is also kind, loyal and definitely a straight shooter, who definitely gets off on the wrong foot with Chelsea, but manages to salvage the situation.
This isn’t a romance that will get you hot and bothered fast, oh no no no, this is a romance that will definitely keep you on a slow slow burn that you won’t even realise when you started heating up – exactly what happened to Damien and Chelsea.
Chelsea is literally the fictional world’s most transparent heroine – she definitely cannot keep her thoughts to herself, nor her feelings, she wears her heart on her sleeve and definitely isn’t the emotionally jaded heroines that have become the trend now! She is a heroine whom I adored, right from the first meeting – I could have been jealous of her, for she caught Damien’s eye, but more than that I ended up rooting for her all throughout the book. She also is someone who understood her emotional drawbacks, and that understanding just made her strong enough to make decisions that, trust me, could have gone sideways and ended up making her a doormat.
“Did you just message me to come over and fuck you?”
“Technically, it said duck.”
“Technically, you’re drunk.”
“Technically, you might be right.”
Damien, on the other hand is HOT! Like really HOT! And the fact that he can paint, is just the icing on the cake 😉 But what he is, is also wound up tight, emotionally. It is apparent from the first meeting that he has connection with Chelsea that just can’t be denied and yet he keeps denying it. He has a big secret, the reason that he won’t let himself be close to anyone, and yet the connection between is strong enough that even while trying to protect Chelsea, he ends up hurting her!
I mean, seriously, I literally wanted to kick his tushi for hurting Chelsea like he did, mostly because he did so purposefully – I did not know his reason then, and that made my heart hurt, in a way that it actually felt like it was breaking!
Chelsea and Damien, aren’t just attracted too each other – they actually end up being friends, and each other’s well wishers – someone they count on, without even a single thought and that, THAT was the most beautiful part of their relationship.
This is a friends – to lovers romance, and it is written that ways. When you read it, it might seem as if it is insta-love, for there is no given timeline – but it is my understanding that it happens over several months and there is definitely nothing instant about this love they have for each other!
He’d used our wall to create one of the most beautiful images I’d ever laid eyes on. Spray painted onto the smooth surface using a mixture of white and pastel paints, was a gigantic unicorn that looked like it was flying freely through the sky. I covered my mouth.
“Oh, my God. What did you do?”
His mouth curved into a smile. “You’re my unicorn…”
This is slow, it is engaging, but most of all, this is a romance that makes you invest a part of your soul into it – I remember in the first half of the book, reading with the feeling of my heart in my throat, believing with the kind of decisions that these ducking characters (read: Damien) made that made me want to scream at him – and yet I just couldn’t give up on him. He was that hero – the hero that you sometimes get that every logical part of you doesn’t understand why that incessant part of you believes has some really good reason for his stupid behavior. And boy, do I love being right 😉
When you start reading this one – and you really should – you would end up reading this one in one sitting and it’s not just because I did, but because everything in this book – from writing to the characters to the plot itself flow so ducking smoothly that you just can’t help but read on, even if there are important things in reality waiting for you!
Another win for Penelope and another book boyfriend for me – especially after that sweet sweet sweet epilogue in his POV – and the kind of closure Penelope provided to her readers of Stepbrother Dearest! 😀
“I didn’t know that true happiness would only come from a girl I hadn’t met yet. It’s hard to believe that this time last year, I didn’t even know who Chelsea Jameson was. Now, I don’t even know who I am without you.”
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ .75