Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Review: Darker Water by Lauren Stewart

Darker Water (Once & Forever, #1)
by Lauren Stewart
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Laney Temple believes in love about as much as she believes in princes, happy endings, and honest relationships. After kissing way too many frogs, all she has to show for it is sore lips and a bruised heart.

Luckily, Carson Bennett isn’t interested in her for her heart. Her lips? Hell yes. Other parts of her anatomy? You better believe it. But her heart? Nope, not even a little bit. So it just makes sense for him to selflessly volunteer himself to show her that great sex can just be great sex. Except, for them, it's not that simple.

If Laney can’t keep sex and love separate, she’ll lose everything she’s gained. And if Carson starts to feel more than he should, Laney may be the one to pay the price.

What neither of them want to admit is that their choices—not to love or be loved—have never been theirs to control.

*** Darker Water is a stand-alone contemporary romance that does not end in a cliffhanger. ***

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...Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find the one.... 

When I heard that Lauren writes a contemporary romance book I was game right away! Why? I fell in love with Lauren's writing when reading her urban fantasy series, Hyde - which is hands down, one of the best series ever. Mitch is a bastard; a cocky, filthy-mouthed, hot 'I wanna rip his clothes off and hump him' kind of bastard. You'd love him and the whole plot Lauren came up with. Anyhow, back to my point, Lauren's writing is just flawless, gripping, and it has everything I love in a book. Therefore I couldn't BUT read her newest book. Was I disappointed? Heck no, I loved it.

The story is about Laney, poor sweet Laney, who had the fortune to cross paths with many 'princes' that turned into useless jerk-frogs. We've all been there, dating lots of wrong guys and hating them and ourselves for letting them stomp all over our heart. If you can relate then you, including myself, and Laney have something in common - join the "I'm done with men"-club ;)

"Evidently, my judgment was so off, the only men I wanted were the  ones who would treat me like shit."

Yeah poor Lane! Right when she least expects she meets Carson...or better Carson meets her. He is a special kind of cocky, ladies. Did I love him? Hell yeah. I fell for him instantly and I was cracking up non-stop. His humor, confidence, charm and wit won me over in no time. He is this "you get what you see" kind of guy and Lauren hit it right on with this guy - perfect match for Laney. 

" 'Seriously, I'm a complete asshole who only cares about what he can get from someone. Take you for example. I saw you sitting here alone, no ring, great body. And thought, 'I want to fuck her'. And yeah, those were the exact words that went through my my head. On the ay over here I tried to figure out the fastest and most efficient way to get you into my bed -which isn't far from here by the way - hoping you weren't the type who needed a couple dinners out first. So, Lane' - he popped an eyebrow - 'are you?' "

And that my dear gents is the way to get laid for sure!! No kidding; he totally sold himself. Carson is a no bs sort of man and I pretty much appreciated the fact. But ooh he's yummy looking and as I said earlier, his charm makes you want to volunteer to get naked! 
So how do you refuse such an offer? You don't, exactly! Laney has nothing to lose and she agrees to no strings attached. She told him about her unsuccessful love life and Carson 'volunteers' (yeah right) to help her learning how to separate sex and love.... sounds easy right?!? Yeah it's not that simple if you realize your buddy you practice is a perfect fit, a connection you never experienced before, and that you might have the BEST, MIND-BLOWING SEX EVER! 

It got harder and harder for both of them to hide their growing feelings and I was chuckling all the time. Carson, the "I don't do relationships" turned into a pretty jealous, but adorable no strings attached kind of guy. He and feelings?!? Naaa... yeah, right.

"She could see other people, too. Of course, if I was in a room with any of them, I'd make it so that they physically couldn't fuck her again, but she could see whoever she wanted to." LOL yeah right.

First half of the book is filled with humor, sexy nagging and spending naked quality time with each other, but Carson has a reason why he's not the relationship guy. He lived through too much to risk to end up like so many other men his mother brought home. He didn't trust himself and strongly believes he can't love....he's incapable of loving someone. 

"And what's worse than falling in love when you don't want to? Falling in love with someone who can't love you back." ~Laney

In the second half of the book we get glimpses of what went down in Carson's childhood and it gave me the chills... I wanted to constantly hug him, telling him he deserves so much more but I understood it wasn't easy to let go or to let in.
Lauren touched on a serious topic that made me think and reflect; remembering many woman suffer from such things and don't see a way out of it. That not only they but also their kids suffer from such traumatic upbringing. 

One day of the other Carson and Laney's relationship gets turned upside down and both realize they crossed the line....but by then it's too late and things turn bad, so bad they walk in opposite directions.

"I wouldn't have thought I'd ever miss something so much, that I'd care about anything enough that I couldn't sleep or work or focus without it. Without her. I'd fucked it up and i'd fucked it up good. I had to accept that."

Darker Waters is a romance filled with humor, steam, advice, and light drama, slightly addressing a serious topic. I enjoyed it immense. Lauren hit my taste with this book 100% and I can't wait to read the second book in the series, Hayden (Carson's brother), book.  I think this book offers something for everyone; sure, if you're looking for a over-the-top, cheesy love story then no, this isn't your book. If you want something light-hearted, good-humored...something realistic, then I highly recommend it.
Personally I don't like over the top romance, too much drama; thus, this book was perfect for me.

Lauren's writing style helps to read any of her books in a good enjoyable reading pace. Even though I love her urban fantasy like crazy, her trying out the contemporary scheme, was a full success and made me hungry for more. Another plus: it's written in dual pov. Have fun being in Carson's head!

"Unlike all the times before, this actually was love and it hurt and it wasn't going to stop. Because I would never give it up. Because it was worth everything."

*** 4.5-5 Kiss a Frog Stars ***

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Lauren's other series in order (left to right):

You'll love filthy-mouthed Mitch... this is NOT your typical Hyde story!


  1. Great review! I've never heard of this author but this book seems right up my street. I don't like too much angst or drama in my romances either so this is perfect

    1. Thanks Nicole! It's Lauren's first contem. romance and I just laugh her writing style and humor. Usually she writes urban fantasy and those are as well awesome. Her characters are always fun, sassy, snarky, and hot combined with a great plot.
      Personally I'm very critical when reading romance because they all sound the same and I get a gag-reaction when reading too much bs, drama etc lol. So yeah you'll like this one <3


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