Published February 27th 2014 – Add it on Goodreads
Identical twins, Maggie and Clara Ryder, both grew up with Leo Maddox, billionaire playboy, apparent alcoholic, and heir to his grandfather's world-famous Maddox hotel empire. Their roles were cemented long ago: Maggie, as his best friend and Clara as his childhood nemesis.
But when a simple twist of fate changes everything and both girls start to fall for the lean, mean, ridiculously sexy and seemingly spoiled Leo... which girl will win his heart?
Throw in a little mischief, drama, and one smoking-hot bartender and lines are sure to blur. But one thing's for certain, neither good-girl Maggie nor rebellious Clara will be satisfied until they each figure out where they belong.
“Clara?” His eyes searched my face, screaming with unexpected vulnerability and fear. He seemed genuinely worried about me. “What's going on? Say something, please. Are you okay?”
I nearly lost my nerve. How easy it would have been to kiss him and fall into his arms all over again? A big piece of me wanted to do just that, but one moment of weakness was all I was going to allow myself for the day. “Am I okay?” I asked him, trying to sound indifferent and not angry. “What's that annoying code word you and Maggie used to say all the time? The two of you probably thought I was too dumb to crack that little language you created to use against me. Oh yeah, I remember now. Peaches. I'm just totally peaches.”
Standing tall, I reached my arm above his head and slowly poured the remaining contents of my beer on top of him. A shocked breath left his lips, but he didn't budge and took the beer shower like a man. “Real mature, Clara,” he grunted, glaring a shitload of hate-fire my way as the liquid coated his hair, face, and clothes. Angry as hell and soaking wet was a good look on him.
“That's for making me care,” I told him, setting my empty glass back down on the table. Then my hand swung hard and made stinging contact with his wet face. “That's for being a jerk to me since we were kids. And this...” I stood up on my tiptoes, grabbed hold of his handsome, shocked face, and planted one firm kiss on his wet lips. “That's so you know I'm not fucking around.” I held onto him for another moment. “Prove it to me,” I whispered. “Prove to me you aren't an ass and I'm all yours.”
Then I pulled away, turned on my heel, and left Leo standing there, soaking wet and stunned.
I am always thrilled when I run across a New Adult novel that doesn’t have the words tragic, horrifying, brutal or tortured in the blurb. I will jump right on it. Don’t misunderstand me, I like dark characters. I, myself am a dark soul. However, I don’t want to read about characters who had it exponentially worse than an Auschwitz survivor in every book. I just don’t have enough Xanax for that. A liitle angst, insecurity, and the ilk is fine. Slicing off body parts with a corroded razor in order to escape the numbness, YUK! So from the get go, I was already a fan of He Belongs With Me.
Just looking at the cover lets you know that this is not your typical “shoot me, now!” New Adult romance. Sarah Darlington delivered big time. This was a great read! It has it’s darker moments, but it also had humor and brightness. It came across as real (despite the fact that a few of the characters had more money than a small nation.) The issues dealt with were universal in non victimized characters.
Just FYI, this book is worth the read if for nothing else than this image with Ian Somerhalder's face.
But enough with my new BBF. This is basically about the twins, Maggie and Clara. I noticed some flack about the lack of twinsie love between the two "could not be more different" girls. To these I say, you didn't look deep enough. These girls are struggling for their individual identities, they love each other, it's just camouflaged in youthful crap. Personally I liked the fact that they didn't have their own cutsie language and speak telepathically.
I also loved the humor of this book. The snark runneth over and I ate it up. Sarah Darlington is a master of banter. Personally, as not a huge fan of New Adult, this was one of my favorite examples of the genre. It was fun, emotional and even meaningful. I liked these characters and I would definitely by them a drink. Job well done, job well done.
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Sarah Darlington lives in the DC metro area, is married to her high school sweetheart, and currently spends her time chasing around a very active toddler. As a former flight attendant, she misses the days of pantyhose, galley gossip with good friends, and traveling to new places. In the future she'd like to return to that career, but, just as flying gets into your bones, so does writing. Whenever she gets a free moment these days, she writes.