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You could probably call 2016 the year that I expanded my reading horizons.  Earlier this year, I read (and actually enjoyed) a romance that featured a priest as the hero.  Now I’ve read (and actually enjoyed) one of the inexplicably popular stepbrother romances.

I get it, okay.  Stepsiblings aren’t actually related. There’s nothing actually wrong with a relationship.  But it’s still forbidden.  And I wasn’t sure if I could get over it.  But much like I got over the squick factor with the priest romance, I got over it here.  And oh boy.  It was hot.

Laney hasn’t had a lot of contact with her father since she started college, but she never expected to find out that he’d gotten married since she’d moved out.  Laney dreams of working for the FBI, and although she isn’t thrilled to give up her independence to come home for the summer, she can’t turn down the opportunity to work with her new stepbrother, a former FBI agent.

Easton left the FBI after getting too wrapped up in a serial killer’s case.  He now works as a private investigator in his hometown, but most of his cases now have more to do with cheating spouses than grisly murders.  Hardly able to pay his bills and unwilling to accept financial help from his mother, he grudgingly accepts the offer of free help in the form of his (probably annoying) new stepsister.

Turns out that Laney and Easton know each other.  Not in any real way, but they went to the same high school.  Easton was that unattainable, perfect upperclassman when Laney was young.  The one that was good at everything and fit in with everybody.  But now he’s burned out.  He’s grumpy.  He’s always hungover.  But he’s drop-dead sexy.  And he gets a kick out of flirting with his new stepsister.

It’s not long before sparks start flying.  Laney and Easton can’t keep their hands off of each other, even though they know that it’s wrong.  Then a serial killer from Easton’s past reappears, and his obvious affection for his stepsister becomes a real threat.  He left the FBI because a case went wrong, only to find that it’s still following him.  Can he keep Laney safe?  Can he solve the mystery?

I think one of the things that made this book so great was the mystery that always loomed in the background.  Yes, the relationship between Laney and Easton was a major part of it, but it wasn’t all that was going on.  The case gave them a reason (other than their attraction alone) to get close, and it provided something to break up their sexual tension and eye-popping stares.

That and the fact that this book was really well-written lead me a rating of a solid four stars.

Final rating: ★★★★☆

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