Review: Misconduct by Penelope Douglas

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: NAL
Release Date: December 1, 2015
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: standalone
Former tennis player Easton Bradbury is trying to be the best teacher she can be, trying to reach her bored students and trying to forget her past. What brought her to this stage in her life isn’t important. She can’t let it be. But now one parent-teacher meeting may be her undoing…

Meeting Tyler Marek for the first time makes it easy for Easton to see why his son is having trouble in school. The man knows how to manage businesses and wealth, not a teenage boy. Or a young teacher, for that matter, though he tries to. And yet…there is something about him that draws Easton in—a hint of vulnerability, a flash of attraction, a spark that might burn.

Wanting him is taboo. Needing him is undeniable. And his long-awaited touch will weaken Easton’s resolve—and reveal what should stay hidden…

Misconduct caught my attention because the female main character, Easton Bradbury, is a teacher and, me being a teacher myself, I was very interested in a main character who shares my profession. We don't get nearly enough teachers in romance novels--we have romantic lives too, you know?

Before Easton became a teacher, she was a famous professional tennis player. But, after a horrible accident that killed her parents and younger sister, she just didn't have the same passion for the sport anymore and left the tennis world in a cloud of scandal after a show of temper during a big match. She got her teaching degree and landed a job teaching high school history in a private school. That's where she found out the man she met at a party previously and whom she had a hot moment with was one of her student's father, Tyler Marek.

Tyler was 12 years older than Easton, a very successful businessman, and planning to run for senate. He's also trying to reconnect with his teenaged son who wanted nothing to do with him. Since meeting Easton, Tyler couldn't stop thinking of her. They were mutually attracted to each other, but they both know a relationship with each other could bring scandal. But, of course, they couldn't stay away from each other long and soon were indulging in some hot, heavy and dirty meetings in the classroom and in the office.

Misconduct was an emotionally charged read. I wasn't expecting that. I thought was in for a fluffier, super sexy read. I got the super sexy but I was pleasantly surprised that it was on the darker side, with deeper emotions and issues involved. I found Easton's character to be complex. She had a lot of baggage with what happened to her family and the fame she had growing up. She's standoffish and doesn't make friends easily, preferring to be alone than opening herself up to others, and runs hot and cold. She also suffered from mild OCD--checking and counting certain activities like walking or checking the door several times to calm herself down. She was flawed and wasn't completely likable, but my heart went out to her anyway. Really, a character does not have to be likable to be compelling and that's Easton.

As for Tyler, I didn't warm up to him until much later on because of his actions. He was one of those parents who questioned Easton's teaching methods based on his preconceived notions without really taking the time to understand the reasons behind Easton's choices. That really annoyed me. As a teacher who has had experiences with these types of parents, it was frustrating and stressful having to defend my method of teaching. Of course, my issues with Tyler's character is personal so another reader might not feel the same way. I understood the author's purpose for having Easton and Tyler clash against each other in the beginning--they had that I'm-extremely-attracted-to-you-but-I-really-dislike-you thing going on and it made that first encounter between them all the more illicit/filthy/sexy.

I ended up enjoying Misconduct more than I expected. I was a little nervous starting this book because Penelope Douglas was a new-to-me author and I didn't know what to expect in term of her writing style. I had nothing to worry about--the writing was on-point. It was straightforward and readable--in a new adult read I want to be able to consume the content easily and I got that in this novel. I enjoyed that the chapters alternated between Easton and Tyler's first-person narrative, because with a story like theirs it really helped me understand their characters and the choices they made better.

If you need a break from the light and fluffy or the too dark and violent but still crave that seductive/sexy/dirty sex, Misconduct is a happy medium. With compelling characters and an absorbing love story, Misconduct is a romance not to be missed.

Misconduct is already out in stores!

For a little taste of Misconduct, check out the excerpt I posted earlier this week. The scene is part of the night Easton and Tyler first met.

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