Second Best by Noelle Adams | Review + Excerpt + Giveaway

Publisher: self-pubbed
Release Date: November 15, 2017
Source of my copy: Give Me Books Promo
Series: standalone
We meet every other Wednesday night in a downtown hotel. No dates. No commitments. No hearts and flowers. Just his body and mine.

Maybe I’m his second best. He’s definitely mine.

But second best has never felt so good.

When I first got my Kindle, and I got the trial for Kindle Unlimited I read a bunch of her books, but it's been years since I picked up a book by Noelle Adams. And I'm kind of kicking myself because after reading Second Best I'm reminded how much I enjoy her books--she follows one or two romance classic tropes and delivers a no-frills romance read. And sometimes that is just what I'm looking for: a straight-up romance novel without all the angst and crazy plot twists. That's exactly what I got in Second Best, which follows the no-strings-attached sex trope (a personal fave).

The synopsis doesn't really tell you much about Second Best so I'm going to give a little background on the two main characters. We have Ashley, a lawyer who's just starting her career, and Sean, a very rich, very successful real estate developer, and the story starts with Ashley on her way to meet Sean in a hotel room to engage in some no strings sex. Both Ashley and Sean were not looking for anything serious--Ashley was actually in love with one of the lawyers in her firm (though it's a one-sided, unrequited love kind of situation), and Sean lost his fiancee a few years ago in a tragic mugging gone wrong and he's closed himself off from emotional entanglements since. 

Like the synopsis says, Ashley and Sean meet every other Wednesday in the same hotel, engage in some hot sex, and then go their separate ways until the next Wednesday. They even signed a contract and everything, as you do in these type of situations. But, despite all the sex, Second Best was actually a slow burn romance, which I really enjoyed. Through their Wednesday engagements, Ashley and Sean get to know each other and become sort of friends. I really enjoyed how their relationship developed, how it was all physical first and then the genuine feelings come later. 

Second Best is told entirely in Ashley's first person POV, and I kind of wish we got Sean's POV too. I liked Ashley's character. She's a self-proclaimed good girl--the kind men wants to bring home to meet their mom, so meeting a man for sex every other week was out of character for her. But, there's something about Sean, an undeniable electricity between them that had her coming back for more even though she's in love with someone else. As for Sean, he was definitely intriguing. I liked learning more about him and you kind of fall for him along with Ashley.  

Second Best was well-paced and well-written. Like with other Noelle Adams novels, it was a fairly quick read and it was just the right amount of emotion, romance, and steam--it's been a few years since I've read a book by her but I feel like Second Best might be a bit steamier than her other books. If you haven't read a book by Ms. Adams before, they're comparable to Harlequin romances. 

It wasn't a holy-cow-out-of-this-world-amazing kind of read, but I have no complaints. Second Best was very enjoyable and a satisfying romance--it was a nice, quiet weekend kind of romance read. If you're a fan of Noelle Adams, you need to pick up Second Best. If you're a fan of the no-strings-attached sex trope, I highly recommend reading Second Best.

After I turned the water on to get hot, I pulled my hair back into a messy bun and dropped my clothes onto the floor, feeling almost decadent—like I wasn’t just a normal girl with a normal job living a normal life. I loved the specialty bath wash the hotel provided—deliciously scented with lavender and honey—and I scrubbed up and rinsed off at a leisurely pace.

I wondered what Sean was doing.

He probably had a meeting run late or else something urgent came up at work.

I was going to be very disappointed if the front desk called up to tell me he wasn’t going to be able to make it after all.

I’d been waiting for two weeks for tonight. I didn’t want to miss out.

When I felt an unexpected blast of cool air, I turned to see what caused it. I squealed loudly when I saw a man getting into the shower with me. I raised my hands instinctively to beat him off.

You understand I wasn’t thinking through any of this. All I’d processed was the sudden appearance of a man where I hadn’t been expecting one.

“Hey,” Sean said, laughing as he grabbed at my flailing wrists. He was as naked as I was. “I expected a warmer welcome than this.”

I relaxed immediately, flushing with embarrassment and the aftermath of my shock. “You scared the crap out of me!”

He was still laughing. “I can see that. Who did you think was getting into the shower with you?”

“I don’t know. I thought you were running late.”

He moved so he was completely under the shower spray, the water soaking his short brown hair and streaming down his high cheekbones, strong chin, and sexy mouth. “I was. But I rushed over so you wouldn’t start without me.”

“Start… without…?”

I didn’t finish the stilted question because he’d pulled me into a kiss.

I had no objections to kissing him. In fact, it was one of my favorite activities. No one kissed like Sean Doyle did—with those clever lips, agile tongue, and dedicated skill. But I’d put my hair into the bun on purpose, and I didn’t want him to pull my head under the water, so I backed away, saving my hair from getting soaked like his.

He frowned when I broke the kiss and reached for me again. “Why are you all standoffish?”

“I’m not.” I giggled as I evaded his hands. “I just don’t want my hair to get wet.”

“Why not?”

I stared at him through the steam-thickened air. “Why not? Do you have any idea what it’s like to go around with wet hair as long as mine? It takes forever to dry and it gets everything wet.”

He frowned and stepped forward, pushing me back against the shower wall. “Fine. If you insist on focusing on practicalities, how’s this then?” He kissed me again, and this time I didn’t have any desire to pull away. My head was safely away from the fall of water.

“Not bad,” I murmured against his lips.

“Not bad? That’s all you can say after two weeks without kissing me?”

“What did you expect me to say? That your kiss is the most incredible thing I’ve ever experienced in the universe.”

He nuzzled the side of my face, his tongue darting out to taste my skin in little, unexpected licks, each one causing a quick jolt of pleasure. “That wouldn’t be a bad start.”

Author Bio
Noelle handwrote her first romance novel in a spiral-bound notebook when she was twelve, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. She has lived in eight different states and currently resides in Virginia, where she reads any book she can get her hands on and offers tribute to a very spoiled cocker spaniel.

She loves travel, art, history, and ice cream. After spending far too many years of her life in graduate school, she has decided to reorient her priorities and focus on writing contemporary romances.

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