Thursday, 15 June 2017

Bad Penny by Staci Hart


Nothing good comes after the third date.

Date three is the crucial point when things get real, which is exactly why I bounce out the door, twiddling my fingers at whatever poor boy I’ve left behind. Because if I stick around, one of three things will happen: he’ll profess his undying love, he’ll get weird and stalky, or I’ll go crazy. Like, Sid and Nancy crazy. Like, chase-him-through-the-streets-begging-him-to-love-me crazy.

Seriously, it’s better for everyone this way.

So when I meet Bodie, I figure it’ll be the same as it ever was. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t put a single string on me. Doesn’t matter that he’s funny and smart and jacked or that he can play my body like a grand piano. Because even though I’m built for love, love has only carved me up like a Christmas ham.

Resistance is something I can only hang on to for so long, and he has persistence in spades. But my heart isn’t as safe as I want to believe, and neither is his. And the second I ignore my cardinal rule is the second I stand to lose him forever.

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Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: June 2017.

When Staci Hart announced Bad Penny saying this book would be different from her previous ones she couldn't have been more right, Penny is brash, without filter and truly seems to have mastered the art of giving zero f*cks. She calls it as she see's it, refuses to behave demurely or deny her sexual urges because of societal expectation and says whatever it is she's thinking without fear of judgement or retribution, in saying that she's also inherently good and kind, despite wanting to show the world she's heartless, she has possibly the biggest heart of any of Hart's characters to date. Her bright hair, piercings and tattoo's may give off a don't even try me vibe, but underneath the sass and bravado, underneath the feisty and in control heroine is a young woman who's been burnt one too many times and is just trying to find a way she can navigate her life without ending up as someone's collateral damage.

"Here's the thing, Bodie. When I love, I don't do it halfway, I go all the way into the fire until it burns me up. It's obsessive. I lost myself once to someone else, and I'm not doing it again."

Penny's take on dating, is very clear, she doesn't date, she has short sexual entanglements and she moves on, before the guy can get attached and before she can go crazy, it's a simple rule that's been treating her well, her three hook up rule keeps everyone involved safe, and until she meets Bodie, her plan seems fool proof, when the hot blonde surfer catches her eye she's sure she can put her plan into action and walk away unscathed.

"Penny could take over the world if she wanted to. She could take me over. She kind of already had."

Bodie is tanned and toned to perfection, built in all the right places, with the face of a God and the worlds sexiest dimple he sets Penny's heart racing, chemistry in spades and an instant connection - everything about him screams to Penny's carefree, wild side, lust and attraction bubbling between them, but more than that Brodie is the ultimate nice guy, inherently good and decent, he see's beyond Penny's quirks, past her feisty attitude, to the young woman she hides underneath, he knows in the first meeting that she is exactly who he wants, if he can just figure out how to hold on to her long enough for her to see it too.

"But that was what Bodie did. He anticipated what I required and gave it to me, even when the gift was his silence. He cared for me without demand, without expectation."

Bad Penny is SEXY, and I mean balls to the wall, often times explicit sexy, and I'll be honest here, as my reading preferences have changed over the years I often find myself skimming my way through long or frequent sex scenes, feeling that it fails to propel the story forward and for me ends up feeling more like filler, and from the outset I suspected this book would be heavy on the sex, with Penny and her blatant sexuality I was concerned I'd find myself less engaged and  yet, I found myself so utterly invested in Penny's development and growth that I couldn't look away.

"You are the toughest chick I know, and the very last thing I expect from you is to let fear stop you from doing anything. Jump out the plane , Pen."

Undoubtedly the hero of this story is Penny, it's her journey from somewhat broken and flawed that absolutely grabbed me and demanded my attention. While I may not have always been able to connect with Penny and her behaviour, I inherently understood her fears and shared her pain, because at some point inside most of us lies that frightened girl, who has been burnt one too many times and is just trying to find a way to piece ourselves back together, the girl who refuses to apologise for how she healed herself and the decisions she's made to get where she is, and at the very heart of it, that's what made Penny so damn lovable and relatable, not her sass or bravado, not her wild at heart life mantra, nor her man eater ways, it's how truly unapologetic she is as she goes about her day to day life, it's the number of heartbreaks and dalliances with the crazy train she has endured and said f*ck it to the world, while pulling up her big girl panties and getting on with it. Bad Penny is laugh out loud funny, absolutely inappropriate at times in the best possible way, sinfully sexy while still maintaining that sweet edge, Hart shows her writing chops by delivering a story with the right amount of angst, commensurate to the age of the lead characters, ensuring nothing felt out of place or overdone, making Bad Penny utterly engaging and impossible to put down.

About Staci Hart:

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey.

From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she's not writing, she's reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

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