MISCONDUCT by Penelope Douglas
Published by NAL
Published on December 1st 2015
Genres: Adult Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense
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From the New York Times bestselling author of the Fall Away series who never fails to deliver a “powerfully written contemporary love story…”*
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…
(*STANDALONE, NO CLIFFHANGER*)
I love this book. I love this book. I love this book. I LOVE THIS BOOK!
I’m so excited that it’s now available across all platforms so that you all can (hopefully) come to love these characters/story as much as I did!
If you still need some convincing, check out my Top 5 Reasons MISCONDUCT Should Be On Your TBR post, or AJ’s 4-Star review below. Also, read a PG-13 excerpt from MISCONDUCT, and enter the tour GIVEAWAY!
“In our hearts, we always know what’s right and wrong. That’s not the struggle. The struggle is wanting what’s wrong for you and gauging whether or not the consequences are worth it.”
4 smokin’ hot stars
What is it about a forbidden romance that is so hot? This love story between a 35 year old wealthy businessman and his son’s 23 year old teacher is incredibly intense, and a nice twist on the student/teacher romance that we’ve all read before. But it’s the combustible chemistry between the two main characters which make this such an engrossing read.
Tyler Marek is gorgeous, hugely successful, and is gearing up to run for senate. He is passionately driven to right the wrongs he sees in society, and he works incredibly hard to make his career aspirations a reality. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for his 14 year old son, Christian. Though he loves his son, he hasn’t been a part of his life up until this point, but with his mother travelling overseas for work, Tyler is stepping up for the first time in his life, bringing Christian to live with him for the year his mother is away and working to build a relationship with him.
Easton Bradbury lived her young life in the spotlight as a tennis pro, but after experiencing personal torment and tragedy she threw it all in to start a new life with her older brother in New Orleans. She has recently graduated college and is beginning her first job teaching high school history in an exclusive private school. I really like Easton, she’s hard a hard life, but she’s coped with it admirably, and she’s incredibly strong and mature. She’s a great heroine, and a fantastic match for the hard-headed and controlling businessman.
Easton and Tyler’s meet anonymously at a Mardi Gras ball and though sparks fly, they are separated before anything can happen. When they meet six months later at Christian’s high school, the sizzling connection between them is still very much there, though this time there are rules keeping them apart. Any fraternisation between them would be ethically wrong for both of them, but their chemistry continues to build – which makes for some fantastic exchanges as they fight their attraction. And as much as they may try, this time neither of them are able to hold back.
“There was something that drew us together that night … Something that got under my skin, something that’s still there.”
Oh my God, the chemistry between Easton and Tyler is absolutely electric! The flirting, the touching, the dirty talk and yes, the sex, it’s all so, so hot. They know they shouldn’t be together – there are so many reasons why it shouldn’t happen – but they dive in anyway.
I pressed my body against his, arching up on my toes and leaning toward his lips. His breath hitched, and I slipped my hands inside his jacket again and gripped his waist.
“Don’t be careful with me, Tyler,” I whispered, catching his bottom lip, sucking it quickly and then letting it go. “Please,” I pleaded.
And he groaned, closing his eyes and diving in.
His forehead pressed against mine, and his hands moved urgently, holding my face. “Dark spaces, quiet places,” he whispered over my mouth. “That’s all we need, Easton.”
And more than just the physical, there is a deeper connection between them. They talk to each other, they challenge each other intellectually, and they genuinely enjoy each other’s company. They become a safe haven for each other in the turmoil of their worlds. The secrecy adds an extra sense of intensity to their liaisons, but I like that it didn’t become a defining feature of their relationship, because there are other pressures on the two of them that come into play.
Easton continues to be haunted by the tragedy and danger of her past, while Tyler is struggling to balance his company, his political aspirations, his son and his lover, and the cracks in his perfectly controlled start to show as his priorities shift. It’s a battle for them to find their way forward, but there’s a really nice sense of character development for both Tyler and Easton as they are both forced to look at their lives and figure out what is really important.
And in the middle of it all is Christian. He’s such a great character, a very believable 14 year old, and I loved the part he played in the story. I especially like the way his and Tyler’s relationship was explored – they have a great dynamic (which is mostly antagonistic) but it’s realistic and it develops beautifully as the story goes on and I thought it was really well written.
I really enjoyed this book, the writing was great and the story really sucked me in, but for some reason I didn’t feel it as much as I wanted to. I think because, as intense as their chemistry is, the emotional connection between Easton and Tyler wasn’t as strong as I usually like in my books, so I felt that the actual romance wasn’t there for most of the story. I also felt that it got a bit preachy in places when Easton would start talking about her teaching methods using social media – interesting at the beginning, for sure, and it ties in well to other parts of the story, but there was too much detail and my eyes would start to glaze when she started talking about her classroom, the kids’ homework, assignments and tests. And then there’s a bit of a twist thrown in at the end which seemed a bit strange and just sort of fizzles out into nothing. Weird.
But I really like the way the story unfolded, the characters, their dynamic and their individual growth was really well done, and the epilogue left me with a big smile on my face.
An Advanced Review Copy was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
MISCONDUCT by Penelope Douglas
Attendees laughed and danced inside, while the two of us, alone in the cold night with only a few other people lounging around the large balcony, carried on with our stolen moment.
“I should really get back, though,” I suggested, pulling away.
My brother was no doubt looking for me.
But he reached out and grabbed my hand, narrowing his eyes. “Not yet,” he urged, looking behind me toward the ballroom.
I stopped, not making a move to take away my hand.
He stood in front of me, his chest nearly touching mine.
“You’re right,” he whispered, his breath falling over me. “I don’t really like a lot of those people, and they don’t really know me.” His voice turned hoarse. “But I like you. I’m not ready to say good night yet.”
I swallowed, hearing the soft trickle of a slow jazz tune drifting out from the ballroom.
“Dance with me,” he commanded.
He didn’t wait for a response.
Sliding a hand around my waist, he guided me in, and I sucked in a sharp breath, my body meeting his for the first time.
Raising my arms, I put my right hand on his shoulder and my left hand in his as I let him lead me in a small circle, remaining in our own small, private space. Chills broke out down my arms, but I didn’t think he noticed.
I let my eyes fall closed for a moment, not understanding what made him feel so good. My hands tingled and my legs felt weak.
There was rarely ever a time when I felt drawn to a man. I’d felt attraction and passion, and I’d enjoyed sex, but I’d never opened myself up to someone long enough to connect.
Now I found myself not wanting this evening to end any way other than in his arms.
That’s where I wanted this to go. I didn’t need his name, what he did for a living, or his family history. I just wanted to be close to someone and feel good, and maybe that would be enough to satisfy me for the next few months until I needed someone again.
Shaking my head slightly, I tried to clear my thoughts.
Enough, Easton. He was good-looking and interesting, but I didn’t see anything in him that I hadn’t seen in any other man.
He wasn’t special.
Looking up, I asked, “You’re not enjoying the party, so what would you rather be doing right now?”
He shot me a small, sexy smile. “I like what I’m doing right now.”
I rolled my eyes, covering up how much I also liked him holding me close. “I mean, if not this?”
He twisted his lips, looking me over like he was thinking. “I’d be working, I guess,” he answered. “I work a lot.”
So he’d rather be doing work than schmoozing and drinking at a Mardi Gras ball? I dipped my head, breaking out in a laugh.
“What?” He pinched his eyebrows together.
I met his eyes, seeing the confusion. “You prefer work,” I stated. “I can relate to that.”
He nodded. “My work challenges me, but it’s also predictable. I like that,” he admitted. “I don’t like surprises.”
I instantly slowed, nearly stopping our dance.
I said the same thing all the time. I never liked surprises.
“Everything else outside of work is unpredictable,” I added for him. “It’s hard to control.”
He cocked his head and brought his hand up to my face, running his thumb along my cheek.
“Yeah,” he mused, leaning in while his hand circled the back of my neck possessively. “But there are times,” he said softly, “when I like to lose control.”
I closed my eyes. Jesus.
“What’s your last name?” he asked.
I opened my eyes, blinking. My last name? I had kind of liked keeping specifics off the table. I didn’t even know his first name yet.
“Easton?” he pressed.
I narrowed my eyes. “Why do you want to know that?”
He stepped forward, charging me slowly and pushing me backward. I had to keep backing up so as not to fall. “Because I intend on getting to know you,” he said. It sounded like a threat.
“Because I like talking to you,” he shot back, his voice thick with a laugh he was holding in.
I hit the wall behind me and stopped, glancing over at the people sitting at the table across the balcony.
He closed the remaining distance between us and dipped down until his face was a couple of inches from mine.
I locked my hands behind my back, instinctively tapping the wall with my fingers and counting in my head. One, two, three—
“Do you like me?” He cut me off, a playful tilt to his lips.
I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. I turned my head, but I knew he saw it anyway.
“I don’t know,” I answered casually. “You might be too much of a gentleman.”
The corner of his lips curled, looking sinister, and he threaded his hand around the back of my neck and through my hair, gripping my waist with the other and pressing his body to mine.
“Which means I’m still a man, only with more skill,” he whispered against my lips, making my breath shake. “And there’s only one place I won’t be careful with you.”
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