#DGRFave & Review: Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

BIRTHDAY GIRL
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Penelope Douglas
Release Date: April 17, 2018

JORDAN

He took me in when I had nowhere else to go.

He doesn’t use me, hurt me, or forget about me. He doesn’t treat me like I’m nothing, take me for granted, or make me feel unsafe.

He remembers me, laughs with me, and looks at me. He listens to me, protects me, and sees me. I can feel his eyes on me over the breakfast table, and my heart pumps so hard when I hear him pull in the driveway after work.

I have to stop this. It can’t happen.

My sister once told me there are no good men, and if you find one, he’s probably unavailable.

Only Pike Lawson isn’t the unavailable one.

I am.

PIKE
I took her in, because I thought I was helping.

She’d cook a few meals and clean up a little. It was an easy arrangement.

As the days go by, though, it’s becoming anything but easy. I have to stop my mind from drifting to her and stop holding my breath every time I bump into her in the house. I can’t touch her, and I shouldn’t want to.

The more I find my path crossing hers, though, the more she’s becoming a part of me.

But we’re not free to give into this. She’s nineteen, and I’m thirty-eight.

And her boyfriend’s father.

Unfortunately, they both just moved into my house.

*BIRTHDAY GIRL is a stand-alone, contemporary romance suitable for ages 18+.

AMAZON

You make my heart pound so hard it hurts, Jordan. You, your mouth, and who you are, it all makes me want to touch you. It makes me not want to stop this.”

When I saw that Penelope Douglas was coming out with a surprise release, I didn’t even blink before adding the book. When I read the blurb, I think a small part of me cringed, while a bigger part of it was screaming GIMME!! See, I love a forbidden romance. But there’s something about the whole father thing that just gives me the blehs too. It takes an immensely talented author to pull off a story like this without making it torrid, pervy and cringe worthy. Luckily for me, Penelope Douglas is that rare unicorn of authors that can not only pull it off, but make you fall in love with it too.

And that’s what I am. Her boyfriend’s father. Nothing more. But deep in my heart, the small ember growing bigger and bigger every day knows that’s a lie.

Jordan is a heroine that’s impossible not to like. Mature beyond her years due to the way she grew up, this is not your typical 19 year old. With a mother that left years ago and a deadbeat trailer trash father, it’s been her and her older sister fending for themselves. With an adorable adoration of all things 80s, Jordan was easy to connect with. While her sister has no problem supporting herself and young child by being a stripper, Jordan wants more. Moving in with her boyfriend’s father rent free will allow her to save up enough to put herself on her feet and to get that more that she craves. But it also brings a whole lot more complications in the form of an interaction to her boyfriend’s young father that seems to only intensify over time.

I think what really made me connect with Jordan is how well Douglas handled this character’s development. There’s glimpses into a teenage girl; enough to make you remember her age. But at the same time, she’s not sheltered and naive. This is a woman that knows what she wants. She’s not shy and afraid to go after it. She’s solid. She’s mature beyond her years. But yet she’s still a young woman.

I simply adored the way the romance unraveled and developed between her and Pike. There was something so real and raw about it. It wasn’t torrid, even though it was forbidden. You understand their attraction. You believe in it. You yearn for it. The tantalizingly slow build makes it even better.

I know everything we’re doing is wrong, and I don’t know how I’m going to explain this to anyone, but right here—right now—I don’t want to be anywhere else. I wish I could die as happy as I am right now.

Pike is a man that was forced to grow up fast when he became a father at 19. Giving up on his dreams to support his new son was not something he ever gave a second thought about. This is clearly a man that wants a relationship with his son but due to circumstances, it’s a struggle. I don’t want to give too much away about the dynamics, but trust me when I tell you that you will understand. You’ll even root for him.

The romance and age difference is handled with tact and done incredibly well. The situation with the boyfriend is as well. There was simply nothing about this book that I didn’t love. This was clearly a book the author wanted to write and was meant to, and it came across vividly clear in the writing. I fell so hard for this story and these characters.

Birthday Girl is a story of forbidden romance, yes. But it’s so much more than that, too. It’s a story of strength and forgiveness. Of making mistakes and learning how to write them. It was raw, and sexy, and unique. I loved every single page of it and cannot recommend it enough.

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