Once Upon a Bad Boy (Sometimes in Love) – ARC Review

42404923Once Upon a Bad Boy
by Melonie Johnson
Release Date:  June 25, 2019
Publisher:  St. Martin’s
Book #3 in the Sometimes in Love series
Number of pages:  320
Kindle Edition
Source: Net Galley ARC
Contemporary Romance M/F
Rating: NC-17
Read 6/3/19 to 6/4/19


Sadie Gold is ready to take her career to the next level with the role of a lifetime. Finally, she can shake her reputation as a pretty face with more wealth and connections than talent. But Sadie is not prepared for the wild turn her own life is about to take. The man in charge of training Sadie for her most demanding role yet is none other than her first real boyfriend—the one who took her heart and ran away.

Bo Ibarra is as good-looking and irresistible as ever. Maybe even more so, now that everything once worked against them—Sadie’s pampered and privileged upbringing and Bo’s childhood in a family struggling to make ends meet—is in the past. But the future is still unwritten…and getting there, together, means coming clean about painful secrets and slashing through nasty tabloid rumors while trying to control the attraction that crackles between them. Maybe it’s finally time for them to walk off into the sunset and into a true and lasting love?

You guys, I’ve been sitting on writing this review for a few days now.  Whenever I think about how I want to tackle talking about this book, my mind goes in a million directions.  You know I don’t usually include spoilers in my review, but I just don’t feel I can really dig into my feelings on this one without it giving some things away.  So, after this paragraph, proceed at your own discretion.  If you’d rather not read anything that could give any part of this story away, just know I found this to be an amazing read and really hope this author continues to right such important stories.

Sadie and Bo were childhood sweethearts who ended abruptly and on somewhat bad terms.  I love the feelings that were zinging through the air when they see each other again, more than 10 years later. They both have bad feelings about things that happened in the past, but they don’t really let it get in their way.  They can’t deny they are drawn to each other all over again.  The more time they spend together, the more they feel themselves reverting back to their old habits with one another.

While Bo never told Sadie why he broke things off out of the blue, Sadie has yet to admit how much it devastated her.  Plus, Sadie has a whole other secret she’s keeping from Bo.  A secret she feels can crumble everything they’re building back up. The longer she holds onto her secret, the harder it gets for her to find the right time to reveal the secret.

Here’s the thing, there is a good chance you’ll figure out what her secret is far before she gives the details.  It’s really not about the actual secret, but how everyone reacts to the secret.  From her grandmother (who is the only one who knows what happened), to Bo, to Bo’s sister, to Sadie’s friends. The thing that touched me the most was Sadie’s own reaction to others when she finally spilled the beans.  In this day and age, with all of the attacks on women’s rights, this story just hits the nail on the head.  I felt the author handled this subject with a lot of care, but also with a lot of backbone. Sadie didn’t bend in her belief that she did the right thing, no matter what anyone else said. This is just so important for so many ladies to see…Sadie made a hard choice but eventually will still get her HEA. What is right for one person may not be right for another, but Sadie did what was right for her at that point in time. Which is also why I think Bo’s sister’s reaction had me cheering for her.

That all being said, I did at some points wish Bo would open up about why he broke things off all those years ago and that Sadie would reveal her secret a bit sooner than it actually happened. Not that it dragged, just that I was anxious for the couple to have their HEA with a clean slate.

I really hope this series continues so we can see what happens to the rest of the friends in this circle. I feel like this author got better and better with each book.

One final note…as much as I felt the author did a wonderful job taking on a touchy subject, I cannot overlook the fact that she had a professional stuntman ride his motorcycle without a helmet.  A stuntman, more than anyone, knows about safety and knows that no matter how careful you are you cannot control how careful those around you are.  With how consistent everything else seemed in this story, this really stood out and disappointed me.  I’ll get off my soapbox now.

4.5 stars

**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is 25 and living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin, is 21 and in the Army stationed across the country in Washington where he lives with his beautiful wife, Kirsten. They're expecting our first grandchild this fall! I was lucky enough to have the option of leaving the work force a few years ago, but recently went back part-time to learn a new trade working at a small family owned coffee shop.
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