Kim Linwood – Rebel: A Stepbrother Romance (Review, Excerpt, Interview, & Giveaway)

Rebel: A Stepbrother Romance by Kim Linwood

Source: Review by Request
Copy Provided by Agent
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

I married my stepbrother.

Yeah, no one’s more surprised than me. I can’t fucking stand him.

All I wanted was a quiet summer before starting college. Catch up on my books. Maybe get a summer job. Then he dropped into my life.

His name’s Gavin Caldwell, and he’s stupidly rich. Cocky. Arrogant. Ridiculously, panty-meltingly hot.

And he’s parading around our bridal suite shirtless. Pantless.

He has no freaking shame, and I have to pretend to be in love with him.

I hate him.

So why can’t I stop thinking about him?

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Fun. Cute. Sexy. Silly.

Asshole, stepbrother, playboy. Not my boyfriend. I don’t want to need him like that. He’d chew up my heart and spit it out. Except I can think that all I want, but it doesn’t make me any less wet.

You know the big twist in this story before you ever start the book. It’s right there in the blurb waiving to you and luring you in with absurdity.

Someone is going to marry their stepbrother.
‘How’, you ask?
In the most amusing way possible.

Stepbrother romances are all the rage at the moment – it’s a convenient launching point for a New Adult, angsty, slightly-taboo romp. I’m not generally interested in indulging in angst-laden NA fiction, but I couldn’t resist the blurb for this book.

I was looking for a light, fluffy, and humorous erotic romance, and I got it… Eventually

Here’s the thing – this book didn’t get off to a great start for me. In the beginning, I didn’t like either of the main characters and I was bracing myself for a total train wreck. That’s the truth. You know I’ll always tell you the truth, my lovely readers…

Within the first few pages it pinged half a dozen of my red-flag tropes and showed no sign of stopping:
– The overly slutty best friend who pushes bestie into screwing a hot stranger at the club.
– The constantly self-deprecating virgin, straight out of high-school who knows the stranger is an ass, but ‘oh well, he’s hot!’
– The fact that the virgin already has a boyfriend, but she’s seeking someone else to pop her cherry.


Alarm bells were ringing.
I’m thinking ‘Jesus… What have I gotten myself into?’

Luckily for everyone involved, it got better.
Way Better!

This book could probably be classified as a New Adult Romantic Comedy, but the first two(ish) chapters read as an overly-angsty hot mess. I worry that many readers will give up on this book before it hits it’s stride. That would be unfortunate. Once this book gained momentum, it was so much fun!

Let’s recap…

Angie

I just got married to my stepbrother.
In a freaking bikini.

Angie and I didn’t hit it off in the beginning, but she grew on me. She starts out in a club looking to lose her virginity to a stranger so that her douche-bag boyfriend won’t leave her when he discovers how bad she is in bed.

…and that’s why Angie and I won’t be palling around anytime soon.

First impressions are everything when it comes to main characters, and I wasn’t entirely sure Angie was mature enough to be in an Erotic Romance novel.

She seemed so young I was a little uncomfortable hearing about her vagina. Was I going to wind up on a list somewhere? Was I going to have to knock on doors and introduce myself?


But I digress…
Angie, is eighteen and ready to lose her V-Card before college!

She meets a hot guy, goes back to his place, and bails before said cherry is popped.

Fast forward a few weeks later and Angie is meeting her mom’s brand new fiancé for the first time. The fiancé brings his son to dinner who (SURPRISE!) is the hot dude who was almost her ‘first’.

Angie and Gavin manage to keep it together in front of their parents, but they’re on the verge of strangling each other all night.

After dinner Mom’s fiancé surprises Mom with tickets for a luxury cruise, but mom gets seasick so he throws them away. Angie snatches the tickets out of the trash and BAM! Shenanigans ensue…

Gavin

Even when she’s chewing me out, she’s cute as hell. I don’t know what it is about her. At first it was my pride. Hunting down the one who ran away. But, fuck, I love the way she challenges me, and she might deny it, but she enjoys it too.

Gavin isn’t just your stereotypical alpha douche-bag, she’s also a billionaire heir with an enormous chip on his shoulder.

By the way, this book is dual POV, so readers have the benefit of Gavin’s macho inner-monologue to balance out Angie’s girly musings.

Angie’s mother is just another woman in a long line of wives for Gavin’s father. He couldn’t care less about he pending nuptials, but he’s eager to make his new little step-sis as uncomfortable as humanly possible. When he overhears her plans to cash in their parents’ cruise tickets, he steps in to have a little fun.

Angie and Gavin wind up on the all expense paid luxury cruise and pretending to be their engaged parents so they don’t get thrown overboard.

That’s when this enemies to lovers romance really hit it’s stride.
All the best things in this book happened after the not-so-happy couple got on that boat and couldn’t escape each other.

Angie became a feisty little thing and refused to take any crap from Gavin.
Gavin showed there was something soft under his tattooed exterior.
And the UST, people! Oh the UST!

You already know that this pair was doomed to tie the knot, but the cute, funny, and sexy journey to the altar was the real adventure.

Kim Linwood is a new author with a great deal of promise. I feel there were a few growing pains in the beginning of this book, but overall, it was a success.

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Excerpt:

Gavin

This politeness shit grates on my nerves, but while Dad tolerates me— under doubt— most of the time, he’d cut me off completely if I did anything to fuck up family night with his fiancée. I don’t know what he’s expecting me to do, but he’s been so damn uptight about tonight that I’m tempted to go out there and be the asshole he apparently thinks I am.

I take my time, in no rush to get back to the lovebirds. Or Angie. Fucking Angie. Like I needed another reason to think about her, when it’s all I’ve been doing for the past three weeks. Why? No idea.

Maybe because she’s the first girl to turn me down, leaving me blue-balled and alone. Usually I’m the one that’s doing the running, but she left me high and dry. Didn’t even look back. She’s drop-dead fucking gorgeous, of course, but so are most of the girls I fuck. Or fucked. After that night, my heart hasn’t been in it. Three weeks is the longest I’ve gone in years. What’s so fucking magical about her pussy?

 Other than the fact that I haven’t been in it.

Is it really that simple? I just want what I can’t have? That would be nice, because I know the cure, and it’s between her legs. But the whole stepsister thing? That was a surprise and a fucking half. I’m supposed to stop noticing how hot she is just because our parents are screwing? No way. Just gets me harder. There’s something seriously hot about the idea of bending my brand new stepsister over her bed and fucking her silly. Hell, if our parents are downstairs, that’s just bonus.

Alright, gotta think of something else, or I’ll be fucking standing here all night, waiting for my hardon to ease up. There’s always my hand, I guess, but after three weeks, my hand and me are really getting to know each other way too well. At least we’re thinking about the same girl.

It’s tempting, but no way. I’m not going to jerk off in their ratty old bathroom like a loser. Maybe I’ll go out after this and get laid. Find someone, fuck them and move the hell on.

I tuck myself in, zip up, wash up, and head back to the living room.

Where no one is. Great. I don’t even want to know what Dad and my newest in a long line of stepmoms are up to in the kitchen. Let her dig for her gold. Angie was the only entertaining thing here. Where’d she go? Sitting around alone sounds boring as fuck.

I hear her voice, faintly. Following it, I head up their carpeted stairs. Maybe she’s in her room. Right away, my thoughts fill with all the dirty, filthy things I’d like to do to her there. I’m imagining it all little girl still, with pink wallpaper and horse pictures on the walls. My pants feel tighter as I react to the thought of her on her hands and knees on her bed, her perfect naked ass facing me. Jesus, this girl’s gonna kill me and she doesn’t even realize it. I really need to get laid. 

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An Interview with Kim Linwood:

Sell your book in five words or less:
Sexy, crazy stepbrother romance

What was the spark of inspiration which led to this book?
I was looking to write a novel, something that could be a little crazy and fun and still romantic. I’ve had a lot of fun with the stepbrother romances that have come out lately, where some of the top ones have great character dynamics, snappy dialogue and some pretty outrageous behavior. At the same time, I’d been toying with an idea for a story where a couple have to pretend to be something they’re not. Put the two together, and you get Rebel.

How did you come up with the character, Angie?
She went through a lot of iterations, starting out kind of bland, I thought. After a couple of rewrites, adding a bit of sass and gumption, I thought she came out pretty well, though. 🙂 A good match for Gavin.

What about the charismatic asshole, Gavin Caldwell?
I hate to say it, but it started with a pretty typical archetype. He’s the underachiever, cruising on the benefits he was born to, never really having learned to connect with people other than at a purely physical level. At the same time, due to his wealth, he’s become very jaded by everyone trying to get something from him, seeing only his money. When he suddenly finds someone he really and truly wants, and who seems to like him for who he is, he has no idea what to do. Luckily, he seems to figure it out.

Angie says if she could buy any one thing, it would be books.
Gavin says is he could have (not buy) and one thing, it would be time.
What would your answers be?
My answer for something to buy is pretty boring. A house. I’m blessed enough to have modest tastes and everything I really need. But we do live in an apartment, and I dream of owning a house one day. Hopefully my novels will get us there. 🙂

For something I can’t buy, I have to agree with Gavin. His time is for something in particular, but I just want more time, period. Life seems so short, and there’s so much to do. I want to live to be five hundred, at least! Assuming sound body and mind, of course. 🙂

Have you ever been on a cruise? Accidentally gotten married to your stepbrother? What kind of research did you do to prepare for writing this book?
I’ve actually never been, other than a couple of overnight ferries. I have grown up near the ocean and a major port, though, and am fairly familiar with nautical matters. Neither have I married my stepbrother, which is probably for the best. 😉 I don’t even have a stepbrother, so I’d have to put some work into setting it up to begin with, to be honest!

What is your favorite quote or moment from this story?
I had a great time writing Captain Chuck’s tall fishing tale. It entertained me at least, and hopefully readers as well. Otherwise, I think my favorite moment is the big event itself, just as they realize what’s going on.

Kim Linwood on Writing:

This is where the magic happens. Kim Linwood’s work-space.

How long have you known you wanted to be an author?
I’ve enjoyed writing my whole life, ever since I was a kid putting together stories with a pencil in my notebooks. The urge has come and gone depending on what was going on in my life, but suddenly I found myself in a good position to pursue it, so I jumped on it.

How do you keep your creativity flowing?
It’s difficult sometimes, but it’s important to find something to do if I’m stuck. I’ll wash dishes, or go for a run, or maybe go to a cafe in town. Something to change my current mode, maybe derail my train of thought for a while. Usually, inspiration will strike.

How long did it take for you to write Rebel?
From concept to publishing was somewhere between a month and a half and two months.

We’re loving the cover of this book! Who designed it?
Cormar Covers. She’s fantastic at taking a piece of stock art and making it look fresh and unique.

What advice do you have for new authors? Is there anything you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
Be prepared for success. It probably sounds really cocky, but I seriously had no expection of Rebel to do as well as it has, so when it charged up to be #11 in the entire Amazon Kindle store, I was overwhelmed with emails, requests and attention that I was totally unprepared for. It’s thrown off my whole May schedule, though admittedly in a fun and exciting way. Saying that, I’m not totally sure how I’d prepare, other than to plan for more promotion and email time.

How do you deal with bad reviews? Any advice for other authors in that regard?
Ignore them. Look at your ratios instead. If most of your reviews are bad, that’s a sign, but if you get mostly good reviews, chances are you’re doing something right, but that your book just wasn’t for that person. We all have different tastes.

What additional projects are you working on?
Currently, all I’ve got time for is my next stepbrother romance, which doesn’t have a title yet. I’m actually about to start putting the first words down tonight after this interview. 🙂

Kim Linwood on Reading:

What book have you read more times than any other?
I don’t reread books all that often, but a series I’ve been reminded of recently and really want to return to is the Kushiel series by Jacqueline Carey. They’re absolutely fantastic!

What is the latest book you’ve bought and read?
Tool, by Sabrina Paige. In my opinion, she’s rocking it with stepbrother romances right now, and it’s inspiring to read what others are doing. Her book Cannon just came out, so it’s just moved to the top of my TBR pile. 😀

Is there a book you keep meaning to read, but haven’t gotten around to it? Don’t worry, we all have ridiculously long TBRs! 
It’s actually a craft book. On Writing by Stephen King. He’s such a phenomenon in authoring, and while I hear some of the publishing advice is pretty dated, a lot of the craft info itself is supposed to be great.

Do you recall the first piece of Erotica you ever read?
I don’t remember what it was, but it was in some dirty magazines that I found with some friends near the end of grade school. Penthouse, I think. Totally too early for us, but we found them and weren’t going to not read them.

Do you recall the first Romance you ever read?
I actually came to Romance pretty late, as in only a couple of years ago. I grew up reading a lot of fantasy and sci fi, and I still love a good space opera or dragon-infested epic. You’d think I’d remember what the first one was, but I actually don’t. I suspect I didn’t like it much, but I’ve found others since that I’ve really enjoyed. 🙂

Kim Linwood on Play Time:

When you’re not hard at work writing, what do you do with your time?
I’m blissfully married and have two boys in grade school, so most free time goes to spending it with my family.

What’s the first thing on your Bucket List?
I want to go to space! It’s something I’ve always dreamed of, but from what I can tell, while sales are good, they’re still going to have to pick up quite a bit if I want to hitch a ride to the ISS or something like that. But I keep hoping an opportunity will show up. To be able to see the Earth from space sounds like just about the most beautiful moment I can imagine.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I do, but I’m not telling. 😉

Favorite Swear Word?
The good old default: fuck. What can’t you use fuck for?

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Giveaway:

Kim Linwood has graciously offered to give away three eBook copies of Rebel: A Stepbrother Romance – Click here to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author:

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Kim Linwood is a sucker for bad boys, billionaires and alpha males. If they’re all three at once, that’s even better. When she’s not writing about romantic conflicts and witty dialogue, she’s herding two growing boys (who are of course not bad) with her husband.

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3 thoughts on “Kim Linwood – Rebel: A Stepbrother Romance (Review, Excerpt, Interview, & Giveaway)

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