Book Review + Giveaway: Beautiful Stranger by Christina Lauren

Escaping a cheating ex, finance whiz Sara Dillon’s moved to New York City and is looking for excitement and passion without a lot of strings attached. So meeting the irresistible, sexy Brit at a dance club should have meant nothing more than a night’s fun. But the manner—and speed—with which he melts her inhibitions turns him from a one-time hookup and into her Beautiful Stranger.

The whole city knows that Max Stella loves women, not that he’s ever found one he particularly wants to keep around. Despite pulling in plenty with his Wall Street bad boy charm, it’s not until Sara—and the wild photos she lets him take of her—that he starts wondering if there’s someone for him outside of the bedroom.

Hooking up in places where anybody could catch them, the only thing scarier for Sara than getting caught in public is having Max get too close in private.

"Pick Your Favorite" is a dangerous game to play with a series, especially when all of your options are spectacular. But, I have to say, Max Stella is my favorite out of all the Beautiful men. More so than the Bastard and the Player, the Stranger captured my heart! (Okay, maybe it wasn't a fair fight because I was imagining Henry Cavill as British Max the whole time...You must head over to for this amazing interview.)

The book begins with Sara Dillon. After moving into a new apartment, Sara joins girlfriends Chloe and Julia for a night of drinks and dancing. Sara is in desperate need of change and revitalization! And you know what would be something totally different from Old Sara? Old, routine, reserved Sara? A naughty nightclub hookup! *SQUEE* I had to stop and fan myself after she...meets...this beautiful, British stranger. Way to say hello! ;)
He lifted my other leg, wrapping both around his waist, and then, for the span of several perfect seconds in the darkness, he started to really move. Fast and urgent, he let out the most delicious grunts and there would be no question what was happening if someone happened upon our little corner of this balcony. With that thought alone--where we were, what we were doing, and the possibility that someone could see this man taking me so roughly--I was lost.
Her hookup, however, turns out to be wealthy and successful "playboy" Max Stella...a good friend and colleague of her boss, Bennett Ryan! Their paths inevitably cross because of this, and there's yet another *fans self*-scene. This time, it takes place in...the middle of a restaurant. Then, another. When they sneak off during a charity event. Aaah, and there's the pattern. Impulse. Passion...In public.

Max and Sara decide to make an arrangement: one night a week, no strings attached. Every single one of their mysterious trysts only get better and better. The risk! The adrenaline! While the hate-fucking and snark from the first book of the series was fun and intense...Max and Sara are an entirely different kind of risque.

Authors Christina and Lauren knew how to make you feel the heat of a moment in Beautiful Bastard, and they absolutely stepped that Beautiful Stranger. Spontaneity. Exhibition. Adventure. Case in point? The Library Scene. The-holy crap-slow motion read this-Library Scene.
We were at the end of a darkened row, but I could hear the faint sounds of someone else a few stacks down. I bit my lip as Max slid his hand around my hip and between my legs...

"Keep reading."
Then, that good ol' "shift" comes around. Max and Sara had a deal. They had boundaries and rules...but what's that saying? Rules are made to be broken? ;) Max begins to want more, while Sara insists on keeping him at arms length. Their playtime does continue, but I could start to see the "something more" brewing in the background. (Page 170: Fireworks. Slow. Clap.)

Oh, did the lines get miiighty blurry. They learn more about each others' past, and Max finally understands the kind of pain that Sara left behind in Chicago. In Beautiful Bastard, we were just told that Sara's boyfriend was a cheating douchebag. In this book, more pieces are added to the puzzle, and we learn how awful Andy really is. *lightbulb*

I never got impatient or irritated with these two. I understood why Sara was holding back, and I loved anticipating those walls coming down and watching the distance close in. Everything that they did together led to the game changing, the rules getting a little amending...I loved that slow-but-sure buildup!
"Thank you for trusting me to be your first crazy decision."
As Max and Sara fell deeper, I was addicted to every second of their wild, heart-pounding adventure! It was about connecting and exploring, passion and excitement. (Page 266: Did he just say it's a-...Oh. My. God.)

 I also want to mention, like in book one, the more intimate "milestone" moments happened in ways completely unique to this couple. Those scenes were distinctly Max and Sara!
"Our last rule, broken. Her permission said more than words ever could."
Of course, though, their crazy rendezvous could only be kept secret for so long! Afterall, Max and Bennett are friends...
"Well, well." At the sound, every head in the room turned in the direction of the door. "Glad everyone could make it," Bennett said as he walked in...
*ACTUAL CACKLING BECAUSE THAT SCENE WAS SO GOOD* The dialogue in this book, once again, was fantastic. The delivery of every line. From Max's bromantic banter with Bennett and business partner Will, to Sara's girl talk with Chloe, and even the cute and sassy quips from Sara's assistant set the mood for each scene flawlessly.

Then...*sigh*...things took a turn off course. It was that sharp descent after enjoying a high for so long. Similar to Chloe and Bennett's affinity for lingerie...ahem...Max and Sara also had a very particular fetish. Only theirs resulted in much more drastic consequences.
Page 307: "My heart stopped. It was gone." -- Nooo!

Page 308: "We looked at the footage." -- NOOOOOO.
I saw this part coming, too! From the beginning, the paranoia lingered in the back of my head, but I was still "Oh, shit" angsty when it happened. My reaction was really one long "Damn iiiiiiit." Luckily, some relief was provided to keep me from going completely crazy! ;)
Page 317: "Cancel everything and then get your stuff. We're getting day-drunk." -- Praise you, Chloe, for giving us one of the most quotable quotes in all of quote-dom.

Page 321: "Calm your tits. I put a flask in your desk drawer. It's pink and sparkly but don't fall in love; it's mine." -- Praise you, George, for being an awesome assistant.

Page 323: "I'm here to return the favor." -- And BENNETT, you BEAUTIFUL bastard.
So, how did it all end? How was the big problem fixed??? Well, I think this last note of mine pretty much sums it up...
Page 332: Max, man. Fuuuck.
LOL! Okay, my heart ached a little bit, but then it was soothed in just the right way. I was utterly infatuated with Max Stella and Sara Dillon! Their story was sultry, wild, and thrilling. When it was all said and done, I thought the plot had unraveled at the perfect pace, hooking my attention with every page-turn. The whole vibe of this book and these characters deserve 5 stars!


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