Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️
It’s been a few days since I finished reading JD Hawkins’s Bad Boy Benefits. I wanted this book because the glimpses of chemistry between Toby and Maeve in the first book of this series of standalones, Playing Doctor, piqued my curiosity and interest. Would they act upon it or would they continue to deny themselves? What I found with Hawkins’s newest book is a darkness in its soul. It’s hard to explain why I was intrigued and compelled by Bad Boy Benefits. I’ll be honest. It’s initially difficult to like Toby and Maeve. In thinking about it, I believe it has to do with their displays of vanity. Maeve and Toby evoke that Los Angeles facade, the one where everything looks terribly beautiful and almost cinematic but underneath lies something more grave. For me, belying Maeve and Toby’s facades is insecurity. And it sets a graveness to Hawkins’s story which, by my estimation, is intriguing.
Here’s the thing: Hawkins makes you work for Maeve and Toby’s happy ending. These two are my favorite type of couple in romancelandia: they fight and fight and fight their attraction until it spills over into a gristly, meaty explosion of attraction. In the midst of that explosion, they become their most real, their most vulnerable, and you earn this reprieve from their fight. However, Hawkins doesn’t allow you to rest there long. Instead, he pummels his reader with their continued fight against vulnerability. There were moments in this romance when I didn’t like Maeve and Toby. They wounded each other, they catastrophized the simple act of falling in love. However, it was there when I appreciated Hawkins’s Bad Boy Benefits most. I had liked his Playing Doctor, but I never felt too emotionally connected to his hero and heroine in that story. Even more, it felt a bit one-note.
That, to me, is not the case with Bad Boy Benefits. There is fire and fight in this book that makes it feel graver and deeper than Playing Doctor. What I had anticipated isn’t what I received by reading this book; in fact, it was much, much more.
If you like a little fight towards a happy ending, then you will LOVE JD Hawkins’s Bad Boy Benefits.
In love and romance,