Thursday, January 25, 2018

Review Blitz: XO, Zach by Kendall Ryan

The first time we met was at a party.

Your ex arrived to show off the person he'd left you for last month, and you asked me to pretend to be your date.

I was more than happy to help. You were attractive, smart and witty--and that kiss we shared? It left me wanting you for days.

The second time we met was in my office on campus where we were both surprised to discover you were the new master’s degree student in poetry that I would be working with. You promised to be professional. I did no such thing.

The late nights and intense study sessions spent alongside you majorly throw me off my game. I want you, and I fight with myself daily over this fact.

I know I'm crass, that my sexual innuendos and dirty mouth annoy you, but I live for those two bright spots of color in your cheeks. If that's the only reaction I can get out of you, I'll gladly take it.

You hate Mondays so every Monday I slip an anonymous poem into your bag and your smile gets me through the week.

I think I'm falling for you, and I know it's wrong. I know that I'm only supposed to be your adviser and nothing more, but here's the thing. I think you're falling for me too.

xo, Zach

4 stars
Review by Lisa Kane

Is there anything more delicious than a forbidden romance? The whole time I'm reading one I feel slightly naughty, a little paranoid that somebody's going to get caught and then what will happen? Their careers might be destroyed, gasp....their hearts might be broken...catches breath...or maybe everything I worried about will be okay and love will win after all.

Zach Austin is the assistant director for a university's creative writing program. He's the youngest assistant they've had at the college and students constantly hit on him, thinking he was a grad student. He loves his job but he has plans to move to New York and finish the book he started writing a long time ago. Classes resume in a few days and he's looking forward to this semester.

Poppy Ellis is a poetry grad student about to start her master's program. She's all for spending a night in but is dragged out by her best friend. Where she spies her ex with another girl The ex that is just barely an ex. Jason wasted no time in dumping her and taking up with her replacement.

My ex, Jason, had just walked into the party. And he wasn't alone. Trailing behind him was his new girlfriend, the one he stared dating about three seconds after we broke up.

What to do? This is quite the sticky wicky and Poppy needs to come up with a plan so she doesn't look like some pathetic lonely cast off. Oh look at that gorgeous man just ripe for the pickings. So Poppy goes up to Zach, quickly spins her tale of woe and prays he play along.

"Look," I said as he observed me with a slight smile, "I know you don't know me, but my ex just walked in with his new girlfriend, and he's a total asshole, so I need you to pretend to be my date."

So Zach, the poster child for perfect white teeth agrees to go along with the charade. Of course, the fact that Poppy is gorgeous is no hardship.

Once the charade is over, Poppy makes her move to leave.

"Who knows, if it's meant to be, maybe we'll meet again."
Of it's meant to be.

You know where this is going. You've read the blurb. Zach is Poppy's adviser this semester. This could be a good thing..or maybe this is a bad thing.

She stood rooted in place. "This has to be some kind of mistake."
"Poppy Ellis, poetry grad student," I read aloud from the folder I realized was still in my hands. "Welcome to the program. I'll be your adviser."
Swallowing a lump in her throat, Poppy gave a slow, solemn nod and followed me through the office door. 

Poppy has reasons she needs to get her masters and move one with her life. Getting sidetracked, even if it's because of a walking talking perfect specimen of hunkery is just plain stupid.

I couldn't risk things going wrong. I had worked so hard to get into this program, and now I was thinking of throwing it away over some guy I kissed once?

Zach is kinda a package deal with his aura reading, crazy as a loon mother. She keeps him in check.

"So lovely to meet you, Poppy. I take it you're the beautiful woman who has my son masturbating through the night?"
Oh, Jesus. I shoved down the urge to throw something and ask her to fetch it far, far away from us.
"Just ignore her. She was raised by feral wolves."

I'm enjoying the fun in this plot line, but of course I'm no novice, I know the sexy times are going to hit an avalanche and my heart is going to tumble right down.

"You told me to move on, that we couldn't be together. What was I supposed to do? Wait for you?"

Hold on a sec while I reach for my Tums.
Oh boy all the secrets are coming out, good thing I buckled up my seat belt.

"I want a shot with you. I always have."

Now he isn't a professor, so this shouldn't create too much drama. It would be far worse if he was actually her professor, instead of her adviser. But I'm thinking we're in for some more drama.

"I don't know. I don't want to resign from my job any more than you want to resign from the program."

Like I said, forbidden romances are so delicious. The hiding their relationship part, the sneaking around, the fear of exposure. Ah...such bliss!

"From that first moment you approached me at the party, you've owned a piece of my heart."

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A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 1.5 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world. She's a traditionally published author with Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins UK, as well as an independently published author. Since she first began self-publishing in 2012, she's appeared at #1 on Barnes & Noble and iBooks charts around the world. Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than three dozen times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine.

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