#BlogTour “Birthday Girl” by Penelope Douglas

Title: Birthday Girl
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Penelope Douglas
Release Date: April 17, 2018

Musings…
5 Make a Wish CROWNS
Penelope Douglas is one of those authors that appears on my one-click author list.  The writer who I do not need a title, a cover, or a blurb in order to buy it.  I just need to know that she wrote it to know that I am going to read it. However, when I heard the word taboo, it gave me pause. The one genre I tend to stay away from has been written by one of my favorites. What do I do? You read it, obviously, and I was pleasantly surprised with the depth of the relationship between Pike and Jordan and the romance created between them.
If my boyfriend’s father had been Pike Lawson, I might have been in some trouble. Not only does he have that hot older man, perfect like aged liquor, quality happening, but the way he cares about his son, the way he tries always to do the right thing, and the way he tries to protect those he loves makes me enamored with his personality. He is self-aware, which isn’t a surprise for his age, but I love that he wants the simple things in life, which matches the “old-soul” of Jordan. As with most of Douglas’s men, Pike’s skill in the bedroom is top notch, and she delivers a hero who will set your body aflame from the glances across to the room to the way he touches her. Readers are going to love this man, and he is one of my favorite Penelope Douglas heroes.
Jordan was going to be the character who made or broke the story for me. If she was too immature, I would have rolled my eyes. If she was too mature, it would have been unbelievable, shattering the taboo illusion.  Penelope Douglas, however, hits the right balance of both. Are there moments when Jordan acts 19, yes. She throws fits when her emotions get the better than her, but she also has an authentic maturity based on her past.  Her development as a character makes her a teenager who longs, as well, for a simple life. She wants a home, to be loved, to be appreciate for the who she is.  She finds the companionship she has always yearned for with Pike, and the physical attraction, which is not something that can always be helped, that sets her body and soul aflame. What solidifies my adoration of her character, though, is her actions when the climax of the story arrives. The way she puts herself first and chooses self-preservation had me cheering, as it should an evolution of character.
The beginning of the story was a tad slow in terms of pacing, but a part of this is because of my perceptions of the taboo genre.  I expected lots of heat-inducing, secretive moments, and I got that but not as quickly as I thought. There was a considerable amount of time put into to developing the relationship of Jordan and Pike, showing them getting to know each other, to learn about their likes and dislikes, to forge a real friendship, making their relationship believable.  This is about more than lust.  Pike and Jordan have the foundation of a real relationship, one built to last. Obviously, it doesn’t last forever, because there would be no story without conflict, but the expected reveal occurs in an unexpected way, and I found that I enjoyed the weakness it exposed in the hero and the strength it exposed in the heroine. The resolution is the HEA readers of romance long for, and the way Penelope Douglas pulls it altogether gives all players the ending they deserve.
I love when a writer puts me in the gray, when he/she shakes up my preconceived notions of acceptable, such as age gaps, particularly younger characters (adult teens, at least 18) and an older person, especially when the relationship is based on more than lust or what one can gain from the other. She shows that there can be real authentic connections between people of different ages because it is very much about the experiences we have that shape us, and those defining moments can make us suitable for other people. It is also about following your heart and not worrying about society and their expectations. It is about what makes you happy and whole and who sets your soul and body aflame. Everyone deserves that.
ARC received in exchange for an honest review.


 Synopsis:

JORDAN

He took me in when I had nowhere else to go.

He doesn’t use me, hurt me, or forget about me. He doesn’t treat me like I’m nothing, take me for granted, or make me feel unsafe.

He remembers me, laughs with me, and looks at me. He listens to me, protects me, and sees me. I can feel his eyes on me over the breakfast table, and my heart pumps so hard when I hear him pull in the driveway after work.

I have to stop this. It can’t happen.

My sister once told me there are no good men, and if you find one, he’s probably unavailable.

Only Pike Lawson isn’t the unavailable one.

I am.

PIKE

I took her in, because I thought I was helping.

She’d cook a few meals and clean up a little. It was an easy arrangement.

As the days go by, though, it’s becoming anything but easy. I have to stop my mind from drifting to her and stop holding my breath every time I bump into her in the house. I can’t touch her, and I shouldn’t want to.

The more I find my path crossing hers, though, the more she’s becoming a part of me.

But we’re not free to give into this. She’s nineteen, and I’m thirty-eight.

And her boyfriend’s father.

Unfortunately, they both just moved into my house.

*BIRTHDAY GIRL is a stand-alone, contemporary romance suitable for ages 18+.

Buy a Copy of Birthday Girl today!

Amazon US ♦ Amazon CA ♦ Amazon UK ♦ Amazon AUS


EXCERPT

PIKE

“What the hell is she wearing?” I grumble, sliding into the booth.

Dutch turns his head toward me, his drink inches from his lips. “It’s the lingerie show,” he tells me. “They have it every Thursday night. The bartenders and servers don nighties or corsets and serve drinks and food. It’s fun.”

No, not really.

But I look around and see a few other ladies carrying out appetizers and bringing drinks, some of them in very thin attire. At least Jordan’s corset looks as thin as armor.

“But Jordan’s never done it before,” he goes on. “That’s what shocked me. Thought you should know.”

“Why the fuck would I want to know?” I pull a beer out of the ice bucket on the table.

“Yeah, sorry.” He turns away, mumbling into his glass, “You seem like you couldn’t care less.”

I shoot him a sideways look, hearing the laughter in his words.

Sticking the beer back in the bucket, untouched, I rise and head to the bar. I hear a snort behind me, but I don’t care. She’s kind of my responsibility, and I don’t want her doing things like this, because she thinks she needs money.

There’s only one bartender besides Jordan. The owner, Shel. I’m sure she hasn’t forgotten me, so I veer to the opposite end and catch Jordan’s attention as she pops the tops from a line of six bottles of beer.

“What the hell are you wearing?” I lean in, speaking as quietly as I can.

She jerks her head toward me, meets my eyes, and quickly turns away again like I’m the last person she wants to deal with right now.

She hands over the beers, collects the cash and spins around, punching the screen in front of her. “It’s fine,” she assures me. “It’s just a corset, Pike.”

“They are all looking at you.”

She nods, smiling sarcastically. “That’s the point.”

“Jordan,” I sigh, trying to whisper as I squeeze around some old dude at the bar. “This is a small town. What if your father were to walk in?”

“He doesn’t come in here,” she says, closing the register drawer and finally looking at me. “And neither do you, normally.” A blush crosses her cheeks. “Besides, I’m not stupid. I wouldn’t take part in something I thought would humiliate me.”

She turns and hands the change back to the customer, but he waves her off, letting her keep it. She smiles and turns back around, dropping the bills into an already overflowing canister.

“What are you even doing here?” she says, starting to mix another drink. “I thought you were sitting the bachelor party out, because…” She sets the bottle down and does air quotes as she imitates my growling voice, “‘there needed to be at least one sober person at work tomorrow’.”

I arch a brow at her. I don’t sound like that.

Reaching into my pocket, I pull out the flyer and push it over the bar at her.

She stills, and her face goes ashen. “Where did you find that?”

She grabs it and dumps it somewhere under her. To a trash can probably.

Taking a napkin, she sets it in front of a customer and gives him the fresh drink she just made.

“If you need money,” I tell her, “I’ll lend you whatever you need, okay?”

And she stops, slowly turning her eyes on me. Her gaze sharpens, angry, and she looks like she wants to yell at me, but she doesn’t. Instead she whips around and barrels down the bar and through the partition, turning only enough to crook a finger at me before she twirls back around and heads down the hallway.

My stomach sinks. I really don’t mean to piss her off as much as I do. What did I say now?

Veering through the crowd, I make my way down the empty hallway, finally coming to the same room she was crying in when I pissed her off the last time.

Entering through the open door, I see her standing with her hands on her hips and her head cocked at me.

“I would rather eat from a dumpster than take money from you,” she bites out.

I should shut up. But God help me, I can’t. “Hate to break it to you, but you already do,” I tell her. “You live in a house where you pay no rent or utilities, young lady.”

“I cook and clean for you!” she shouts, but I doubt anyone can hear us back here and through the music. “I pay my way, you arrogant prick!”

“Alright, alright,” I growl, blinking long and hard. “You’re right, okay? But, Jordan, men will get ideas. They’ll think they have a free pass and they can touch what belongs to my son. You’re embarrassing him.”

“Your son?” she mocks, laughing. “Well, you just missed him, actually. He already saw me, and he doesn’t care, Pike. He thought I looked good, and then he left with his friends. He doesn’t care!”

“Well, I care!”

The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them, and I freeze, almost too afraid to breathe.

Oh, shit. What did I just say?



About The Author:

Penelope Douglas is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her books have been translated into thirteen languages and include The Fall Away Series, The Devil’s Night Series, and the standalones, Misconduct, Punk 57, and now Birthday Girl. Please look for Kill Switch (Devil’s Night #3), coming later this year, and the standalone, Motel, coming in 2019. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and their daughter.

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Happy reading,

4 Comments

  1. I actually like that both Pike and Jordan stayed away from showing any feelings for each other while Cole was in the picture. It also worked that Cole was a crap boyfriend. The age gap to me was perfectly fine and yes it would not have worked if Jordan was immature. I agree that anything Penelope Douglas writes is a must read and Birthday Girl was another great book.

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