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.
“This is serious, Poppy. Will you promise?”
“What am I promising?” This man had a way of getting me to say things, to feel things, to admit things that I might not have otherwise. I wasn’t sure if it was because he was older and wiser and that much more cunning at these types of discussions, or if it was just because being near him seemed to physically lower my inhibitions. He was like a walking shot of tequila.
“I need you to promise me that if anything physical happens between us—that it will be very consensual, and very sex-positive. I need you to understand that I will worship you and make you come So. Many. Fucking Times.”
He annunciated those words so clearly and slowly, I felt them with every beat of my heart, every pulse of heat between my legs.
Oblivious to my hammering heart, Zach continued. “But I also need you to know that if I do or say anything you don’t like, all you have to do is say so and everything will stop. Just the word no, Poppy. Use it and I promise to leave you alone.”
“Leave me alone as in stop mentoring me, stop helping me in the program?”
His face was serious and he shook his head without even considering it. “I will never stop mentoring you, as long as you want it. Giving in to our attraction—or not—will never be a condition for my help. I want you to succeed, and it has nothing to do with how much I want you in my bed. Do you understand that?”
I felt myself nodding my head.
I knew what he was saying. Despite how aggressively Zach put his feelings on the subject of us out there—I knew he’d never betray my wishes.
“Okay,” I murmured.
He considered me for a long moment, neither of us blinking.
“Why did you approach me that night at the party, Poppy. Did you find me attractive?”
Was he fucking serious?
Of course I find him attractive. Actually, attractive was too weak a word. I found him mesmerizing. Addictive. Enchanting. Impossible.
“I’m not saying I do, but if I wanted something to happen …” I swallowed a wave of nerves and took a shallow breath as Zach’s mouth curved into a grin.
“Something as in finding out how many times in a row I can make you come using my mouth, my hands, and my …”
I held up one hand. “Yes. That. How would it work, isn’t it, like, forbidden?”
God, why did the word forbidden make me feel even hotter?
What’s sexier than a little forbidden romance, a fire that burns hot below the surface, but must remain hidden? Add a side of single mom, and you’ve got xo, ZACH, thw latest sweet and spicy story from author Kendall Ryan to hit the shelves.
Poppy Ellis isn’t like the other grad students that adviser Zach Austin has dealt with. A gifted poet and writer, she’s got all the talent necessary to really make a go of things. But there are other things that separate her from his other students, not the least of which is the white-hot desire that he feels for her, the sort that makes a man do crazy, crazy things.
Poppy isn’t at school to find a boyfriend, but heck if she can stay away from Zach. Forbidden as their relationship may be, Zach ignites a spark in her that she’s never experienced, one that makes it hard to remember just where her priorities lie.
Kendall Ryan has done her usual stellar job of giving readers a story filled with chemistry, with humor, and with tenderness, about people that just can’t fight that magnetic pull that will bring them together despite their best intentions.
I really like both Zach and Poppy. They’re down-to-earth, grounded and comfortable with themselves, dedicated to doing their best at their roles, be it scholar, lover, mother. But they’re also insanely attracted to each other, mind and body, and so drawn to each other that staying apart seems almost impossible. Even knowing this, I was rooting for the two of them to find their stride, and do whatever it took to make their ending a happy one.
The supporting characters are absolutely wonderful, and steal the scene many a time. Zach’s mom is a riot, and Jodie and Kody are the kind of best friends that everyone should have, bringing humor and warmth to this already delightful story.
xo, Zach is a little bit of a departure from Kendall’s most recent books, and, while no less sexy, has a softness to it that really worked for me. This is a solid 4-star read for me, and one that fans of Kendall’s books, or anyone looking for a sexy, sweet, sassy romantic comedy, should add to their TBR.
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.
Visit her at: www.kendallryanbooks.com for the latest book news, and fun extras
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