Sometimes the stepbrother trope doesn’t work for me.
I like the stepbrother/stepsister in love sub genre of romance, but sometimes it frustrates me to no end. In this instance the two main characters, Cole and Katie, are in college and attracted to each other when they learn their parents are dating and want to marry. Neither of them lives in the same house as the parents or each other, so it just seems silly to me to use that as a reason to be not be together.
I mean how can it be taboo when there is nothing brotherly or sisterly about the situation? The trope is taboo if the steps grow up together. It is actually pretty incestuous in my eyes if the parents marry and move in together when step siblings are young children. Though they don’t share blood to make it the actual definition of incest, it is pretty taboo for kids that spend most of their childhood as siblings to then end up together.
I have an adopted sister, and though I know steps are technically different from adoption because step siblings each still have different parent(s), it is similar in that they grow up in the same house and don’t share blood. I consider my adopted sister no different than my other two sisters that I am related to by blood. So possibly that is why I feel this way.
The situations where I really like the step siblings in love trope are when the two are in high school or college and live in the same house for a year or a few years. That is taboo enough where they should worry about their parents reaction and possibly even the public at large. In these cases I think the trope or sub genre is hot, though it doesn’t have the yuk factor of them growing up as siblings. I like it especially if they know each other first (before their parents marry).
In the situation with Cole and Katie, I think it is pretty much a non-issue since neither lived together before the parents marriage. It is weird that anyone would even think it is scandalous (other than possibly as a headline, but even then the reader would probably just blow off the article once they read the actual facts). I mean nobody would think it scandalous if things happened in reverse and a young couple were getting married and one of each of their parents met and got together. Nobody would say, you need to divorce now because your parents fell in love and if they get married your husband will be your stepbrother.
Despite the fact that I think the step siblings issue between Katie and Cole is not an issue, Katie thinks it is an issue so we have a storyline for these two. The romance in this one is terrific. I like how they meet, how they bicker, the fact that they both start out wanting just a one night stand.
Also, the storyline about Cole’s job as Mr. OMG, a shock jock type talk radio host is a good one. Especially since his radio shows “gimmick” is to give relationship advice, which is often that the single life and lots of sex is the way to go. Though he is a big proponent for men being generous instead of selfish in the lovemaking department.
Katie never had the big “O” with any of her former boyfriends, but she is able to achieve it without any problems while alone and listening to Mr. OMG on the radio. She is a big fan of the show, though she is aware that Mr. OMG sometimes gives bad advice. Katie herself has called into the show for advice.
After Katie and Cole meet and hook up (hot & steamy 🔥🔥🔥🔥), Katie calls in a second time. Cole uses voice modification on the air so Katie has no clue it is him, and he wants to keep it that way after deciding he wants more than just one night with Katie. Between this storyline, the parents marriage and a few other smaller storylines, I was very pretty happy with the book despite my issues with them being or not really being steps.
The issues I did have with the trope were answered later in the book. I won’t spoil it, but it does explain the reason for Katie’s concerns about them being stepbrother/stepsister, and it was logical. Overall, I would recommend this book as a light romance, an easy read and fairly quick (< 225 pages), with great characters and a good story.
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