There are some books so beautiful that you just know that they will stick with you for quite awhile, if not forever. Right now, that book for me is book two of the Beautiful Series by Christina Lauren—Beautiful Stranger.
I didn’t think it could get much better than book one of the series, Beautiful Bastard. But I was so wrong.
Beautiful Stranger follows Beautiful Bastard’s main characters Chloe and Bennett’s friends, Sara and Max. Sara Dillon is the heiress of department store chain owners and has just gotten out of a terrible, long-term relationship that has left her with no trust in men. Max Stella is a notorious playboy—a Brit making his name known in NYC life. When the two meet one night at a club, sparks fly, and many spontaneous sexual encounters ensue. And although it starts off as just sex, as always, feelings develop between the pair.
This book is not for the faint-hearted—those who cannot handle reading sex scenes and reading graphic sexual encounters. To me, the sex scenes in this book were much more descriptive and provocative than those in the first novel of this series. However, with that being said, it was perfect for the two main characters, Sara and Max. They were tastefully written and not cringe-worthy in the slightest. In fact, it was sex that enhanced the plot rather than hindered it, and I appreciated that aspect of the novel greatly.
Authors Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings truly know how to write exceptional characters. Max Stella definitely makes the list of my favorite male characters of all time. He was stunning from the first mention until the last page. Of course, on the surface, he’s the typical playboy that all girls love to hate and hate to love, but underneath, he’s truly a model human being. Not only is he described as attractive, but he’s so attentive to Sara and so in tune with her desires and needs and feelings and overall well-being that it’s sickeningly sweet. Max’s attitude toward Sara made me crave a Max of my own, and that doesn’t happen often in novels.
One of my favorite quotes from Max and Sara happened almost midway through the novel, before one of their sex scenes.
(This is from Sara’s POV)
“…You didn’t even notice my shoes.”
“Like hell I didn’t. God save the Queen,” he said dryly, winking at me. “I notice every single thing about you, Sara.”
“Where’s my birthmark?”
“On your right side, just beneath your smallest rib.”
“Do you have a favorite freckle?”
Tricky question, I thought. I don’t have many freckles.
“The one on your wrist.” I glanced down to the freckle in question, impressed.
Max notices everything about her, and we quickly notice that the “sex only” relationship between he and Sara isn’t working because he’s falling in love with her. Two female authors truly captured the male voice fantastically and created the perfect man. Honestly, he’s fictional and I’m smitten.
And Sara. I felt so connected to Sara even though we’re nothing alike. I think how terrified she is to be in a committed relationship is something that can resonate with every female that reads the novel, because most women seem to be afraid of putting their feelings out there for a man to potentially destroy—especially someone as notorious as Max Stella.
Sara had been cheated on for six years by her ex-boyfriend, and just through her descriptions and dialogue and internal thoughts, I could feel her struggle. Once again, the authors proved over and over how talented they are as writers through their description and character development.
This novel is an obvious page-turner and kept me up at night just wanting to read it. I loved how daring Max and Sara’s relationship was and how exploratory Hobbs and Billings were with Max and Sara’s emotional relationship as well as their sexual relationship. It was a joy to read, and honestly, I want more of Max and Sara.
I plan to read all the books that this duo writes together. They are truly masters of this genre.
A solid 5/5 stars for me. Beautiful Stranger is a truly amazing book that deserves so much recognition for its brilliance. Be sure to check out the authors and their books!