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Beneath the Hood: A Forbidden, Age Gap Romance (Sugarlake Series, Book Three) Paperback – April 3, 2021

4.5 out of 5 stars 929 ratings

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Emily McIntire (April 3, 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 384 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1734999470
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1734999471
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.08 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 0.96 x 8.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 929 ratings

About the author

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Emily McIntire is an international and Amazon Top 15 best selling author known for her Never After Series, where she gives our favorite villains their happily ever afters. With books that range from small town to dark romance, she doesn’t like to box herself into one type of story, but at the core of all her novels is soul deep love. When she’s not writing you can find her waiting on her long lost Hogwarts letter, enjoying her family, or lost between the pages of a good book.

Join Emily's Facebook group: The McIncult

TikTok: @authoremilymcintire

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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
929 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 6, 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt and steamy
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 6, 2021
Age gap taboo, emotional storytelling, and an author I’ve been dying to read? Why yes, it was time for me to pick up this series, and let me tell you, I’m kicking myself for not diving in sooner. I’ve moved right on into the Sugarlake magic, and I’m pretty sure I’m never going to leave.

Fans of the series will know this is Jackson’s story, the sweet bestie whose permanent friendzone status with his best friend/love of his life ultimately had him fleeing Sugarlake to return to California to live his and his beloved father’s dream of building cars for the big screen. A job that puts him in the sights of the much younger thorn in his side, Blakely, daughter of Jax’s producer boss. But some light flirting and a chance intensely vulnerable moment between them opens the door to their relationship being something else- only these two have more baggage than a LAX baggage claim- baggage that will become an obstacle not only to their happiness together but also their own self-identity.

I expected to not like Blakely- or to at least need time to warm up to her. On paper, Blakely is the kind of character I tend to dismiss. A social media influencer, a marionetted socialite, and later teen who complains about her privilege. But Blakely is truly none of those things- she’s such a special heroine. Mature beyond her years, she’s simply a survivor. A woman trying to cope with her own demons, a girl trapped by responsibilities that subversively traumatize her. There is an irony in her contrast- a woman with millions of instagram followers is one of the most heartbreakingly isolated and lonely characters I’ve read. A girl whose image is so disgeneously curated yet she’s perhaps one of the most genuine, REAL heroines I’ve read. I felt so connected to her- empathize with her, but I love how Emily kept us from pitying her. Because while Blakey is broken and beautifully flawed, she’s also quietly strong, determined, and vivacious. We experience her mental health struggles and her existential dilemmas so vividly - but we also see her sass, her energy, and her big beautiful heart that is so desperate to be seen.

Jackson- SWOOOOOOOOON. I am obsessed with this man. He’s just so charming- emotional aware, protective, compassionate and caring, reliable and honorable. He’s so resolutely strong -and he relishes being needed, caring for others- but that also makes him fragile, because the last person that needed him broke his heart. I am a goner for him-- he owns me.

I can not get over these two together. While they seem so different, they are two halves of the same soul. They both just want to be VISIBLE, they want to be chosen, to matter to someone. They want their pain and their hearts to be seen and cared for by someone else. And they find that in each other- establishing a sweet, sincere, and deeply intimate chemistry. We get to watch these two fully let down their walls, find their truest selves with one another, and confront their deep baggage, baggage that stems from the very people they love most in this world. Scars from those they hold dear. Their love is intense, emotional, and fiercy exposing, but also profoundly restorative. They ground each other, but they falter, they struggle as they grapple with parts of themselves, but they evolve- together as a unbreakable couple but also as individuals. As people who recognize that in order to choose another, you have to choose yourself. You have to love yourself.

Telling a story about a man who has spent years pining over another woman and somehow convincing the reader he’s moved on is a TALL task, even taller when his new interest is considerably younger, and a girl he’s not exactly been fond of. To be honest, despite the immediate chemistry I felt between Blakely and Jackson, I wasn’t sure Emily could convince me that Blakely wasn’t just the second choice of a man whose baggage is that HE was the second choice. But Emily proves me wrong- and she somehow does it in a way that honors both Jackson and Blakely’s connection as well as Jackson and Lee’s. She doesn’t erase or negate the emotions Jackson has felt and experienced prior to this story, rather she brilliantly uses them. She exposes them, makes them front and center, doesn’t shy away from their messiness. She lets Jackson struggle with them, even Blakely struggles with them, and then she does something even more brilliant- she finds a way to juxtapose both for us visible. We see the difference, we feel it, and we process it alongside our characters. And by leaning into that tension, she makes Jackson’s heart so transparent. But most importantly, it makes his shift authentic, believable, and most importantly, emotionally catalytic.

In case you’ve yet to discover her yet, let me tell you, Emily McIntire can WRITE! I was sleeping on these books- but I have been AWAKENED. Emily is on my one-click list now. She scribes prose with flows like the practice of a veteran, there’s an easy confidence to this narrative that belies how meticulously and lovingly this story was created. Her story telling is poetically descriptive, engaging but artful, but what is most mesmerizing is the authorial voice that seems to be unique to Emily McIntire. Being inside her characters’ heads a unique and transfixing experience- she imbues them with such emotional transparency, a bleeding meta-vulnerability that makes this book feel so intimate and deeply emotionally resonant. Emily is clearly an author that lives and breathes her characters so tenderly- and her writing prowess uniquely positions us to live and breathe them, too. Oh, and this woman can write STEAM. (*fans self*) All, of course, with a poignant and meaningful thematic underpinning that speaks not just to her characters but to us as humans. Engaging story, delicious steam, captivating character development, and a thematic undertone - she’s got it all. And I am hooked on this series!
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 30, 2022
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 11, 2022
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on November 11, 2022
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 2, 2022
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 7, 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Emotional
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 7, 2021
Beneath The Hood is one of the most beautiful and emotional stories, I have read. Without a doubt, I didn’t expect this book to be on this level, and thank you to the author for proving me wrong. I seriously cried like a baby.

Take the trigger warning seriously, there are several, and it is not for everyone. The author also suggests trusting the process and keeping that in the back of your head while reading this. Glad I did.

My sweet sexy Jaxson, forever stuck in the friend zone, permanently moves to California to heal, move forward, and continue his dream. If you read the series, you know his story. I have to say I loved him before, but now I am in deep. He is a selfless, caring, compassionate, protective, perceptive, and such a swoon-worthy man. We all need Jaxson; he owns a part of my soul.

Blakey is a perfect example of placing a mask on your face, and not everything is what it seems. I went in with an open mind on her character. In the beginning iI was on the fence if I was going to like her. Honestly, I fell in love with her. I wanted to give that girl one series hug and tell her I would adopt her.

This book wrecked me in the most gloriously. Emily McIntire’s writing is absolute perfection in this book. There is not one thing I wish would change, no questions unanswered. She exposes the character's pain, demons, and struggles in their life and journey to healing without shying away from messiness and touchy subjects. To me, that is perfection. I hope my review did this book justice; it's one of my top reads of the year. I highly recommend this book and the series. I am hooked and can't wait for the next book.
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Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars Beneath the hood
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on April 6, 2021
Toni and Carl Garrett
5.0 out of 5 stars Sizzle.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on May 13, 2021
Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A forbidden love in Hollywood’s shadows
Reviewed in Australia 🇦🇺 on April 26, 2021
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Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A forbidden love in Hollywood’s shadows
Reviewed in Australia 🇦🇺 on April 26, 2021
If you haven’t already fallen in love with Jackson Rhoades after reading the first two books of the Sugarlake series, I guarantee you will in this, his own story. Jax is the tragic hero, broken by unrequited love and abandoned by his best friend. Attempting to move on with his life, he moves to Los Angeles to focus on his career. Enter Blakley: entitled Hollywood princess and royal pain in Jackson’s backside. But there is more to her than first appearances and the more her gets to know her, the more he wants to be with her. Problem is, she’s the boss’ daughter, the forbidden fruit, and far too young for him. How are they supposed to keep such an affair secret with the Paparazzi breathing down their necks?

As with McIntire’s previous books, this one is a beautiful blend of steamy scenes and sweet romance. The characters come to life and the story evokes a multitude of emotions. The author is skilled in her use of language, painting pictures that capture the reader’s imagination. I highly recommend the Sugarlake series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars 3 for 3 so far!
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on July 14, 2021
Yelena Santos
4.0 out of 5 stars Great advocate for self help
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on January 11, 2022