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STROKED LONG (The Stroked Series Book 2) Kindle Edition
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Book #2: Stroked Series
My Rating: 4½/5 stars
To the outside world, Bodi Banks is a stone-cold killer in the pool. He has dominated every Olympic event he’s competed in, he is a social recluse participating in only the media events he has too, and has a body that a lot of men and most women want. If only the inside matched the outside. On the inside, Bodi is a mess, traumatized by a childhood tragedy that has left him barely capable of functioning outside of his own obsessive compulsive routine. A totally spastic, completely awkward, and totally adorable girlfriend is just what Bodi Banks needs.
Enter, Ruby Hearts . . . .
According to Bodi’s sister, Ruby Hearts is just what her brother needs to help him past, well, his past. Ruby is bright (literally and on several levels!), sexy, outgoing, caring, and totally awkward all the time. All. The. Time. If ever there was a girl who could help a socially awkward man feel comfortable, Ruby would be that girl. From the moment Bodi and Ruby meet sparks fly but neither is really capable is acknowledging those sparks. Ruby rambles on nervously and Bodi scrambles for something to say that won’t offend her. Epic. Fail. Rinse and repeat.
Though Ruby doesn’t know until much later precisely what’s happened to Bodi to cause his anxiety and accompanying issues, she is aware and her natural inclination is to help. Make no mistake, Ruby doesn’t help out of some sense of pity, but with a genuinely kind heart and good intentions. As Ruby slowly discovers, under the tightly controlled façade he presents to the world, Bodi is a kind man with a sense of humor and a dirty mouth that can sink a ship. Wooooo! If only the world knew the real Bodi Banks, Ruby would be fighting women off left and right.
With a lot of trial and error, more than a few speed bumps and, an extraordinary amount of patience and understanding, Bodi and Ruby begin to find their way. For the first time in his life, Bodi feels good, optimistic, and somewhat hopeful. He’s swimming better than he ever has and with Ruby by his side, he feels stronger than ever. Oh, to be sure, there are still moments of extreme panic and weariness caused by his need to hide all his quirks from Ruby, but there is also a happiness Bodi has long thought he doesn’t deserve. Ruby had no intention of falling head over heals in love with Bodi, but the total package is just too much to resist. With Bodi, Ruby’s life is even more colorful than it normally is and that’s certainly saying something. With each and every day they’re together, Bodi seems to improve, but then, the unthinkable happens and Bodi goes completely off the rails leaving Ruby heartbroken and alone with no way to reach Bodi.
The Bottom Line: Hands down, Ruby and Bodi are my favorite Stroked series couple. Yes, I’ve finished the series Ruby’s personality, her generosity, her kind and caring soul are a balm to Bodi and for the first time in in his life, Bodi can breathe. In all respects, Ruby is exactly what she appears to be with no subterfuge, no trickery, no façade. She’s just Ruby and she’s perfect for Bodi. Bodi is such a dichotomy with his tough exterior for the public and his far more broken private self. Not that I enjoy human suffering, but Bodi’s story really was beautiful to watch unfold and with Ruby by his side, it proved to be an ultimately heartwarming story. Oh, and there are the naughty bits that are laced through with some seriously awesome dirty talk that certainly balances out some of the darker parts of the read. In all, an excellent read.
So this book is definitely one of those slow burning romances that leaves you hanging off the edge of your seat hoping and praying that everything will work out between the hero and heroine. Readers won’t be disappointed in the slightest however, there are some major up’s and downs that they must contend with before reaching their happily ever after. As I said before, Bodi (the hero of the story) suffers from extreme OCD and has a very hard time not only socializing, but leaving the confines of himself. Now, he may be a gold medalist swimmer, but there are some major problems in his life that keep him extremely closed off to the world. Our heroine on the other hand is FULL of sunshine and butterflies. She had me laughing at the most inopportune moments and I swear, my husband must think I am crazy. I mean the things that come out of that woman’s mouth will literally make you giggle snort and possibly wet your pants. YUP. It’s that funny. All joking aside though, this is a great story that will really touch your heart. So, you NEED to read it. Pretty please? It’s worth it!
“It’s time, Bodi. Do our parents justice and make them proud.”
Meghan Quinn is an author that I stumbled across last year and this is the fifth book of hers I have now read and have once again fallen in love with a truly unforgettable story. With a Meghan Quinn book, you are guaranteed to laugh until you cry, that is a no brainer but with Stroked Long she delivered that and something more. Stroked Long was emotional, it plucked every single heart string, I wanted to crawl into this book and give our hero a hug. I wanted to cuddle him and coddle him and for an author to nail a male character like that, one that struggles every single day, one where his past constantly debilitated him was testament to this writer’s incredible talent. I dare anyone not to fall in love with Bodi Banks.
Bodi Banks was an Olympic swimmer who has always been at the top of his game, this man was motivated. His body was a temple, his diet strict and his days were organised to the hour. He was a man of routine, living a monochromatic life, in a monochromatic house, he had no colour, no vibrancy, no life…that was all snuffed out in childhood and left this man an empty guilt ridden vessel, a guilt he didn’t warrant but a guilt he carried none the less. Swimming was his escape from life and routine, in the water it was just him and his strokes, he worked to the point of exhaustion to give his brain a rest. He was extremely protective of the only family he had left, his sister and her safety was his greatest concern. His was withdrawn, his heart on lock down, he had panic attacks, he had OCD he was embarrassed by his behaviour, yet could do nothing to stop it. As far as he was concerned he couldn’t and wouldn’t love, but he didn’t bet on meeting Ruby, a woman whose only propensity was to love.
“Looking at the sparkle in her eyes that hits me straight to my core, I know I’m up against a force too great for me to comprehend, too grand to undertake. It effing terrifies me.”
Ruby was a quirky artist, in mannerisms, dress sense and speech. Ruby reminded me of Penelope Garcia from Criminal Minds, for those have seen this programme you will know just how adorable Ruby is because Garcia is just the same. But I digress, Ruby was a walking rainbow, she dressed in colour, lived in colour and her unfiltered verbal diarrhoea was just as colourful too. She was exuberant and breezed through life infecting everyone with her bubbly personality, you just couldn’t not love her. If anyone could penetrate the impenetrable fortress that Bodi has firmly locked in place then it would be her, but he doesn’t make it easy.
“…and I prepare myself for those three little words. I love you. But they never come. They hang in the air, never falling to my ears. Will I ever hear them? Will he ever love me the way I love him? Is he capable of such an emotion?”
Bodi is a character that has completely and utterly stolen my heart, albeit a now totally broken and damaged one. Bodi’s story was raw, honest and debilitating. Yes, Meghan Quinn may have pieced it back together but the totally captivating and convincing way Bodi’s POV was written totally decimated me. My heart bled for this man. To see someone this broken, this damaged take those first few baby steps towards a little normality was like watching my own child take his first steps. I was a proud mamma. As he grew, my heart grew, it was a tough journey, not without its ups and downs but these two were a fantastic unit.
“I didn’t mean to insult you. What’s going on between us is so effing foreign to me that I have no clue how to react in certain situations. There are going to be times where I might hurt you, insult you, or make you mad. I just ask that you take a second to breathe before you leave me. Give me a second to make it up to you because I promise I will realize I was being an idiot.”
Bodi and Ruby were total opposites yet extremely similar. Her quirks were her crazy while Bodi’s issues were his. Ruby treated him with kid gloves, she could see he had his issues, yet she treated him like an equal, she was there when needed and yet knew when he needed space. She brought Bodi out of his shell. The dialogue was incredible, the chemistry was electric, that build and build of their friendship to lovers was palpable, sexual chemistry…off the charts and I have to mention the best first kiss in the history of first kisses…be still my beating heart. Meghan Quinn delivers a book that has everything, the intense and emotional and yet the incredibly uplifting humour that is interspersed throughout to perfectly balance this book. There was nothing I didn’t like. Another fantastic read from Meghan Quinn and she totally deserves her first 5 stars from me.
“I vow I will be the man she deserves for the rest of my life. I will cherish the eff out of her. I will spoil the eff out of her. I will worship the eff out of her. But most importantly, I will love the eff out of her . . . until my dying day.”
Stroked Long runs in parallel to Stroked. It can be read as a standalone but there is a little crossover between the two. However, Stroked was a hilarious read in itself and I highly recommend reading that book too.
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The subject matter is so sad and, at times, hard to read.Read more