Taboo Romance - Step & Adopted Siblings
Always Been You, The Brother, Burning Desire, and Their Summer Intern are books about three very different couples at completely different stages in life with one thing in common ... romance so forbidden, they're afraid to tell their own families.
A college student with an inappropriate crush ...
Gabby is a law student, away from home, and trying really hard to let go of the crush she's had since she was 14. She knows it's "Wrong. Sinful. Taboo." But James has been there for her farther back than she can even remember.
The perfect, doting older brother ...
James has been Gabby's "person" since their parents first adopted her. Despite their eleven-year age gap, he always made time for her, always made her feel special. When six-year-old Gabby was devastated that she didn't get to dress up on his prom night, he told her the next day, "to put on [her] prettiest dress and he set up a makeshift prom in [their] living room."
Five words that will forever change their meaning ...
"I love you, too, James."
James invites Gabby to stay over at his apartment to have a quiet, comfortable place to study for her finals before they head home together for Christmas. She's been over to his place plenty of times before; this time is meant to be every bit as innocent, no matter how often she's touched herself while thinking of him. Of course, one thing leads to another, until it becomes clear Gabby isn't the only one feeling things they shouldn't.
ALWAYS BEEN YOU - Q.B. TYLER
I initially read this in the Twisted Christmas anthology, though Q.B. Tyler has since added to the length of the story and released it as its own full-length novel (available in KU). While age gap is one of my favorite tropes, adopted siblings wasn't a trope I had intentionally gone in search of. In fact, I think this might still be the only adopted sibling story I've read. But I love Q.B. Tyler's writing. Prior to this release, I had already read and enjoyed the Bittersweet duet (which absolutely wrecked me), Unconditionally, and My Best Friend's Sister.
Always Been You didn't disappoint. It definitely felt more similar to My Best Friend's Sister than something like Bittersweet duet or Unconditionally--a lot lighter on plot and heavier on the tropes, much less angst--though not in a bad way. It also shares the similar plot device of being caught in a compromising position by someone who should definitely not know about us yet with My Best Friend's Sister; of course, the stakes are undeniably higher in this one.
All in all, if you're considering an adopted sibling book but a little intimidated, this is a great place to start. They're both already adults and both moved out of their parents' house before anything happens between them, and when shit hits the fan, they face the complications of their relationship together. The writing is good and fast-paced, the smut is excellent, and the emotional connection is definitely there between Gabby and James.
Moving home to save money for an unconventional career is hard ...
Noel used to have an amazing relationship with his mother. He's an out and proud gay man, and his mother has always been supportive of that. But she got remarried--to a man with a son about Noel's age--right around the time that Noel was struggling and dropping out of college to make his own way. He's felt judged and compared to his new step brother ever since, and it makes going home to live with his mom something to dread.
Especially when Noel's asshole step brother is temporarily moving home, too ...
It only gets worse once he finds his step brother staying in Noel's childhood bedroom. And Garrett refuses to give up the room. Their mother's constant comparisons between Noel and "perfect" Garrett build and build to the family making a scene at dinner and Noel storming out.
Turns out, his step brother is even harder ...
Only then do Noel and Gabe have the heart to heart that they should have years ago. Of course, they bare far more than their hearts to one another.
THE BROTHER - JACK HARBON
The Brother is the second book in the Erotic Accommodations series. They're all about 50 pages long and available in KU, and all three are men loving men stories with happy for now endings. Of the three, this one has the most emotional connection between the characters, which makes sense given their history.
This is what I call "cozy taboo." Sure, they're step brothers, but they were never raised together. By the time their parents got together / moved in together, Garrett and Noel were both out of the house. This is their first time living together, it's only temporary, and they're both already in their early to mid-twenties. All of this makes this another good one to start with if you're looking to dip your toe into the taboo wading pool.
Cassie Donoghue loves herself a small-town girl living in a suffocating world ...
Lyndsie feels suffocated in her small Texas town, but when her uncle fell ill, she stayed home to help him run his business and to help her mother care for him. Now her uncle is dead, and she's faced with mourning him, wondering what comes next, and feeling guilty at the thought that this could mean a newfound freedom.
Kyle's the last person she wants to see at her uncle's funeral ...
Except he's also kind of the person she most wants to see. Tragedy brings them back together after a decade-long estrangement, and there's no more ignoring the fact that their estrangement began the night they broke the step sibling taboo and slept together all those years before.
This time neither of them is inexperienced ... and they both know what they want.
They just have to figure out if what they want is even possible in a world where wanting each other is "wrong."
BURNING DESIRE - CASSIE DONOGHUE
Burning Desire is the third book I've read by Cassie Donoghue, and I've loved every single one of them. At about 46 pages, this is by far the shortest, but while I would happily have read more about Lyndsie and Kyle, this was a well-constructed and well-paced novella. There's no significant age gap in this one, and Lyndsie and Kyle are both nearly 30 when this story takes place. They are fully grown, and their parents are divorced (or in the process of divorcing?), but they were raised in the same household for some time, so I'd place this one between The Brother and Always Been You on the taboo scale.
A young woman turns to her older brothers for a summer job ...
If you've ever read anything by Jessa Kane, you already know that our MC, Zoey, is an 18-year-old virgin. She's also super petite. So petite and cute. She's also on the hunt for a summer job so that she'll have the money to do what she really wants to do, travel. Luckily, her stepbrothers, Jacob and Bridger, run a powerful company.
And they are more than happy to do her this favor ...
Zoe has never met Jacob and Bridger. They're much older than her, and they were both already out of the house before her father and her stepmother began their fraught marriage. And given the issues between her father and stepmother, big family gatherings were hardly the sort of thing that would have brought her face to face with the men who meet her in the boardroom.
In true Jessa Kane fashion, some truly bonkers shenanigans ensue. Definitely not least, being the smut scenes between the three. Now, Jacob and Bridger are blood-related brothers and have no interest in each other ... at least, not quite. "There’s something indescribable taking place between them in the dim room. I’m an object of lust for both men, but the connection is between all three of us. Live wires are running in all directions and my body thrills to the electrical currents."
THEIR SUMMER INTERN - JESSA KANE
Their Summer Intern is, like all Jessa Kane books I've read, a delightfully bonkers novella in KU, with more smut than plot. This one has a lot of drama and is definitely an entertaining read. It is, perhaps, the nastiest (in the best way) of the books on this list.
Always Been You, The Brother, Burning Desire, and Their Summer Intern are all high-heat, fast-burn erotic romances about taboo relationships between adopted or step siblings. They're all available in KU except Burning Desire, which can be purchased on Amazon for less than one dollar, or you can be like me and listen to the audio on Scribd! On a sliding scale of taboo, I would put The Brother as the tamest and Their Summer Intern as the "most taboo."
Have you read any taboo step or adopted sibling romances? Let me know in the comments if there are any that you think I should read!