Never Sweeter

Charlotte Stein
Never Sweeter
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Release Date
April 2016
Book 2 of Dark Obsession
Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Second chances are sweeter than ever in Charlotte Stein's steamy Dark Obsession series—perfect for fans of Katy Evans—as a self-reliant college girl falls for a reformed bully who's desperate to make up for lost time.

Letty Carmichael can't believe her eyes when she catches a glimpse of her high school tormenter, wrestling champ Tate Sullivan, on campus. College was supposed to be her escape from Tate's constant ridicule. Now he's in her classes again, just waiting for his chance to make her life hell. But when Letty and Tate are partnered up for an assignment—on sex in cinema, of all things—she starts to see a kinder, gentler side of him. And when she realizes Tate knows more about sex than she could ever guess at, he soon starts making her blush in a whole new way.

Tate Sullivan is haunted by regret over his cruelty toward Letty. So when she agrees to work with him, he seizes his chance to make amends. He can't blame her for not believing he's for real, but soon Tate starts to break down her wall. She wants to know about passion, desire, lust—topics he is well versed in. And in return she offers the one thing he always wanted: the chance to be more than just a jock.

Letty is shocked by how sensitive Tate can be. Still, desiring him feels ludicrous. Loving him is impossible. Craving him is beyond all reason. So why can't she stop?

Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Apr 17, 2016   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
174 people found the following review helpful
NEVER SWEETER may be a bit dark, but it's also one of the sweetest romances I've read in a long time.

Letty was bullied when she was in high school, but she never thought she'd see one of them--Tate--in college. Terrified that the bullying will start again, she avoids him, but when they are partnered for a project in a class, she starts to get to know him and sees a different side of him. But which is the real Tate?

The author's writing style is something I've never read before, yet it seems to fit the characters and the story well. The story is written solely from the point of view of the heroine, and it's like there's this blanket, a veil that prevents things from coming too sharp. I'm not sure if this is how the author really writes or if it's deliberate to fit the background of the characters (that of a bully and the girl he torments coming together years later), but it works.

While the characters' background is dark (you won't believe some of the things high-school-Tate did to high-school-Letty), there's a touching theme of redemption here, where Tate tries to make amends to Letty when they are now both in college. Letty's terror upon first seeing him again, her wariness at making friends or interpreting actions are heartbreaking; anyone ever bullied would feel this way, and it's a crime that they were ever made to feel this way. Tate, though, was sweet and endearing as he tried to make amends and some of the things he said to Letty even made me want to cry. They do have some trust issues to work through. He didn't excuse what he'd done in the past; he owned up to it.

The resolution and the ending...that just teared me up.

Almost no grammatical errors or typos that I could see. There's lots of sex in here though, so be warned. I don't feel they're gratuitous though; the sex scenes are so hot they almost burned through my kindle.

Fabulous book that gives you all the feels, NEVER SWEETER is going on my keeper shelf! Now, excuse me while I go check out other Charlotte Stein books.
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Book Review by Pip (reviewer)
Mar 12, 2018
111 people found the following review helpful
‘Never Sweeter' is my first plunge into Charlotte Stein's writing and I knew from the first page that this was a very different New Adult read than what normally comes across my feed. The issues of NA books can and sometimes do resonate with me though not necessarily always, which are probably enough (sucker that I am) make me continue with this genre that I can get very conflicted about.

The typical idea that boys bully girls they like takes a more sinister turn here, and out of the very real damage of such an act, Stein builds a second-chance romance between a tormented, defensive girl who has since learned to use her wit and her former bully. Much of Tate's and Letty's interactions are made up of banter, words that grow deeper and more meaningful after being paired on a steamy project. And I found it…cute in fact, after a while, as Tate somehow managed to worm himself into both mine and Letty's good graces eventually, even though the good boy bit he shows is just so incongruous with what Letty actually remembers.

Then the story went the way of erotica (almost) and I blinked, many times. Not that these scenes weren't scorching though, because they were. But because they felt like a huge departure from the emotional build of the first half and straight to the down and dirty, which admittedly does work after the relationship groundwork has been done.

'Never Sweeter' wasn't a perfect read: the supposed, sudden change that Tate underwent between high school and college left me wondering what really happened, the cheesy, porny phrases when things started getting hot and heavy between them, the odd and nearly anticlimactic ending that made little sense and felt like conflict created for the sake of it. These dimmed my enthusiasm for the story a bit, even as Stein wrote parts I couldn't straight out believe even, like Tate's apparently range of sexual experience without having had sex, or that he'd do something (somewhat silly) in the last bit that felt like betrayal, or even the involvement of mobsters in the pot that sort of came and then flitted away. It was also difficult to differentiate Tate's and Letty's voices after a while because they talked and bantered with such similar styles and yes, the lack of dialogue tags annoyed me at times.

That said, I can well imagine how polarising ‘Never Sweeter' can be. I'm a little torn between what I found unnecessary and how much I actually liked Tate/Letty's story, but this is probably enough to put Stein on my author-watchlist.
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