The first time we met was at a party.
Your ex arrived to show off the person he’d left you for last month, and you asked me to pretend to be your date.
I was more than happy to help. You were attractive, smart and witty–and that kiss we shared? It left me wanting you for days.
The second time we met was in my office on campus where we were both surprised to discover you were the new master’s degree student in poetry that I would be working with. You promised to be professional. I did no such thing.
The late nights and intense study sessions spent alongside you majorly throw me off my game. I want you, and I fight with myself daily over this fact.
I know I’m crass, that my sexual innuendos and dirty mouth annoy you, but I live for those two bright spots of color in your cheeks. If that’s the only reaction I can get out of you, I’ll gladly take it.
You hate Mondays so every Monday I slip an anonymous poem into your bag and your smile gets me through the week.
I think I’m falling for you, and I know it’s wrong. I know that I’m only supposed to be your adviser and nothing more, but here’s the thing. I think you’re falling for me too.
I had so much fun reading xo, Zach; it was sweet, a little angsty, and a nice light book to fill an afternoon. It was a good way for me to break up a long string of books that dealt with some pretty heavy themes; a palate cleanser, if you will. I always count on Kendall Ryan’s books to deliver on witty banter and enough levity to ensure her books leave me feeling happy.
xo, Zach is a standalone novel. It is told in dual first-person perspective, by Poppy and Zach.
I loved that Poppy and Zach’s love for writing and literature played such a large part in this book. As literary junky, it was wonderful to see a couple brought together, in part, due to their love of words. It was especially lovely to see Zach use his art not only to help win over Poppy but to help others perfect their art to ensure their futures.
xo, Zach was in the grey area between socially acceptable and taboo, it was that aspect of the book that made it so fascinating. The ambiguity provided by their not-quite-student-teacher relationship provided an intriguing dynamic while they were trying to figure out what they were and what would happen if they decided to pursue the feelings developing between them.
My wish for xo, Zach would be to have more of Poppy and Zach’s writing included in the text. Much was made of his poems to her and he often spoke of how amazing Poppy’s writing was, but we saw very few examples of either.
Kendall Ryan books are always enjoyable for me. Whether she’s writing a dramatic piece involving difficult topics or a light piece with people just trying to find their happily ever after, she always delivers characters I can identify with – in some way – and entertaining storylines. I had a wonderful time reading this book and can’t wait to see what else Ms. Ryan has in store for her readers in 2018.
“This is serious, Poppy. Will you promise?”
“What am I promising?” This man had a way of getting me to say things, to feel things, to admit things that I might not have otherwise. I wasn’t sure if it was because he was older and wiser and that much more cunning at these types of discussions, or if it was just because being near him seemed to physically lower my inhibitions. He was like a walking shot of tequila.
“I need you to promise me that if anything physical happens between us—that it will be very consensual, and very sex-positive. I need you to understand that I will worship you and make you come So. Many. Fucking Times.”
He annunciated those words so clearly and slowly, I felt them with every beat of my heart, every pulse of heat between my legs.
Oblivious to my hammering heart, Zach continued. “But I also need you to know that if I do or say anything you don’t like, all you have to do is say so and everything will stop. Just the word no, Poppy. Use it, and I promise to leave you alone.”
“Leave me alone as in stop mentoring me, stop helping me in the program?”
His face was serious, and he shook his head without even considering it. “I will never stop mentoring you, as long as you want it. Giving in to our attraction—or not—will never be a condition for my help. I want you to succeed, and it has nothing to do with how much I want you in my bed. Do you understand that?”
I felt myself nodding my head.
I knew what he was saying. Despite how aggressively Zach put his feelings on the subject of us out there—I knew he’d never betray my wishes.
“Okay,” I murmured.
He considered me for a long moment, neither of us blinking.
“Why did you approach me that night at the party, Poppy. Did you find me attractive?”
Was he fucking serious?
Of course, I find him attractive. Actually, attractive was too weak a word. I found him mesmerizing. Addictive. Enchanting. Impossible.
“I’m not saying I do, but if I wanted something to happen …” I swallowed a wave of nerves and took a shallow breath as Zach’s mouth curved into a grin.
“Something as in finding out how many times in a row I can make you come using my mouth, my hands, and my …”
I held up one hand. “Yes. That. How would it work, isn’t it, like, forbidden?”
God, why did the word forbidden make me feel even hotter?
A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 1.5 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world. She’s a traditionally published author with Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins UK, as well as an independently published author. Since she first began self-publishing in 2012, she’s appeared at #1 on Barnes & Noble and iBooks charts around the world. Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than three dozen times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine.
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