Sometimes a book is totally working for you, and then something tanks it. Need Me could have gotten a much higher grade from me, except the middle of the book went so far off the tracks that it was irredeemable. The result was half a book I loved, and half one that I couldn’t stand.
This is the second book of the Broke and Beautiful series, and focuses on the roommate of Roxy from the first book. Honey Perribow is a college student at Columbia who has developed a crush on her professor, Ben Dawson (who is conveniently also the best friend of Louis from Chase Me). Her first attempt at seducing him falls flat, but then they have an illicit run-in while locked in a janitor’s closet that gets things steaming up.
Bailey is fantastic at writing dirty talk and sexual tension, and this book is no exception. I liked how hot Honey and Ben’s interactions were. However, I didn’t like that the emotional connection between them felt rushed. Ben goes very quickly from trying to resist Honey to so madly in love with her that he would do anything, and I had a hard time believing it. His behavior got very erratic, to the point that he went chasing Honey across the country, jeopardizing his livelihood, without a lot of cause.
Now, there are some who will probably be bothered by the nature of Ben and Honey’s relationship. He’s her professor and, although I can’t recall his age being mentioned, we know she is not quite twenty. Yes, this is a pretty forbidden romance but it wasn’t a turn off for me, like for others. I think as long as they’re consenting adults it is fine. Plus he isn’t using his position in an abusive way, nor does she use their personal relationship for academic gain. I have a friend who dated her college professor, so I think I wasn’t ever going to be shocked by this. Plus, I’ve read far less believable plots.
Honey is described as being from Kentucky and, at one point, travels back home to help on her parent’s farm. This part is why the rating for this review plummeted to a C. There could not have been a more stereotypical, clichéd farm girl in any book on the market than Honey becomes. Ben literally describes her as being dressed like “slutty Ellie Mae.” The farm has some, apparently mythical, tractor that Honey thinks only people in her family can operate. We never really learn what type of farm this is, besides a few mentions that there are a couple horses, chickens, and the ornery tractor. Everything about this part made me roll my eyes. I grew up on a farm with a tractor and I would like to clarify, a tractor is a machine. Anyone can operate one with a little instruction, just like a car. Also, booty shorts, no bra, and a crop top may not be the most efficient clothing to wear while farming. Just saying.
I might have been able to forgive this rural sequence if it had been brief, or if Ben had remained likeable throughout. That’s not the case. It drags on, especially once Ben rushed to Kentucky like his butt was on fire to get to Honey.
I will say, Ben isn’t always the most likeable of characters, at times. He is accusing and suspicious of Honey. He jumps more than one time to deciding that he should be dating someone more age appropriate, knowing that he is throwing that in Honey’s face and being hurtful. Also, the representation of his career as a professor may be pretty far from reality. His dirty talk did give me the first instance I’ve ever encountered of reading “finger bang” in a book, so that was…interesting. But I was willing to forgive the drawbacks of his character because he seems so earnestly enraptured by Honey.
I wish I could go delete the Kentucky portion of this book to give it a higher rating, but that’s not possible. I’m not giving up on this series or Tessa Bailey though because I want more dirty talk and she does that excellently.