I think the first Penelope Ward book I read was Stepbrother Dearest—-No, it was Jake Undone. I loved both of these novels and most of the other Ward books I have read since. I won’t lie, though; I always feel emotionally exhausted on the last page because this woman writes trauma earnestly. She’s excellent at delicately, but honestly, depicting the mental health and mental illness challenges her characters must face. But I don’t find it emotionally comfortable to get though. I love the stories—-but I’m wrung out and exhausted by loving characters like Sevin, Jake, and Channing, which is why I love when she and Vi Keeland write together. I can take Penelope’s punches while Vi holds my hand. Yeah.
“I blinked a few times. No one had ever asked me such a direct question about my mental health. “Um. I have a fear of crowds and confined places.” She set the kettle down on the stove and lit the burner. “That’s okay. I don’t like clowns.”
Griffin Quinn was my childhood pen pal, the British boy who couldn’t have been more different from me. Over the years, through hundreds of letters, we became best friends, sharing our deepest, darkest secrets and forming a connection I never thought could break.
Until one day it did.
Then, out of the blue, a new letter arrived. A scathing one—one with eight years of pent-up anger. I had no choice but to finally come clean as to why I stopped writing.
Griffin forgave me, and somehow we were able to rekindle our childhood connection. Only now we were adults, and that connection had grown to a spark. Our letters quickly went from fun to flirty to downright dirty, revealing our wildest fantasies. So it only made sense that we would take our relationship to the next level and see each other in person.
Only Griff didn’t want to meet. He asked that I trust him and said it was for the best. But I wanted more—more Griff, in the flesh—so I took a big chance and went looking for him. People have done crazier things for love.