Novel: Bad for You by J. Daniels | Goodreads
Release Date: January 23, 2018
Source: Advanced Reader Copy
He didn’t want to be bad. He just didn’t have a choice…
Shayla Perkins isn’t the kind of girl who makes the same mistake twice, especially when it comes to Sean “Stitch” Molina. So when he gives her the world’s biggest rejection, that’s it–she’s done. Until the sexy, silent, unavailable Sean makes Shay a very personal offer. Of course, it still doesn’t mean he’s interested in her. Or does it?
Sean has done things in life. Bad things. And he’s paid the price. All he wants now is to make up for his past by doing good in the present. And no one deserves more good than Shay. Beautiful on the inside and out, Shay is the kind of woman who should be cared for and protected–especially from a man like Sean. He’s tried to keep his feelings for her in check, but a single, reckless impulse pulls them closer than ever before.
Soon the two are sharing their biggest dreams and satisfying their deepest desires. But what will happen if the only way to truly give each other what they want most…is to let each other go?
I was kindly provided an Advanced Reader Copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review of the book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
“I wasn’t ever going to be worth what this girl wanted to give.”-Stitch
How dare you J. Daniels?! I trusted you, and you took my little heart and stomped it to smithereens before I could even get through the Prologue! Sean is one of those heartbreaking characters. You just want to walk up to him and hug him for hours. He is a product of the drug epidemic we see across America. He has had a hard life since birth. If you’ve read Four Letter Word and Hit the Spot, you’ll know that Sean (a.k.a. Stitch) is the silent cook at Whitecaps. You will also know that Shayla, the happy, bubbly waitress at Whitecaps had a thing for Stitch until he blew her off the night of a party at Jamie’s.
There is nothing about this book that I didn’t love. Sean’s character hit me particularly hard. As a public defender, I see a lot of people who are the product of growing up in home’s similar to Sean. I’ve also seen how hard it is to break free of that mold and turn your life around. It is easy, however, for Shayla and readers to see beyond Sean’s past because he is just such a great person.
“You were born into hate. Children are supposed to be born into love. It’s unconditional, and you never had that,” she said. “What chance did you have? There was no one protection you.”-Shayla
I really appreciated the way that Daniels approached Sean’s past and Shayla’s reaction. Daniels built Sean’s past with detail, care and attention. It felt completely relatable and honest. Shayla approaches Sean’s past with an open mind and heart, which I think most people should do a little more often. She knows that the man she has worked with for over a year, who listened to her talk about everything and anything was not a bad person. Shayla has to spend a lot of time teaching Sean that just because he made mistakes doesn’t mean he isn’t worth redemption.
The small glimpses we get of Sean’s PTSD are particularly heartbreaking. We used to think of PTSD in terms of veterans returning from war, but all kinds of events and traumas can create these reactions. No child should have to go through the things that Sean went through. Unfortunately, there are children around the world who do and they deal with that trauma in the same way Sean did. Worse, some of them don’t break the cycle like Sean did. They begin to self-medicate to deal with the PTSD and eventually create the same environment for their children that they lived in. Daniels is sure to make clear that Sean is a work in progress. His life isn’t 100% roses because he decided to go on the straight and narrow. Instead, he must work every day to move on from his past, learn to accept love, and become the person Shayla deserves.
“Good deeds hold more weight, especially when they aren’t motivated or asked of a person. They show true character. The person you are deep down. What life can’t touch, no matter how bad it can be sometimes.”-Shayla
I was excited we got a chance to see Tori, Jamie, Brian, and Syd. I really love the little family the Whitecaps/Wax employees have created. More than that, we also got to spend some time with Shayla’s family. Daniels touched on the pain of a family dealing with a degenerative disease diagnosis. Shayla’s father was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s. While her mother and father have to go away for a funeral, Shayla tries to take care of her brothers. Unfortunately, there are complicated schedules and a teenager filled with anger over his father’s diagnosis to contend with. Sean steps in to help Shayla. Sean helps the teenage brother work through some of his issues and he helps her juggle the complicated schedule.
I think my favorite part of the book, however, had nothing to do with the love story. Sean has two adorable daughters. He is working really hard to change his life so he can be worthy of being in their lives. Sean won’t push, though, he is letting the mother decide the pace. These two little girls, who love everything pink and princess, have big, tough biker Sean wrapped around their little fingers. That relationship really highlighted the good in Sean.
“Sean Molina, the man I was completely insane for and wanted more than I could remember wanting anything in all my twenty-three years of life, had his tongue inside my mouth.”-Shayla
Never fear, you will also get to read some of Daniels patented hot romance. Where Jamie and Tori (which up till now were one of my favorite pairings) were wild, Sean and Shayla are more frantic. I think part of that is that their relationship is nearly a year in the making. It is also happening as Shayla is trying to teach Sean that he is not nothing. It feels like both of them are trying as hard as they can to get their fill. In Sean’s case, he is terrified that Shayla will decide he isn’t worth her time. In Shayla’s case, I think she is frantic to teach Sean that even though he has made mistakes, he still deserves love, compassion, friendship, family, and happiness.
Seriously I could go on and on gushing about how much I freaking love this book. I think the book is a bit heavier than the other books in the series, but it makes the romance that much sweeter. I have never felt a character deserved a happy ending more than Sean Molina, I just wish there had been less tissues involved. What are you waiting for? Go buy it, then stop back here or over on my Instagram so that we can talk all about how perfect Sean is!!