Review: Top Secret by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Posted November 20, 2019 by Kate

Review: Top Secret by Sarina Bowen and Elle KennedyCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Also by this author: , Him (Him, #1), The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years, #3), Hotter Than Ever
Publisher: Tuxbury Publishing LLC
Source: Kindle Unlimited

Bestselling authors Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy return with their first Male / Male romance in 3 years.
LobsterShorts, 21Jock. Secretly a science geek. Hot AF.

LobsterShorts: So. Here goes. For her birthday, my girlfriend wants…a threesome.
SinnerThree: Then you’ve come to the right hookup app.
LobsterShorts: Have you done this sort of thing before? With another guy?
SinnerThree: All the time. I'm an equal opportunity player. You?
LobsterShorts: [crickets!]
SinnerThree, 21Finance major. Secretly a male dancer. Hot AF.
SinnerThree: Well, I’m down if you are. My life is kind of a mess right now. School, work, family stress. Oh, and I live next door to the most annoying dude in the world. I need the distraction. Are you sure you want this?
LobsterShorts: I might want it a little more than I’m willing to admit.
SinnerThree: Hey, nothing wrong with pushing your boundaries...
LobsterShorts: Tell that to my control-freak father. Anyway. What if this threesome is awkward?
SinnerThree: Then it’s awkward. It’s not like we’ll ever have to see each other again. Right? Just promise you won’t fall in love with me.
LobsterShorts: Now wouldn’t that be life-changing...
Q&A about Top Secret:
Q: Have we met these characters before in another book?A: No! These guys are brand new, and we can’t wait for you to meet them.
Q: Is this story MM? Or is it a MMF / MFM / menage?A: This book is MM.
Q: Is this a love triangle story? A: Not really. You’ll see.

Oh my gosh… I really don’t even know where to start with this book. I suppose I can start when I looked up after reading the whole thing in one sitting and blearily blinking at the clock… realizing that it’s 4 AM!! Good lord, I haven’t stayed up that late in ages and totally hadn’t realized four hours had passed. That can kind of begin to tell you how much I adored this book. 

I saw it everywhere when it released back in May and immediately knew I had to have this book in my hands but wasn’t quite ready to pay for it. But this month it was on my recommended list for Kindle Unlimited!! Whaaaat?? Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy are authors that I often reach for, together and individually, for my NA college romances because they always deliver.  Holy shit. 

Okay *breathes* This book starts with Keaton, a rich boy, whose girlfriend wants a threesome for her birthday. They’d been together for like five years by that point, so he’s a bit thrown, but is almost immediately up for the challenge. He downloads a hookup app, Kink, hoping to find someone. And find someone he does – SinnerThree. They immediately strike up a rapport, and engage in H-O-T texting conversations, but also becoming … friends? When my characters fall in love through words – email, letters, text, etc. – that’s one of my favorite tropes, but I never know what to call it. 

But it also awakens a part of Keaton he didn’t know existed, and something he very much wants to explore. For Luke, aka SinnerThree, he’s in the room next door to Keaton, the asshole who is running against him for Frat President next year. They don’t know each other’s identity, and pretty much hate each other in real life. But when their meeting happens… poor Keaton. The guy is so lost. Luke knows that he’s bisexual, but poor Keaton was kind of thrown for a loop with the whole thing. 

*Side note: This book does NOT include cheating or a love triangle. you’ll see. 

It freaked me out that you’re a guy. And I let you take the lead. Part of me wants to forget it happened. Most of me wants you to do it again […]
An evil grin spreads across my face, right there in the hallway… He enjoyed my bossy ass. He liked it so much he couldn’t even say it.
He had to write it on a whiteboard instead.

This book… was so absolutely amazing. There was a great plot line, with Luke’s struggles as a kid from the wrong side of tracks who really doesn’t feel like he belongs. There was the enemies-to-lovers bit at the beginning as they both compete for the spot of Fraternity President. Keaton, for the resume and legacy. Luke, for the free room, so he doesn’t have to break his back making rent each month. There’s the threesome, the amazingly steaming hot text conversations, the sexuality issue, Keaton’s family troubles, Luke’s extreme family troubles, Luke’s emotional issues… so much. This book is no fluff piece and had a surprising amount of substance and depth. 

This book teems with life and was absolutely just amazing. Luke, as a character, was so well developed. A bossy ass in bed, yes, but also his emotional state was in turmoil this whole book as he struggles through life by the tips of his fingernails. His love for Keaton was obvious, even if he didn’t quite let himself realize it. Luke is a character you just can’t help but love. He had such a giving heart, but was trained not to show it or accept anything from anyone else. He made me so sad at times, but he was such a good boy. 

Keaton, on the other hand, was such an adorable boy. Momma raised that kid right. Keaton had so much heart and was adorably nerdy. Sure, he was the rich legacy kid who didn’t want the internship his dad handed him. But he really was a golden retriever and wore his heart on his sleeve. I totally lived for his animal facts. Often about various animal mating activities, but they were fascinating and you totally understood why the guy was a bio major, wanting to explore and discover new marine life. Also, I don’t mean to make short of his family issues. He wanted different things for himself than his father wanted for him, and struggled to say himself under their expectations. 

The whole book was just so wonderfully put together, it honestly made me sad to finish it. I want more!! The chemistry those two boys shared was incredible and made me just chuckle evilly when they hated each other so much in real life. If only they knew! It was funny, it was full of heart, highly enjoyable and the plot just kept rolling. I loved every single aspect. In fact, low-key considering a reread… 

Other reads you may enjoy… 

Cover to Cover Book Blog Kat snark reviews discussions book blogger book dragon reading reader recommendations five star reads Mid-Year Book Freakout Book Tag Work in Progress by Staci Hart, Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh, Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic, Raven King by Nora Sakavic, All the King's Men by Nora Sakavic, The Boy Who Steals Houses by Cait @ PaperFury and CG Drews, Stay by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy, Rumor Has it by Jessica Lemmon, Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, Ocean Light by Nalini Singh, Lonely Hearts by Heidi Cullinan, Love Lessons by Heidi Cullinan, Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews, the Fragile Ordinary by Samantha Young, The Cruel Prince by Holly Black           

Have you read an Elle Kennedy / Sarina Bowen book? What are some of your favorite MM romances? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

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