Darker water || quirky MCs and an entertaining read

darker water.jpgTitle: Darker Water

Author: Lauren Stewart

Genre: NA contemporary romance

Status: Standalone

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After another painful breakup, Laney Temple finally understands that love is a fairytale and sex rarely comes with a happy ending. She’s too busy for it right now anyway–she has a business to run, art to create, and candy to crush. Eventually she’ll be ready to switch from her plastic-or-silicon lover to a flesh-and-blood one. But before that happens, she needs to be sure she won’t feel any of those annoying emotions that make her heart do things it wasn’t meant to do…

Like break

Carson Bennett is completely upfront about what he wants, and it has nothing to do with Laney’s heart. Her lips? Hell yeah. Other parts of her body? You better f*cking believe it. But her heart? Nope, not even a little. Until it does… a lot. But having feelings for someone isn’t allowed. It’s the kind of thing you’re supposed to push down deep and cover up with one-night stands, sarcasm, and booze…

Like secrets

Two people want the same thing—a commitment to nothing more than great sex in a bunch of different positions. Simple. Enjoyable. A win-win. Problem is, those two people have families and fears and pain that spill into every moment of their lives, control what they do and who they are. And if either Carson or Laney can’t free themselves from the past, they’ll both be pulled under by it.


I should just accept it—I’m craving NA romances this year. When I try to read fantasy or YA, and there’s even the slightest lull in the story, I immediately look for a new NA romance book and dive in.

I found this while looking on “book like these” lists on Goodreads, compared to books I’ve read and liked.

For once, the story involves the female MC, too, wanting a no-strings attached relationship (even though she’s the complete opposite).

The Plot

The book starts with Laney being dumped out-of-the-blue by a guy, who is just the latest in her life following the trend, and she decides that SHE is the problem, therefore deciding to give up. She has a theory that she takes all the princes and turns them into frogs when they’re dating, resulting in her being dumped/cheated on/being short-sighted.

After a short while of being single, she is approached by Carson who is the usual player. BUT, what is unusual is that she WANTS that. He doesn’t fall in love with her on first sight and proclaim her as “the one” or anything. And Laney prefers that. So when he proposes a no-strings attached night together, she readily accepts.

But before the actually get to it, Laney realises that she wouldn’t be able to keep sex and the heart separate, and would fall for him, so puts a stop to it. Carson continues to chase her, though, trying to prove that he is NOT a prince and that she wouldn’t fall for him.

The book is basically them falling in love very very slowly (no insta-love, thank goodness), fighting their feelings when it starts to run deeper and also dealing with life and past issues.

The Characters

  • Laney was a new personality for me. She’s a hopeless romantic who falls in love easily and years to not be that way. She denies sleeping with Carson because she’s afraid she’ll start to like him as more and it would end in a disaster. Her career was something new, too. She carved/made furniture. SHE is the one handy with tools and fixes things. She totally has a knack for making beautiful furniture.
  • Carson is the head of a charity foundation. He’s also mega-rich. But that blood money is tainted. He has had a bad past with his parents, and is still tormented by his mother (and occasionally step-sister). He is the guy who is get-what-you-see. Except for the family issues, that is. You don’t go into something with him without knowing what exactly it is.

The Romance

As I said before, there’s no insta-love. Their relationship develops purely for the “benefits” part. I really liked their relationship, which was part-friendship and part Carson trying to get laid. And it was nice to read about Laney’s resistance because she wants to not have deeper feelings.

Their easy banter and the way they go together was really cool. I liked reading them, basically. The ending scene could have been done a little better, I admit. It was okay.


Quite good writing+plot+romance+characters= puts it higher than many other books. I was sad to finish the book and have no more of it. Recommended for NA romance lovers, insta-love haters, and especially those who want an actual relationship developed first.


4 thoughts on “Darker water || quirky MCs and an entertaining read”

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