Van Birch: Pop Star. A-list starlet. Off-limits.
Clay Noble has spent the better part of a decade avoiding his taboo obsession: His stepsister Van. In love with her since the first time he’d heard her sing, even shipping himself off to the army couldn’t stop thoughts of her. Now that he’s lost everything in a tornado, he’s forced to move back in with the only family he has left, Van and her dad. Sleeping down the hall from her is forcing every unwanted impulse back to the surface.
Clay Noble: Gorgeous. Infuriating. Untouchable.
Everything Van touches turns to gold with a side of outrageous. When she accuses her manager of sexual assault, the public thinks it’s just another one of her publicity stunts and the backlash is brutal. Wounded, she dashes home to a tornado-devastated Wellville, Kansas to heal and help rebuild, even though the constant stream of social media doubts and threats won’t let her rest. But there’s another reason for her sleepless nights and fevered dreams. Clay is back, hotter than ever, and his lingering glances and stolen moments have her convinced the feelings she’s fought for so long may not be one sided after all.
This story starts with a lot of background, like a ton, so I was almost overwhelmed. I felt like there was so much happening, this can’t be the first book in this series, I must have missed one. But I powered through and quickly got comfortable. Turns out, there is a prequel novella that probably covers a lot but I didn’t figure that out until after I finished this book (duh!). The backstory is interesting so I’ll probably read that eventually but it was not necessary to enjoy this book.
Pop star Van Birch goes home to heal after being hurt by someone she trusts and is immediately confronted by her longstanding attraction to her stepbrother, Clay Noble. Van had a crush on Clay as a young teen and was horrified when her widowed father married Clay’s mother. Clay was a bully to her back then so she thought those feelings were long gone, but they were simply buried.
Their parents made it clear to Clay from the beginning that the two were siblings and had better act like it, so Clay’s reciprocal crush on Van was a guilty secret he’s carried for years. He’s ashamed of the way he treated Van back then, lashing out at her to hide his forbidden attraction. Now they’re adults and things are much different, but Van’s life is extremely complicated so it’s not easy to make a relationship work.
Van is under constant scrutiny in the media and the story is sprinkled with gossip site articles and social media posts, which I love. She’s treated horribly by complete strangers because they think they know her and understand everything about her, but they couldn’t be more wrong.
I loved everything about this story and would be thrilled for more Van and Clay. This was a fun book and I can’t wait to read Bryant’s book, the second in the trilogy.
The Van Birch Incident on Amazon