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The Girl Next Door

(Bend or Break #3)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  664 ratings  ·  145 reviews
When it comes to love, go big or go home.

Charles “Cash” Carmichael traded his high-rise condo and family-firm career for a job coaching soccer for Chicago’s inner-city kids. He’s adjusting to living on minimum wage when his young cousin, newly out and running away from home, shows up on his less-than-luxurious doorstep.

Angsty teens definitely aren’t Cash’s thing. He needs
Paperback, 248 pages
Published June 16th 2015 by Samhain Publishing
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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  664 ratings  ·  145 reviews

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Santino Hassell
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Cash, Cash, Cash.

What more can I say about Cash? He's the dudebro everyone wants to bang, and the adorable mush who had the ability to melt even my tar black heart. It takes a certain amount of skill to write a character who is so nuanced (he's a horny sweetheart and kind of a goofball, but he can also be ethnocentric and is self-aware enough to check himself because he is 100% aware of his own shortcomings) and have him read so damn real. Cash is a one-of-a-kind character, and one of my favorit
Amy Cousins
Mar 10, 2015 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
This one's for everyone who ran to me (metaphorically speaking, because some of y'all are FAR away) after finishing OFF CAMPUS. "CASH! I love Cash! When do we get a book about Cash?"

Dude. I love that boy, too. He is everything I admire in the world. Open and honest and not always the swiftest on the uptake, but totally willing to be admit it and ask for help. With a filthy mouth and an up-for-anything attitude, Cash is one of my favorite characters ever and I cannot tell you how happy it made me
While I appreciated this book for the male POV, for its adorable narrator, and for the endearing overall cast, it somehow didn't all come together for me. Not like I expected anyway.

I think it's because it didn't live up to its full potential. I loved the main characters separately (I have since I first met them in Off Campus, the first book in this series), and I expected them to be incendiary and super intense together in their book, but their romance was sadly too weak. Steph just didn't get
Mónica BQ
May 26, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autor-caca
Removing review because of reasons.
Original everything under a spoiler tag because of GR reasons.

I didn't even like the book anyway.

(view spoiler)
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, arc
I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have to admit I was a little leery when I saw that the third book in this series was going to be a het romance. I have nothing against het romance, but I've been reading them for over 20 years, and I'm more than a little burned out on the genre. I was pleasantly surprised that this was far from the same old same old het romance.


I really loved Cash. I loved how much he cared about his friends, and how respectful
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Kaetrin who reviews for Dear Author tweeted me a few days ago and recommend this book. She said the phrase, “straight guy BJ” and I was sold. A straight guy participating in a blow job with another man is like my unicorn. (More like a unicorn with two horns).

I digress.

There is much more to this story than BJs. Cash is one of the most likable heroes I’ve read. Told all in his point of view, he is fun, open, trustworthy and just a good guy. Sick of getting wealthy favors from his parents, he moves
Kaje Harper
Jun 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've enjoyed all the books in this series, and I love Cash as a character, so I was eager to see him get his romance. This book is M/F and M/M/F - we get to see some moments with the guys from book 1, but it is mainly about Cash's developing love for Steph.

Cash is a very straightforward guy. He has amazing integrity, manifested in a lot of small ways, like not being afraid to own his particular truths, even when they are something as small as admitting he likes kitten pictures. He's not book-sm
Karen Wellsbury
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I was looking forward to this more than almost anything else so far this year, I dont read much m/f romance, but I love AJC's writing, and Cash - well he kind of stole Off Campus a bit for me. And just the premise of Steph yesss.

While I wasn't disappointed, this was definitely a book in 4 parts for me, the scene setting in Chicago with the weather vagaries and ethnicity, the growing up facing your fears becoming an adult, the family we create for ourselves with our friends, and a romance
Vanessa North
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was fortunate enough to receive an early copy of this book from Amy Jo Cousins, amd i have to say, the Bend or Break series is shaping up to be one of my favorite contemporary series. Though i am not typically a New Adult reader, i find her take on this age group to be a refreshing and honest reminder of what being twenty-something and finding your way in the world is all about.

I love Cash--love his voice, love the way he thinks, love the way he relates to the people around him. Cash is a roc
Sep 04, 2015 marked it as probably-not-for-me
I haven't read this book yet—well, because I should start with the first in the series, right?—but if I see one more woman (!!!) warning or complaining about female bits in a book—even in this book with a female bisexual character—I'm gonna scream. FFS grow up!

ETA: I didn't finish the first book, so I'm not gonna read it.
3,5 stars.

So many thoughts on this book.

So this will be less of a review and more of me rambling on in the hope that some of you will chime in and let me know what YOU think.

So, off on my first tangent:
On the topic of casual sex. Thing is, I’m proud of having casual and non-casual sex with lovely diverse partners and I've worked hard over the years to learn how to do it in a sophisticated, sustainable and ethical way.
So, I want casual sex to be treated with respect and knowledge in the books I
Alexis Hall
Elisabeth Lane & I chatted about this over on the AAR blog.

Because the threesome scene wasn't exactly what I was looking for (although, let's face it, what I was looking for was pretty specific *blush*), I think our discussion comes across as slightly more negative than I/we would ever have intended.


This book is awesome. And it's Caaaaash! Also a pretty important entry in the series, since it provides a lot of important context for Rafi & Denny (the protagonists of Level Hands).

I know
I enjoyed this installment of the Bend or Break series a lot more than Nothing Like Paris. Cash is such a fun character, and I loved seeing the world through his eyes. Steph on the other hand annoyed me, especially towards the ending. Yeah I know she had a lot on her plate, but that was no reason to be such a bitch to Cash. (view spoiler) ...more
Mar 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
***3.5 Stars!***

The Girl Next Door is the third book in the Bend or Break series. Ever since I read Off Campus and was introduced to two of the most awesome secondary characters I’ve encountered in books (Cash and Steph, of course) I’ve been waiting for this book.

So, this is Cash’s book. It’s told from Cash’s POV, and we spend lots of time in his head. We get to see how he thinks, and how he truly feels. It was refreshing to see a guy so free, yet insecure. A guy who knows his virtues and flaws
☆☆☆~Bev's World of Books~☆☆☆

Well, my first m/f read for 3 years..and did I like it?? I frickin' LOVED it, many thanks Amy Jo!! 5 stars from me.

 photo SnoopyHearts_zpsdde64b5d.gif

Cash, the trust fund baby with the heart of gold, moves to Chicago from Boston after finishing Uni, to take a job with an non-profit organisation teaching kids sports in a very run-down part of the city. Mum and Dad don't approve, and so he leaves the swanky apartment they've bought him, and moves into a studio where there's just about enough room to swing a cat. He's left all o
Sonia ~Ruber's fiancé in Crystal Court universe~
Really good for an mf, especially since I was hoping for an mm for Cash. I love Cash btw! He's so awesome!!! And Steph was pretty cool, but I feel like we didn't get to really meet her, the book was only from Cash's POV, and it was centered mostly on Cash and his life. So that would be one complaint, I felt like Steph was a secondary character (but a cool one :d)
The mmf scene was very, very, very hot!
So if you guys were weary about reading this cause it's an mf let me tell you it has a lot of mm
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, contemporary
I think this is the best M/F romance (I mean that the MCs are a man and a woman, although there's definitely queerness in this book) I have read in a very long time. The things I loved about this book:

* Cash and Steph don't fulfill any sort of gender roles. They are just two human beings interacting who happen to be male and female. Their characteristics are their own. Their actions are not stereotypical in any way, they just are. Their relationship feels realistic, normal (well, probably not th
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is a story about Cash. It's Cash learning about himself, being an open and honest person, a man that anyone would and should be proud to know. He's adventurous, kind, caring, fiercely loyal, thoughtful, and has an amazing heart. His heart belongs to his friends. It' belongs to Steph. And she's the most rockin' chick on the planet. Tenderhearted, vulnerable, strong, beautiful. The two of them together, OMG, such an explosive combination.

Being in Cash's head was so enjoyable... and seriously
Every single one of those 5 stars is for Cash. I love Cash so hard. Steph? Meh. She was more of a secondary character for me. I am so happy this book was told through Cash's POV. ...more
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now, that was sweet and sexy and so much fun! I will review it closer to publication.

You can read this full review on my blog - Ellie Reads Fiction

I love this series, the first two books so far being New Adult MM and this one is more adult since we have a m/f couple at the centre yet the story is diverse/queer at heart.

I like Ms Cousins' writing - it's engaging, telling the stories of real young people dealing with different issues. Her strength for me is the way she builds her characters so rea
""If he was going to bare his soul, he'd do it with this girl, and no one else, but he'd cop a feel at the same time, because hey, multi-tasking."

This was an interestingly done story for two reasons. First it is a male/female romance told from the guy's point of view. That is something you don't see often in contemporary romance and probably the thing I liked most about this book. The second thing that was unique that is this is a male/female story in an otherwise male/male series. That's not so
Katherine Locke
Apr 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a) smart and well written
b) hot
c) threesomes are usually a flat out no thank you for me but this one was fantastic
d) Steph forever
E) Cash forever
f) so sex and queer positive!!!!!! like holy cow this is fucking amazing!
I dug The Girl Next Door out of my deep, far back TBR pile and I'm so glad I did. What a fantastic character study of a reforming rich-white boy who's learning to become a man in his own right and finding his work, passions, and relationships along the way. Cash could have been such a BRO but he's very cognizant of his privileges, and is very open about both his desires and wants. He's been pining for the one who got away, his friend Steph, who introduced him to many desires he never even imagin ...more
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2017
This was excellent.

Big, dumb jock with a heart of gold? Sign me the fuck up.

I was excited to read Cash and Steph's story after the first book in the series, and this did not disappoint. It was really great to get inside Cash's head, and see him step out into the world on his own and figure things out. I really liked seeing him interact with everyone in the book, from Denny, to Varun and Rafi, the kids at his job, Tom and Rees, and of course Steph.

They have a really great chemistry between the
Jo * Smut-Dickted *
While I love Cash this was just ok to me. It felt weird to have a mf in the middle of a mm series - and I had a hard time moving from enjoying the boys to dealing with a girl - even though Steph was allright.
On hold at 16%. I like the author and I really like Cash as an MC but I'm just not into m/f these days. ...more
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really just want this review to be fire emojis.
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2017
3.5 stars
I think this story is mis-titled. While Steph, the bi best friend of Reese from book 1 is the female lead the focus of the story is far more on Cash, who also narrates.

Cash has left his cushy family job in Boston for a sports coaching job in Chicago. Steph us also in Chicago but the pair aren't together - until Cash's teenage cousin turns up on his doorstep - and it's Steph he calls for help.

Their casual sex relationship from college restarts - but neither admit that it's more than that
Yep, this is another winner in the series. I skipped book 2 because I REALLY wanted to read more about Cash because he is the BOMB! Did I say that right? I am sooooo not hip to the lingo, LOL. Anywho, I highly recommend this book and even for those who don't usually (or ever) read an MF romance, there is an MFM scene here which was totally HOT!

The audio narration was just amazing and I think Cooper North deserves so many awards! :) Great story, great writing, GREAT characters! Also, Reese and To
Dec 23, 2021 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: freebie
🎁 FREE on Amazon today (12/23/2021)! 🎁
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Amy Jo Cousins lives in Chicago, where she writes queer romance, tweets more than she ought, and sometimes runs way too far. She loves her boy and the Cubs, who taught her that being awesome doesn't necessarily have anything to do with winning.

Other books in the series

Bend or Break (7 books)
  • Off Campus (Bend or Break, #1)
  • Nothing Like Paris (Bend or Break, #2)
  • Level Hands (Bend or Break, #4)
  • Real World (Bend or Break, #5)
  • Love Me Like a Rock (Bend or Break, #6)
  • Hard Candy (Bend or Break, #7)

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