Cover Image: Once Upon a Bad Boy

Once Upon a Bad Boy

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Member Reviews

I had high hopes for this whole series. Unfortunately, it just didn't come together well for me.  I kept trying throughout all 3 books for some reason.
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Sadie and Bo were childhood besties turns lovers.  They were hot and heavy until Bo broke it off and let the love of his life to … supposedly to spread her wing (it’s for her own good).  It’s like a boy from the wrong track type thing but not really…Sadie came from a wealthy and privilege family while Bo’s family not so much.  Bo’s father works for Sadie’s grandparents managing the stables.  However, his mother has a really nice job. At any rate, a decade later faith brought them together again.  Bo works as a stunt coordinator for a movie Sadie is an actress.  Can these two stay platonic working together with all the sizzling chemistry? Old feelings resurfaced.  You never really forget your first love, right? Over all, it was an emotional, angsty love story with all the feels, second chance romance.
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I love second chance romances - which is what this one is. Sadie Gold has finally won her dream role as a star in a movie. She is being trained by her ex, Bo Ibarra. He was the man who first stole her heart but then left. These two are thrusted together and forced to revisit what was and what could possibly be again. These two were clearly meant for each other and only time will tell if they can have it all or be torn apart again. The book is sweet and very good light read that just makes your heart melt.
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I initially chose this story because I am a fan of second chance romances. It was a good story, and I liked the characters. While there was a clear disconnect between the two characters, it didn't feel as if Sadie was convincing as the rich girl. She seemed much more plain Jane, which made the riff between Sadie and Bo as young kids difficult to believe. When I ignored this part for me, the story was great, I loved the banter between the two characters, and I especially enjoyed the ending. If you like second chance romances, you'll like this story!
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Life at its most simplistic is all about choices and how choices we made in our youth would not necessarily be the same in the here and now. Romance characters usually make stupid, irrational choices based on misinformation. Once Upon a Bad Boy is no exception, but does raise important points about a woman's choices, or right to choose. It's a throwaway point in this story, rendering the build-up ineffective as a story arc. The chemistry is tepid. The character profile is generic, for example, what makes Bo a bad boy? There is little to suggest he is of questionable character that makes poor choices. Other than his suggested socioeconomic profile, he is a standard stand up male lead. The girl squad aspect of this series wanes thin here and is generic and boring. Okay start, but a disappointing finish.
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Once upon a Bad Boy is 3 of 3 in Sometimes in Love series 
🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 Steamy & Loved it❤️

Sadie Gold is a famous movie star from a wealthy family. Bo Ibarra is a stunt man from a loving family that has more love than cents. Both grew up together, both loved each other once and both... feel something now? 

Sadie is a “privileged” woman, hoping to show she’s more than a pretty in her latest role and gets so much more. A chance to reconnect with the ones that love her most, her grandmother and her first love, Bo. Bo is a stunt coordinator hoping to take over the company but Sadie throws him a curveball and threatens all that.  

Sadie is a great example of money not buying happiness and shows Bo how wealthy he is to have a family that loves him fiercely. Each seeking what the other has and meeting in the middle to have more than they ever dreamed of. This is the steamiest of the three novels but that just makes the tale that much better ❤️
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In a world drenched in fame and fortune, Sadie has learned the hard way that not all that glitters is … well, gold.

Sadie Gold grew up with privilege, not that she had any choice of her own in that regard seeing as how she was born into it. She’s always had classic good looks and a slim figure, thanks to the happy mistake of genetics. Her family has always been steeped deeply in well-placed connections, that’s true enough … but what everyone has failed to see and accept is that Sadie is more than just a pretty face or a poor little rich girl. She has … well, she has actual talent.

Working on a soap opera for the bulk of her career has been grueling in more ways than one, and Sadie is tired of not being taken seriously. It’s hard for her to prove she’s cut out for the difficult and complicated parts afforded to the serious actresses of the world when her storylines include evil twins, returning from the dead multiple times, and cheesy love scenes with brawny (and oftentimes brainless) male actors. But Sadie has made the best of her time onscreen and has done what she could with the parts afforded her, always doing her damnedest to showcase her talents at exhibiting emotion and range … no matter the circumstance.

When a part opened up in a sure-to-be blockbuster film and she somehow nailed the audition, Sadie was at first exhilarated. This was finally her big break. This would be the movie that would take her from bit-part daytime actress and catapult her into major stardom. She would finally be respected in the industry, and nothing was going to stand in her way. The chance to rid herself of her rich-girl reputation was right within her grasp.

But when her stunt trainer showed up on set, all bets were off.

Bo Ibarra was more than just Sadie’s first love. He was her first … everything.

He was the first man to make her feel loved and beautiful … the first man to touch her body and give her chills that she felt in the deepest recesses of her heart. She’d grown up virtually ignored by her jet-setting parents, but Bo was a constant on the ranch owned by her family. Every summer was spent wrapped up in him, in more ways than one … whether racing horses across the fields or cuddled up together in the barn, the two were inseparable.

Sadie had never understood what had ultimately driven Bo away from her. He’d left her that last night back in high school with no explanations, and no answer had surfaced in the years since. As a result, Sadie spent a decade firmly packing Bo and the memories attached to him into the furthest chambers of her mind and soul, vowing that she’d never allow another man to get that close to her heart again.

But unfortunately for Sadie, time has only made Bo even more irresistible.

His gawky stature and long, lanky limbs have been replaced by hard-earned muscle and sinew. His baby face has been transformed by a manly beard over a strong jawline. His once soft hands have been calloused from age and work.

But Bo’s eyes are still the same … depthless and full of desire.

Bo nearly lost his breath when Sadie walked into the room. He’d almost forgotten he was there to work and not to gawk. The years had been good to her, but that was no surprise. Bo has been following Sadie’s career from the moment it began, tuning in each afternoon to watch her throw drinks on unsuspecting villains or fall into bed with the flavor of the week. Still, keeping tabs on his first love hadn’t quite prepared him for what he would feel coursing through his veins when he was finally set face-to-face with her again. It all came rushing back – raw, unchained lust … unbridled passion … a flood of memories that involved her warm body, her soft kisses, and … the pain in her eyes when he’d broken her heart.

He’d had to do it. They’d had no future. He was a no one, born to a family that was indebted to hers and whose every dollar was made by working for the Gold family. Bo had known he had to distance himself from Sadie for the good of them both. He’d had to forge his own future, and to do that he had to let go of the dreams he’d spent his entire childhood and adolescence building for the two of them. She deserved better than the son of ranch worker and horse handler, and Bo was determined that he should find a way to be the curator of his own path.

But Sadie … Sadie, Sadie, Sadie. She had a way of getting under his skin the way no other woman ever had since the day he walked out of her life for good.

It doesn’t take long for both Bo and Sadie to fall back into each other’s arms, but unfortunately for the couple, the problems they left behind a decade ago haven’t vanished completely. As they both struggle to make their way, problem after problem is thrown in their path. The duo has to decide in the end if love is really worth fighting for, or if some things are just not meant to be.

Once Upon a Bad Boy is the third in a contemporary romance series called Sometimes in Love, but can be read as a stand-alone novel. Penned by self-proclaimed “Drama Mama” and fiery redhead Melonie Johnson, the novels in the series (so far) follow tenacious, independent women and their tumbles into love.

Okay … so on to the opinion part:

I LOVED THIS BOOK. Seriously, I did! I spent a good few years blissfully drowning in the rom-com/contemporary romance ocean a long time ago … you know, those books that you can sit down and read in a day or two … books that always have hot sex and predictably happy endings. But after those couple of years of churning through book after book, I think I got burnt out. There are only so many of those types of stories that you can read before they start to all sound the same. More often than not, the characters and their path become stale about halfway through, and since you already know how it will end – why bother?

I own the other two novels in this series, and haven’t gotten to them yet. Maybe because I’ve been avoiding the genre? I don’t know. But I was slated to write a blog for Once Upon a Bad Boy as part of a pub-tour and so I had to pick it up and read it. I was SO PLEASANTLY SURPRISED that I immediately added the other two to my July TBR and am doing my best to fly through my last books of June so I can get to them.

Let me tell you what sets this book apart and makes it fresh:

The characters. Sadie is a badass, independent woman … but author Johnson is generous in showing you her softer side. Sadie has scars but she doesn’t allow them to define her. She also has a few things she hasn’t dealt with, but when she chooses to finally address them and apply some closure … man, does she do it with grace and style. Sadie is determined, fiery, and spicy without being off-putting or abrasive. And Bo? Man. Talk about sex on a freaking stick. My only negative reaction to Bo’s character was that he first appeared to be very sweet and almost innocent, and then very abruptly it was a full-on showcase of his bad boy side. Not that I was complaining, it just felt as if Bo transitioned into a completely different person on a dime. He was in touch with his emotions but not overtly so, and although he made a load of mistakes … it was his honesty and effort to give Sadie appropriate space that redeemed him in my eyes. He was a romantic without being cheesy, and his was 100% masculine energy. The side characters were strong without being overpowering, and I am very curious in particular to see if Bo’s sister gets her own story.

The setting and atmosphere. I could vividly *see* the surroundings and that was something I enjoyed. Oftentimes romance authors forget to include the setting as part of the build up. I was as attached to the ranch as I was the characters; it was big enough to have its own role in the story as it was the place that Sadie and Bo fell in love and … well, I won’t spoil it.

The humor. When it’s timed correctly, humor can be the turning point in novels like this and really make me fall in love. Johnson got it right every.single.time. and I was endeared over and over again.

The romance. It was sexy without being gross … if that makes sense? Sometimes romance novels can go a little too far and it can become monotonous. I don’t need sex scene after sex scene … what I do need is important encounters that make sense to the story. Melonie Johnson delivered on all accounts. It was hot without being inappropriate. It was vital to the story without becoming the story. THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD BE WRITTEN … so take notice, romance authors! It was all like a shade below Colleen Hoover, and that is a huge compliment in my opinion.

I just genuinely loved this book, and I cannot wait to read the others in this series. And hello, take a look at that beautiful cover. Sadie and Bo are amazing and their shared vulnerability was so special … this novel was truly a cut above the rest.

4 stars to Once Upon a Bad Boy, and cheers to Melonie Johnson for giving me a fresh new love for contemporary romance.
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This story has one sensitive topic that's a big deal and is hardly ever brought up in Romance Novels I was happy not only that it was mentioned but that the author went into detail about why it happened. Not all romances are rainbows and sunshine, it's the journey through life that makes us the people we are and we can only hope that we get through the tough times and come out stronger because of it. And that is exactly what Sadie did.

Once Upon a Bad Boy is much more than the one sensitive topic, it's about friendships, family, and second chances. Bo and Sadie are great together their relationship may have ended ten years earlier but their feelings definitely haven't diminished and their chemistry...WOW!

This has been a great series to sink my teeth into. I would suggest reading the books in order of release, each book is based on one couple but it revolves around  a group of friends and their stories overlap at times. But regardless of that, it would spoil the fun of watching each of the couples finding their HEAs in the order they were meant to.

Happy Reading!!!

**I have voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Readers Copy of this book for my Blog, Nadine's Obsessed with Books**
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This is a second chance book of a couple that meets when they were seven. So, you have a bond of friendship that is always hard to give up. So, but when you give up your virginity to this person like Sadie did it’s so much more.

The night of her prom, within, it was too much. It felt like, most likely he breaks up with her, a final break. Yet, he really breaks so much more. The hardest part is he doesn’t tell her, why. Then, when she gets back home, he was gone. He broke her heart being a coward, he broke her trust, and he abandons her too.

She adds him along with all the emotions that were too much to handle without completely falling apart. She places them in a box as she says, and she never looks back. He never returns to her grandmother’s estate where he and his family run the stables.

Bo was but a memory. She doesn’t even look him up on social media or ask him. There is no more Bo only her career in acting. She just scored her first lead in a major picture in Chicago, her second hometown. After being in a soap opera in New York for years. This is an action film. The first day of the read-through she meets the cast. When her lead goes to introduce her to the stunt coordinator he requested.

When he said it is none other than, Bo. To say there was a shock to her heart, it would be an understatement. The tension is thick for a few days. Then, she and her bestie Ana, co-start, Ryan, and Bo go apple picking afterward it’s on like Donkey Kong, between the to of them. Really?!

Okay, the guy takes your virginity then bails but most of all he had been your friend since seven breaks your trust and you let him jump your bones without talking out the past. EFF! Your boxes Really?!!! Does that not seem a little unbelievable to anyone else or just me? Yes, he was your first got it. But her best friend burned her where was her anger? The box. Right?!

Nope, anyway, this starts losing me and star. Because when asked point-blank if she’s his girlfriend he says, nothing. She’s is afterthought or toy for the moment or so it seems. Check for yourself. Not the same vibe as Smitten for the Brit which I totally enjoyed. I am having a problem with a spoiled alpha male (who’s not rich) who has commitment issues and is a snob of those of wealth.

In a passive way. Sadie, I had been trying to root for since she is concurring her phobias but can’t fully since she is allowing her ex to use her as a toy. She is afraid to confront him on his past shit and what he put her through.

I give this: 3 stars. Provided by Follow us at
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Love this series, but this is definitely my FAVE of them all. Great world, great conflict, powerful to see Sadie fix her place in her world and find peace with her problems. Total yum of a book.
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Another cute love story from the friend group that keeps on giving. This story was a bit deeper but every bit as steamy.
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Liked this one a lot. I'm really pleased with the inclusion of the abortion backstory, and wish more of romantic fiction would incorporate it.
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***3 Stars***

I’m not too sure where my interest in Sadie and Bo’s story started to fizzle, but while I can say that I didn’t hate their journey, I wasn’t all in either. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t seem to get lost in their second chance romance. But I will say that the issues that come up in the story were handled well and with respect.
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Melonie writes a good, smoothly-flowing, steamy story. I really love the strong female friendship theme that holds this series together. That for me is the reason why I've read all three books published so far. While I believe in Sadie and Bo's second-chance love story, I have some trouble connecting with them. I can understand Sadie's challenges but I can't relate to them. I sympathize with Bo's financial background but I don't get his lame reasoning for breaking up with Sadie and his callous reaction to the reveal of her secret. 

Among the secondary characters, I like Ana best. I wish though that there are more scenes with the squad like in the first two books. I don't like Luna. Her antipathy was extreme. 

I used to love Big Misunderstanding as the plot driver in the early-90s when Judith McNaught used it so effectively. In 2019, not so much.
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Sadie and Bo were childhood sweethearts who had not seen each other for ten years when they meet up on a movie set. Bo had broken up with Sadie, but there was a lot of history behind them. They cautiously reconnect and are soon together again, but hide it until after the movie is over. They also agree not to have sex. The last night of filming Bo is filmed groping Sadie and it is posted online. With their relationship out in the open other secrets come out. They end up together after Sadie takes ownership of her story and they both come clean. There are a few check-ins with other couples from the first two books, but not a lot. 

While I enjoyed all 3 books in the series, I didn't really connect as much with Sadie and Bo. They never really clicked. I also didn't feel they needed the big twist in this book. It wasn't the reason they broke up and it felt like it was thrown in without a lot of thought.
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Bo Ibarra is so dreamy me likey--


Very fun read, just a nice mixture of angst and sweet. Also, I just love how romantic this book is! Totally swooned over Bo's honeybee tattoo. 

Anyway I'll riot if Ana's not given a book.
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I read the whole trilogy on vacation and this was my least favorite of the three. I want a romance novel to be light and fun... it’s OK if there is some family drama, misunderstandings, etc. but I didn’t like that it brought in abortion. It just made it a little too real for a fluffy, light romance novel. I wasn’t as in to these characters anyway but that threw me when it came up. This was just OK.

I received a complimentary ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Once Upon a Bad Boy by Melonie Johnson is another great summer beach read...or a winter, sitting by the fire cozy read.  Sadie Gold is an actress, taking on the role that could make or break her career. Bo Ibarra is the man who will train her for her role and work closely with her on all the stunts in the movie.  But their previous relationship could throw a wrench in the works and destroy all Sadie has worked her entire career for...or will it?

This was an enjoyable novel with just enough tension to keep you interested in turning the pages.  I read it pretty quickly and I'm sure you will to! Thanks to the author, NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
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Once Upon a Bad Boy is a lovely story of forgiveness, healing and second chances.

Our two main characters were once young and in love. They had a bright future and couldn’t be separated. All of this changed the night of the prom when Bo breaks up with Sadie and never explains why.

Sadie was heartbroken and left their town to pursue a career in acting. She never had an easy go at her profession even though she was immensely talented – every one would brush her off as the rich girl who got the job because of her parents. She manages to score the role of a life time that will help boost her career. The only problem? She will be filming back near her hometown where her heart was broken so long ago. To top that one off – her stunt trainer is the one who broke her heart!

Sparks immediately begin to fly in this story as the two have an electric chemistry that they can not deny. They try to remain professional but it becomes clear that they are far too attracted to each other. The only problem? How do they clear up their past – Sadie wants and deserves answers. Do they have a future together or is this relationship purely physical? This peels off quite the scab for the couple but also brings with it understanding and forgiveness.

This is a beautiful story of second chances that you will fall in love with. It is honest, loving, sexy and more. A fantastic summer time read!
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You just know that a book titled Once Upon a Bad Boy is going to be delicious! Melonie Johnson gave us a sweet and sexy second chance "Hollywood" romance. This author has quickly become an author that I NEED to read! I absolutely ADORE her writing.
All of the books in this Sometimes in Love series have completely entertained me and I haven't wanted them to end! Each of these books can definitely be read as a standalone. While they are interconnected, it is the characters that make appearances in all books. You won't be missing any storyline if you just pick up one, or if you *gasp* read them out of order!
Bo and Sadie were wonderful characters. I was rooting the whole time for them to find their HEA! I loved that we got to see some memories of how they were as children. It added a depth to the story that I appreciated.
I also really enjoyed that the characters came from different backgrounds — both socioeconomically and culturally. I liked that they had to truly grow up and see that their differences weren't as big as they seemed in their heads. I also really loved the subtle nods to their cultural — through language, food etc. For me, I feel like it isn't very often that we see a Jewish character and seeing it here just made my heart swell.
I really hope that this isn't the end of the series. I would love to get Ana & Delaney's stories!
Guys this is a book you want to make sure you read!
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