Updated: Jan 20
by L.J. Shen
Published by LJ Shen
Stand Alone Book
From bestselling author L.J. Shen, comes a new standalone, enemies-to-lovers romance.
Célian Laurent. Manhattan royalty. Notorious playboy. Heir to a media empire. ...And my new boss.
I could have impressed him, if not for last month's unforgettable one-night stand. I left it with more than orgasms and a pleasant memory--namely, his wallet. Now he's staring me down like I'm the dirt under his Italian loafers, and I'm supposed to take it. But the thing about being Judith "Jude" Humphry is I have nothing to lose. Brooklyn girl. Infamously quirky. Heir to a stack of medical bills and a tattered couch. When he looks at me from across the room, I see the glint in his eyes, and that makes us rivals. He knows it. So do I. Every day in the newsroom is a battle. Every night in his bed, war. But it's my heart at stake, and I fear I'll be raising the white flag.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Romance Hot
Oh boy. I don't really know what to say. Dirty Headlines is a stand alone novel from L.J. Shen. It's bounces back between the two protagonist, Jude and Celian. Celian is the heir to a media empire, with a very complicated personal life, and a huge chip on his shoulder. Jude is struggling financially, due to her fathers mounting medical bills, and personally, about to lose the only parent she has, and just broke up with her boyfriend after walking in on him cheating on her. Dirty Headlines was on my goodreads suggested list, and I took a chance.
I hate that I liked this book. Truly. I hate it.
Lets start with that main characters, shall we? Jude is ... well ... likable compared everyone else, I suppose. Her weird obsession with chucks gets on my nerves though. And hey, I love a good pair of chucks. But who the heck wears them with business attire and in the newsroom of all places. Other than being a little odd, she is kind and caring, standing up for herself and others, and caring for her ailing father any way she can. It bothers me that she stole Celian's money after their one night stand. I know he is rich ... and their one night stand was not romantic at all ... but it's super gross to me that she slips out of his bed, steals his cash and wallet, and leaves. That being said, Celian isn't an angel. Even knowing about his family, his fake engagement to a woman he caught with his dad, and the trauma from his sisters death right in front of him, it's hard to like the guy. He is a dick. I mean, at least he is self-aware of it, but still ... I am left questioning, other than the dirtier than sin sex, and the fact that he helps Jude financially, in secret, what does Jude see in him?
The only characters that are decent in this book, is her father, and her new friends at the office, but are hardly interesting enough for me to remember their names. The rest of the characters are just terrible. Like, gross to epic proportions. The man he believes to be his father is the definition of a sleezy boss. Shitty father. Hates Celian with a passion (and come to find out, it's because he knows he isn't his biological son), and actively tries to ruin his life. His mother is hardly decent, and tends to let things happen so she can concentrate on her boy toys. And his fiancee ... ick. Downright crazy, and just ... vile. I get why he stayed engaged to her, even after catching her with his "father". I know it's because he wanted her share in the company, and that it was an arrangement, and not a relationship, but every encounter with her was just gross. And it went a long way to explain Celian's shitty personality, but it doesn't excuse it.
Despite characters that are hardly worth liking, the story was interesting, bordering on great. I was interested in the newsroom aspect of the story, the plotting family members, and despite there being nothing romantic in this "love story", there was something about these two characters growing infatuation with one another that drew me in. The things Celian says, while some of it ... okay, most of it being absolutely dirty, it made me laugh. Sometimes in horror to what I was reading, but I cant deny that I was sucked in. Let's just say if you like sex in your novels ... Dirty Headlines will not disappoint. It is not your typical romance. L.J. Shen does not shy away from anything, and doesn't romanticize it, which is pretty unique in this genre to be honest.
Dirty Headlines is ... interesting to say the least. I wish the characters were better. The story itself is great though, and while I knew Jude and Celian would end up together in the end, it didn't end at all how I thought it would. Many twists make this book interesting, and despite heavily relying on the dirty, but hot sex a bit too much, instead of writing characters you want to root for, I couldn't put the damn book down. Like I said ... I hated that I liked it. That being said, I only recommend this book if you like erotica that borders on the "dirtier" side of things, and a romance that is not flowery or sweet at all.
Top 3 Favorite Moments:
1. Their meeting. While there was no mincing words that he was looking for a good, one time, fuck, there was a brutal honesty between the two of them, and it was obvious there was a lot of sexual chemistry between them.
2. Grayson and Ava talking about Celian in the workplace chatroom, and he jumps in to let them know it's monitored.
3. Their last minute wedding
Where to Buy:
Paperback (Amazon Canada)
Favorite Quotes: Explicit 18+
Jude: "Judith, but everyone calls me Jude."
Celian: "I take it you're a Beatles fan."
Jude: "Presumptuous. Your list of negative traits is never-ending."
Celian: "Not the only long thing about me. Eat, Judith."
Celian: "I'm not everyone."
Celian: "Crazy is not a good look on you, Spears."
Jude: "Well, consider yourself lucky, because I have no intention of exchanging anything with you, be it numbers, fluids, or pleasantries."
I wanted to grab her and slam her over the desk, fucking her three ways to Sunday in front of my entire news crew. Problem was, Judith also had a mouth. And it talked back. Always. It annoyed me and delighted me in equal measure. Part of me wanted to screw her, the other to spank her. - Celian
Celian: "You're playing with fire."
Jude: "Maybe I want to get burned."
Celian: "I don't shit where I eat."
Jude: "Give yourself some credit. You weren't that bad."
I chuckled, shaking my head. Say what you want about this girl, she had balls the size of watermelons.
Jude: "Why did I have to choose?"
Celian: "There's a camera in the right-hand corner of this room, just behind my back. I could take you to the presidential suite and fuck you to oblivion and back, but I'd much rather do it somewhere I can send the message home to Mathias."
Jude: "And the message is?"
Celian: "That you're mine."
Jude: "Yours I am not."
Celian: "Yes. You are. You're so far gone you can't even see me sharing a drink with my cousin without losing your shit."
Jude: "You're someone else's."
Celian: "No one's."
Jude: "This is going to end badly."
Celian: "But we will have one hell of a ride."
Kate: "Funny, I didn't peg you for a man who'd allow someone to have him by the balls."
Celian: "I wouldn't allow Lily to suck them, let alone hold the,. My tolerating her is strictly business."
Celian: "Can I help you?"
Jude: "I've been waiting for you."
Celian: "I can't fuck you here. But if you want to get dicked tonight, you can come over after work. Separately, of course."
Jude: "Tell you what - I'll tell you why I'm here, you'll apologize for being an ass, and we can both move on with our lives. Deal?"
Celian: "Okay, little grasshopper, let's see what you've got."
Celian: "Stop hanging out with Phoenix."
Jude: "Excuse me?"
Celian: "You're excused, because you didn't know what kind of douchebag he is. But now that you're fully informed, drop him. He's bad news."
Jude: "And you're good news?"
Celian: "I'm the best fucking news, have been for two consecutive years, and I have the numbers to back it up."
Celian: "I'm coming with you."
Jude: "No, thank you."
Celian: "It wasn't an offer. You're good, but still learning. I'm a vetern. And this is not about stroking your precious little ego. This is about scoring the best story we can get and giving it to our viewers before everyone else. There's no I in team."
Jude: "There is in Tim."
Jude: "Annoyingly adorable. Almost tempted to let you suck my cock right here in the office."
I rolled my eyes, stood up, gathered my things, and exited.
He looked under our table at my Chucks. Orange.
Celian: "Stimulation, sensation, and heat. Even you know I'm going to fuck you tonight."
I rolled my eyes.
Jude: "Can I ask you something?"
Celian: "You clearly just did. If this was twenty questions, you'd already have a disadvantage."
I pretended to examine my nails while giving him the finger. It made him chuckle, and his voice danced in the pit of my stomach.
Celian: "Tuck your pride back in, sweetheart. You're coming off as a little ungrateful, and it's unflattering."
Jude: "Screw you, Celian."
Celian: "Please tell me that's an invitation."
Jude: "You're a pig."
Then I hope you like bacon, because I'm on the menu tonight, Chucks.
Jude: "What's in the boxes?"
Celian: "Body parts."
Jude: "Always the charmer."
Celian: "Can you ask that again, but dramatically, a la Brad Pitt in Seven?"
I expected her to roll her eyes at me like Lily did every time I teased her for being over-dramatic. Instead, Jude turned around, giving me her back, then spun theatrically.
Jude: "What's in the boxes!" *pretends to point gun at him*
For the first time in years - yes, years - I actually laughed. Full-blown fucking cackled. It felt weird on my face, in my chest, in my lungs.
Jude: "Blech. Anticlimactic."
Celian: "You can't keep ignoring me."
Jude: "Pretty sure I can. Exhibit A: this conversation."
Celian: "I'm your boss."
Jude: "Precisely, and you crossed a lot of lines."
Celian: "You could have made a great lawyer."
Jude: "Not satisfied with my performance as a reporter?"
Celian: "Quite the contrary. As a booty call, however, you do a lousy job."
Jude: "Good. Consider this my official resignation."
Celian: "In the fucking car, Chucks."
Jude: "Say the magic word."
Celian: "My cock."
I made a gagging sound.
Celian: "I agree. It is abnormally big, but I haven't heard any complaints."
Jude: "The magic word."
Jude: "Whoops. Still a no."
Jude: "Where are we going?"
Celian: "You'll see."
Jude: "You never apologized for the phone."
Celian: "I do. I am. It wasn't my finest moment. I would say I didn't mean it, but lying on top of breaking your shit would really be rude. You shouldn't have exchanged numbers with another man. I've been dutifully faithful to you from the moment my tongue touched your crack."
Jude: "You're exchanged, psycho!"
Celian: "It's not real."
Jude: "It is to me."
Celian: "Bullshit. You wouldn't touch a taken man, and we both know it. We aren't cheaters."
Jude: "Does that mean we're in some sort of a relationship in your weird mind."
Celian: "Not a relationship, but an arrangement. Yes. Do you think you can handle that?"
Jude: "I can't fall in love, Celian. I'm broken."
Celian: "Good. Let's be broken together, then."
Jude: "Where are we going?"
Celian: "On a date."
Celian: "I'm taking you on a date. What's not to understand?"
Jude: "What's with the duffel bag? Is that in case you're bad at romancing and have to kill me before I tell anyone?"
Celian: "I can charm the panties off a nun."
Jude: "Charming your way into underwear and into hearts are two different skills."
Celian: "I'm a good multitasker."
Jude: "Not to mention I haven't agreed to date you. You never even asked."
Celian: "I thought it was a given."
Celian: "You gave me backdoor access - a woman's version of expensive jewelry."
Jude: "We're casual."
Grayson: "Is that why he casually claimed your ass a la Khal Drogo saving his princess from an army of savages when you had lunch on our floor last week? Admit it. You got your boss pussy-spelled."
Phoenix: "That's not a word. But it damn straight should be."
Jude: "You're single?"
Celian: "Seems that way."
Jude: "You broke it off with her?"
Celian: "Do you need this in writing, Humphry?"
Jude: "That would be great, actually."
Celian: "Get your smart ass out of my office before I spank it."
Jude: "You're awful."
Celian: "You like awful."
Jude: "Jesus. You're such a jerk."
Celian: "So I've been told a million times. Half of them by you."
Jude: "There's a special place in hell for you."
Celian: "Not surprised. I have a rock star realtor."
Jude: "This is your family and personal business. I don't think I belong."
Celian: "I don't think I give a fuck. Wait, this just in ... I don't give a fuck. Grab your shit, Chucks."
Celian: "Do you wear shoes indoors?"
Jude: "I don't even wear underwear and a bra at home. Dad's lucky if my clothes cover my private parts. I'm a free spirit."
Celian: "I fucking love you."
Celian: "You've gotten everything you ever wanted by walking over people and making a fucking mess, Mathias, while I managed to save my company by forming a genuine relationship with an elderly, somewhat lonely woman who just needed someone to be there for her. Karma is a bitch, and I do believe she just justified her reputation by shoving a ten-foot pole up your ass."
Celian: "So, what do you say we make it official?"
Jude: "This sounds a lot like a proposal."
Celian: "It is."
Jude: "Then no."
Jude: "Jesus, of course not. I want you on one knee, humbled and ringed."
Celian rolls out of bed, and grabs an iPod box out of his duffel bag, and hands it to her. She opens it up and see's a ring. Celian goes down on one knee.
Celian: "Make me a happy bastard, Judith. You're the only one who can."
Celian: "I don't think I'm much of a father figure, but if you want kids, we'll have kids. Hell, if you want rabies, we'll catch it together. Make a day of it."