Review: The Boy on the Bridge by Sam Mariano

March 10, 2021


Title: The Boy on the Bridge
Author: Sam Mariano
Genre: Bully Romance
Release Date: March 4, 2021


The day I met Hunter Maxwell he wasn’t the rich kid who lived in the giant house, he wasn’t the most popular guy in school, he certainly wasn’t the bully who had chased his own best friend out of town after a falling out—he was just a boy with a black eye and a dark secret.
My life would have been much easier if I had stayed out of it, but I couldn’t. I saw someone hurting and wanted to help. I saw someone possibly in danger and wanted to make sure he was safe.
There’s nothing safe about Hunter Maxwell, though. I thought there might be. I fell under his spell. Whatever the world saw when they looked at him, it wasn’t what he showed me.
The bond we formed was real. I know it was real. But with Hunter, when the tides turn, you’d better hope you’re safely on the shore and out of his reach.
I thought I was a strong enough swimmer to keep my head above water. I thought if it came down to it, I could resist his pull.
I didn’t know, but now I do.
Once Hunter sets his sights on you, there’s no such thing as out of his reach. Whether it’s today, tomorrow, or five years from now, he’s coming for me—and when he does, he won’t stop until he’s destroyed me.


I was introduced to Riley and Hunter from The Boy on the Bridge, in the Bully Me: Class of 2020 Anthology in April of last year. I fell in love with them immediately! From their very first meeting, their connection is undeniable. I felt the instant attraction, friendship, and chemistry right along with the characters. Then, the story ended on a cliffhanger, and I've been dying for more of them ever since! 

(No worries if you never got a chance to read the anthology. That part of their story is included in this book in Part 1.)

With all of that anticipation came expectations, and while that can be a recipe for disaster, that wasn't the case here at all. I wasn't disappointed in the least. I was ecstatic! Sam Mariano's writing is incredibly addictive. I didn't want to put the book down! 

Hunter is hot, rich, manipulative, possessive, and helplessly in love with Riley. He has a lot of emotional trauma that colors the way he handles their relationship, but I never doubted his feelings for a second. His romantic streak makes him one of Sam Mariano's sweeter heroes. It seems almost comical using that word considering some of the things that happen in this book, but it's true nonetheless. 

Riley is as powerless to resist Hunter as he is to resist her. She's drawn to the man he is, and she compliments him completely. Her pride gets in the way a lot, but Hunter knows exactly how to give her what she wants when she's too stubborn to allow herself to have it. Riley's smart, caring, opinionated, and doesn't let herself give too much of a fuck what other people think of her which I love. 

Her relationship with her mom is very Lorelai and Rory. Growing up with a strong, self-reliant mother made Riley into a woman that knows she doesn't need a man, and that makes things a little more difficult for Hunter. Luckily, he's not one to back down from a challenge. 

What I love most about this story and all of this author's work is how imperfect the main characters are and how unconventional their relationship is. Riley and Hunter are flawed, complex individuals that you won't always agree with. In fact, they will straight up piss you off at times, but in my opinion, it makes them a hell of a lot more interesting! 

Their relationship with each other is complicated, intense, and unorthodox. Sam explores things in her stories that others might shy away from, and I appreciate that about her. She isn't afraid to push boundaries and buck norms. Rarely will you find a traditional romantic relationship, and that’s a big draw for me. I enjoy the unexpected, original, morally gray, slightly twisted content she provides.  

Another highlight for me is one Untouchable fans will be delighted to see. Zoey makes an appearance in this book along with the mysterious restaurant guy. I can't wait to finally get his story. He's seems like a cocky asshole, so naturally, I'm intrigued. 

I cannot conclude this review without talking about my man, Sherlock. He's a side character that stole my heart. He radiates main character vibes. Hell, he threatened to steal the spotlight in this one at times, and it's not even his book. 

If your panties melt for bad boys, you're going to need to change them after you meet this one! The man captivated my attention from the jump, and I ate up every scene he was in. I NEED him to have his own book. I'll be absolutely heartbroken if I never see him again. 

Bottom line, The Boy on the Bridge gave me everything I was looking for when I picked it up. Riley and Hunter's romance is messy, steamy, emotional and passionate. Both characters are well developed, and the pacing of the story is perfect. It's a little long, but you won't hear me complain. I was completely entertained the entire time I was reading, and I was sad to see my time with these characters come to an end. 

If you love couples made up of gorgeous, alpha males with emotional issues and intelligent heroines with stubborn streaks whose primary weakness is each other, you should definitely give this book a try.

Fans of the author, dark romance, and angsty new adult, this one's for you! 


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“You sure you want to bail? Leave me here alone in a dark theater with Valerie? Maybe you should tag along and make sure I behave myself.”
I know he’s only ragging on me, but I scoff at him anyway. “Please. I’d never babysit a guy. My mom taught me better than that. If you like Valerie, there’s no way you like me. If you don’t like me, then—”
He stands just as abruptly as I did, moving so close he’s practically on top of me.
My words halt and my amusement fades. His handsome face is so close to mine, my heart sinks. I can’t think straight when he stands so close to me.
“Then what?” he challenges, looking down at me and holding my gaze.
Stampeding wild animals stomp through my chest as I look back at him. I can see from the glimmer in his eyes, he knows exactly how he’s affecting me.
“Don’t torture me, Hunter.”
“This isn’t what it feels like to be tortured by me, Catnip.”


Sam Mariano writes the books she wants to read. She loves edgy, twisty romantic reads with complicated characters you’re left thinking about long after you turn the last page. Her favorite thing about indie publishing is the ability to play by your own rules! If she isn’t reading one of the thousands of books on her to-read list, writing her next book, or playing with her adorable daughter… actually, that’s about all she has time for these days. Feel free to find her on Facebook or Instagram—she loves hearing from her readers!


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