Review of Conflicted by Ruby Black

You know that feeling you get when you think you know how a story is going to go? You think, "Eh, this is probably like every other book with the same plot. A guy and a girl become best of friends, but one of them falls in love with the other. He or she doesn't want to come clean with his/her feelings though because of the risk of ruining their friendship. Fast forward a hundred pages then voila! They end up together and live happily ever after."

But the thing is, Conflicted isn't anything like that. I mean, yeah there are certain elements making it similar to others with the same story line, but as a whole, it's deeper, more realistic, and a whole lot more complicated.

Title: Conflicted
Author: Ruby Black
Publication Date: May 10, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: ARC Given by Tour Organizer


She’s the only one I’ve ever needed and the only one I’ll never have.

The only problem is…she’s my best friend.

I’ve always felt the connection, but I just can’t go there. Not with her. She deserves better than what I can offer her. So I drown myself in women and booze, certain I’m doing the right thing, keeping her at a distance.

Or so I thought.

When Lacey tells me about the internship she’s scored with a hotshot criminal attorney, I’m happy for her. This could make her career. If anyone deserves success, it’s her.

Then I learn who her new ‘mentor’ is.

My father.

Now, the secrets I’ve been keeping may cost me the very friendship I’ve been trying to protect.


Tweet: She’s the only one I’ve ever needed and the only one I’ll never have @rubyblackbooks


Lacey is an intelligent woman who will do everything she can to achieve her dream. Her life revolves around studying, coffee, and Lucas--that is until she started her internship that can make or break her future career. But underneath all that strong shell is a shy, insecure girl who's just looking for love, support, and acceptance. But what will she do if she gets all that but under the wrong circumstances?

Lucas has only ever experienced loss. He lost his mother, his sister, his grandmother, and he might as well consider his father gone too. Letting people in is hard for him because he's afraid of being abandoned and hurt again. That's why he puts up the easy-go-lucky, care-about-nothing facade 24/7, especially when he's with Lacey. Wanting her but not wanting anyone else to have her is eating at him day by day. But there's nothing he can do, especially since he's keeping huge secrets from her.


I am a woman, so I hate being wrong by default. One of the few times I do like to be mistaken however is when it comes to a book. Going into Conflicted, I had quite an assumption of how the story will go, as I have expressed earlier. Was that wrong of me? Yes, of course. But I tried my best to read this contemporary romance novel by Ruby Black with fresh eyes and no judgement. Boy was I glad I did. 

Here are a few notable things I liked about Conflicted: 

Character focus. In the entire book, there were only a handful of characters that were given emphasis. These are Lucas, Lacey, Aaron, and Eva. There were a couple more supporting characters introduced, but they weren't really thrust into the limelight. Because the author opted to make the story focus around Lucas, Lacey, and Aaron, I was able to understand the depth of each character more, more than if Ruby Black decided to congest the book with new characters in every chapter. 

Multiple POVs. I have always enjoyed a book told from different points of view compared to one that is narrated from just one. I feel like this writing style enables me to connect to the main characters more, and I become more invested in the book as a whole. Conflicted is told from Lacey and Lucas' perspective, giving all of us a glimpse of their thoughts, their actions, and their feelings. 

Attraction. I liked how Lacey was a lot like any other single woman in the sense that when she was thrust in a situation with a man she was attracted and infatuated with, she was real and honest. She did give in to her physical and carnal needs--which is normal because she is single and into Aaron--but didn't go all the way because she knew that her sleeping with him is wrong in more ways than one. She knew at the back of her mind that she wants Lucas to be the one in that moment with her. But that doesn't mean that Lacey and Aaron's attraction to each other was purely sexual, because Aaron really did like Lacey. She made him dream and gave him hope that when things turn around, they can be together. 

Which leads me to my last point...

Love triangle. YES, this is a love triangle. It may or may not be the intention of the author, but it is a three-way relationship to me. I may not be a fan of stories like this (because someone ALWAYS gets hurt), but because of the special circumstances in this particular book, I found myself anticipating what's to come and who will end up together. 

What did I mean by that? You may be wondering, "Shouldn't Lucas and Lacey be together?" Well, they did finally end up confessing their feelings for one another. But the last two to three paragraphs in the book led me to believe that there is so much more to come before we can celebrate.


Conflicted didn't exactly hit me with a bat from the first few pages; it slowly crawled its way into my mind and heart as each page passes. 

It's a story that will make you think of what-ifs, second chances, redemption, and happily-ever-after. It makes you yearn to see things from a different perspective, makes you want to understand the reason behind the characters' actions. And because of all these things, it is a great read.



Ruby Black is the pseudonym for a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She likes angsty romance, alpha males, and full bookshelves. Her novel Conflicted will be available May 10, 2016.



Book images provided by Indiesage PR

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