All Broke Down (Rusk University #2) by Cara Cormack
(NA Romance; 368 pages; published Oct. 28, 2014 by William Morrow Paperbacks; source: publisher)
Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one. Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians you name it, she’s probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He’s in for a different kind of fighting. And though he’s arrogant and infuriating, she can’t help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause.
Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it’s trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He’s met girls like her before fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn’t think he’s broken, and he definitely doesn’t need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about: his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help. Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.
I can get behind a girl like Dylan. She’s from a good family, has a good heart and works hard to initiate change in her world. Because she does like to fix things, of *course* she falls for someone like Silas, who’s kind of a wreck. (Well, of course she falls for the bad boy in an NA novel…I’d hope she’d have a bit more sense IRL. Though it doesn’t always work that way.) Silas, well, he’s an ass. There. I said it. I didn’t like him very much at the beginning. He was all about getting drunk and getting laid and didn’t even seem to care all that much about football, though he claimed otherwise. But with Dylan in his life, he was more focused on getting his act together, working on his anger issues. As with many NAs, this was a tad overdramatic for me but I did enjoy the story and the camaraderie between the football players.
Stay With Me (Wait For You #3) by J. Lynn
(NA Romance; 448 pages; published Sept. 23, 2014 by William Morrow Paperbacks; source: publisher)
At 21, Calla hasn’t done a lot of things. She’s never been kissed, never seen the ocean, never gone to an amusement park. But growing up, she witnessed some things no child ever should. She still carries the physical and emotional scars of living with a strung-out mother, Mona—secrets she keeps from everyone, including her close circle of college friends.
But the safe cocoon Calla has carefully built is shattered when she discovers her mom has stolen her college money and run up a huge credit card debt in her name. Now, Calla has to go back to the small town she thought she’d left behind and clean up her mom’s mess again. Of course, when she arrives at her mother’s bar, Mona is nowhere to be found. Instead, six feet of hotness named Jackson James is pouring drinks and keeping the place humming.
Sexy and intense, Jax is in Calla’s business from the moment they meet, giving her a job and helping her search for Mona. And the way he looks at her makes it clear he wants to get horizontal . . . and maybe something more. Before Calla can let him get close, though, she’s got to deal with the pain of the past—and some very bad guys out to mess her up if she doesn’t give them her mom.
Never been kissed at 21? I had a really hard time believing that one. Yeah, I can see being a virgin at that age but kissing? I had my first kiss in kindergarten, when I chased Adam Jorgenson into the corner behind the tree stump (yes, my mother was called about my tendency to kiss boys on the playground). Still, Jennifer L. Armentrout knows how to spin a good tale (and boy, can she crank those stories out!). I really enjoyed the interplay between Jackson and Calla. Calla’s got a lot on her plate (darn those bad mothers!) but Jax is one of the few good things in Calla’s life, even though she’s pretty prickly about his interference in her life. Thus, the most entertaining interplay. And, of course, smexytimes.
Letting Go (Thatch #1) by Molly McAdams
(NA Romance; 320 pages; published Nov. 4, 2014 by William Morrow; source: publisher)
Grey and Ben fell in love at thirteen and believed they’d be together forever. But three days before their wedding, the twenty-year-old groom-to-be suddenly died from an unknown heart condition, destroying his would-be-bride’s world. If it hadn’t been for their best friend, Jagger, Grey never would have made it through those last two years to graduation. He’s the only one who understands her pain, the only one who knows what it’s like to force yourself to keep moving when your dreams are shattered. Jagger swears he’ll always be there for her, but no one has ever been able to hold on to him. He’s not the kind of guy to settle down.
It’s true that no one has ever been able to keep Jagger—because he’s only ever belonged to Grey. While everyone else worries over Grey’s fragility, he’s the only one who sees her strength. Yet as much as he wants Grey, he knows her heart will always be with Ben. Still they can’t deny the heat that is growing between them—a passion that soon becomes too hot to handle. But admitting their feelings for each other means they’ve got to face the past. Is being together what Ben would have wanted . . . or a betrayal of his memory that will eventually destroy them both?
Kind of hard-core when the love of your life dies so young and right before your wedding! No wonder Grey is such a Gloomy Gus at the beginning of the story. And then there’s Jagger, who loves Grey but is tormented because she is/was in love with his best friend and he’s in love with her. Emotional whirlwind much? Much of this story is spent in agony, as Grey and Jagger work through their emotions and the survivors’ guilt that surrounds them. This was my first Molly McAdams but, from what I’ve heard, she’s really good at pulling on those emotional heartstrings and putting her characters through hell before allowing them an HEA. She definitely did so with this story.
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