Although this book is the second in the series, it’s been written to be read as a New Adult Stand Alone novel. You do not have to read book one, which is a young adult novel, to enjoy.
No one said love is ever easy. And for Jess, he would ride his Harley to heaven and back for an eternity with her arms wrapped around him. That makes leaving her that late summer day to head to separate colleges the hardest thing he has to do. Still, he thinks that they could beat the odds and prove everyone wrong, until one drunken night and one sober confession.
Through the jagged edges of a broken lens, he’s faced with the reality of his choices. And fixing the pieces of Jess’s broken heart may be impossible. Without her, he’s left with only a mother who hates him and marks him as a dead man walking. And that’s not the only truth that has the potential to destroy his life.
The upcoming trial will reveal the defendant’s motivations for the crimes committed against the people he cares about. But that guy’s not the only one who’s guilty of something. With a cloud of mistrust hovering around him, can he keep Jess safe from his past? Can she or anyone forgive him for his secrets? Will he win back the one girl he’s ever loved or will he lose her forever?
*WARNING* This book is rated a New Adult book, which means it can contain foul language and sexual situations. Please be warned in advance.
There’s a whole host of crazy going on in this book. From relationship whiplash, stalker insanity, mommy issues, potential murders, money issues, to alcohol abuse and pregnancy scares I think every possible situation may be shoved into this novel. If you thrive on angst (then I must first introduce you to my aunt) you’ll having fallen into your dream world…but perhaps it was TOO much for me.
We open with Ethan lacking a pair of balls – or perhaps the fact that he has a pair of balls is his downfall? – regardless, he’s a freshman on the football team, practically wins the game for the team and then allows himself to be peer pressured into going to a party. He’s fantasizing about seeing Jess and he’s about to leave to meet her when he accepts another drink, blacks out and wakes in a compromising position.
Well shit. Have I mentioned that I hate cheating books? On a positive note, Ethan’s actually a good guy. He has some slightly possessive tendencies, but he’s in love with Jess so I’ll give him a pass. He confesses. Jess blanches. We begin Operation Angst.
For the most part I enjoyed the writing style of the book and felt for the characters. If you love the push-pull relationship drama, Shannon does it well. I found the flashback style writing enjoyable and I easily picked back up with the characters in each time period. Reading from Ethan’s POV was a nice change from constantly being stuck in a female brain and it’s written well. I could feel the drama mounting and was trying to figure everything out….
But then the end of the book was very confusing. I was losing what was happening and had to keep re-reading sections to catch up. I was happy with the ending but not entirely satisfied with how it was presented to me. Regardless, there’s lots of fighting, lots of making up, lots more fighting and some sex mixed in with murder plots & finals. On the most part – a fun and crazy read.
[I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review]
Batting her hands away, I said, “I’m fine. You can go.”
Every word took effort, and I couldn’t be sure if she understood me. Every syllable was strung together like Christmas lights.
“Why are you doing this?” she cried, coming close again.
I tried to half crab walk and half drag myself across the floor in the opposite direction. Her presence was a curse with her being so close, and I couldn’t touch her. It had to be overkill on her part. I knew I’d gone too far when my head hit the wall with a resounding thwack. I could barely understand the pain that floated over me.
I laughed determined to speak the words before the stars I counted over my head faded to black.
“Why am I doing this? The only thing I had worth living is gone. I finally understand why my parents left me. It’s obvious I’m not worth anyone’s love.”
“Ethan,” she said again. I couldn’t be sure because my sight was failing me, but it appeared as though she may have been silently crying.
I blame the liquor coursing in my veins because I did something I hadn’t done in too many years to count. The floodgate opened. The damn I’d walled up since the day of my father’s death broke.
“He left me, Jess. He couldn’t be bothered to stay alive for me. And then Mom left too. She never loved me.”
“That’s not true.”
She was close. Soft hand warm hands found either side of my face. When my eyes opened, I was forced to look in her tear stained eyes.
I couldn’t be sure if she heard me or if I’d tumbled into a bizarre nightmare. I spoke through lips I couldn’t feel and a tongue that was as dry as stale bread.
“It is. She couldn’t stand to look at me and be reminded of all she gave up only to be left with the scar of my birth across her belly.”
She tried to silence me with a finger, but I wasn’t done. With noodle arms, I tried to push her away.
“And you. You’ll never forgive me. And how can I blame you.”
A warm pair of arms circled me as her body pressed next to mine.
“Ethan, you are worth everything.”
Shannon’s first love is reading, diving into other realities to explore and brave new worlds. To share her writing is the best experience of all. She writes books about teen romance whether paranormal or contemporary. She also has a steamy adult series. When Shannon isn’t writing she loves to shop and watch horror movies that make turning out the lights seem like a stupid idea.
You can explore more about her at her website www.shannondermott.com, on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter.