“Almost every day since they’d parted, he’d thought about her and wondered what she was doing. He knew some of it now. Having his son, alone.”
“She’d...more“Almost every day since they’d parted, he’d thought about her and wondered what she was doing. He knew some of it now. Having his son, alone.”
“She’d kept her distance, isolated herself on purpose, wanting it to be just her and Charlie. Life had shown her she couldn’t rely on anyone, and she’d been determined to prove she could cope on her own.”
They never thought they’d see each other again, but when they finally did… the ground moved and they were shaken in more ways than one.
Toby and Esther have a very short-lived, but hot history together. Each had gone into their summer holiday romance without expectation, but still came away heartbroken when it ended. Since then they’ve both moved on, but while Toby always wondered why Esther never responded to his attempts at reconnecting, she was too busy raising their son. When the truth is revealed, feelings are hurt, but it doesn’t quell the attraction and desire they both feel in wanting something they never thought they’d have. But after everything that’s happened is it too much to overcome? Or is forgiveness the key to their second chance?
The emotional gamut is run from the beginning of this sexy story. Everything from desire and anger to frustration and happiness is felt and sometimes all at once. Each scene displays varying emotions that wonderfully display the characters and the circumstances represented. The differing POV’s also offer plenty of insider information on what makes Toby and Esther tick. Both characters are equally likable as they have faults and feelings that are believable. Toby is overwhelmed by his insta-fatherhood status and Esther is overwhelmed by the insta-family. The adorableness that is Charlie doesn’t stop and his playful 2 and half year old self brings a very comedic and heart-warming dynamic to the story.
The relationships are formed without too much hesitation, but the emotional attachments are done so with the deserved wariness I expected. The resulting physical attraction between Toby and Esther was off the charts hot as they entered into an agreement to play the Naughty Nights game. Toby was dominatingly insatiable and Esther was secretly thrilled at wanting to be insatiably dominated. This all lead to some very emotionally charged and heated sex scenes that were anything but vanilla. I will warn that some readers may find Toby to be a little too forceful in the bedroom while Esther tried to deny his advances. However, there really weren’t any BDSM elements added outside of scarves used in one scene and the inappropriate use of an electric toothbrush, which were amazingly well written.
This second installment to the Love in Reverse series is a great addition as it delivers on both the meaningful emotion and lusty intimacy that I've come to enjoy and expect by this first-class writer. You don't have to read the first to enjoy the second in the series, but do yourself a favor and check them both out – they're well worth the read.
Oblivious to her surroundings of betrayal, Sam never saw the bottom come out from under her until it was too late. At home and school, her dual worlds...moreOblivious to her surroundings of betrayal, Sam never saw the bottom come out from under her until it was too late. At home and school, her dual worlds are turned upside down and are about to clash in a major way. After being subjected to a few forms of rejection by people she thought she could trust, Sam runs to clear her mind and comes to the conclusion that caring takes too much effort, so she stops. The transformation catapults her into the spotlight and in her quest to stay real, Sam encounters both fake and fearful opponents. However, it soon becomes apparent that Sam is a wanted woman for more than one reason. And from the moment she mean-mugged him at a gas station without knowing anything else about him, other than the badass reputation that proceeded him, Sam knew one thing for certain – lust at first sight. Too bad he’s about to become her new step-brother. That just might be the least of her worries though because this school year is already proving to be explosive.
Just when you thought you’d left all the high school drama behind, this story will have you going back to where it all went down. It was hard not to reminisce about my own teenage dramatic experiences, but this story proves there is such a thing as drama extreme. You have the “have's” and the “have not’s” battling it out over top spots on the social totem pole mostly in a private school setting, but it also includes a few players from the neighboring public school. It is on the neutral territory of a gas station where we first meet Samantha (Sam) as she unknowingly begins a whirlwind journey of extreme highs and lows that forcibly remove her from her seemingly unknown status in school to one of the most gossiped about. Jealousy, envy, and lust all rear their ugly heads while Sam tries to navigate her new norm of social pressures, slight identity crisis, and complicated parental situations. And all because of one question that keeps getting asked and is becoming increasingly harder to deny…
“So you know the Kades?”
Who are these “Kades” you might ask… well they just so happen to be the most wanted and most popular young men about town. Mason and Logan Kade are young, hot, rich, footballers. They are in high demand where the guys want to befriend them and the girls want to date them, but the brothers remain elusive of both and prove their loyalty is only to each other and a close friend. Sam and the brothers Kade are unsure of what their role is in each others lives and tread very carefully in the beginning with only passing glances or outright avoidance. Since Sam goes to a private school and the brothers are in public, Sam believes wholeheartedly avoiding them is her best chance to avoid the scandal that awaits if anyone found out her close ties to the infamous pair. It’s not at all an ideal situation to be thrust into the popularity spotlight when Sam’s going through her own personal version of hell and the brother’s make it nearly impossible with their hard-partying ways. Personally, I was proud of how Sam socially stomps everyone and stays true to herself without giving in to conformity. She didn’t have that “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” attitude and instead made her own way with shocking results.
There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, borderline bipolar teenage girls, cheating, partying ‘til all hours of the morning, underage drinking, backstabbing, car-bombings, teenage promiscuity, and that’s just the beginning, which all takes place within the first few chapters of the story. If you find any of that offensive and believe me there is much more where that came from as the story continues, then you might want to steer clear. However, if you’re into positively addicting drama with twists around every corner then this is a story for you. It may be set in high school, but don’t let that stop you, this story definitely has adult elements. Speaking of which, the heat level is set to simmer and increases at hot and heavy levels as Sam winds her way through the minefield that has become her life.
If this story is any indication to the rest of this author’s work, then I am a forever fan. The pacing was exciting and the storyline was positively addicting and I never thought I would say that about a story set in high school. Perhaps what I liked best was the unpredictability of it all. The characters and circumstances were evolving constantly and served to keep me riveted the entire way through. Aside from the length (where some readers may have found it a little on the longish side) and the carousel of characters (that at times were hard to place since there were quite a few to keep track of), I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this story. I was kept on edge the whole time even though nothing major or devastating happens, in the mind of a young adult, it all is and I can’t wait to read more!(less)
It’s too bad the majority of that drama had little to do with the actual couple at the center of this story. I mean of course ther...moreDrama, drama, drama…
It’s too bad the majority of that drama had little to do with the actual couple at the center of this story. I mean of course there are connections between the drama and Gunner and Ellie, but the drama really wasn’t theirs. Instead, they just sort of had to deal with it and try not to let it affect them. Witnessing the drama of others did help both of them grow as individuals though, which essentially helped them grow as friends and then a couple. Was it insta-love? Yeah, but Gunner and Ellie took steps towards a relationship in order to explore the reasons behind why they felt so strongly and so instantaneously with each other. There was no insta-bed action for these two unlike some other characters in the story who shall remain nameless for the sake of this review. Let me just say those persons made horrible decisions because they couldn't come to grips with their true feelings and thus immaturity stole the show on several occasions. Frustrating for Gunner and Ellie? Sure, but more importantly frustrating for me as the reader because I wasn't sure which characters to focus on more.
“I want to be the person who gives you all of your firsts. I want to experience them with you so I can see that beautiful smile of yours light up every time you do something new. I want to make all your dreams come true.” – Gunner
You know what they say about something being too good to be true? Well… Gunner is almost too sweet to be real (even fictionally speaking). Don’t get me wrong, this guy is pretty freaking perfect in my opinion and he’s such a good guy that I would definitely not be trying to keep him in the friend zone. He’s boyfriend/husband/father and more material for sure. However, the unbelievable(ness) that is Gunner comes from the intensity of his feelings for Ellie. A few short days after meeting her and we’re already on the “I’ll wait forever if that’s what it takes to prove to you how I feel about you” train. Sound intense? Well it was just reading it and if Ellie were any less of a shy and innocent person, she would too have a harder time believing him. As it is, she has reservations about men and love in general, which stems from her deep insecurities more than whether or not Gunner’s telling the truth about how he feels and if she feels the same way. It’s apparent from when they first lock eyes that the chemistry is there and so palpable it’s electric to the touch between them. However, when a guy's this good in a story, I do tend to get suspicious as to when the other shoe will drop, so for me there was that slight edge of the unknown if Ellie should be so fiercely protective of her heart from him or not. You could say I was a little ‘Gun’-shy, but it worked to maintain interest and I quickly became invested in their relationship.
Immediately after learning of Ellie’s story, I started rooting for her character. She has been wronged one too many times, so for her to jump into a relationship with Gunner is a struggle. Although I can’t identify with the almost child-like innocence that is Ellie, I can definitely empathize with her mature decision to take it slowly with him. Her past has left some internal scarring that is going to take more than just meeting your dream guy to get over and it’s clear from the onset that growing up and becoming her own adult is the only way for her to overcome and get stronger. Dependency is an issue for her and she is done with always have to lean on someone else like she had with her brother for many years.
Ellie’s virgin status and naiveté doesn’t deter Gunner no matter how much she thinks otherwise. Her hesitations are clear and Gunner remained very willing to take up the challenge. He’s a steadfast guy and I couldn’t help falling for him for that alone. Now the intimacy in their relationship was mostly made up of heavy make-out sessions and some touching. Sex didn’t enter the equation until much later and that’s when the romance and heat gets turned up a couple of notches. I was impressed and found this new level of their relationship to be sexy, cute, mature, and in a way liberating for Ellie. Although frustrating for me as the reader to wait for them to finally get theirs, I found it a wise decision to make them wait and believe me Gunner made it more than worth it.
Now for just a few critiques… It was a little awkward when Ellie cussed because for the most part, she doesn’t and when she did, it just didn’t seem to fit her profile. Ellie’s personality remained consistent with that of a blushing virgin and I just couldn’t wrap my head around her using cuss words so freely like her friend Ari. There were times too where Ellie reminded of an excited little Chihuahua because her reactions to certain things (like the first time she saw the stars in the darkened country sky) were a little over the top. The girl was literally shaking excitedly at how much she wanted to experience that. Excited? Sure. Shaking? Maybe a little much. Whether she was skipping, bouncing, jumping, clapping, it all just seemed too immature for a college bound student to be acting. Also, all of the characters seemed to have a winking addiction. They just couldn’t stop winking at one another, which in some instances was cute, but in others it just didn’t feel called for. In terms of flow and pacing, the story has hits and misses on both. Overall, the story is long, but the actual scene/situation transitions were fast and with a consistent change in POV, the story never lacked interest. However, with the timeline covering quite a length of time with a particular detailed focus on certain events, there were abrupt changes that could have been smoothed a bit more and perhaps with less dot, dot, dots (…) on every page.
It was amazing to see just how complicated the main couple and the co-starring couple made things. Arguments that could’ve been easily resolved or avoided altogether with a little thing like communication, were made not so easy with one of the parties usually just running away from the problem, getting drunk, or sleeping around. Because this type of conflict is very emotionally volatile, the story takes on a rollercoaster effect with these conflicts occurring on almost every page where the highs were high, the feelings were all good and intense, and the lows were very low with feelings that were extreme in anger or sadness. Not sure if I would want to experience the whole thing again, but I would reread it if only to skim those extreme ‘low’ sections. And if you’re wondering if the ending is something of a true end or a cliffhanger well I guess I would say this story has both. For our starring couple there is an end with an epilogue that left a slight cliffhanger or at the very least, a wanting to read more and for our supporting couple there was a major cliffhanger. Either way I look at it there’s no way I’m missing the next story! So if you’re ready to go for a bumpy ride with a few college-age, country kids searching for their forever then this just might be for you!
BONUS TIME!!! Visit Kelly Elliott's Blog for some great Wanted extra's like a Playlist of all the music featured in the story and if you want some visual stimulation, check out the author's Wanted inspired Pinterest Page.
Also be sure to check out Three Chicks and Their Books as they celebrate Kelly Elliott Day with an interview with Ari and Jeff, a bonus scene from Saved (featuring Gunner and Ellie) and we meet Victoria (in the prologue to Faithful). Be warned there are spoilers if you haven't read Saved yet.(less)
"Yep, we all need to toast the day you told off Mr. Aiden Manwhore Fitzgerald."
I enjoyed getting to know the stubborn and slightly neurotic Emma and...more"Yep, we all need to toast the day you told off Mr. Aiden Manwhore Fitzgerald."
I enjoyed getting to know the stubborn and slightly neurotic Emma and the unapologetic womanizer that is Aiden. The switch in POV's gives a clear depiction of their physical traits and personalities and helps set up the events leading into The Proposition. This prequel also tells some of Emma and Aiden's individual backstories especially Emma's, which surprisingly had me invested and eager to continue. Even Emma's friends play a prominent role and add a humorous twist to the storyline. By the end, I was more than ready to start reading about their journey.
So I decided to skip the preface in this prequel to The Proposition since I heard it contains spoilers from The Proposal. I will go back and read the preface after finishing The Proposal, so my review now is only based on Chapter One through the Epilogue.
“What was I thinking agreeing to stay on the bus with three perfect strangers and one unimaginable, insensitive, womanizing asshole?” – Abby
One would...more“What was I thinking agreeing to stay on the bus with three perfect strangers and one unimaginable, insensitive, womanizing asshole?” – Abby
One would think finding yourself on a bus with a group of sexy rockers wouldn’t be such a bad thing, especially with the tempting bad boys of Runaway Train. So let’s meet the star of the show…
“He's a brilliant musician, but he's an absolute screw-up when it comes to matters of the heart.”
Jacob Ethan Slater – egotistical jerkwad extraordinaire. Beware when reading this story of the major douchery ahead courtesy of one Jake Slater. I know he doesn’t mean it and he has some fairly compelling reasons for being the way he is, but dang does he try Abby’s (and my) patience one too many times. Abby gives him chance after chance all the while realizing that he is/was the inevitable jerk who always makes you feel like no good deed goes unpunished.
“But I couldn't keep opening up to her and feeling what I did. It had fucking train wreck all over it.” – Jake
Case in point (might be spoilerish)… after giving Jake a literal shoulder to cry on, Abby is summarily dismissed the next day after some song-writing bonding comes to a screeching halt when Jake realizes he might have showed his mangina (aka the part of the male anatomy where feelings/emotions are stored) a little too much. Abby puts up with his lousy attitude afterwards and Jake gives her the cold shoulder treatment for being nice and understanding. Aside from this incident, Jake has several other moments of bad decisions and choice words for Abby that left absolutely me cringing. I will say this though… when Jake finally decides to clean up his act, boy does he clean it up! He may not think he’s capable of romance, but he instinctually knows how to woo a girl when he puts his mind to it. And good for Abby for finding the strength to stick through all of his nonsense.
“If I allowed myself, I could really feel something for him-something more than sympathy or compassion. I could even maybe grow to... like him.” – Abby
Speaking of Abby and strength… I really enjoyed her many strengths when it came to her patience, faith, independence, work ethic, selflessness, her wanting to make a difference, and so much more. The sweet Abigail Elizabeth Renard really had no idea what she'd gotten herself into when stepping onto the wrong bus, but (if it is even possible) she became a better person/performer for it. She was both influenced by the band and became an influencer to them, so there was some great character development moments. Abby might be innocent in many ways, but she knows when to turn on the charm and use her talents to make a point. I really enjoyed her character and found her very relatable except when she let Jake get to her one too many times. Other than that, I am looking forward to seeing more of her when we get the scoop on the rest of the unattached guys in the band.
On the plus side, this story was never boring and read like a crazy train of temptation, emotion, and rock-n-roll. You get a good idea of what happens on tour buses and living the rockstar lifestyle, which includes the groupies and the toll all of it can take on a person. Nothing’s off limits and it’s definitely a story that once started is almost impossible to put down. Each character has their flaws, some more than others, and I especially enjoyed this different take on the bad boy meeting the good girl and how they corrupt each other. Humor, sadness, anger, desire, and many other emotions are all mixed in to create one heck of story. On the negative side, there were some grammatical errors that could use some fixing, but aside from that, I guess all I could ask for would be for Jake and Abby’s story to continue… and maybe a bit more heat.
If you’re looking for a cliff notes version to this story click the link below, but be sure to heed the spoiler warning... Abby – (view spoiler)[“I was twenty-one years old, in love with a womanizing rock star who was going through emotional hell because of his mother's illness and the fact a psychotic ex-girlfriend had beaten me, and my idea of making things better between us was to give him my virginity. Surely that made me crazy.”(hide spoiler)]
Kat is done with feeling weak. Fears of being alone, feeling defenseless, and insecurities about her bum leg make her anxious and feel out of control....moreKat is done with feeling weak. Fears of being alone, feeling defenseless, and insecurities about her bum leg make her anxious and feel out of control. Not to mention the pressures of her high-society parents and an ex-fiance who refuses to take no for answer have left her feeling even more anxious and ready to take back her life. The breaking point comes when she's doubly confronted by an all too familiar feeling of being frozen during a violent car-jacking and the confusing mix of excitement and fear she feels towards her rescuer. A rescuer who has decided there is more to Kat that he would like to know and has decided to make her a proposition she's likely not to refuse.
Control is the one thing Sloane knows all about. He's built his life on it and uses it in every aspect of his life especially relationships with women. When a moment of curiosity lands him in the middle of a car-jacking in progress, Sloane does what he does best and uses his UFC fighting skills to control the situation. When his curiosity continues after finding the victimized and spiritually broken young woman is too intriguing to ignore, Sloane takes on the challenge of helping heal Kat and show her how good taking control can be. Of course Sloane's motives aren't completely unselfish and as his desire for her grows uncontrollably, Sloane must find a way to balance what he wants with what he needs to do and avenging a death takes priority.
It's clear from the beginning that Sloane is a formidable and demanding man so much so that Kat's confused feelings of desire and nervousness where he's concerned are totally justifiable. It's hard to know what to expect from him and although the terms of their “Plus-One Proposition” are clear, Sloane almost immediately gets too invested in Kat and her past. When Kat tries to flip the script on him, Sloane closes off and deflects the attention. He has reasons for protecting himself, but so does Kat. The incident that took away her confidence plagues her with self-doubt and her mind won't let her remember what happened when she was brutally attacked. Both of them have one thing in common and that is an inner fighter that refuses to give up. However it was hard for me to become invested in Kat and Sloane as individuals let alone become invested in their unconventional relationship. And yet there is something else in the plot that seems to be bigger than either of them and curiosity has me searching out the next in this serialized read. Definitely interested just not yet invested.
This “Plus-One Proposition” is to avoid emotional entanglements and avoids romantic expectations outside of sexual satisfaction. It also gives someone to be able to call upon when a plus-one is needed at a social function. A simple arrangement, but so far we've evaded the sexual satisfaction and the emotional entanglements part is debatable, so its only served its purpose in the social functions part of the agreement. It's early and this first in The Plus One Chronicles definitely lays some great foundation, but be prepared for mysterious characters, aggravating conversations, and a non-ending. Doesn't necessarily sound appealing, but the potential for character growth is tremendous, the mystery of what really happened to Kat needs to be solved, Sloane finally getting his vengeance and perhaps something else he wasn't prepared for, and then there's the part about finally becoming sexually satisfied. All in all there is much to look forward to.