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Fall Away #3

Falling Away

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Jaxon is the guy she’s supposed to avoid.

K.C. is the girl he won’t let get away....

K.C. Carter has always followed the rules—until this year, when a mistake leaves her the talk of her college campus and her carefully arranged life comes crashing to a halt. Now she’s stuck in her small hometown for the summer to complete her court-ordered community service, and to make matters worse, trouble is living right next door.

Jaxon Trent is the worst kind of temptation and exactly what K.C. was supposed to stay away from in high school. But he never forgot her. She was the one girl who wouldn’t give him the time of day and the only one to ever say no. Fate has brought K.C. back into his life—except what he thought was a great twist of luck turns out to be too close for comfort. As the bond between them grows, he discovers that convincing K.C. to get out from her mother’s shadow is hard, but revealing the darkest parts of his soul is nearly impossible.…

429 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 6, 2015

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About the author

Penelope Douglas

35 books63.8k followers
Penelope Douglas is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Their books have been translated into nineteen languages and include The Fall Away Series, The Devil’s Night Series, and the stand-alones, Misconduct, Punk 57, Birthday Girl, Credence, and Tryst Six Venom. Please look for The Hellbent Series and Motel, coming next.

They live in New England with their husband and daughter.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,725 reviews
Profile Image for Penelope Douglas.
Author 35 books63.8k followers
Shelved as 'finished-writing'
December 31, 2014
Bully was my love.
Until You was my responsibility.
Rival was my pleasure.

But Falling Away was my destiny.

Every whisper, every breath, every kiss, and every word came from my gut. This is the book I'm most proud of.

See the reader-made trailer!!
Profile Image for Christy.
3,757 reviews32k followers
January 11, 2015
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‘These violent delights have violent ends.’

I love Penelope Douglas’s writing. I think she is an amazing story teller and she writes some of the hottest sex scenes. I fell in love with Bully, I really enjoyed Until You and Rival. For me, this book just didn’t work like the others. There were some parts I enjoyed, but way too much I had mixed feelings on…

K.C. and Jax had a moment once upon a time. The moment passed, but neither of them forgot it. It’s been a few years, but now K.C. is home for the summer and Jax isn’t that highschool kid anymore… They are insanely attracted to one another, but they butt heads. A lot.

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The push and pull. The back and forth. This author does that very well.

I was super nervous to start this story because of the heroine. I, like most others, did not like K.C. at all in the other books. What shocked me most about Falling Away is that K.C. wasn’t an issue for me. The more I felt I understood her, the more I liked her. Jax was a character I’d loved from the start, but the more I read the more I couldn’t connect with him. He had his moments, but then he would do or say something that just got to me. What I did love was that both of these characters were broken. I love my broken characters. I just wish that knowing all that K.C. had been through, Jax would have been more sensitive to that. She was sensitive about all he’d been through. I wanted him to return the feelings.
The more you suffered, the more you survived. It shaped people in different ways, and what broke one person could empower another.

One of the best parts about Falling Away was the insanely hot sex. I mean, wow. How old are these two again? I didn’t even care because my kindle was smokin! The sexual tension and build up was great, and when it finally happened. Just wow.

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It took me several days to get through this book (which is very usual for me). I just had trouble connecting to the story, trouble staying invested. Every time I would start to feel that pull, something happened that stressed me out or disconnected me. The end did pick up, then that dreaded scene happened… Surprisingly, the last 10% I really loved. There was even one scene that brought me to tears. Now, I’m not sure how I feel about that little teaser for her next book… but one things for certain. I love Tate and Jared, and I love Penelope Douglas’s writing so I’ll be reading it to find out wtf is going on.

I think this is one of those books that is going to be a big hit for some readers, and a miss for others. For me, it was somewhere in between. This was by no means a bad book. It was very well written and a ton of my friends enjoyed it. Whether it was my mood or the content of the story, it just wasn’t the book for me. Even so, I’m looking forward to more from this author and I’m so happy she was able to redeem K.C. for me.

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Profile Image for Patrycja.
639 reviews3,805 followers
December 19, 2014

Title: Falling Away
Series: Fall Away #3
Author: Penelope Douglas
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Rating: 4.5 stars
Cliffhanger:. No

"I feel like I'm falling,"
"But it feels so good."

Falling Away was definitely on my list of Ten Most Anticipated Releases, so imagine how excited I was when it turned out that I will be able to read it few months earlier. Yes, I admit I may have squealed a bit. I really enjoyed reading Penelope Douglas’ previous books and God I just had a feeling Falling Away will be explosive addition to her new adult series. I wasn’t mistaken. Jaxon and K.C’s story is a dynamite! It’s sexy, intense and panty – melting roller coaster. It’s everything I love and so much more. I can hardly explain how enthralled I was with it.

The book starts with K.C coming home for summer to do her community service. Yes, K.C did something reckless and ended up arrested. Let’s just say, her cheating ass of a boyfriend almost lost his family jewels. So now she will live in Tate’s house and tutor kids in her high school.

Two years has passed since she was in her hometown; Two years since she’s seen Jaxon Trent and now she would be living next door to him. And boy, did Jax grew up while she was away! Now he just needs to convince K.C to give him a chance.

"Bite me, hit me, scream at me, I don't care. I want to feel it. Fucking hurt me, K.C. Let me see you."

I have to confess, I didn’t like K.C; not after what knowing what she’s done in Bully. In my opinion she was vain person and not a very good friend to Tate. I thought I had her all figured out. But it turned out that I didn’t know a single true thing about her. She hides so many secrets and they are heartbreaking. I was sympathizing with her within few pages; few chapters in I liked her and when I reached the end I was in awe; she was that strong and feisty.

Jax started off as a big jackass. Making K.C feel even worse and I thought I would not be able to like him much, but fortunately I saw him in different light very quickly.

And then I was just trying not to explode from all of the sexual tension this book radiated with. Holy shit, Falling Away was orgasmic! I was so into what was going on between the main characters the book seemed to finish before I was ready to say goodbye to Jax and K.C.

“Only ever you.”

The ups and downs of their relationship kept me on my toes till the end. It was amazing to see how both of these characters seemed to grow up and unravel. I liked how Jax and K.C developed during the story. Not only did they have to learn how to deal with their demons but also how to let someone else in. Which was for both of them hard thing to do.

Summing up, Penelope Douglas once again done something beautiful. She wrote explosive, sexy and absolutely engaging story with real, vivid characters, intense plot and out of this world sexual chemistry. I lost myself on pages of this story and will definitely be rereading it in the future.

ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review


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Profile Image for Lady Vigilante (Feifei).
632 reviews2,667 followers
January 7, 2015
3 stars!


I’d like to preface this review by saying how much of a KC (heroine) hater I was based off my impression of her from Bully and Until You. If it hadn’t been for a good friend who confirmed to me that the KC in this book is totally different from the shallow, backstabbing chick we all know from the other books, I most definitely would’ve passed on this book. From my rating you can probably tell this was an average read for me, but believe me when I say that I am glad I read this book because the author truly and fully redeemed KC’s character. Not only that, but in my eyes, she completely outshines the others and is probably my favorite character in this series. So for that and that alone, I think it’s worth it to check this one out, especially if you’re a longtime fan of these books since it’ll just richen your overall reading experience of this series. So where did things go wrong? As surprising as it sounds, this time it’s the hero who drove me up a wall and made me want to run him over with his Mustang GT and call it a day. More on that part later as I’m going to tackle the positive parts first...


From the first few books, the few KC scenes really didn’t do her any favors in portraying a positive image of this girl. By the time I got to this book, part of me really didn’t care about her – after all, it was Jax that had my attention. But as I read and got tidbits here and there about KC’s past and family life, I came to understand her mentality. The snarky and outwardly perfect girl had cracks after all. And let me tell you, it tore me apart to read about this vulnerable side of hers, especially when her struggles and pain seemed so obvious…yet no one saw. No one noticed her, except for Jax, the one guy she tries so hard to avoid.

For the most part, what’s known about Jax is an enigma. All I remember from before was that he had a horrid family life living with his psycho father and has been either overlooked or viewed as trash. Even though he’s a manwhore, the only girl that’s ever got to him was KC, who in turn only sees him as a boy. But that’s all about to change.


Just like its predecessors, this book features hot and cold behavior from the hero, push/pull relationship dynamic that generates most of the angst, and hot sex. Like, an insanely intense/steamy/explosive/nuclear sex level. Not that I’m complaining! ;) And yet, while the author did a stellar job of capturing KC and Jax’s sizzling chemistry, their relationship lacked an emotional bond. For most of the book, it would be this back and forth love/hate dynamic between the two plus some steamy scenes, but very rarely did I ever read a scene that made me feel emotionally invested in these characters as a couple. Because individually? The author nailed that part, and did an amazing job with the character development that explained motives and made me feel for them. Nevertheless, the lack of a tangible emotional bond between the two weakened the romance, plus a scene near the end of the book absolutely made me flip my shit and rant to my wall for a whole hour. Because you know what that part told me? That when the going got tough, Jax scurried away with his tailed tucked between his legs. That KC was the one strong enough to shoulder the hurt and burden all alone. Usually when the jerk hero does something extra jerky, I NEED GROVELING!!! There was no groveling in this book unfortunately because this couple got together so quickly after for a second I thought I must’ve been imagining things.


I really did struggle with my rating. My mind was sweeping between the 2-4 star range for hours. Before the terrible move on Jax’s part near the end of the book, I was fully prepared to give this book a 4 star rating. When it did happen, I knocked a full star off because not only did it make me realize how WEAK the romantic connection was considering the book was almost finished, but also how rushed the last 15% of the book was with the exchanging of ‘I-love-yous’ like it was the apocalypse. That and the drama with Jax’s father and how predictable it was made me decide on a 3 star rating.

Like a friend told me before, this book really did feel more like KC’s story than anything else. Her character was phenomenal and where she’s concerned I’d happily give 5 stars any day. Overall, the romance didn’t wow me but if you’re a reader who’s interested in reading about KC’s transformation, I would recommend this one.

Falling Away is the 3rd book in the Fall Away series and if you want, can be read as a standalone. However, I would recommend reading at least Bully and Until You to get a general sense of KC (Bully) and Jax’s (Until You) characters.

ARC provided by Penguin Intermix via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Nikki.
255 reviews37 followers
January 7, 2015
Well shit y'all.

I had to step away before I could even write this if that is any indication. So, some background shall we? This story is about K.C., Tate's bitch ass, backstabbing BFF, and Jax is Jared's younger bro. Can you tell I hated K.C. going into this? A LOT. If you didn't read Bully or you forgot.. Keep that in mind for later. So these 2 goobers had a thing for each other for years but K.C. had a bf and Jax was screwing anything that moved so they reconnect over one summer and sparks go-a-flying. Jax is not really nice to K.C. but again per above I was loving every second of that.

"Man, I wanted you K.C. I wanted to dirty you up. But then I got to know you. You're gutless and helpless and I've never met anyone so desperate to get out of her own skin."

Brutal right? So of course you find out that everything wasn't pretty pink roses for K.C. Her family sucked really bad. Lots of mamma drama and you find out that K.C. isn't her real name? Very messed up, but still I had a hard time sympathizing with her.

Jax, on the otherhand, had a shit life. You knew that going in, but you really found out how freaking bad he had it. And I loved that he turned a corner, he was a smart kid, built a good life for himself with the help of Jared and his mom.

So of course these 2 can't stay away from each other and lots of hot and actually tender moments ensure. I slowly started turning the corner with K.C. because of her past, and her fear of falling in love with someone and the fact that she was being courageous in being herself.
So where did it all go to shit, you ask??

Come on in, if you dare lol

After all that, I was a bit verklempt. The story ended and I was literally just like meh. Oh but then we get this "teaser." The "teaser" is from the next novel in this series.

It started like this..
Followed by a little

So here's your spoiler. I will say, if you have any plans on reading this book, like seriously, don't read this until you're done. It will ruin it. But if not, and you want to see what all the fuss is about, lehgoo!!
Profile Image for Geri Reads.
1,232 reviews2,028 followers
January 3, 2015
4.5 ~ 5 stars!

Full disclosure. I liked Rival but I wasn't blown away by it as much I was with its predecessor Bully and Until You. So I was a bit apprehensive reading the ARC. But something happened as I started to read this. I slowly fell in love with one of its characters. And no, it wasn't Jax. That doesn't mean he wasn't lovable but falling in love with the hero is almost a given. In this book, it was the heroine who stole my heart.

K.C. Carter was known as the girl who has it all. On the outside at least. But on the inside she was unraveling until everything came crashing down and KC found herself back in Sherbourne Falls, living in Tate's house, serving community service. This brought her back into Jaxon Trent's life.

Jax Trent has been quite a revelation ever since being introduced as Jared's younger brother in Bully. He was smart, cunning, mysterious and self-assured despite his relatively young age. He's always wanted KC, but being a year younger than her, he wasn't quite in her league, until this summer.

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When this two met again, KC wasn't the same young woman who left for college a year ago, and Jax certainly wasn't the boy she remembered. But the attraction that's been simmering between them finally exploded. And boy, their chemistry was sizzling.

But more than their romance, this book was also about their individual journey. And as much as I loved Jax's journey to adulthood so to speak, it was KC's story which made this a very satisfying and emotional read for me. She was a revelation.

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I wasn't quite sure how Ms. Douglas was going to pull off redeeming KC's character after what happened in Bully, but after reading this book, everything made sense about her. As a reader, I went on that journey with her. It was painful and beautiful at the same time. KC had so much growing up to do and by the end of the book, she finally came full circle.

And Jax's journey? Well, let's just say that what we've known so far based off of Jared's story from Until You doesn't even begin to describe the atrocious hand life has dealt him with. In a way, his journey mirrors KC as he finally stopped allowing his past to shape his future. I loved his relationship with Cirian (Fallon's dad) and Jared. I loved that they weren't always lovey-dovey bros and I loved how the author highlighted their differences as much as their similarities.

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Unlike its predecessor, which I felt just skims the surface of the couple's relationship and individual journey, Falling Away took its time to get expose each character's motivations. It also allowed me to get to know them fully, which made me root for their HEA even more.

Overall, this book rank right up there with Until You as my favorite in the series. KC was definitely a revelation. I didn't expect to fall in love with her as much as I did.

An ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for *J* Too Many Books Too Little Time.
1,921 reviews3,437 followers
Shelved as 'i-m-a-quitter'
January 7, 2015
DNF at 40%

Just going to go ahead and cut my losses I think.

Really the first 40% was fine. Decent. Nothing wowing.

It didn't feel a lot different from the other books in the series with the whole love/hate dynamic.

Jax was a typical Penelope Douglas hero...an ASS.

Where I made my mistake was going to the end and reading the teaser for Aflame.

Because now I'm so pissed. And annoyed. And

Sadly, this bit of news has now affected my enjoyment of this book.

Then let's not forget the dreaded scene at around 85%. Just so I could get the full picture, I did go and read this scene.

And yeah Jax,


That's what!


It's time for us to break up....
Profile Image for Jennifer Kyle.
2,358 reviews4,606 followers
January 8, 2015
4 HOT Stars

"Hope you like summer fun, Juliet, because it's just getting started."


This is the story of Jaxon and K.C. told in alternating povs of both characters. Jaxon is Jared’s little brother that lived through hell by the hands of their father. Dad’s in prison, Jared is in ROTC, Tate is in medical school, Madoc and Fallon are happily married and K.C. and Liam have finally broke up.

K.C. finds herself back home in Arizona to serve out her community service at her former high school for the summer. Her home life is a mess and it turns out that she has suffered abuse and loss all through out of her life. She is staying at Tate’s house and Jaxon has been living at Jared’s for the past two years. K.C. tries to make the most out of the summer and be herself and go by her real name Juliet. She has always been attracted to Jaxon and vice versa. This hot connection rivals the previous book.

”Man, I wanted you, K.C. I wanted to undo do you." His lips were so close to my face I could feel the moistness of his breath as he whispered, "I want to dirty you up."

Penelope Douglas does a great job of giving these two dark pasts while finding who they are and their worth in this installment. I totally bought their connection and the sex scenes were crazy hot! That car scene and the carnival scene had smoke coming out of my damn Kindle.


However, the scenes were so damn hot and advanced that I think it exceeded their ages. I think the author would be more successful writing adult books, hell even erotica.

Jaxon is two years younger than K.C. and so when she returns she not prepared for how he has matured physically. He harbors the horrors of his past while raking in money from working for Fallon’s father and running the races at The Loop. He has always been attracted to K.C. and has always watched over her and saw the true her that she kept hidden. I truly loved them together. Be warned Jaxon makes a major douche move because his feelings of being unworthy when he finds out the depths of K.C.’s feelings. I didn't like it but I got where he was coming from and so did K.C.

”He was mine, and I was his, and the next time the little shit threw his temper around or shut down on me, I was going to either push him harder or pull away for good. Push and pull. Give and take. Accelerate. Release.”

I felt that the author wrote the doubt and insecurities of his past very well.

”I need to remember how I survived. Not what I suffered,” I said. “How I fought, and not how I hurt.”

”I’m not the kid wearing filthy clothes to school anymore.”

”I wouldn’t live up to her expectations, she’d start getting demanding, and we’d get ugly.”

There were also a few inconsistencies that were never addressed like

Overall, I think the author should leave this genre and use her talents for adult based books. Still Jaxon was my type of book boyfriend. He was strong and arrogant while being protective and clever.

Bite me, hit me, scream at me. I don't care. I want to feel it. Fucking hurt me, K.C. Let me see you."


I found this book to be well done and even that excerpt for the next book didn’t enrage me but it did intrigue me to read on in the series. I just looked at it like these things happen and I’m in for the next book. I’m anxiously looking forward to the cast aging because I felt super creepy enjoying the hot sex scenes of older teens being a mom of two girls.

"Only ever you."
Profile Image for Mysza.
474 reviews386 followers
December 9, 2015
*** 3,5 stars ***

It could have easily been a 5 star reading for me, it could. I think, it even was till some point. Bully and Until You are one of my top favorites books and since I wasn't a fan of Rival, suffice to say that I was both nervous and excited to read this one. And when I started, I loved it until I didn't.

It started very well. All that push and pull, hot and cold, love and hate...I love it in books. There were some serious hot moments. Jax was deliciously sexy, alhpa male and KC seemed likeable (comparing to her in Bully). Their almost relationship was growing on me and I was thinking, yes!, after Rival disaster, this one will be as good as Bully. And just when I thought everything will be nice and dandy, Jax goes and does this...

Way to go and ruin the book for me asshole!

Ok, I'm not that unforgiving and I would have even forgiven him, but lack of grovelling just made it impossible. I want my hero, when he's wrong, to grovel, sadly, you will get none of it here.

On the contrary, he acted like real piece of shit afterward.

It didn't take him much effort to get KC back, which made her weak and doormat in the end. Shitty thing, because I actually started to like her.

If not for that last 20%, I would have rated it higher but I just couldn't get over Jax's behaviour there. And while the most part of the book was very good, it left me disappointed in the end. The more I think about it, the less I care actually. I don't care about characters or their story anymore, done with it and forgotten.
Also, creating drama for the sake of drama, no bueno for me.
Not to mention, Jax was eighteen, no way could he be that independent, all the money, parties, sexual experience, fancy redecorated house, running the Loop, police connections, mysterious job... it was just very unrealistic for me.

And can someone please just shut Madoc up? I didn't like him in Rival, I didn't like him here, spoiled, whining, little brat. Just saying...
Profile Image for Beverly.
1,005 reviews800 followers
January 10, 2015
4 "You’ve owned me since I was seventeen… Stars

This isn’t your traditional love story, there are moments of complete heartbreak and frustration, but there is also moments of true, raw love.

When I picked this one up to read I really just thought it would be a hot little college romance, but it was so much more. These two characters have been through so much and are both emotionally damaged.

From the outside it appears K.C. Carter has it all. She is dating her long time boyfriend, is intelligent, and comes from a good, wealthy family but on the inside she is crumbling.

Falling Away picks up with K.C. returning home for the summer. I was immediately surprised to see the perfect K.C. Carter was on probation and had finally broken up with Liam. Coming home brings back so many feelings, two being her broken relationship with her mother and the one guy she could never forget: Jaxon Trent.

Castaway by her mother for her embarrassing behavior K.C. is staying at Tate’s house, since Tate and her dad are away. She runs into Jax pretty quickly since they are living next door to each other. Jax has always had a thing for K.C., but he has never believed he has a chance with her - she will always be the girl who is too good for a guy like him.

Watching these two navigate their feelings and emotional problems was frustrating to say the least, but it felt real to me. They weren't cookie cutter people and didn’t have cookie cutter issues, both of them are damaged. Throughout the summer they learn how to be around each other, how to forgive, accept and love.

These two may be emotional stunted, but they definitely had the physical part of the relationship down. I was blown away at how hot this one was, I didn’t expect that of Jax, but it was a pleasant surprise. Jax didn’t feel like a young twenty year old guy, but in the same respect he never had the chance to be a kid. So I didn’t feel too pervy crushing on him.

Like I said before this isn’t your typical love story and I got frustrated at times, but I think it was necessary for these characters to have to take the long way and overcome their personal issues. I really enjoyed reading about this characters and how they made me think afterwards. I was discussing this with a friend and the more I thought on it the more heartbroken I was for these two.

I recommend this story if you are a fan of the series.

Oh and well played Ms. Douglas, I am dying for Aflame!!
Profile Image for Candace.
1,176 reviews4,153 followers
October 31, 2015
Ever since we were introduced to Jax in 'Bully', I have been looking forward to reading his story. As a character, he was endearing and captivating. Despite his youth, it was clear that he had been forced to grow up early, enduring more than anyone should ever have to at the hands of the father that should have protected him.

In 'Falling Away', Jax is all grown up and making his own way. No longer just a flirtatious kid, he's all man now! Despite all the changes, some things have stayed the same...like his desire for K. C.

Surprisingly, it was K. C. that made this story great for me. I didn't really like her much in the earlier books in this series. She had seemed selfish and insincere to me. However, this book really showed another side to K. C. It showed a more vulnerable, human side to her.

In contrast, Jax became less likable to me. Gone was the sweet kid, replaced by a hardened man. He seemed to take a few lessons from the early, "bully" Jared.

All things said, I did enjoy this story. It wasn't what I had expected, but it was great. I did think that K. C. did forgive a little to easily, but in the end it all worked out.
Profile Image for gloria .☆゚.  .
663 reviews962 followers
April 28, 2022
➥ 1 Star *:・゚✧

"Jax, no," I protested pathetically, sliding his hands back out of my shirt.

"If you only knew how much you saying no was turning me on..."

━━━━━━━━━━━ ♡ ━━━━━━━━━━━

This book genuinely destroyed my braincells and, despite my desire to never speak of this book again, I want to write a review because I'm starting to forget this mess already. Very mild spoilers ahead so if you want to go into this book completely blind, maybe don't read further.

Okay, the love interest, Jax is just as insufferable as all the other love interests in this series. And they honestly all feel the same to me. Apparently, he's native american (?) and that's mentioned an extensive amount but we really don't see his actual participation in the culture, we are just told that "his hair was a deep brown, almost black, and it hung halfway down his back" and that he wore t-shirts with feathers on them. Then he had this like makeover (?) where he cut his hair so, I really don't know what was going on there.

I think the most significant thing about Jax is that I hate him because he is just such an awful dick, not in the cute way.

"I'll give you a ride home."
I shook my head. Yeah, hell to the no. "That's okay," I mumbled with my back to him. "I'll call Shane."
"If you even think of putting your cousin on the road in this weather," he threatened in a smooth, deep voice, "I may have to see what I can do to get you on your knees again today."

I do not understand why this is a common thing in so many romance books, but every time a man threatens to make a girl give head, I get so upset. It's so violating and degrading idk. Why are you imagining her in that position? For just not doing what you say? I mean I know that men fantasise about this stuff irl and it is gross but when I read romance books, I hope to swoon over the characters. he doesn't have to be nice, this is a bully romance of course, but you can be mean to her in far less sexually degrading ways um. Like just push her into a locker or something idc.

Anyway, if that doesn't bother you, there's still more:

"Eyes on me," Jax barked.

Barked? Like "woof woof"? Okay...

"Bite me, hit me, scream at me. I don't care. I want to feel it. Fucking hurt me, K.C. Let me see you."

Now, I can understand how someone would find that romantic, but I was honestly laughing. imagine, just imagine, if someone said that in real life lmaoo. Silly silly. The "let me see you"? Nahhh these men are such drama queens.

Also, something that I found quite upsetting (which is unfortunately a pattern in this series) is that consent is reallyyy blurry and the guys are pretty rapey. For instance:

"Jax, no," I protested pathetically, sliding his hands back out of my shirt.
"If you only know how much you saying no was turning me on..."

Yeah, that is a direct quote...

Want more? Here's another:

"Stop," she gasped.
Fuck no.

(That was his internal monologue btw.) Now get ready for this absolute monstrosity:

"Tell me," I whispered, hearing her breath quicken again. "Or I'm going to lay you down on my bed." I dug my fingers into her skin. "And eat your pussy so hard the whole damn house will hear you screaming."

Sorry, if i had to read that, so did you <3

Then, after all that bs, Jax is supposed to be vulnerable and closed off to people because of "trauma" when he's literally just insecure lmaoo. Just like Jared.

This was why I stayed busy.
This was why I didn't get close to people. Especially women.

Ok buddy, but then he pulls this shit:

To hell with K.C. Carter. She just had to go and get all bitchy again, and why was I even surprised? Jared had warned my saying that she was uptight and whiny, but I still wanted her. And why? What made her so damn special? I didn't indulge in nearly as many girls as she probably thought I did, but I could. I could have anyone.

Umm as if she's the bitchy one lmaoo. Says the one who fully bullied her and just talked about how she's just not that special? Get it together, man. Not to mention that the guys in these books are always swearing but usually just using swear words as adjectives and it's so aggravating. the only one who can pull that off is Malfoy, sorry. They give me flashbacks to "fokin trevoh".

And then he was having some sort of mental breakdown and it was so dramatic like what:

Sure, last night was the best sex I'd ever had, and I didn't even get to come. But then she'd looked at me when we stood outside like the dirty shit son of Thomas Trent, and for the first time in a long while, I felt as if I were back in his house. Unclean. Unsafe. And unworthy. I didn't let anyone make me feel like that. Not ever again.

I don't even know what to comment about this bc it's so unnecessary and theatrical, like please please just shut up.

It's even funny sometimes though LMAOO:

"You scare me." (juliet says)
"Why?" he asked, sounding calm. "I would never have hurt you, Juliet."

Boy, you damn well have. How are you this delirious and stupid.

And what's even funnier is a few chapters later...

Jax pulled his mouth away and jerked my hips into his hard cock. "You feel that?" he threatened, leaning his forehead to mine. "Don't fucking push me, Juliet, or in a minute, you won't feel safe."

😃😃😃 Anyway...

Also, this had me dying too:

She took care of me today. And what did I do? I spread her legs and ate her out as if she were a whore.

Cute, right?

Now, juliet a.k.a K.C. has a really weird background. I don't really know how someone would come up with the idea that this girl has a messed up father who pretends his second daughter is his first one after she died. I was honestly hoping to like her because she was meant to be a typical good girl and yes, I was the goody-two-shoes growing up, so I thought I'd be able to relate to her. But no, lmao she had this one moment where she swore for the first time...?

Shit. I just said "cunt." I never said words like that, but Nik constantly used them, and somehow it didn't seem out of place right now.

Like girl, what. Not to mention that she is deadass masturbating while thinking this inner monologue so um yeah, so cute.

I wanted to like her but her character flopped. She was meant to be the shamelessly feminine woman in the series but I never saw any semblance of that. Like there are things girls do that highlight their femininity like maybe scratching their nails down the guy's back or like dragging her hand down his chest or just putting on chapstick (you know what i meannn) but she just felt so bland. She has no personality whatsover just like every other character in this series so...

Now for the actual book, it was bad. I know you're in shock, yeah. How unexpected. This whole series is meant to be bully romances, and this definitely had the "being a dick" aspect but there was never an apology, never intimate/emotionally developed moments nor logical happenings at all. Sure, they fuck a lot in this book, which is normally something I absolutely adore, but the smut was completely mediocre. Sctually no, it was bad. Which isn't something that normally happens with PD, but my main turn-off was jax. They'd be getting it on and my face would morph into disgust because everything he said made me cringe and crumble. There was literally a sex scene where he fucked her with a sticky-ass popsicle like what. And then he says bs like this:

“I’ve got a carnival ride for you.” I leaned into her lips. “Open all night.”

Boy, shut upp.

So at this point, they're regularly fucking and he said he "likes" her (they apparently have this stupid phrase that they say to eachother over and over again: "only ever you" ) and doesn't want to have sex with anyone else and he cares about her and there isn't anyone for him except Juliet yet, he doesn't consider it love? So imagine his shock when he finds out she loves him lmaoooo. And then he fucks up again by doing the stupid "I don't deserve her, so I'm gonna push her away, and I'm gonna do it painfully so she really hates me now" thing. Which I do not find endearing because how can you be that 1: dumb, 2: dumb and 3: annoying.

So to get her off his back, he cheats on her! How cute. But then he never apologises nope! You know what he does? He gets a makeover LMAOO. He chops off his hair and buys new clothing and then seduces Juliet into fucking him again and the weak-ass bitch gives in ofc. So...that was the resolution to the whole conflict um.

My conclusion is that there is not a single redeeming quality about this book. No matter how much I wanted to like it, it was awful. I don't understand how this is everyone's fave of the series when, to me, it was probably the worst.

I honestly don't even think it was worth reading this series to understand the spin-off. PD has supplied us with family trees etc. that are easy to understand and a much better alternative than having to drag yourself through this.

━━━━━━━━━━━ ♡ ━━━━━━━━━━━
Profile Image for Kainat 《HUFFLEPUFF & PROUD》.
293 reviews720 followers
October 2, 2016
This is my go-to book when I'm sad.

3.5 Stars!

(please don't pay any attention to this ugly cover)

"Wanting her was more addicting
than the idea of actually getting her."

First of all, what's with this ugly ass cover? Who is this even supposed to be?

I really liked Jax in the last book, and loved him in this one. I loved the idea of him being in love with K.C, but I really didn't want these two to have a happy ending! Penelope really knows how to built tension between her characters, but as soon as they get together the magic disappears and i lose interest in them. All they ever want to do it jump each other and have sex and blah blah blah, same old possessive crap. It doesn't help that these books are really predictable! Maybe that's why i loved Bully so much, Jared and Tate didn't get together till the very end. At least it's not a revenge story. Again, LOVED the first half! Second half...

Caitlin Stasey has always been my K.C./Juliet.

Favorite quotes.

“Bite me, hit me, scream at me. I don't care. I want to feel it. Fucking hurt me, K.C. Let me see you.”

“I love it when you get mouthy,” he whispered down on me. “It makes me want to shut you up.”

“The watermelon juice spilling over your lip?” he indicated. “Lick it up or I will.”

Profile Image for ~♡AB♡~.
975 reviews665 followers
January 8, 2015
★★★ 3.5 Stars ★★★

I love a bit of angst, throw in some Love/Hate then I'm sold. This is the third couple that we have visited in the Fall Away series and follows K.C and Jax.

K.C was a shit friend to Tate in book 1 (Bully) and I have always wanted to know what it was about her that made Tate want to hang on to her as a friend. Jax is the tortured brother of Jared and is as intriguing as they come.

K.C is back in town for the summer and living next door to Jax after having been sentenced to complete community service for something she did in her college town of Arizona. They embark on a push and pull relationship, they hate each other but can't seem to stay away.

Jax has been watching K.C since he was 15, now 19 and extremely successful- he knows he can never have the prim and proper girl that comes from a good family but little does he know that she is suffering too. He can't help but be mean to her, he sees her as gutless and helpless but at the same time he knows that deep down she is bursting to reveal her true self.

Mostly, I enjoyed it. I thought the chemistry was great and the dynamics between the two kept me reading. Learning what it was that made them the people they were and hearing about their heartbreaking pasts was a pleasure to read.

What I didn't like was that is wasn't different enough from Bully, it was the same location (Jared & Tate's house), same scenarios (loud parties next door) and too much of him pushing her up against the wall (this happened far too often). The way Jax dealt with the revelation that K.C had real feelings for him was completely uncalled for and I could have done without that scene.

Also, as the author is leading us into her next book, Aflame, she decided to hint at the storyline which will involve Tate & Jared which sounds absolutely like unnecessary drama - I feel that this distracted us from the real story, which was K.C and Jax. It was their book and I think that it was out of place to throw this spanner in the words at the end of this book. It made me feel sad at what should have been a HEA.

Still, It was a good read and I am looking forward to see what else Penelope Douglas can write - I think maybe it's time to let this series go.

Profile Image for Matilda.
228 reviews1,370 followers
March 21, 2022
3.25 stars

I went into this fully expecting to finally get my 2nd 5 star of the year...I really played myself 💖 I liked this book till I got to the last 15% or so. The way Jax acted was so stupid and unnecessary

Jax invades Juliet’s privacy by reading her journal where she had written that she loved Jax, but was scared to tell him because he may not be ready. How does Jax respond? Exactly as she expected!

He ghosted her for a day or two (can’t be sure) and has a party without her knowledge. When she goes to his house to confront him, she seems him with a girl–

He laughed at something a friend said and then tossed his wrench into a box on the table. And then I watched, my smile falling, as he came up behind a girl …
… pulling her hips into his and burying his mouth into her neck.

At this moment I was thinking “oh pffft maybe she just got bitten by a venous snake and he’s sucking the poison out!” Perfectly logical explanation to it. Till he crushed my dreams–

His fingers held her waist, and I could see her grinding her ass into him as her blond head fell back against his chest. His hand splayed across her stomach, bare in her half shirt, and his mouth touched her skin.

You little SNAKE. Jax’s excuse for this behavior is “Juliet needs to find someone better than me”…OKAY ITS ONE THING TO BREAK UP WITH HER BUT TO GROPE A CHICK THAT YOU PREVIOUSLY HOOKED UP WITH IS SO NASTY.

Juliet proceeds to do the cliche “this isn’t you!” speech which made me want to cry from anger and embarrassment for her. Girl just tell him to fuck himself!

“I shook my head. “This isn’t you. You’re not cruel, and you don’t want her. Why are you pushing me away?”
“It’s just summer fun,” he retorted. “Now fuck me or fuck off.”

Why is he pushing her away by hurting her…he lost all respect from me at this point, after being a decent hero.

Juliet realizes he’s a lost cause so she leaves. A few days later, Jax arrives at his and Juliet’s old high school where she has been tutoring kids. He notices Juliet’s piece of shit cheating ex’s car in the parking lot. When he goes inside he overhears her ex saying he loves her or some bullshit and a scuffle *le gasp*. When he charges in there, but Juliet had already punched her ex and told him to hit the fucking road. Queen 👸

Jax proceeds to seduce Juliet... I think she thought he was coming around and realized made mistake. He says some shit about ‘only wanting her and this being ‘exactly where he wants to be’. Juliet, sadly, thinks he had an epiphany so they have sex in the classroom.

This is where it gets worse…Juliet tells Jax she loves him for the first time and he RUNS AWAY. UGH WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS JAX TRENT?!

5 days later, Juliet is at a party her friend is having. Jax shows up and sees her talking to this preppy guy who asked her out. She rejects him, but when she’s alone, Jax comes up to her and asks her if she “wants him”. I don't care about what she wants...what I want is for you to get out of her face.

“Yeah, I want him.” I swallowed the tears. “Five days ago I let you fuck me on a desk while I cried and told you I loved you, but I want him.”

Yes Juliet! Please tell him how stupid his question fucking is because he doesn't understand anything. Jax proceeds to tell her “he's better for you” and leaves the party. Juliet takes a friends car and chases after Jax. When she catches up to him and calls him out on his cowardice and all the sudden Jax is saying-

“I fucking love you, baby.”

Nah fuck off you were just telling her to date someone else 10 minutes ago!!!! Am I the only ones seeing the inconsistencies here 😭😭😭

I hate how Juliet chases after him and forgave him like nothing! She didn’t even make him grovel 😡😡😡

This wasn't going to be a 5 star read at that point, more of a 4 star, but the way it started to fall off was annoying
Profile Image for aksana .
308 reviews136 followers
January 7, 2015
DNF at 33%

I might have read too many spoilers. Which I'm glad for b/c it saved me a lot of time. This book was the same as the previous books anyway.


This did not happen here.

- again a love/hate relationship,
- again a hero who is a sexgod (not that im complaining)
- and also a manwhore, skill only comes with practice, right?

-dont get me started with the parties. They make Hugh Hefner look like a virgin.

Now lets get to the new stuff. What I did read was that damn teaser for Aflame.

You know what I think?

Will I read Aflame?

But I have a great idea for book 4

Profile Image for Brandi.
628 reviews1,279 followers
January 8, 2015

Falling Away worked for me, the writing was great, and I love broken characters. Jax and KC's story is full of angst and steam, which is perfect for me. And while Jax isn't always perfect, their story held my attention and I found myself rooting for them.

No mothers. No fathers. No gatekeepers. Non domini.

These two have experienced some pretty shitty things. They have issues. They aren't perfect. Their love story doesn't shoot out of a unicorns ass, all sugary and sweet. It gets messy, and if you have an aversion to lots of angst and stubborn ass men, you should probably skip this one. But it worked for me, and I thought Jax was pretty hot...even though, his pep talks reminded me of, Stuart Smalley...hahaha


Overall, I enjoyed this one. The story seemed lag a bit at times, but all I wanted was for these two broken characters to find some happiness and I wasn't disappointed.
Profile Image for Nan.
316 reviews26 followers
Want to read
November 23, 2013
JAX? Who the hell is JAX!

Then it hit me whilst reading other peoples reviews. JAX IS FUCKING JARED BROTHER! OHHHHH DAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMNNNNNN




Profile Image for vee ୨୧⋆。˚ ⋆.
113 reviews1,201 followers
November 20, 2022
5 ⭐️ if i could give this book ten stars, i would. one of my most anticipated reads and i loved everything about it. this book is giving me major second chance vibes even tho it’s not.. not really at least. heartbreaking back story, both of them. i love this book so much. one of my top three reads.
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,809 reviews28.4k followers
Shelved as 'not-interested'
January 8, 2015

***Yes, I attempted to return it! LOL***

Because why?


Because after seeing the word on the street, best summed up in my homie Nikki's review, I have decided to forgo moving to Pissed the Fuck Off Land.

And because, well...




Update 1/7/14 Oh man, I have this on my kindle ready to go and now I am sooooooo hesitant to read it based on reviews and the teasers for the next one...I am happy where things were left after book two and I don't want that to get ruined :((( I am a chicken.

Yes, tomorrow!!!!

Profile Image for Raj.
273 reviews72 followers
April 3, 2015
4.5 'Panty-wet' Stars

(Edited review)

 photo image_zpswipenkj5.jpg

K.C. Had to come back to her home town for the summer and do some community service because she went to jail, so She's staying in Tate's house. When she sees the kid that she once new back then is no longer a kid anymore and that he still lived next door, she sensed Trouble.

Jaxon Trent was the goddamn devil.
He was Hot,dirty,mysterious and did I mention HOT. He was this crazy "hot" boy that made my panties wet. I Loved him.

Jax has desired K.C for years, since he laid eyes on her.

I had everything except K. C. Carter, the one thing I wanted.

She was scared of what she felt for him so she didn't do anything. She was with Liam and she just stayed in the safe place that she knew.

his eyes were completely out of place but never seemed wrong. They were the color of a tropical sea. The color of the sky right before storm clouds rolled in. Tate called them azure. I called them hell.

Now nothing can stop them.

They were so hot especially Jax. God what that guy did to me. He was so romantic( in his own way).

My bed was hers. My T-shirts were hers. My house was hers. My dick was hers.
Can it be mine? Sharing is caring.

Can the past define your future?
Can these two see beneath the 'tattoos' they both have?
Can they love?

God this book was Ah-maze-ing. Penelope did it again with an awesome book. Have I mentioned that I feel for Jax. His mouth man that mouth, or his...anyways back to reality this book was really good I really liked it.

“Bite me, hit me, scream at me. I don’t care. I want to feel it. Fucking hurt me, K.C. Let me see you”

 photo image_zpsfkvxsjre.jpg

"Only ever you"
Profile Image for Kelli C .
1,042 reviews347 followers
January 12, 2015

I fell in love with Penelope Douglas just 50 pages into Bully and that emotion built with each book. Her gift of Jaxon Trent and his story has permanently etched her into my heart!

Falling Away...how to really review this adequately? I have no idea. This book for me was beyond all my expectations. I "GOT" it. I felt all the emotions that the author breathed into these characters. Jax and K.C. were a constant give and take, a shift and go, a complete

Doesn't it feel so good to just let go? HELL YES!

And that is what it all about. Who knew that such emotion would come from K.C. Carter and Jax Trent who are two very different people. One wants for nothing as everything is at her fingertips. The other comes from nothing thus fighting everyday to just survive. Well, you see, BOTH ARE EXACTLY THE SAME...sad, scared, and desperate for a love so protective it consumes them. Both see thru each other's facades and into the heart of it all.

"I guessed we've all built ourselves up through sadness, disappointment, and experience. It just happens at different times and in different ways.”

KC and Jax have been integral parts of this series as each played supporting roles. It was their personal tales however that were the most poignant! Yes, this book is a romance, a hot emotional scorcher, but it is so much more. It is about growth. It is a journey, while separate for both, they needed the push/pull of one another to GET THERE.

While Jax is...just Jax. His tale horrific but somewhat expected. I had no idea the type of horror KC experienced behind the quite walls of her upscale upbringing.

The more you suffered, the more you survived. It shaped people in different ways, and what broke one person could empower another."

It was surprisingly KC for me who made this story. She made me a believer. She owned her existence and she found herself...GUTLESS NO MORE!

Heart-wrenching. Emotional. Deeply Invested. Overall...PERFECTION.

"I feel like I'm falling. But it feels so good."

Nothing better than reading written words and feeling your own visceral reactions from them!
Profile Image for Rachel Reads Ravenously.
1,803 reviews2,159 followers
May 11, 2015
2 stars

This hurts me so say but this book stunk. Jax was such an inconsiderate asshole and KC never did grow a backbone. Plus my neck hurts from all of the whiplash.
I went into this with low expectations, it seemed not very popular and I understand why now. I still love Penelope Douglas though and will continue to read her books...
Profile Image for Amy Harmon.
Author 30 books16.6k followers
January 9, 2015
I just finished Penelope Douglas's Falling Away. Gulp. Her books are my guilty, delicious pleasures. **Warning, Lots of sexy.** Most of the time, sexy books don't cut it for me. I need more. With Penelope's books, it's the sexy in addition to the great writing and compelling characters that does me in. Bravo, lady, can't wait for Aflame.
January 29, 2022
I’ll never think of popsicles the same way again!

The following ratings are out of 5:
Narration: 🎧🎧🎧🎧
Romance: 💙💚🖤💜💜
Heat/Steam: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Story/Plot: 📕📗📘📙📙
World building: 🌎🌍🌏🌎🌏
Character development: 😁☺️🤬🥵🥰

The heroine: K.C. Carter (a.k.a. Juliette) - she seemed to have the perfect life but nobody knew what she went through because of her crazy parents. K.C. had feelings for Jax since he came to town but denied them because he was a year younger and she wanted to think of him as a kid. She goes away to college and returns two years later to find Jax has turned into a man.

The Hero(s): Jaxon Trent (a.k.a. Jax) - he had a terrible childhood and came to live with his brother, Jarod. Now he owns the house, has wild pool parties, runs the loop (local drag races) and is getting a ton of money from someplace mysterious.

The Story: The chemistry between Jax and K.C. is sizzling hot from the very start. Both of these people had terrible childhoods and have been hot for each other from the start. Though Jax assumes K.C. thinks she is too good for him and K.C. doesn’t believe she deserves happiness.

This is my second read of this book and I loved it again. Jax was hella hot! He is intelligent and has a filthy mouth with the hard body to go with it. On the K.C.’s side it is “I hate him but I’m attracted to him.” Jax is more “I am completely obsessed with her but I just need to have a short relationship with her to get her out of my system. I will never fall in love with her.” Then of course, every time they are near each other, things get hot.

As for the narration, it was done by Nelson Hobbs and Abby Craden. I didn’t really like either of their voices all that much. Nelson Hobbs was good but I just prefer a deeper voice for my Hero’s. I know when they read the female lines men with deep voices don’t sound that great. But I just like a deep gravely sexy smoky voice for a Hero. Abby Creiden often sounded like she was about to fall asleep at times, though it worked for the steamy scenes.

I really liked both of these characters and I love all the supporting characters in this world as well. Tate, Jarod, Madoc, Fallon and Shane especially. I plan to listen to the rest of the audiobooks as soon as possible.

Profile Image for ❥ KAT ❥ Kitty Kats Crazy About Books.
2,135 reviews7,325 followers
April 30, 2015
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TITLE: Falling Away
SERIES: (Fall Away, #3)
AUTHOR: Penelope Douglas
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHED: Published January 6th 2015
MY RATING: ★★★★★

I'm having a Penelope Douglas marathon in hopes that I can finish this whole series!! And I've nearly reached the end!!I thought I'd never get there!!

Move over Madoc and make room for Jax *sighs* this guy just melts your heart, he's hot az sin and dirty as hell,his words, his alpha male tendencies, he just comes across ALL MAN!!

A hot sexy, steamy read, loved this book, think Jax has been my favourite male character out of this series so far, just a damaged guy who was afraid of letting anyone get too close, loved reading his journey even Juliet surprised me, the things we never see, hear from behind closed doors, the way she was treated, how the name KC came about broke my heart..

So many feels ~ love/hate/angst/anger/sadness/gut wrenchingly raw

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“I had everything except K. C. Carter, the one thing I wanted, the first time I ever saw her, the ground flipped beneath my feet, and the world spun all around me. I loved the way she resisted me, she was going to be a fucking prize when I finally got her”

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Wanting her was an addiction

Wow I can't believe that my time with these characters is nearly coming to an end, one more book and I've read the whole series!!

I have to say I wish my carnival experience was as good as Juliet's!! *fans face* that was one hard, hot, ride..

“The speeding ticket your freshman year at college that magically disappeared."
"The finite math test you were unprepared for that coincidentally got delayed because the sprinklers went off?"
"All the books reserved for you at the library to research, Oliver Cromwell’s England? The bookstore job that just landed in your lap when your mother cut off your credit card for switching your minor to creative writing?”
“Every time you needed something during the past two years, I was there”
“You stalked me?”
“Yeah, get over yourself,” I shot back”
“I didn’t read your e-mails or steal your underwear"
"I just wanted to take care of you"

Excerpt From: Douglas, Penelope. “Falling Away.”

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Profile Image for C.K..
216 reviews17 followers
Want to read
November 15, 2014

Link to a new short Teaser:

Info about Aflame (Jared/Tate novella):
Aflame's story line begins in Falling Away, so just a heads up.

Falling Away takes place halfway through college. Aflame is after college when they're 22. ~Penelope Douglas

Teaser for Falling Away:

***Falling Away Scene***

This was the only one that wasn't a spoiler regarding Jared and Tate's future, so enjoy!

Jared just got home after a month long absence, and everyone is at Tate's house welcoming him home. K.C.'s POV:

“Okay, shower up!” Madoc urged, looking at Jared. “Pizza. I’m hungry.”

But Jared shook his head. “No.”

“Huh?” Madoc asked.

Jared dropped his arms from Tate and started unbuttoning his camouflage utility jacket. “Look, everyone.” He spoke to all of us. “I love you, but you have to go.”

Everyone just stood or sat there.

“I haven’t seen Tate in weeks. We need alone time. Sorry.” Jared tossed his jacket on the chair, leaving him in his camo pants and T-shirt.

“Jared?” Tate complained, blushing with embarrassment.

But he shot her a warning look. “It’s been weeks, babe.”

She straightened, and I almost laughed as realization dawned and her expression changed. “Yeah, okay.” She clapped her hands, ushering everyone to the front door. “Everyone out. We need to be alone.”

“For how long?” Madoc protested, standing up with Fallon.

“Like three days,” Jared said.

“Three days!” Madoc shot back.

Fallon pulled him toward the door. “Let���s go, Madoc.”

He grumbled, and I laughed to myself as Jax took my hand, leading me out. The door slammed behind us, and the four of us filtered down the steps toward the cars.

“Seriously?” Madoc was practically whining now. “You guys are coming, right?”

Jax patted his pant legs. “Shit,” he cursed, turning back around. “I left my phone on the coffee table.”

“I’ll get it.” I held my hand up to stop him. “I forgot my purse, too.”

I darted back up the stairs and quietly slipped back through the front door, hoping to God they weren’t already naked.

The foyer was empty, and I crept on tiptoe into the living room to grab my bag off the couch and Jax’s phone off the coffee table.

I heard Jared’s deep but muffled voice..."

Jax Character Interview:

Teaser from K.C. Pov:


Ch. 6 Excerpt---K.C. POV


As he made his way back through town, the only sound we could hear was the water on the streets being kicked up under the tires. He’d silenced the radio, we weren’t talking, and...I felt like he’d switched off.

Everything felt alive when he'd kissed me. His heart under my palm. His breath in my mouth. His hands roaming over my skin like they were trying to memorize every inch.

Now, he was a bullet. Going from point A to point B without hesitation.

Until his flat tone finally filled the car. “Come home with me.”

I turned to him, stunned. “Are you serious?” I asked. "I don’t think I’d be enough for you.”

“Don’t do that,” he shot back. “Don’t ruin what happened between us. You were fire in my hands, and I want you to remember it, K.C.”

I could feel his eyes on me as I clasped the strap of Tate’s messenger bag sitting on the floor.

“Clothed, naked, I don’t care...,” he trailed off, sounding almost sad. “As long as your lips are on me again.”

I shifted in the seat, trying to buy myself time. What I wanted and what I should do were two different things. I’d fought that battle with Liam, my mother, and hell, the list went on. It was true when I told Jax that I wanted to be a mess. But I didn’t want to get hurt.

“Thanks for the driving lesson,” I told him. “And the ride home. But I’m not like you, Jax. I don’t just ignore the rules and take what I want.”

“You don’t know me.” His tone turned defensive. “You know nothing about me.”

“And what do you know about me?” I threw back. “Other than you wanted me to spread my legs in high school. You want to have fun with me and nothing more. Find someone else.”

He jerked the steering wheel to the right, and I grabbed the door handle to keep from vaulting over to his side of the car as he sped up into his driveway.

My heart jumped into my throat, and I shot out my hand, grabbing the dash when he skidded to a quick halt in front of his garage.

“Jax, careful!” I scolded.

He shut off the car, yanked the parking brake up, and turned to look at me, leaning his forearm on the steering wheel. “You think I don’t know you?” he challenged.

I pursed my lips. “No."

He shook his head and started. “You want to travel. To unusual and dangerous places. You hid a binder full of National Geographic pages in your locker in high school, because you didn’t want your mom to see all of the pictures you’d torn out to keep track of the places you wanted to visit.”

My jaw dropped slightly, and I widened my eyes. What?

He continued. “You didn’t eat lunch for an entire month senior year, because you saw Stu Levi not eating and found out his single mom was out of work and couldn’t afford to put money on his lunch card. So you put your own money on it.”

How did…?

“You love dark chocolate,” he kept going, “Ricky Gervais , and any movie with singing and dancing.” His voice filled the car, and my heartbeat was in my ears. “Except the Wizard of Oz, because the witch freaks you out, right? And you’ve collected almost an entire set of vintage Nancy Drew books. You had the most badges in your troop in Girl Scouts, and you had to quit swimming when you were fourteen, because your mom said that your shoulders were getting too muscular and you wouldn’t look feminine. You loved swimming,” he added.

I wrapped my arms around my stomach, the air turning cold. Tate and Liam didn’t even know all of that.

“I didn’t drool all over you in high school, K.C. I listened to you. I paid attention to you. What the hell do you know about me?”

And he swung the car door open, climbed out, and slammed it shut, not waiting for an answer.

I sat there, watching him walk into his house and close the door.
Then I bowed my head, letting the tears spilled over. As much as I wanted to prove him wrong, I couldn’t go after him.

He didn’t know that I watched him too. He didn’t know that I’d paid attention.

I always saw him.

“Music centers you,” I whispered to an empty car, looking up and staring at his front door. “You listened to your iPod between classes and while you sat on the bleachers before school every morning.” I smiled, letting more tears run down my cheeks and thinking back to him and his black hoodies, looking so dark. “You love popcorn. Almost every kind and flavor but especially with Tabasco sauce,” I said, remembering the times he would come into the theater where I worked. “You hold the door open for women—students, teachers, and even old ladies coming out of Baskin Robbins. You love movies about natural disasters, but they have to have some comedy in them. Your favorite one is Armageddon.” I swallowed and thought about how little I’d ever seen Jax truly smile. “And while you love computers, it’s not your passion,” I concluded. “You love being outdoors. You love having space.” My whole face hurt, the last words barely audible. “And you deserve someone who makes you happy. I’m just not that person.”

NATIVE (working title) Winter 2014/2015: Now called Falling Away

"Fallon, run her a bath, would you? My soothing salts are under the sink," Tate orders while rubbing my back.

I shrug her off, rolling my eyes. "Stop fussing, you guys. It's not my first time."

She arches an eyebrow at me. "You ever done it 6 times in one night before?"

I swallow and look away.

"And if Jax is anything like his brother," she continues, "he's not a gentleman in the bedroom."

Teaser 2:

Teaser: (This is un-edited, and you won't get another one for a long time.)

Here you go:

“You’re afraid of yourself,” he said flatly. “Not me.”

And then he backed up, looking down at me." And that’s why you’re gutless, K.C." All the softness from his voice was now gone. “Now I have to shower, and you need to leave.”

And he turned around and strode for the men’s locker room.

I shook my head.

He was wrong. I wasn't gutless. Why did he keep saying that?

I sniffled and cleared my throat, standing tall. “Maybe I just don’t want you,” I blurted out and damn near smiled when he spun around, looking surprised. “Maybe I just don’t want you, Jax. Did you ever consider there might be one woman in this world that doesn’t pant after you?”

And I breathed out a small laugh as I spun around and headed for the door.

But before I even reached the handle, an arm circled my waist, yanking me back into a warm body, and I gasped just as my hair was swiped to the side and a hot mouth was on my neck.

Everything fell apart. My knees buckled, but he held me tight as my eyes closed, and my neck fell to the side, inviting him in.

Oh, my God!

It felt so good. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t pull away. I couldn’t stop him. His mouth was like hot water pouring over me, creating a blanket of heat. His teeth grazed my skin, rough but not hard, and he slid his lips and teeth over the sensitive area under my ear, and I wasn’t sure if he was kissing me or getting ready to eat me.

He left short but deep kisses across my neck, at the base, and under my ear. His tongue flicked my ear lobe right before his other hand reached around and turned my chin to him.

And then his mouth was on mine. I moaned and gasped, probably sounding like I was in pain, but I couldn’t help it. The tornado between my legs made my skin tingle.

Jax’s tongue found mine, and I groaned into his mouth, inhaling his scent that reminded me of summer. Of sweet cotton candy on a Ferris Wheel and cool water on hot skin.

The heat, the wetness, the taste, everything was hard and fast as his lips worked mine.

Keeping the same arm around my waist, his other hand left my face and dove straight under my skirt and into my panties.

“Oh,” I whimpered a muffled groan into his mouth that still held me hostage. What was he doing? I needed to stop this!

But my eyes fluttered as his smooth fingers dipped into my center, swirling the wetness already there around my clit.

And then his mouth left mine, and he yanked me up off my feet and growled in my ear.

“You’re so wet for me, K.C.” His voice was hard and threatening. “You're gutless, helpless, and a fucking liar, too.”

And then he dropped me on my ass, and I fell to the mats, shaking with confusion.

All I heard behind me was a door open and close, and I knew I was alone.

Bringing a shaky hand to my mouth, I sucked in air like it was going out of style. “Holy shit,” I whispered.

Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,825 reviews836 followers
January 8, 2015
3.5 Stars

Fans of the Fall Away series will be pleased with this installment, Jax and K.C.’s romance. As usual with Penelope Douglas’ writing, Falling Away was panty-melting hot! New Adult on crack, HOT! She’s got a gift with lighting fires and making you squirm! But more than the incredible sizzle, Ms. Douglas shines at writing passionate, addictive stories that you’ll have a hard time putting down.

Jax has been crushing on K.C. since high school, and even though she might have seemed to reciprocate his feelings, K.C. had a boyfriend. Also, she was a year older than Jax, and in high school that can seem like a millennium. Still, for three years he’s obsessed and pined away for K.C. and now she’s back.

K.C. is back home from college in Arizona on her own for the summer after finding out her boyfriend cheated on her for the second time. K.C. got ticked and landed herself some community service and mysteriously she was assigned summer school tutoring for high school kids back home in Shelburne Falls.

Running into Jax while she’s home is an equally thrilling and dreadful prospect. In high school K.C. felt a magnetic pull towards him, but tried to shut those feelings down. She was never as rattled and shaken by lust and desire for Liam like she is with Jax, but he spells all kinds of danger.

I wanted to touch him and crawl on top of him at every opportunity. His smell, his personality, his body, everything intoxicated me.

I’ve been awaiting Falling Away because Jax seemed like such a complex and tortured character. He went through so much, more than even his brother Jared. If anyone deserved some loving (not just random screwing), it was Jax.

Can’t say I was super thrilled with K.C. being the object of Jax’s affection because I wasn’t a big fan after what happened in Bully. When you know your best friend is completely gaga over a guy (Jared), you don’t “date” him, even if it is some sort of pretend scenario to make an ex jealous. Tate didn’t know that, and it didn’t seem all that pretend at the time. Surprisingly, I liked K.C. aka Juliet when I got to know her, more than Jax actually. Juliet wanted to change things about her life and went about doing it. I like a girl who learns from her mistakes and doesn’t wallow in self-pity.

Penelope Douglas treads a fine line with her male protagonists. Like Jared, Jax was edgy, tortured, bossy, and kind of a dick, so it’s tricky to get the mix just right so the reader doesn’t hate the guy. I did like the attitude and Jax’s wicked mouth:

“I love it when you get mouthy.” He whispered down to me. “It makes me want to shut you up.”

Jax was a great blend, minus the last minute “pushing her away for her own good” drama at the very end.

I loved catching up with Madoc and Fallon, but I must admit the time with Tate and Jared was unsettling and I could feel the storm brewing. Didn’t know how bad it would be until I read the teaser for Aflame included at the end of the book. That was an unwelcome shock, to put it mildly! I am NOT happy at all with this turn of events and I have to say that teaser cast a dark shadow on the whole series for me.Aflame is expected to release April 21st and I’m crossing my fingers that it doesn’t majorly tick me off.

A copy was kindly provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.

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