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This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Teresa Hamilton has had a crush on Jase Winstead from the moment he stepped through her front door to check on her brother. There is just something about him that draws her and she can't shake the attraction, especially after a mind-blowing kiss. But after said kiss, Jase avoids her like the plague and an injury to her knee could be the end of her dance career if she isn't careful. A semester off from dancing at the college her brother (and Jase, his BFF) attends may just the thing to get Jase to give them a chance. Jase is trying his damnedest to ignore his feelings for Tess. Besides the fact that she is his best friend's baby sister, he has other responsibilities that take precedence and doesn't really need to be involved in any kind of serious relationship. But he can't seem to avoid her now that she's on campus and the attraction is getting harder to fight. Can the two work it out or is their quasi-relationship doomed to fail?
Tess is just as I remember her from Wait For You, beautiful and determined and smart. She's a bit down on herself because of the knee injury and the possibility of never dancing again, but you can still see the fiery personality underneath. I can't say I would be any different if my lifelong passion had nearly been ripped from my grasp. Her love of dancing is something I thought would bring her closer to Avery, but the two don't become as close as I was expecting. Maybe they are saving that for later. I hope so.
Jase is a even more guarded here than the glimpses of him we catch in Trust In Me. He obviously plays things close to the chest and has a difficult time letting anyone get close to him. Watching him try to be all noble and stay away from Tess when it's obvious the two are meant for each other was both comical and heartbreaking. It causes so much heartache for Tess that it is hard to get behind the idea of these two being together. Will Jase ever get over the need to push her away to "protect" her as well as himself? I hate that, so much.
I was pretty excited when I got approved for this because it gave me a legitimate excuse to read Wait For You & Trust In Me which I had been dying to read. After all, I have to read them to understand this, right? So I dived in and LOVED them both. Seriously, Cam Hamilton is awesome and I love him to bits. I was then excited to see him placed in the brotherly role instead of the love interest. Anything offering me even the tinsiest new slice of Cam was exactly what I was looking for. While I truly enjoyed this, it doesn't quite live up to it's predecessors. Jase doesn't even come close to comparing to Cam's level of awesome, so while I liked the idea of him and Tess, I wasn't swooning over him. And every damn time he pushed Tess away, I was torn between wanting to punch him and wanting her to move on so we could truly see him suffer. She doesn't, though, because this wouldn't be much of a romance novel if she had, but I was almost wishing she would.
Another issue was it was predictable. I know we don't read romance for jaw-dropping originality, but I saw every single twist come. Every. Single. One. ****SPOILER****The minute you see Jace with Jack, it's obvious it's his kid not his brother. The minute you see Debbie with Erik, you know he's abusing her. As soon as Tess hits the floor, you know she's fucked up her knee for good. When Tess finds Debbie dead, it's so fucking obvious that Erik killed her, and it wasn't a suicide. ****END SPOILER****All of it was just so glaringly obvious.
From the review, you'd think I didn't really enjoy this novel, but I did. Despite the hangups, this is written in addictive way we've come to expect from JLA. She's a master at making you desperate to keep going and then utterly depressed when you realize you've finished the novel. What the fuck am I supposed to do now? Move on to the next novel? I'm too emotional involved with the characters to do anything else but crave more! It has everything necessary to make a great New Adult romance, with steamy love scenes, witty dialogue, and characters you can't help but care about, in spite of their idiotic actions. If you liked the previous novels, you'll definitely enjoy this one. If you haven't read the previous novels...what the hell are you waiting for?
****Thank you to William Morrow Paperbacks for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****