My rating: 4 of 5 stars
4 "It's been you..." STARS
NA is not my go-to but I'll read the genre because I've come across some good and enjoyable reads. This was good. What made it for me was the anti-stepbrother, Caden Banks.
Caden totally had me. Totally swoon-worthy!
He's sexy, much sought after, but he's not a college hottie cliché. That's what I love about him the most! He's mature, a straight shooter and no BS. He doesn't get caught up in the drama of college.
Summer Stoltz is a freshman. She's starting her first year of college and has hopes of finally having a relationship with her stepbrother, Kevin. He was her high school crush and then her dad married his mom and he became 'family', although Kevin barely knows she exists. Until one night and then that's it.
Summer is also refreshing. She's quirky, a bit naive and awkward. When she first meets Caden, she thinks 'asshole.'
But slowly, she realizes there's more to Caden despite his knockout looks and alpha demeanor. These two slowly go from friends to lovers. I thoroughly enjoyed the growth of their relationship and the blossoming of their friendship. There's also more to the story with both of their family situations coming into play, which made the dynamic more complex and the overall story, more well-rounded and layered.
This was my first Tijan read but it won't be my last. I've heard some good things about the Fallen Crest series, which I'll be checking out. And looking forward to more.
**ARC generously provided by author in exchange for an honest review.**
He wasn’t looking at me any more. I wasn’t even sure he was really in the room.
I needed to leave this alone. He had given me the clues—looking away, his jaw clenching, pain like I’d never heard from him sounding loud and clear. My instincts were telling me to shut up, but I couldn’t. I had this burning need to know more about Caden. I needed to get in there, past his walls, and I wanted to understand him.
I wanted to help him.
Caden was hurting, and I wanted to take that away.
Caden turned his gaze to me now, and I felt branded by the pain I saw. His eyes were stricken. “Does it matter?”
“No.” My breath caught and held in my chest. I wanted to go to him, but I also wanted to slink away. I was stirring up his pain, but I had to know. “What happened, Caden?”
“Why do you have to know?”
“Because it’s hurting you.”
I made a decision, though I had no idea what the ramifications were going to be. I stood, my legs going numb and my stomach clenching, and I moved to his side. He leaned back, his head falling to the couch, and he watched me.
The need to ease some of his hurt outweighed the fear of what would happen next. Swallowing tightly, I stepped over to straddle him and sat down.
“What are you doing?”
He asked that softly, still holding his beer. I took it from his hands and put it on the stand next to the couch. Then I just sat there. He had to do the rest. I’d already made the first move.
I glanced down at his hands, feeling like an idiot. “What happened?”
“Why are you pushing this?”
I looked back up to find confusion warring with need in his eyes. He wasn’t pushing me away, so I sank further into his lap.
“You haven’t told anyone else about this.” It wasn’t really a question, but I saw the confirmation in his eyes. My chest tightened, thinking about whatever secret he held. “Please tell me.”
“No.” He shifted forward, and I braced myself, expecting him to push me away. He didn’t. His hands grasped the backs of my legs and lifted me so I was more fully on his lap.
I could feel him between my legs, and my breasts almost pressed against his chest. I waited. I wanted to see what else he’d say
“But not because I don’t want you to know,” he added. “Because it’s not my secret to tell.”
I nodded, my stomach doing somersaults now. “That makes sense. I can respect that.”
And there we were. His hands cupped my ass, and the pain in his gaze became something darker, something I felt too, something that began to turn off all rational thought.
“What are we doing here?” he questioned, his voice like a caress in itself.
I leaned forward, my gaze lingering on his lips. “I didn’t really think it through.”
“Still not thinking it through.”
“You’re okay with that?”
In that moment, the truth exploded in me. I wanted him. I wanted this—but it was more. I needed this.
I didn’t answer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I didn't begin writing until after undergraduate college. There'd been storylines and characters in my head all my life, but it came to a boiling point one day and I HAD to get them out of me. So the computer was booted up and I FINALLY felt it click. Writing is what I needed to do. After that, I had to teach myself how to write. I can't blame my teachers for not teaching me all those years in school. It was my fault. I was one of the students that was wishing I was anywhere but at school! So after that day, it took me lots of work until I was able to put together something that resembled a novel. I'm hoping I got it right since someone must be reading this profile! And I hope you keep enjoying my future stories.