but she's definitely not all sweetness and light. Not according to next-door neighbor, early-20s college-quarterback Hero anyway.
Hero doesn't know how they went from being really good friends as kids
to being distant & bitingly sarcastic since high school.
Their moms' plan to have her drive him to and from his football practices daily this summer doesn't go over well with Hero and heroine.
Their cold & occasionally hand-slap-filled drives together get a reprieve when she accepts his offer to go out for beer.The alcohol & her desire to loosen-up a bit unleashes their concealed mutual attraction.
But her discounting their passionate night together and his summer challenge to help her check off her bucket-list of life experiences begin their push & pull relationship.
My 1st Lucian read & it was more than ok. I liked how on-point these college-aged characters are in this New Adult novel. They sounded and acted like folks in their early 20s. I had to adjust my thinking accordingly & keep reminding myself of their ages. Hero and heroine had insecurities and uncertainties about their future like many 20-somethings. So, Hero's cluelessness about romance and how he affected heroine in high school wasn't because he was a selfish jerk but because he was still young and relatively inexperienced in romance. He was sexually experienced but clueless when it came to a healthy romance. Heroine was so focused on over-achieving in school that she was as clueless about romance and the average college social life. There were times though that her stickler attitude annoyed me. She really did need to loosen up and she tended to go back & forth re: enjoying life & going back to being ultra-responsible. Heroine tended to do the rejecting 1st and Hero would follow suit and do the same with her. For most of the book, we get this hot & cold behavior between the 2 of them.
What also made the book pace kinda slow for me was the long interval between their smexxing. The blurb makes it sound like they got hot & dirty a lot and, in this 200+ book, there were only about 4-5 descriptive sexual scenes (2 were full-on consummation & other 2-3 were oralling). Sex scene-wise, it tended to be piece by piece description of what was done (i.e, which part of the clothing came off 1st and in what manner/speed/comments). Don't get me wrong. It wasn't boring. But the combo of hot-cold romance and long interim between hot times seemed to drag my reading pace. So, the piecemeal sex description didn't help. Sex was still hot overall though. The pace sped up more towards 85% of the book, when 1 of them FINALLY took the risk in their relationship:
--------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details------------
When their romance began, heroine had her parents' house all to herself for 6 weeks while her parents were away for her pastor dad's sabbatical vacation. While she & Hero were about to smex, heroine got a call from her mother that her dad was in the hospital due to a stroke & heart attack. Before she rushes out to the airport, she blasts Hero a comment about how she was stupid for making him distract her all summer. The discomfort of how she left jolted Hero out of his passivity. And, with the advice of his teammates & family, he follows heroine & flies out to the hospital to be a support to her. He was done with keeping silent and evasive about their relationship. He took responsibility for her goodbye comment, seeing his part in their undeclared relationship. He wanted to be direct and open about his love her now. It was exactly what she didn't know she was waiting for (they'd both been passive-aggressive about their relationship, especially her) & that did it for them.
The last 15% was the best part of the book. It solidified their relationship and really showed character growth on both Hero and heroine's part. The epilogue of 2.5 years later helped solidify their way to their HEA(happy ever after).
I moderately recommend this book.