BLOG REVIEW: Stay With Me by Elyssa Patrick

18y.o. famous actress-singer is done being on the spotlight and living a public life of a Hollywood celebrity.
She wants a different life. An ordinary life. And moves to Vermont be a full-time college student.
She meets 21y.o. Hero at a college party and fights their mutual attraction. 
She's been hurt before and doesn’t trust men easily and she wants to focus on figuring her new life direction.  Hero isn’t easily discouraged by her rejection and lets her know he's there for her. As their social sphere crosses more, they get closer. 
Heroine finds it harder to resist him.  And soon she doesn't.
She is, however, afraid that he'll want nothing to do with her once he finds out her shameful secret. And her attention-hungry mother might just be part of her downfall . Do her fears come to pass? 

I like it when the writing centers me on the romance. Characterization, emotional tone, sexual tension, and plot helped develop Hero and heroine's romance. It was sweet and sexy. Sexual chemistry and sex scenes were good. Hero's close friends and family were good supportive characters who encouraged Hero and heroine in their romance. Hero and heroine came from very different ways of life that converged in the present. Heroine had a colorful past as a celebrity and we get some info about it. But it didn't dwell in her past but was used to help us understand her motives for living her life as she is now. She's not only an emerging adult at 18 but drastically transitioning her lifestyle, which include physically leaving glitzy Hollywood for a small Vermont town. She's figuring out her new identity and isn't certain about anything beyond that. She knew herself well enough to know she needed time and space before adding romance in her life. So her resisting her strong attraction to Hero was a big step towards living life more wisely & with more discipline. But when their path crossed again and again, she had to choose between safety and love. Lucky for her that her choosing love put her in the emotional safety she longed for.

Hero was great. He was not only hot to look at but was a solid guy. He pursued heroine enough that she knew he wanted her in his life but not in a pushy way. He respected her need for space to figure out herself and didn't make her feel bad for needing it. He made it clear, however, that he wanted to be constant in her life & be a support to her.  He made himself open & vulnerable to her, telling her how he felt. I liked how honest he was. He held a secret from her for a bit but disclosed it during their first date. His words were consistent with his actions, making it easier for heroine to trust him. It also helped that she got to observe his good relationships with his family and friends. He was an alpha Hero who was also a sweetheart. 

I would've liked more drama when her secret unfolded. It ended up being anti-climactic. 

---------------------SPOILERS: Don't read  below if you don't want to know the book's details--------

All that anticipation built about her secret (she had an abortion at 15 from an affair with her producer who she didn't know was married) was deflated with how casual Hero responded and how quick it was all resolved. I get that Hero understood why she did it and loved her regardless of her past. It wasn't a big deal to Hero but it was a big deal to her. She held that secret for so long and was anguished by it  So for heroine to just dust off her hands after Hero told her he still loved her after her confession didn't seem sufficient. A bit more discussion about how she felt about it & what keeping her secret had been like for her would've been a more fulfilling closure to her big secret.

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I recommmend this book

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