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Book three of JLA’s Wait for You series, and I’m so torn! I really wanted to love it, and part of me did, but another part of me really struggled with aspects of it. This book takes a huge swing away from the College setting of the previous books in the series, and dives straight into Kristen Ashley territory – in more ways than one. This review is a purging exercise for me as I try to sort my feelings out.
This is the story of Calla – she is good friends with Teresa (little sister to Cameron, and heroine of book 2). Calla is quiet and keeps to herself a lot. She is entering her final semester and a half of College, but her life veers completely out of control when she is told that the money for her college tuition is gone, and she owes over $100,000 in loans and credit cards taken out in her name by her drug-addicted mother.
I was so screwed, and not in the fun and sweaty way
With little choice, Calla returns to her home town – the one place she never wanted to see again – in order to find her mother and figure the mess out. But her mother is nowhere to be found, and she winds up at her family’s bar, and that is where she meets Jax.
Jax is working behind the bar, and the man is sex on legs and an absolute flirt, and the attraction between the two of them sizzles from the very start. He knows all about Calla’s mother, and doesn’t want her exposed to the dangers of that lifestyle, and when she puts her feet down and decides to stay, he takes it upon himself to protect her for as long as she is there. And when I say ‘protect’, I mean he shows up at her house, sleeps in her bed, and makes her business his business (sound familiar…..?). And just to make things even more interesting, he makes no secret of his attraction to her.
“When I want something, I go for it. Life is way too damn short to live any other way. And I want to get to know you better.” Those lashes lowered one more time, his gaze tracking to my lips like they were some kind of Mecca. “Yeah, I definitely want to get to know you better.”
It has to be said, Jax is all kinds of awesome. A bit of a badass with a military background, he is just the man to stand by Calla’s side and help her fight all that she is up against as she dives into a dark and dirty world to find her mother. But Calla is deeply scarred – inside and out – from a fire which tore her family apart. And even though she tries to push him away, he is determined to protect her and make her his.
“I used to be really pretty,” I whispered, sharing the secret…
“There is no ‘used’ to be” … “You’re really fucking pretty now.”
His grin was back, and there was something utterly disarming about it. “Stick with me, babe, and I’ll change your life.”
The development of the relationship between Jax and Calla is slow-building, and Jax’s gentleness and patience with Calla is absolutely breathtaking! He is open with her, he communicates well, and even though he pushes her, he makes sure that she is with him every step of the way.
“You still with me?”
“I’m still with you.”
And even though the book is all from Calla’s POV, he never hides his feelings for her, and I fell in love with him right alongside Calla.
“Fuck. I fell for you before you even knew my name.”
Yes, the romance is beautifully swoony, and hot as all hell as alpha sex-God Jax introduces shy and inexperienced Calla into the wonderful world of multiple orgasms and epic sex-a-thons (lucky girl!). But all of this unfolds while Calla has a target on her back courtesy of her mother, and this is where the book really swings into KA-land, complete with an evil drug lord, an attempted kidnapping, shootings and dead bodies – although Calla pushes it even further by pulling some stupid moves (staying in her mother’s crack house, opening the front door to drugged out weirdos, walking around deserted carparks by herself). Yes, it’s all very intense and exciting, but to me it felt a bit out of place when situated along with the other books of this series.
“You’re not going to be a message. You aren’t going to be shit to any of them. You feel me? No one is touching you.”
Did you notice that ^^^? Yep, that’s a “You feel me?”. And that brings me to my big issue – the writing style. I am a huge, huge fan of JLA – whether she’s Jennifer Armentrout or J. Lynn, I love her work. But to me, this didn’t feel like her work, it felt like an almost-Kristen Ashley book, and not just with the events of the story. Kristen Ashley has a very unique writing style, so it’s instantly recognisable when certain characters, key phrases, and even whole conversations feel like they could have been taken directly from a KA book. It’s like KA in NA-land and as much as I love both JLA and KA, to me this book felt like one attempting to be the other, and I found it really distracting. And I missed the ‘feel’ of a JLA book! She’s got an amazing style that is all her own, and I missed her in this one. Every now and again it would be there, but then the KA-isms would come in and I’d find myself getting annoyed and disconnected from the story, when I really wanted to lose myself in it. *sigh*
There are links there with the rest of the series when the characters from previous books all make an appearance – the boys being referred to as “The Hot Guy Brigade” by Calla (hmmmm… *squinty eyed glare*) – and I loved seeing Cam and Avery and Teresa and Jase all loved up and happy (but what happened to Ollie? He is also loved up and happy, but where was his book?). I loved seeing them all be there for Calla. She has previously been so closed off to them, but when they come into her world and she finally opens up, they stand by her side, and it was gorgeous – especially when the boys got all protective over her. So sweet!
I still don’t know how I feel about this book. It’s a really long read, and even with everything going on it did drag a bit. And while on one hand I really liked it – the romance is beautiful, and there’s a lot of emotion mixed in nicely with lighter moments – I was also annoyed a lot of the time, and it’s hard to separate my thoughts on the actual story compared to the things that bothered me.
I have no idea what to rate this so I’m going right in the middle with 3 stars, rated up to 3.5 for Jax, and let’s just leave it at that.
The Wait For You series
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