Series: True Believers #2
Author: Erin McCarthy
Published: October 15, InterMix
Format: Galley provided by NetGalley and Penguin/Berkely NAL - Thank you!
Jessica Sweet thought going away to college would finally make her free of her parents’ constant judgments and insistence she play chastity club role model for their church events, but if anything, the freedom has made her realize she can’t go home and be a hypocrite anymore. Tired of dodging their questions, she stays at school over the summer and lands in an unexpected crash pad: Riley Mann’s house.
Sarcastic, cocky, and full of opinions, Riley is also sexy personified with tattoos and biceps earned from working as a roofer all day. Not the right guy for her even if Jessica was looking for a relationship, which she is definitely not. But Jessica knows that Riley hides the burden of having to raise his younger brothers behind that grin and as she helps him get his house in order for a custody hearing, they begin to fall hard for each other, and she is forced to question what she’s hiding herself.
Jessica has never had a problem getting naked with a guy, but when it comes to showing Riley how she truly feels inside, her fear of rejection may just ruin the best thing—the best guy—to ever happen to her…
Sweet was awesome! This was my first book from Erin McCarthy, and I found her writing to be engaging with a nice smooth flow. I easily found myself absorbed into the story of Jessica and Riley. I haven’t read the first book in this series – yet. But I didn’t find myself lost in this world at all. Each book focuses on a different couple, so it is really easy to pick up anywhere in the series.
Alright, let’s start with the characters. First we have Jessica. When I think of Jessica I want to do one of those low whistles that shows “whew, this girl has a lot of issues!” She has issues with control, and giving up control. She’s a bit naïve at only twenty years old, but I think that worked in her favor. Jessica has a strict religious upbringing, and she has HAD it. She wants some “me time” and she creates this lie to tell her family so that she can stay in town, work, and just live the life that she wants to live. While there were moments that Jessica got on my nerves, ultimately I really liked this girl. She’s like a cinnamon jawbreaker candy. On the outside she’s hot and she can make you a bit uncomfortable, but on the inside she’s got this sweet center that makes you think you need more.
And that brings me to Riley. Come on ladies, you KNOW I loved Riley. As the oldest of the children in his family, he gave up his path to care for his younger brothers once his parents were gone. Kind of like The Outsiders with a modern twist. Yep, so instantly I’m in love with him. And of course he is tattooed and built, and pretty much personifies sex on a stick. But wait, there’s more! Riley has emotions! And there are times in this book when he is heartbroken and scared, and it just really fleshed this man out for me. He’s got a smart mouth and a platinum heart, he’s a protector. And really, that’s all you really need to know about him. To me, he kind of felt like a young Henry Rollins. Smart, sexy, a bit mysterious. Yeah, I was digging him.
Jessica and Riley have this awesome banter back and forth, but when they first meet up they aren’t romantically attracted. Heck, I’m not even sure they were friends. But Riley does Jessica a solid and gives her a place to stay for a short period of time, and of course that is going to lead to some sparks. They way these two interact with each other just had me weak in the knees. There is the banter, but there is also this deniability that they both have. Neither wants to admit to themselves or the other that there is something growing. The whole thing is a major turn on.
Sweet really packs a punch. There are underlying issues with Riley’s family. His brothers don’t have an easy life, and Child Protective Services is in the mix. Jessica has her own issues with her family. And let me just say right here, I don’t like ANY of her family. They can all suck it. The other people from this series are in the book, but they don’t really play any major parts.
By the end of Sweet I was just really enamored with the whole thing. I love Riley’s approach to sex, it was a nice change of pace to not just jump into bed and do the naked noodle dance. This turned out to be one of those stories that I loved so much, I didn’t even bother to write many notes or quotes. I think fans of the New Adult genre will really love this book. It’s got passion and heart, and tons of drama. I am definitely anxiously waiting the next book in the series!
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