Whore. Slut. Typhoid Mary.
I've been called all these at Central College. One drunken night, one act of irresponsible behavior, and my reputation was ruined. Guys labeled me as easy and girls shied away. To cope, I stayed away from Central social life and away from Central men, so why is it that my new biology lab partner is so irresistible to me?
He's everything I shouldn't want. A former Marine involved in illegal fighting with a quick trigger temper and an easy smile for all the women. His fists aren't the danger to me, though, it's his charm. He's sliding his way into my heart and I'm afraid that he's going to be the one to break me.
Impulsive. Unthinking. Hot tempered.
I allow instinct to rule my behavior. If it feels good, do it, has been my motto because if I spend too much time thinking, I'll begin to remember exactly where I came from. At Central College, I've got fighting and I've got women and I thought I was satisfied until I met her.
She's everything I didn't realize I wanted and the more time I spend with her, the more I want her. But she's been hurt too much in the past and I don't want to be the one to break her. I know I should walk away, but I just can't.
“I didn’t date Central College guys. Ever. Not even ones that looked like Bo Randolph. That was one of my immutable life rules, along with no wearing of white pants during that time of the month and no reading Stephen King before going to sleep.”
AnnMarie West hasn’t had an easy time of it lately. She hooked up with a lacrosse player one night at a party and the rumors started. Before she knew it, she was being accused of being a lacrosse groupie, of sleeping with the entire team, of being a diseased whore. She withdrew from all but class-life at Central College and made it a point to not get too close to anyone again.
“I see him working out. He’s like all muscle. Last semester’s yoga class at 5 p.m. was packed once word got out that he and his buddy Noah lifted weights there before dinner. It’s like a burlesque show. They start out with their shirts on and then slowly unveil the package as they get sweatier and sweatier.”
Bo Randolph is scorching hot. He’s a Marine and MMA fighter. He’s also smart and funny, and loyal and protective to those closest to him. He’s a ladies man. He doesn’t do relationships, but he doesn’t use women; they know what they’re getting into with him. Bo’s family history led to his attitude towards women. He didn’t want to let anyone get too close. His father was abusive to his mother and he was terrified he would turn into his father. His father was pretty much total scum. I’ll let you learn why for yourself though. Bo’s a good guy. He deserves good things.
“I was still shuddering when he drew back. An earthquake had happened inside my body. He was going to utterly ruin me.”
Bo’s attitude towards relationships begins to change when he meets AnnMarie. They become lab partners in Biology and their chemistry is through the roof pretty-much immediately. I absolutely loved them together. Neither took crap from the other, their dialogue was real and witty. They tried to go the friends only route, but with that much spark they were bound to catch fire sooner or later. And oh, did they ever! They were steamy together.
“For all the modern, liberal thinking that was preached from the professors’ podiums, the men and women who took classes here had some deep-seated, old-fashioned values. Girls who hooked up a lot were sluts. Guys who did the same were studs. Girls who wore their hair short and their pants long were lesbians. Guys who used too much product and cared too much about their appearance were gay. And those who didn’t conform were weirdos and easy objects of scorn.”
I only wish AM would have grown a backbone sooner. I was so pissed at her throughout the biggest part of this book for not standing up for herself. I don’t understand why she continued to let these assholes get away with the abuse and harassment. I know college isn’t high school, but fraternities and sports teams have ethics codes. Codes these asshats were breaking every single day. It was disgusting.
“While my reputation as a good-time guy isn’t all wrong,” Bo replied slowly, “I’m surprised that you would buy into it so readily when the rumors about you have been so inaccurate.”
Bo and AM were both flawed characters, but they were likable. Actually, they were lovable. While I wasn’t a huge fan of Bo in the first book in this series, Undeclared
, where he was a minor character, I fell for him nearly immediately in this one. There was so much more to him than met the eye. I wanted to befriend AM and help her battle the jerks. There was so much good in her; I hated that it was being squashed by ignorant rumors. She and Bo were so very good for each other. I thoroughly enjoyed their journey together.
“He’s not someone I think I can hook up with and then leave behind. He might make a mark.”
The secondary characters in this novel were wonderful, too. Ellie was sassy. She didn’t take crap from anyone. She was strong. She was a damn good friend to AM. Ryan was great. He didn’t fit the lacrosse player mold. He was accepting, kind and sweet, but hot and sexy, too. I really liked Ryan and Ellie together. I hope there’s another book in this series that focuses on one or both of them. I’d be all over that. Sasha was a lot of fun, too. She was sexy and funny. I wanted more of her story.
I love the way Jen Frederick writes. Her story lines are interesting and realistic. They’re believable. She has a way with characters and dialogue, too. I have thoroughly enjoyed both of her books in this series. I can’t wait for more in the future. I’m adding her to my auto-buy author list.
I received this book from the author, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.