I have loved this entire series and FALLING AWAY is a fantastic addition to this amazing set of stories. Bravo, Ms. Douglas! Well done. Note: although this book can be read as a standalone, I cannot recommend Bully and Until You highly enough. These books might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the sexual tension, the constant push-and-pull between the characters, the engaging and thoughtful story lines are among my very favorite books.
I have two words: JAX TRENT. Oh my lord. This book was well worth the wait just to get inside that sexy, beautiful head of his.
And K.C.? I absolutely adored reading about her history, her back story, and her motivations. This whole book was one delicious treat just begging to be unwrapped. There are a lot of hot sexy times in this book, the writing to me is flawless and yes, there is a whopper of a teaser for AFLAME at the end!! I, for one, am totally addicted to this series and can’t wait for the next installment to be released.
(ARC provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.)
Jaxon is the guy she’s supposed to avoid. K.C. is the girl he won’t let get away…. K. C. Carter has always followed the rules—until this year, when a mistake leaves her the talk of her college campus and her carefully arranged life comes crashing to a halt. Now she’s stuck in her small hometown for the summer to complete her court-ordered community service, and to make matters worse, trouble is living right next door. Jaxon Trent is the worst kind of temptation and exactly what K.C. was supposed to stay away from in high school. But he never forgot her. She was the one girl who wouldn’t give him the time of day and the only one to ever say no. Fate has brought K.C. back into his life—except what he thought was a great twist of luck turns out to be too close for comfort. As they grow closer, he discovers that convincing K.C. to get out from her mother’s shadow is hard, but revealing the darkest parts of his soul is nearly impossible.
Falling Away – Chapter 5 Excerpt
“So, how did this happen?” I asked, holding the gauze on his skin, under the cuts, to catch the saline.
His abs flexed, probably from the cold fluid, since saline didn’t sting, as I poured it over the cuts, cleaning them.
He sucked in air through his teeth. “Some of the science kids have greenhouses on the roof,” he grunted, and I almost laughed out loud. “Masters asked me to go up and make sure the roofs were closed, but I slipped coming back down the stairs. Scraped myself on some bolts.”
I used the rest of the gauze to wipe up the solution, and then ripped open a package with a wet wipe and made sure the blood was cleared up.
“You should be using gloves,” he pointed out. “You know? Blood and all.”
“I thought any girl was safe with you,” I shot back, tearing open bandages. “Isn’t that what you told me?”
Jax was silent for a minute, narrowing his eyes farther and watching me as I placed three rectangular bandages on his stomach.
“I said any girlfriend of mine,” he finally clarified. “But you shouldn’t be so careless. Use gloves next time.”
I ignored him, feeling weird on the occasions he acted like this. Jax had a habit of scolding me, sometimes acting as though he was protecting me, and then following it all up with being an asshole. I finally figured out condescension was his way of gaining superiority. Making others feel stupid.
I sat back, looking him in the eye and changing the subject. “Is anything else hurt?”
He hesitated only a moment. And then folded his arm back, lifting his right elbow to reveal the scratches I’d noticed earlier.
Repeating the same procedure, I stood up and leaned over him, catching the saline wash as it cascaded over his wound and into the gauze.
He hissed, and I blinked.
“Blow on it,” he ordered.
“It doesn’t sting,” I scoffed, knowing damn well that saline didn’t hurt.
“K.C., Jesus,” he barked, wincing.
I rolled my eyes but gave in. Holding the underside of his arm—his hard triceps—I leaned down and released a slow, cool breeze over the scratches.
Jax’s scent wafted over me again, and I desperately wanted to close my mouth so I could breathe him in through my nose.
But I didn’t. I could tell his eyes were on me.
“Why are you watching me?” I asked, wiping up the rest of the solution and blood.
I didn’t look at him, but I heard him swallow.
“This is just the first time you’ve ever made me feel good, is all,” he replied in probably the most candid way I’d ever heard him speak.
I pinched my eyebrows together.
The first time I’d ever made him feel good. I didn’t know what to say to that. Hell, I had nothing to say to that.
Keeping quiet, I finished applying his bandages as fast as I could and didn’t meet his eyes again. He’d tried to be nice to me in high school. He’d tried to be a friend. Maybe friends with benefits but still a friend. Now here I was, forcing my attention on him, and he probably had no patience for me anymore.
“Can I ask you a question?” I ventured.
“That night you drove Liam home . . .” I swallowed, smoothing my fingers over the bandage I’d fixed to his arm. “You said you had tattoos. Too many.” I repeated his words, my eyes fixated on his forearm. “What did you mean?” I pressed, because clearly Jax didn’t sport any tattoos. His statement hadn’t made any sense.
Even though I hadn’t looked at him, I noticed his head turn away as he inhaled a slow, deep breath. Kind of as though he was getting ready to dive deep underwater and knew he wouldn’t be up for air for a while.
“Sorry,” I said quietly, straightening up and crumpling the bandage wrappers in my fist. “I just . . . I don’t know . . .” I trailed off. “I just want to understand.”
I finally met his eyes, and he studied me silently. I didn’t know if he was trying to figure out what to tell me or if he wanted to tell me anything at all. Funny thing was, I’d thought about what Jax said that night a lot over the years, and while I was curious, it wasn’t until I’d overheard his conversation with Jared today that I knew it had something to do with his childhood.
And I realized that I didn’t know Jaxon Trent at all.
He rubbed his forearm and narrowed his eyes briefly before relaxing. “If you could get a tattoo, what would it be?”
I blinked, shocked by his question. “Um.” I laughed softly, thinking. “I thought about a set of angel wings, I guess. With one of the wings broken,” I admitted.
“It has something to do with your past?”
I nodded. “Yes.”
“And it’s something you want to remember?” he pressed.
“That’s why I don’t have any tattoos,” he concluded. “People get tattoos for all kinds of reasons, but they’re always badges of what has made them who they are. I don’t care to remember what and who made me this way. The people that gave me life. The people that brought me up . . .” He shook his head, defiant. “The places I’ve seen or anything I’ve done. It’s all in my head, anyway. I don’t want it on my body, too. I don’t care about anything that much.”
Penelope Douglas was born in Dubuque, Iowa and has a Masters of Science in Education from Loyola University in New Orleans. She lives with her family in Las Vegas.
♥Falling Away – Teaser♥
(unedited, subject to change prior publication)
“You’re afraid of yourself,” he said flatly. “Not me.”
And then he backed up, looking down at me.” And that’s why you’re gutless, K.C.” All the softness from his voice was now gone. “Now I have to shower, and you need to leave.”
And he turned around and strode for the men’s locker room.
I shook my head.
He was wrong. I wasn’t gutless. Why did he keep saying that?
I sniffled and cleared my throat, standing tall. “Maybe I just don’t want you,” I blurted out and damn near smiled when he spun around, looking surprised. “Maybe I just don’t want you, Jax. Did you ever consider there might be one woman in this world that doesn’t pant after you?”
And I breathed out a small laugh as I spun around and headed for the door.
But before I even reached the handle, an arm circled my waist, yanking me back into a warm body, and I gasped just as my hair was swiped to the side and a hot mouth was on my neck.
Everything fell apart. My knees buckled, but he held me tight as my eyes closed, and my neck fell to the side, inviting him in.
Oh, my God!
It felt so good. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t pull away. I couldn’t stop him. His mouth was like hot water pouring over me, creating a blanket of heat. His teeth grazed my skin, rough but not hard, and he slid his lips and teeth over the sensitive area under my ear, and I wasn’t sure if he was kissing me or getting ready to eat me.
He left short but deep kisses across my neck, at the base, and under my ear. His tongue flicked my ear lobe right before his other hand reached around and turned my chin to him.
And then his mouth was on mine. I moaned and gasped, probably sounding like I was in pain, but I couldn’t help it. The tornado between my legs made my skin tingle.
Jax’s tongue found mine, and I groaned into his mouth, inhaling his scent that reminded me of summer. Of sweet cotton candy on a Ferris Wheel and cool water on hot skin.
The heat, the wetness, the taste, everything was hard and fast as his lips worked mine.
Keeping the same arm around my waist, his other hand left my face and dove straight under my skirt and into my panties.
“Oh,” I whimpered a muffled groan into his mouth that still held me hostage. What was he doing? I needed to stop this!
But my eyes fluttered as his smooth fingers dipped into my center, swirling the wetness already there around my clit.
And then his mouth left mine, and he yanked me up off my feet and growled in my ear.
“You’re so wet for me, K.C.” His voice was hard and threatening. “You’re gutless, helpless, and a fucking liar, too.”
And then he dropped me on my ass, and I fell to the mats, shaking with confusion.
All I heard behind me was a door open and close, and I knew I was alone.
Bringing a shaky hand to my mouth, I sucked in air like it was going out of style. “Holy shit,” I whispered.
© Penelope Douglas, Falling Away