OK everyone! I know I’ve promised my review, but I couldn’t help but give you more of Lexi Ryan first. Below is another **SPOILER** sneak peek at “Fall to You.” Again, I can’t help it! It’s just to much to keep to myself! 😉
ALL FOR THIS
**SPOILER ALERT!** The following excerpt from ALL FOR THIS by its very nature contains spoilers for the first two books in the Here and Now series, LOST IN ME and FALL TO YOU. If you hate spoilers and haven’t read the first two books, don’t read any further, seriously!
“Where’s Hanna?” I know the voice, and an unwelcome thrill dances up my spine as Nate pushes into my kitchen and stalks toward me.
“Customers aren’t allowed back here,” Liz says behind him.
“Don’t do it,” he says, and those dark, broody eyes are all over me like he’s trying to take me in, memorize me.
I take a deep breath and look to my sister. “You should probably go.” Then I turn to Nate. “Don’t do what?”
“Um…” Liz looks Nate up and down. “Are you sure? Because I can stay to protect you. Or…try.” God bless her, she’s standing behind Nate with her hands on her hips, ready to swing on my behalf.
“Why don’t you give us a minute?”
She narrows her eyes at Nate. “Hurt her and I’ll cut off your balls in your sleep.” Then she pushes out of the kitchen, the door swinging wildly behind her.
“Don’t move in with him,” Nate says.
“What are you talking about?” I ask.
“I thought you said you weren’t moving forward with Max until after the babies were born. Don’t you think moving in is moving forward?”
“I don’t know where you get your information, but I’m not moving in with him.”
I shake my head. “He asked me to, and I said no.”
He must have been expecting a fight, because his shoulders relax and he drags a hand through his hair. “Thank you.”
I toss my washcloth into the sink. “Is that all?”
“No.” He lifts his eyes to mine. “I need to apologize.”
In two long strides, he closes the space between us and presses his mouth to mine. His lips are hot and hungry as his tongue sweeps inside—coaxing and demanding all at once. And it’s so good. So sweet and easy and safe that, for a breath, I forget how wrong it is. I’m back in the hotel in St. Louis, finding myself in the fire between us. For a breath, I forget that I’m wearing Max’s ring.
I shove at his shoulder and push him away. “Don’t do that again.” My stomach squeezes, and my heart is so battered and beaten that it’s unrecognizable.
Her eyes flash with anger, disappointment, and heat. “Do you think you can win me with a kiss? Did you think I’m so fickle that your mouth on mine is enough to convince me to break Max’s heart?”
I step forward, blocking her between me and the counter as I lower my mouth to her ear. “I thought maybe you needed a reminder.”
“What do you want from me? You want me to admit that I want you? You know I do. You want me to tell you I’m still in love with you? It’s true.”
My heart swells and hammers at her words. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel worthy of Hanna’s love, but that doesn’t change that I want it, need it like I need air.
“Isn’t that enough? Is it like this with him? When he’s whispering in your ear, does your body hum with need? We both know I could kiss you again and make you forget him. I could kiss you until you wanted me so badly you climbed onto that counter and let me touch you everywhere, let me do anything I wanted with your body.”
“You won’t,” she says, her voice shaking slightly.
“Are you so sure?”
“You won’t,” she repeats, “because I’m asking you not to. You won’t because you’re too good not to respect that.”
“I don’t want to be good,” I growl. I step back so I can see her face—her parted lips, her smoky eyes. “I want you.”
“What happened?” I ask, scanning her face, trying to read her shielding expression. “Between when I left LA and when I came back to New Hope, what happened to make you take him back?”
She’s silent for a minute, and I wonder if she’s going to tell me the truth. “I found out he bought me the bakery—that all my worries and insecurities about our relationship were totally unfounded.”
“I’ll buy you a hundred bakeries.”
“But I don’t want a hundred bakeries. I only want this one.” In New Hope. I close my eyes because I can’t deny that geography still stands between us.
“Please don’t kiss me again.”
“What if you ask me to?”
She swallows. “I won’t ask.”
Phew! Are you all as exhausted as I am? This book is the final book in the Here & Now series and I’m honestly not sure if I could have taken any more of Hanna, Nate, and Max. This book has it all: love, sex, mystery, suspense, sex, surprise, heartbreak, and did I mention the sex? However, I find myself conflicted! The scholarly half of my brain turns up her nose at the this book, but the other half, the “entertain me and give me something fun” part, gives this book a standing ovation. So where do I land? My friends, I land firmly at three bolts!
While I was entertained beyond belief and riveted to this series, I was also put off by the ending. Here we have this love triangle for two books – the push and pull, the yes and no – and suddenly, after she regains most of her memory back, she just realizes why she is choosing and just makes up her mind!? (I know vague right?! I’m trying not to spoil anything.)
I constantly read how great both of these men are for Hannah and how much they love her, but I didn’t understand Hannah’s reason for choosing one and not the other. I wanted to know why he isn’t the one because the entire book I was reading why each guy would be right for her. Even if it was an “I just don’t love him like I should.”
I believe entertaining, suspenseful, frustrating, and sexy are just a few of the words that describe this book. While it left me a little dumbfounded I was extremely pleased with the Here & Now series by Lexi Ryan.
And some more steamy graphics for the series…
And a Guest Post from Lexi!
Reflecting on Meredith: The Character We Love to Hate
If you’ve read the first two books of the Here and Now series, you probably have some opinions about Meredith. You might have some choice words for her as well. I know I do. When I first started writing about her, I said, “Some people are just horrible.” But even horrible people have their reasons—valid or not.
When I first “met” Meredith while writing Wish I May (William and Cally’s book), I didn’t like her. At. All. When I realized what roll she played in Hanna’s books, I liked her even less. You see, in my mind, Meredith is very much like this girl I grew up with, let’s call her…Emily* (*name changed to protect the not-so-innocent). “Emily” was horrible to me, and I never understood why. She was wealthy and “popular” (a misnomer, in my opinion, as the “popular” group was always a rather small percentage of my school). I was from a struggling middle-class family and a bank geek. She was blonde and thin and wore the nicest clothes. I was mousy and overweight and wore my big sisters’ hand-me-downs. I never understood why she seemed to hate me so much.
I went to school with Emily from grade school through high school graduation, though we were in very few classes together since I was in the advanced or “academically talented” classes. But she was around just enough to make a mark on me. If I already had issues about my changing body, Emily made them worse by mocking me when we changed in the gym locker room. If I felt awkward and unwelcome in social settings, Emily made it worse by tripping me in the bleachers at the Homecoming game and laughing with her friends as I scrambled to my feet. Emily was a total bitch.
As a writer, of course, I look back and want to know what her motivation was. Was I just an easy target? She could be Queen Bee of her little group and show her power by making me feel small? Maybe. But I like to think people are more complex than that.
I’ll never forget the day we were meeting with advisors from a small private college. Emily desperately wanted to go to this college. I’d already been admitted and knew I’d be going under and academic scholarship. Emily hadn’t been admitted and she raised her hand to ask the advisors if they would be willing to take a writing sample instead of basing her entry on SAT scores and grades. I remember it so well. She said, “I can’t take tests, but I’m not stupid.” And then she turned and glared at me, and there was so much hatred in her eyes I’ve never been able to forget it. You see, I had no idea that she struggled with her grades or with taking tests. All I saw was a pretty, rich girl who was mean to me. But I guess it was common knowledge that I was quite smart. I was in all the advanced classes, praised for my work, and I’ve never had the problem with testing that some students have. I liked reading and writing and studying—something that may get you mocked in middle school but gets you money when college rolls around. Never would I have imagined that my success as a student had anything to do with how Emily treated me, but in that moment, I knew it did. She resented me for being able to do what she could not.
As I wrote All for This, I realized the same was true for Meredith. She isn’t “just a bitch.” She had her reasons. Does that make what she’s done right? Absolutely not. But it does remind me of Emily and that look in her eyes when she said, “I’m not stupid.” I don’t hate “Emily” anymore. I hope she’s doing well and that she is secure enough in herself these days that she doesn’t have to humiliate others to feel okay about her own weaknesses.
On a final note, I want to say this blog post is probably the most personal one I’ve ever written. I don’t like to write this much about myself—I prefer fiction, TVYM. But since this is for the final book in Hanna’s series, it seems fitting. I’ve gotten so many letters from readers who relate to Hanna and her self-esteem issues, and I’ll admit, I do too. Luckily for me, I know all about finding the guy (or guys in Hanna’s case), that teach you to feel comfortable in your own skin. My wish for you is that, if you see yourself in Hanna, you can learn for her mistakes. You are more beautiful than you know, and the people who bring you down aren’t “right” about you. They’re fighting their own demons. Smile and carry on. (Unless they trip you in the bleachers in front of your whole high school. Then you have my permission to start swinging…)