Series: Closer to You #3
Published by Berkley
Published on April 7th 2015
Genres: Adult Contemporary, Love & Romance
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Come to Me Softly comes
another irresistible new adult romance in the Closer to You series.
His heart was turned off…
Until she turned him on…
Christopher Moore gave up on the idea of love years ago. Now, his life is an endless string of parties and an even longer string of girls. Enjoying the physical perks with none of the emotional mess, he’s convinced everyone that he’s satisfied—everyone but himself.
Samantha Schultz has moved on with her life. Finishing her student teaching and living with her boyfriend, she’s deluded herself into believing she’s content. But there is one boy she never forgot—her first love—and she keeps the memory of him locked up tight. She will never allow any man to break her the way Christopher did.
When Christopher’s sister and her family move into a new neighborhood, Christopher is completely unprepared to find Samantha living at the end of the street. Memories and unspent desires send them on collision course of sex, lies, and lust. But when guilt and fear send Samantha running, Christopher will have to fight for what has always been his.
“What does it take to delete the past? A thousand apologies?
A million regrets?
A litany of prayers?
If I shouted them, would you hear? If I whispered them, would you believe? If I fell at your feet, would you forgive? If I asked, would you start again?”
4.5 swoontastic second-chance stars
I absolutely loved this book! So beautiful, so full of feels, and so absolutely, heart-clenchingly, passionately romantic.
The third book in the Closer to You series, this book tells the story of Christopher, big brother of Aly, and best friend of Jared, the couple from the first two books. Christopher has so far been painted as the manwhoring yet protective big brother, and that’s actually pretty accurate. He loves his family and his friends fiercely, yet lives the life of a party boy – moving from woman to woman, with no desire for commitment. But secretly he is hiding a hurt that dates back to his high school days when he loved and lost the girl he’s never been able to get over.
Samantha has always felt trapped. As the daughter of a pastor, she has lived with a high level of expectation, and has never really been given the opportunity to be on her own, learn about herself and explore her life freely. She has followed her career dreams, and is a newly qualified teacher, but she has few friends and is stuck in a passionless relationship with a childhood friend that was orchestrated by their parents. And she too, has never forgotten about the boy that she loved with all of her heart, until he shattered it and left her broken.
When Samantha unexpectedly runs into Aly Moore, she is quickly drawn into a friendship that feels incredibly right. She is also incredibly nervous, knowing that spending time with Aly will most likely bring her into contact with Christopher. And when it does… sparks fly!
Christopher. Facing the way he made me feel. All of it – the chaos and confusion and uncertainty. The anger and the hate. The passion and the need and those flickers of a naïve young love that had never dimmed or died.
The intense chemistry between them still sizzles, but despite all that Samantha feels, Christopher is not happy to see her. This book is dual POV, and I love that we get to see the thoughts of both Samantha and Christopher. Both still so desperately in love with each other, but so hurt over things that have happened in the past. It was heart-wrenching to see them in so much pain as their reunion dragged up all of the heartache from years ago.
She was supposed to be mine.
And I’d fucking lost her and I’d hate myself for the rest of my days for doing it.
And I’d forever hate her for letting me go.
But even with all of the anger and hurt, they are still drawn to each other, and very slowly the old feelings start coming to the surface, and neither of them can hide the way they still feel about each other.
I didn’t want to pretend anymore. Didn’t want to keep pretending she was dead when she’d been the only person who’d ever made me feel alive. Didn’t want to keep pretending she meant nothing when she meant everything.
The events of the present are intermingled with flashbacks to them as teenagers falling in love, and I loved the added dimension to the story. Their reconnection is slow paced and realistic, and even though their mad lust for each other becomes overwhelming at times, you can feel their deeper emotional connection underneath it, and it makes the whole thing really epic.
“What is this?” I forced out, the words shaky.
He grasped both sides of my face, bringing us nose to nose. “This is unstoppable.”
And SO freaking romantic! OMG, Christopher the manwhore is no more once Samantha comes back into his life. He is so consumed by her, and all that she means to him, his actions and his declarations had me a swoony mess! And let me tell you, the man sure knows how to grovel!
“Falling in love with you? That was the best gift I’ve ever been given.”
And Samantha, who has lived her life trying desperately to protect herself from being hurt again like she was in the past, finally starts to open up. And as time goes by, and as they start to grow closer again, her walls start to come down.
“It’s always been you.”
But it’s not all happy times. They have a lot to overcome in order to be together again – secrets and lies from the past, and events in their present – and there is a lot of heartache as they find their way forward together, but I loved every single minute of it!
“Just you and me and forever.”
I have to say, I wasn’t overly happy with the way that Samantha handled the situation with her live-in boyfriend. The man is a douche, and she should have ditched him long ago, but I get that it’s part of her issues, wanting safety and protecting herself. But still, she held on for way too long. And while his presence is definitely a major storyline in the book, I wouldn’t consider this a love triangle. It’s clear from the very beginning where the story is going, so it’s just a matter of waiting for it all to play out.
There is a lot of time spend with Aly and Jared, and I loved getting the opportunity to see them together and happy and living out their HEA. They are so gorgeous together, and seeing them in the role of supportive sister/friend and brother was really gorgeous.
Shout out too, to Stewart. Samantha’s younger brother plays a very important part of the story, and I thought he was absolutely sensational!
AL Jackson does an amazing job with heart-felt, dramatic, romantic stories. Her writing is so beautiful – somewhat flowery and poetic, but in this case not overdone, and conveying so much emotion. I was sucked into this book from the very first page, and struggled to put it down. I laughed and I cried and it left me swooning with a huge smile on my face.
I loved it – 4.5 stars.
By the waist, he lifted me, pinning me to the wall with the hard planes of his body. I could do nothing but wrap my legs around his hips. He rocked against me, the friction of his jeans igniting that fire, the threat of Ben fueling those flames. He buried his face in my neck as if he didn’t want to see, his bite aggressive as he turned to nip at my jaw, at my chin, moving to my lips. “Told you I wouldn’t let you go. Not ever again.”
His frenzied voice ached with regret.
“Never,” I told him, grinding myself on his erection that was pressed tight between my thighs. I felt desperate to erase the distance Ben had tried to wedge between us.
Christopher seemed even more fractured over it, unable to fathom the idea of what Ben had tried to force on me.
“I just got you back and he’s trying to take you away.”
“I’m here…I’m here.”
“Here,” he said as if a demand, tearing at my clothes, overwrought as he rushed to palm every inch of exposed skin. My shoulders were pressed to the wall, my chest heaving with harsh breaths. He pushed up my shirt and dragged off the cups of my bra. My breasts felt heavy and full as he looked on them with a stuttered groan. He splayed his hands across my back, dragging me forward, and his mouth was there, drawing my nipple into his hot mouth, sucking hard before he turned to the other.
I bucked, my hands fists in his hair.
He wrapped an arm low around my waist, his body leaving mine for a fraction of a second, and without setting me down, he dragged my shorts and panties from my legs. Fumbling, he pushed his jeans and underwear down around his thighs.
Without warning, he thrust into me.
I cried out from the perfect invasion.
Christopher took me completely.
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