From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You and Be with Me comes a daring tale that pushes boundaries . . .
At 21, Calla hasn’t done a lot of things. She’s never been kissed, never seen the ocean, never gone to an amusement park. But growing up, she witnessed some things no child ever should. She still carries the physical and emotional scars of living with a strung-out mother, Mona—secrets she keeps from everyone, including her close circle of college friends.
But the safe cocoon Calla has carefully built is shattered when she discovers her mom has stolen her college money and run up a huge credit card debt in her name. Now, Calla has to go back to the small town she thought she'd left behind and clean up her mom’s mess again. Of course, when she arrives at her mother’s bar, Mona is nowhere to be found. Instead, six feet of hotness named Jackson James is pouring drinks and keeping the place humming.
Sexy and intense, Jax is in Calla’s business from the moment they meet, giving her a job and helping her search for Mona. And the way he looks at her makes it clear he wants to get horizontal . . . and maybe something more. Before Calla can let him get close, though, she’s got to deal with the pain of the past—and some very bad guys out to mess her up if she doesn’t give them her mom.
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Review by Yvette:
Take a second to commit the name Jackson "Jax" James to memory because he’s going to be your new favorite Book Boyfriend. The slow, sensual description that serves as Jax’s official introduction to our heroine, Calla Fritz, in Stay with Me by J. Lynn will cause your heart to flutter and will make you feel like one of those cartoon characters with hearts popping out of their eyes, exaggeratedly swooning over the utter perfection of what's in front of them. How can the author possibly evoke this type of reaction without even a visual aid? The book could've ended abruptly at five percent in and I would've been perfectly fine with that because I was a total goner for the guy. My infatuation with Jax only grew as the narrative progressed because, not since Daemon Black (of the Lux series by J. Lynn's alter ego, Jennifer L. Armentrout) have I been so completely enraptured by every word uttered, every expression made, and every action taken by one fictional hero.
Fans of the Wait for You series will recognize some familiar faces at the start of the book, including members of the "Hot Guy Brigade", as Calla calls them: Cam, Jase, Ollie and Brandon a.k.a. the guy I thought would be opposite Calla in Stay with Me. My disappointment over having this hope dashed lasted all of a few chapters, until we meet Jax, or Cam 2.0, as Calla calls him. Before you gasp in outrage over the idea that Cam can be dethroned as the ultimate BBF, read the book and you'll see that Calla is spot-on with her assessment. Gush, swoon, melt, sigh, you name it – I did a combination of the aforementioned adjectives whenever Jax appeared on the page. What I most loved about Jax was that he slowly worked his way past Calla's defenses, simultaneously protecting her and challenging her to step out of her comfort zone and experience life rather than watching it pass her by.
From page one, I was drawn to Calla’s character, not only for her appreciation of the Hot Guy Brigade, but for her dry humor, which gives the narrative a little extra dramatic flair and sass. Calla is no typical damsel in distress and what I admired about her (and all of the author's heroines for that matter) is that she's not the type of girl who sits around wallowing in a pity party of one; she takes action, confronting her substantial problems head-on and solving them to the best of her ability. With a different narrator, the story could have potentially veered down a dark and angst-filled path, but Calla’s cheeky brand of humor mixed with Jax’s ever-present flirtatiousness provide a certain lightness that keeps the reader from dwelling on the despair of her unfortunate situation.
One of the things I love about J. Lynn’s writing is her attention to detail, especially when it comes to her characters. Each character has a distinct personality, making him or her memorable even if their appearance is brief. Calla and Jax are two memorable characters who develop a strong bond over their physical and emotional scars and I was grateful to experience the journey alongside them. While previous books in the Wait for You series settled in to the New Adult world, Stay with Me graduates to a higher level of maturity to reflect the changes underwent by these characters. Stay with Me is a type of reboot, giving new life to a series I believed to be winding down, but is instead settling in for the long haul. I reveled in the introduction of new potential protagonists, already imagining the wonderful stories the author is bound to have in store for readers.
*complimentary copy provided for the blog tour in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 5 Stars