Claire Nixon is a twenty-year-old college dropout with a secret.
To Claire, Adam Parker is just another flirty customer at the cafe, until a chance encounter and seemingly innocent comment spurs a bet between them. The bet is simple: If Adam can get Claire to reveal the secret that made her drop out of college, she has to re-enroll. If he doesn’t succeed, she gets to keep her secret and he has to stop stalking her at the cafe.
Claire thinks she has this one in the bag. She’s perfected the art of forgetting her past. But she isn’t prepared for Adam’s relentless pursuit or for him to share his own secrets. And she’s definitely not prepared for her rock star ex, and her secret, to come banging down her door one year later.
New Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to strong language, drug use, and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
Rating: 3.5 stars
I’ve been hearing about this book for a while so I was excited to finally get the chance to pick it up. I read this book in a day – it is a really easy, quick read that hooks you and doesn’t let you put the book down. I liked it. I just didn’t love it.
This book is a book of secrets waiting to come out. From the synopsis, you know that Claire has a secret. And I’m going to be upfront and tell you that you don’t learn that secret until about 80% into the book. I liked that though. I liked that Ms. Leo kept us on our toes and kept us guessing as to what this big secret was. And when you finally find out – JAW DROPPED! I never would have guessed what the secret was. I thought it was going to be a cliche plot point, you know one that we’ve all probably read over and over. NOPE. And when the secret is revealed, all of Claire’s feelings and guilt makes sense – whether unfounded or not.
And then there was Adam’s secrets that he was hiding. These weren’t as shocking as Claire’s but they still gave them a mutual understanding of one another. I felt that because of their shared guilt, they were able to bond. Just when you think there were enough secrets to go around, there was another huge shocker thrown in there as well! This entire storyline itself made the story worth reading. I was on my toes the entire time.
Another reason this book kept me interested…Adam. I really liked Adam (note: there is a “but” coming…read on). I loved his corny jokes, his patience with Claire, his faith in Claire and the way he never judged her. He was exactly what Claire needed to bring her out of her “meditative” state. I loved his “question tennis” game and how he always knew what to say to put a smile on Claire’s face. TEAM ADAM all the way!
“I want to leave you dazed and confused for a week with nothing but my name on your lips.”
“I wouldn’t miss the chance to see your sexy lips wrapped around my hookah.”
Here’s where the BUT comes in. There were things about Adam that made me question my loyalty to TEAM ADAM. The drug use. I’m not a square, I swear, but the smoking pot was such a turn off for me. The anger issues were also an issue for me, especially when it seemed Claire was actually scared of him when he flipped the switch. However, I was able to overlook them to remain a full fledged member of TEAM ADAM going into PIECES OF YOU (Book 2).
I liked that when Adam came into Claire’s life she opened herself up to actually FEEL something. I think they both had positive effects on one another. Claire really grew in this book and by the end was finally comfortable enough to open herself up to the future. Despite liking her, I felt myself having a hard time connecting to her. I wanted to understand WHY she made the decisions she did and the reasons given just didn’t seem like enough justification to me.
The ending gave me an uneasy feeling going into Pieces of You, but that’s only because I am on TEAM ADAM. Chris, Claire’s ex-boyfriend, returns and I have a sneaky suspicion he is going to throw a wrench into my HEA hopes for Adam and Claire. Fingers crossed for Pieces of You!
The writing was great. I thought Ms. Leo did a great job telling the story and developing the characters. And the songs that she wrote – beautiful! I liked the story. I was thoroughly entertained the entire time. Here’s the thing, I just didn’t love it and I’m having a really hard time articulating why. I think a big factor is that I just didn’t LOVE the characters or the story. I liked them a lot. But, once I found out the secrets and the story ended, I wasn’t left with that achy feeling that the book was over. Instead I was content and ready to move on.
✭ ✭ ✭
I LOVE music playlists. Here is the RELENTLESS Playlist that Cassia put in the back of the book.
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