It's been a while again...
Author: Penelope Douglas
Release date: 1st of December 2015
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Romance, Contemporary
Published by: NAL
Pages: 401 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle
Former tennis player Easton Bradbury is trying to be the best teacher she can be, trying to reach her bored students, trying to forget her past. What brought her to this stage in her life isn’t important. She can’t let it be. But now one parent-teacher meeting may be her undoing…
Meeting Tyler Marek for the first time makes it easy for Easton to see why his son is having trouble in school. The man knows how to manage businesses and wealth, not a living, breathing teenage boy. Or a young teacher, for that matter, though he tries to. And yet…there is something about him that draws Easton in—a hint of vulnerability, a flash of attraction, a spark that might burn.
Wanting him is taboo. Needing him is undeniable. And his long-awaited touch will weaken Easton’s resolve—and reveal what should stay hidden…
I’ve really enjoyed the author’s previous New Adult books (the Fall Away series) and was pleasantly surprised to know, that she had penned something revolving around hot-blooded adults this time. And while the transition from teenagers to grown-ups was smooth and all-around successful, I do have some bones to pick with this, initially more than promising, story.
First of all, I have worked as a teacher, so I quite welcomed the fact that the heroine was also one. I appreciated that she didn’t succumb to stereotype and wasn’t a wilting flower eg. a shy solitary girl with glassed, who perceives herself as plain, actually being drop-dead gorgeous, but being mentally impaired in seeing herself anywhere near objectively. Easton was confident, outspoken, knew she was sexy and held her head high. Yes, she did have some baggage from her painful past, but nowadays it’s a must in smutty romance, because characters are mostly defined based on them being oh-so-wounded. This already provides steady characteristic without much effort, and lessens the task of actually providing an even slightly unique non-cardboard personality. Be it as it may, I respected Easton and, an especially huge bonus from me, she gets for her work as an innovative, open-minded, intelligent and kick-butt teacher. Her methods, her stance on her choices and passion for her job, where more than commendable.
I also know how excruciating it is to battle, yes battle, with parents, those who think they obviously know better and are, on their own account, self-proclaimed experts on anything education related. I cheered for Easton, when she took on Tyler and I was desperate for her to put him in his place. She didn’t disappoint, even when she supposedly messed up, which to my mind, she didn’t as a whole. He was an über douche and low for using his powerful name and influence to put her down. While she didn’t claim total victory, she did end up leaving the battlefield with her head held high. Bravo for that!
Tyler, generally, was a decent hero, a definite alpha, but there was a lot of vulnerability there as well, thanks to his relationship with his estranged teenage son. I liked that we also got his point of view, since the story follows a dual voice, alternating chapters between Easton and Tyler. He was a macho man, but he wasn’t as cold, distant and too unreal, as many such romance heroes might at times come across as.
Now to the romance, which started with a big bang! It had several intriguing forbidden love elements: the age difference, her being his son’s teacher, his delicate political career and ambitions, etc. I have to admit, the encounters between Easton and Tyler were explosive, exciting to observe, sizzling with sexual tension, full of awesome banter, promising a delicious slow burn, till… they did the deed. And from there on, the relationship lost 60% of the spark and the levels of all the aspects, that made it spectacular in my eyes, plummeted. Also, the horizontal tango took place too early, too abruptly and it ruined the epicness of the chemistry. Yes, they had a decent romance afterwards as well, but it wasn’t the same, not by a long shot. It lost the electricity and added on the melodrama.
I was also very disappointed and annoyed with Easton, when she told Tyler to try that with the other girl and then got so insecure and upset, because he did as she pushed him to – not cool! Also why was the stalker subplot and totally out of the blue revelation in the end necessary? It all just made Easton’s baggage load bigger, but didn’t really contribute much, except for empty drama.
I did, however quite enjoy the development of the relationships between Tyler and his son and the latter with Easton. It was somewhat refreshing, that the couple didn’t only think of their needs, but also discussed, how their affair could affect the boy. Also, this story is a standalone, which is always something to celebrate. I’m getting so tired of trilogies that stretch a meagre story even thinner and stuff it full of excess drama!