Even if he weren’t the lead singer of the popular college band, Luminescent Juliet, Justin Noel would have his pick of women. And he does pick. Nightly. Tattooed, blonde, and green eyed, he flashes his dimples and females swoon.
Except for one.
Tattoo artist, Allie Landon, rarely dates, and especially not men like Justin. Though he’s hot enough to melt off permanent ink, she’s done with the bad boy type. But when the ex who broke her heart wants to reunite, desperation has Allie introducing her latest client as her boyfriend. Justin’s more than happy to play the part. He’s completely intrigued by the sexy artist and college student.
However, Allie’s life isn’t what it seems. There’s little room in it or her shattered and confused heart for Justin. But as Justin remains persistent, ignoring the growing attraction—both physical and emotionally—between them becomes more difficult than tattoo removal.
*New Adult. Recommended for mature readers due to language, drug references, and sexual situations.
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Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Quick Reasons: interesting juxtaposition of family relationships; dual-perspective; AWESOME and in-depth character growth; steamy scenes; powerful emotional build-up; you will laugh, you will feel angry, you will want to smack each of our main characters across the back of the head at least once
I. LOVE. THIS. SERIES.
No, I don’t think you guys understand. See… I don’t know that I’d feel so strongly about it if I were actually reading it. Having just glanced at the writing, I’m not sure I could follow it as smoothly. I’m not sure I’d LIKE it. But listening to these on audiobook… The narrators are damn talented. The words fall from their tongues like rain, they know how to set the mood with inflections and tone, and… Gah. I might change my mind about audiobooks yet.
And just like that, his love lifts the weight off my chest, because all that hurt is a memory for both of us.
Going in to this, I wasn’t expecting the focus to be on two other characters from the first book. That’s what I get for not even stopping to read the blurb in my haste for more heart-melty ooey gooey goodness. And at first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I didn’t mind the character shift—at all! But this book also introduced dual-perspectives, where the first book was focused solely on Riley’s thoughts… And I LOATHED Justin. His bad boy, player attitude at the beginning of this really rubbed my nerves the wrong way. I couldn’t figure out how he could possibly be the love interest in this read…when it was so obvious he didn’t want to be.
I wasn’t counting on Allie being the love interest. I wasn’t even considering the idea that for this round, Justin might just take center stage. OH, MAN. Am I so glad that’s the way it seemed to work out! It put a refreshing spin on today’s idea of “romance”–because Allie is a strong, independent, and almost wholly private person. And Justin, while sort of a butthole at the beginning of this, goes through such an enormous amount of character growth, I was blown completely away. I’m sure you’re all going, “Yeah, okay Beth. Sure. Whatever you say. But I know the truth: bad boy players never change in real life. Not even a little.”
And yeah, okay, MAYBE you’ve got a point. But tell me something: Have you met every player on earth? Do you know each of them intimately? NO? Then let me have this fantasy, okay?! Besides, his character growth? Phenomenally done. I am seriously going to tip my hat at Jean Haus if I ever meet her.
“Got lost and found what I wasn’t looking for
She smiled and I fell into her a million miles an hour
Brought the stars down from the night sky
Just to drink in her soft sigh
Fell into her a million miles an hour
But the needle dropped
Inked my heart and scarred my skin
Inked my heart and scarred my skin”
Nick Podehl and Amy McFadden did a brilliant job narrating this. They set the mood of the scene taking place beautifully with inflections, tones, and a touch of emotion. Once again, I found I just couldn’t tune out what was happening—my headphones acted as a portal into the world they were building around me. If you’ve been considering getting into audiobooks, or have been leery about trying them out, take a chance on this series: it’s definitely worth it.
And as realistic as the characters are…the struggles they face in their lives is even MORE so. In this instance, the focus for the main plot was the different types of family relationships or personalities found in our every day. Justin’s family is distant, unemotional toward him, and it kills him inside. Allie’s family is the opposite: close-knit, caring, sometimes a bit strict on her. It also explores young pregnancy, marriage, and divorce—and the ways each of these, in turn, have an effect on people.
And of course, the steamy moments were just… I can’t critique them. I’m not sure how narrators can read those scenes so skillfully; I’d be fit to burst out with giggles if it were me. But they weave the sensuality, the build-up, the desires so subtly around listeners, you won’t realize you’ve been swept into a tidal wave until the scene is over and you’re left pouting, waiting for more.
Once again, Jean Haus has me wanting to immediately dive into the next read. I’ll definitely be finishing this series up within the week. I’d recommend, again, to lovers of the new adult, contemporary, and romance genres. This series is bound to leave you breathless—in more ways than one!