Collide, by Gail McHugh


Grade: B-

Doing it at: So, there’s doing it early in, BUT it’s not with our guy. So I’m counting doing it at 65%

Catnip: Love Triangle; Dual Narrative; New York, New York; Wall Sex; Tattoos; Spidey Sense

Shame Scale: Cover isn’t bad on this one, no naked torsos, no bodice ripping. There is an actual story, the dialog isn’t the worst. BUT the author has some very melodramatic prose going on, this is a 4 on the shame scale for me, light pink blushing

Fantasy Cast: David Gandy and Sophia Bush

Book Description: 

Her mind tried to fight a bloody battle against what her body already knew. She wanted him, and she wanted him bad.

On the heels of college graduation and the unexpected death of her mother, Emily Cooper moves to New York City to join her boyfriend for a fresh start. Dillon Parker has been sweet, thoughtful, and generous through Emily’s loss, and she can’t imagine her life without him—even as her inner voice tells her to go slow.

Then she meets Gavin Blake. A rich and notorious playboy, Gavin is dangerously sexy and charming as hell. Their first encounter is brief, but it’s enough to inflame Emily’s senses. When their paths cross again through an unexpected mutual acquaintance, she tries to deny the connection she feels, but Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome won’t let go so easily.

As she discovers Gavin’s pain-filled past and Dillon’s true nature begins to surface, Emily knows she must take action or risk destroying everyone—including herself. But how can she choose when she can’t trust her own heart?

I have so many feelings about Collide. Let us discuss. Emily is moving to New York, following the very recent death of her mother to breast cancer, and also post-graduation from college. Her boyfriend, Dillon, already lives there and she’s moving to be with him, but not moving in with him- a wise decision considering what is coming. Emily is going to live with her college roommate, work as a waitress, and try to get a job teaching elementary school with her brand new degree. It was pretty refreshing that our girl was going to be starting off in a new city as a waitress instead of at some amazing improbable high-powered job, where she would be earning six figures and wearing Prada business suits (does Prada make business suits? Whatever, you get my point). On Emily’s first day of work, her boss asks her to make a delivery at the end of her shift, this is where she meets Gavin. The two are instantly eye fucking, and Gavin rides up to the tip-top of his very impressive skyscraper trying to get her number. She tells him that her name is Molly, and that she has a boyfriend, and then goes home all holy moly and tells her roommate how she met the most fuckable guy of all time. Meanwhile it’s becoming kind of apparent that her boyfriend is a doucher. He’s controlling, he works late hours that seem pretty shady, her roommate who has known him for a really long time HATES him with fire. He also tells Emily what to wear, and is very short-tempered, and is drunk a lot. Super catch right? WHY is Emily with him? Well, her mother, on her death-bed told her that she and Dillon should take care of each other, and her moms dying wish is not to be taken lightly. She should just be miserable and borderline abused forever, because dead mom said so. Cool.

However Gavin has other plans, because when he saw Emily his heart burst out a bunch of doves and ran through a field of flowers and now he believes in true love (that’s basically what the author says in her very flowery prose). He shows up at her job, sits in her section, and tips her $200 American dollars. I was waiting for the reaction to that to be storming into his office, declaring she wasn’t a thing to be bought, and throwing the money at him. But Emily is, in this one tiny tiny thing, smarter than that and keeps his money. She doesn’t think she’ll ever see him again. But this would be a very short and unsatisfying romance if that was the case and of course Gavin is friends with Dillon the dick boyfriend. Gavin never picked up on Emily being Dillon’s girl because HE thinks her name is Molly, plus she is so smart and sweet and just perfection incarnate and what’s she doing with his skeevy friend anyway? None of Dillon’s friends think very highly of him, but they’re still not going to warn Emily away because, Bros?, I guess.

Gavin and Emily try to avoid each other, but fail kind of miserably and every time they see each other the chemistry is hot. They basically want to rip each others clothes off, can’t stop thinking about each other, and “feel each other” when they’re not together. They’ve got the spidey-sense y’all. There is drunken making out that Emily wants to be drunken sex, which her crafty Dillon hating room-mate has basically orchestrated; but Gavin can’t go through with it, he wants his first time with her to be while they’re both sober. Emily, who by this point was really starting to annoy me, takes this to mean that Gavin isn’t attracted to her NOT that he’s actually a gentleman unlike the jag she’s dating. Unlike the jag she inexplicably agrees to MARRY despite her first instinct upon seeing him pull out the ring being hyperventilation and vomit. Still, she says yes and they announce the engagement and Dillon wants Gavin to be a groomsman because he doesn’t know that Emily is super mega hot for Gavin and that she wants to climb G like a tree. There’s some drama and a scuffle and Gavin and Emily FINALLY end up doin’ it. There is wall sex, and that amazing oral that every single book guy knows how to give, and a lot of prosey prose is written about their absolute physical and emotional connection. There is more sex after that and they vow to tell Dillon together that he and Emily are O-V-E-R.

Except the book is only at 70%. And there is more drama and more mistaken actions and so much more of Emily being indecisive and obtuse. All the characters were pretty much starting to piss me off, and bam! Book ends, look for part two.

I mean of course I’m going to read part two, because I want to know what happens and I think Gavin is pretty hot, but I don’t really want a part two. I wish Gail had just wrapped it on up in this book. The story is fine, pure honesty? Love triangles aren’t my catnip generally. McHugh knows how to write a villain though, I will give her that. Dillon is a super asshole, and a really bad boyfriend, she does not make it hard for the reader to root for Gavin. She does make it hard to root for Emily, who literally made me slam my book (Nook case cover) shut and roll my eyes. The writing in this had some moments of eye rolling as well:

“Children had a keen sense of the auras that surround people, so their behavior only confirmed what his heart already knew-her presence was magnetic”

“Their bodies entwined in sheer orgasmic delight as they shook, jerked, and trembled in each other’s arms. Sweat against sweat and soul against soul, they soared and fell together, each wondering if they’s ever be able to come down”

“Syrupy wetness”

That last one probably isn’t that bad, it just struck that chord that “weeping” does here at mybookshame when bodily fluids are being written of, no Buenos bitches.

There was some ridiculous writing I was really into though:

“With the weight of his body, he pressed her against the wall and licked the soft spot below her earlobe. “Tell me how much you fucking want me,” he breathed”

“I love getting kissed by women who claim they don’t love me- makes my dick hard as a motherfucker”

Why do I like my male leads better when they’re being assholes? I do not know, it’s a problem that a therapist should address with me, but I do and that’s why (after some spoilers from Mary) I am totally hate reading part two. Stay tuned.