Be With Me, by J. Lynn

Be with me

Grade: B+

Doing it At: 67%

Catnip: Brother’s Best Friend; Holding Out For A Hero; Dark Secrets; Horses; Ballerina; Road Head; Dangerous Criminal Villain; One Waffle Too Many

Shame Scale: The cover looks like it could be YA, which is less shameful than romance in our current social climate, so low shame there. The writing is good, there’s an actual plot, and the sex doesn’t use too many awful euphemisms. HOWEVER, I read this on the bus with the print very large and I was actually blushing. So Medium Shame.

Fantasy Casting: Theo James and Amanda Schull (because when I think ballerinas, I think Center Stage)

Book Description: 

“Do Teresa and Jase have a real shot at getting together or will life get in the way?

Teresa Hamilton is having a rough year—she’s in love with her big brother’s best friend, but he hasn’t spoken to her since they shared a truly amazing, mind-blowing, life-changing kiss. Then she got out of a terrible relationship. Now an injury is threatening to end her dance career for good. It’s time for plan B: college. And maybe she’ll have a chance to convince Jase that what they have together is real.

Jase Winstead has a huge secret that he’s not telling anyone—especially not his best friend’s incredibly beautiful sister. Even though he and Teresa shared the hottest kiss of his life, he knows that his responsibilities must take priority. He certainly doesn’t have time for a relationship. But it doesn’t help that all he can think about is kissing the one girl who could ruin everything for him.

As they’re thrown together more and more, Jase and Teresa can’t keep denying their feelings for each other. But a familiar danger looms and tragedy strikes. As the campus recovers, the star-crossed couple must decide what they’re willing to risk to be together and what they’re willing to lose if they’re not. . . .”

A few weeks ago Mary gave me a must-read list of New Adult titles, because while I have read A LOT of historicals, I am woefully behind in this genre. The book before this one in the Wait For You Saga was on the list, I’d already read the book after this one, and for some reason I couldn’t find Wait For You in the Kindle library (it was there, I’m just special sometimes) so I went with Be With Me. And guys, I am super glad I did.

The book opens with Tess and her brother, Cam, driving to the Jase’s parent’s farm to deliver him a sweet tea. I thought it was weird that he’d drive way out into the cut just to deliver his buddy a tea, but whatever it introduces us to shirtless sweaty Jase playing with his adorable five-year old brother so its A-OK. A year before Jase kissed Tess in a serious way and he has been ignoring her ever since; this was easy before because Tess is a ballerina and was supposed to be at the Joffrey School of Ballet on a full scholarship before a bad jump injured her knee and put her life plans on hold. Now she is in the same college as her brother and Jase, studying to be a teacher, and waiting to get the OK to dance again. She and Jase ignoring each other is no longer an option.

Tess and Jase end up in Music Appreciation Class together. He sits next to her, makes the I’m sorry let’s be friends speech, and starts driving her across campus after class to preserve her poor sad knee. He also starts bringing her very fancy cupcakes, which is courting behavior if I’ve ever seen it- there’s definitely a verse in Froggy Went-A-Courting about baked goods. Tess tries very hard to convince herself that they can be just friends, like Jase keeps saying he wants. After all this is just a pit stop for her until she can start dancing again and flee the dorms where she lives with a room-mate who has a not-very-nice boyfriend. It’s easy for Tess to realize what’s going on with her room-mate Debbie and her douche canoe boyfriend, Erik, because as a teenager Tess was also in an abusive relationship. She wants to speak up to Debbie but can never seem to find the right time, or the courage to do so. Tess still feels ashamed of what happened years ago and chastises herself for staying with her abusive ex as long as she did. Despite her history of abuse, Tess is not some shrinking violet. She isn’t scared of physical contact, she isn’t shy around all men or bad in social situations. She is smart and tough and deals well with the many many things that get thrown at her in this story. Like seriously, all the conflict- the loss of her dancing career, a vicious physical attack, Jase being unable to make up her damn mind about their relationship.

When Jase finally starts giving in to his feeling of lust for Tess it is with so much waffling, I know the waffling is common in romance novels but it was maybe one waffle too many in this book for my taste. Major points added for what might be the first instance of road-head that I have encountered in my shame reading. It is initiated by a tipsy Tess, and then quickly reciprocated when Jase pulls the car over on a deserted country road and drops to his knees in the dirt. Actual sex doesn’t happen until 67%, first Jase has to reveal his deep dark secret (which you will probably easily guess by 5% in the book), they have to tell her brother, and something really bad has to happen to her roommate. The plot and the writing of Be With Me made me OK with waiting. There’s an extended prologue, which was sweet, but also felt kind of extra long to me since I was staying up well past my bedtime to finish.

J Lynn is a good writer, she writes books that are hard to put down and suck me right in– please check out her teen alien romance series written under her real name, Jennifer Armentrout, starting with Obsidian.  I will definitely be reading the rest of the books in this story, (but not right away because next on tap I have a book where the cover model looks like a sociopath and the chapter titles made me LOL on the bus). The series ties in the characters and the plot elements and does not spend a lot of time trying to explain what happened in previous books. If you don’t like not knowing everything you might want to read these in order. But you should definitely read Be With Me.

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