|The Ivy Chronicles Book #1|
by Sophie Jordan
The Ivy Chronicles Book #1
Pepper has been hopelessly in love with her best friends brother, Hunter, for like forever. He's the key to everything she's always craved: security, stability, family. But she needs Hunter to notice her as more than just a friend. Even though she's kissed exactly one guy, she has just the plan to go from novice to rock star in the bedroom- take a few pointers from someone who knows what he's doing.
Her college roommates have the perfect teacher in mind. But bartender Reece is nothing like the player Pepper expects. Yes, he's beyond gorgeous, but he's also dangerous, deep- with a troubled past. Soon what started at lessons in attraction are turning both their worlds around, and showing just what happens when you go past foreplay and get to what's real...
(This was one of my favorite scenes in this book)
Walking through the parking lot, the soles of my boots crunched over the loose gravel. I almost turned back around when I remembered the burger I had wanted. I was contemplating chicken strips and Tater Tots when a hand fell on my shoulder.
With a shriek, I whiled around, my fist instinctively flying, lashing out, making contact. My knuckles grazed off a shoulder.
"Whoa, Easy there." Reece stood there, holding one hand up in the air while his other hand rubbed at the top of his shoulder where I'd struck him.
I covered my mouth with both hands. My words escaped muffled. "OhmyGod!" I'm sorry."
"Don't be. I should have called out. Good reflexes, but you should work on your aim."
My hands fell from my face slowly.
I stared at him, still trying to comprehend that he was here. In front of me. It was strange seeing him out of his element. Other than that first time, I'd only ever seen him inside Mulvaney's. Here, outside, he seemed bigger, larger than life.
My head cocked to the side. "Are you"-I waved a finger between him and me-"following me?"
"I saw you leave."
"So. That's a yes."
He was watching me? He noticed me. I wasn't invisible after all.
He continued. "Look, you shouldn't be out her alone at night. Guys get a few drinks in them, see a pretty girl walking by herself..." His voice faded away, his implication clear.
I only heard one thing. Pretty.
"I'll walk you to your car," he finished.
"Thanks." I turned the direction of my car. He fell in step beside me.
I slid him a long look. Without the distance of the bar top between us, I was fully aware of his height. I was no tiny thing like Emerson, and the top of my head barely reached his chin. He had to be a few inches over six feet. It was a new experience- feeling delicate and petite.
"I hope you don't get in trouble for leaving the bar. Are you on a break?"
"It'll be fine."
I was conscious of this arm, so close to mine as we walked. He slid one hand into his front jeans pocket.
"Your leaving early," he noted.
"Yeah." Silence fell. Feeling a need to fill it, I added, "Not feeling it tonight." At least I wasn't before. Now I'm feeling it. I;m feeling everything. His body beside mine radiated heat. My every nerve vibrated like a plucked wire, achingly aware of him. We're not even touching, but it's like I felt him everywhere. It was a shock I could even talk in a steady voice.
"Not feeling it tonight," he echoed his voice low. There was laughter in his voice even though he didn't come right out and laugh. He dropped his head back and looked up at the stars. A slow smile curved his mouth.
"What's so amusing?"
"Just thinking about that."
He looked back down. "I can't count the nights, I'm not feeling it,' but I still have to be there."
Have to. Interesting choice of words. "You don't like your job?"
He shrugged. "Sometimes I do."
"Are you a student, too?"
"Did you graduate already?"
"Just high school."
So working at the bar was all there was for him. Again, there was a stab of disappointment. Which was not only judgmental of me, but absurd. I wasn't considering this guy for a boyfriend or lifelong partner material. I shouldn't feel anything at his lack of ambition.
He continued, "You in college?"
"Let me guess, Dartford?" There were three universities in the area, but Dartford had the most prestigious reputation.
"Thought so. You've got "Ivy" written all over you."
"What do you mean?"
"You look sweet and nice. Smart." We were almost to my car when he added. "And you're not a regular, but you've been here three nights in a row." Not a question. Just a statement.
Again, that he was aware of me made me go all warm and fuzzy inside. "My friend Emerson, comes here a lot. You've probably seen her before. She's hard to miss." He neither confirmed nor denied this. "She invited me along. I don't do the bar scene all that much."
"So you've decided to start living the college experience in full then. IS that it? Last night didn't scare you off?"
I frowned. "Oh, you mean that guy by the bathroom. Should I have let that scare me?"
He didn't say anything, and I thought back to his comment on Thursday night about nice girls getting eaten up in places like Mulvaney's. "Oh, That's right. Nice girls like me should stay home.
"I didn't say that."
We stopped at my car.
The low rumble of his voice continued, " Getting mauled outside the bathroom might have turned some girls off from coming back again the next night though."
"I'm not most girls." He had no idea. I might look naive and innocent, but my scars ran deep. It took a lot to spook me.
I fumbled for my keys, the slow burn of my temper making my hands shake.
"I might look like some nerd college girl and note one of the sexpots tripping through the bar every night, but-"
His voice cut in smooth and deep, no hint of the temper I was feeling. "I didn't say that either."
"You're thinking it."
"You're right. You're nothing like the other girls I see every night."
"Oh, that's nice," I muttered.
My fingers closed around the hard steel of my keys. Unlocking the door and pulling it open, I looked up to face him, ready to tell him off, but then I lost myself in those pale blue eyes until I wasn't sure what I was mad about anymore. Those eyes made everything inside of me go hot and weak all at once.
"And that's not a bad thing. Trust me."
Suddenly my knees felt all trembly and I knew I needed to sit down.
"Thanks for the walk." I started to duck inside the car, but his voice stopped me.
"Tell me something, Pepper."
It was the first time I'd heard my name on his lips.
I nodded dumbly, the open door at my back. "How old are you really?"
The question caught me off guard. "Nineteen."
He laughed, the sound loose and dark, curling through me like hot chocolate. "Thought so." his well-carved lips quirked. "You're just a kid."
"I am not a kid," I protested. I haven't been a kid since I spend my nights in motel bathroom, listening to my mom getting bombed with random guys on either side of the door. "How old are you?" I shot back.
"You're not that much older than me," I argued. "I'm not a kid."
He held up both hands as though warding me off. His half smile mocked me. "If you say so."
I made a growl of frustration. "Don't do that."
"Condescend to me," I snapped.
One of his dark eyebrows winged high. "Uh-oh. I made you mad. College girl is pulling out the big vocabulary words now."
How did this guy get girls to make out with him? He was a colossal jerk. I could blame it on his looks, but not all hot guys were jerks. Hunter wasn't.
"Prick," I muttered as I turned to slide into my car. "Why don't you go back to serving beer and stale peanuts?"
His hand closed around my arm and pulled me back around. I looked down at his hand on my arm and then up to his face.
"Hey," he said flatly, all hint of a smile gone. My pulse skittered at my neck and I resisted the urge to press a hand there and steady the wild thrum of my blood. I wouldn't reveal his effect on me. "The peanuts aren't stale."
I might have laughed except there was no levity in his expression. His pale blue eyes fastened on my face. His fingers clung to my arm, burning an imprint through my sleeve.
Then those eyes dropped to my lips.
OhGodOhGodOhGod. He's going to kiss me.
This was it. The moment of my second-scratch that. Third kiss. Unsolicited or not, I had to count last night. This one was the one I had been waiting for though. The one where I would learn to actually kiss. From a guy- a man-who knew how to do it properly.
He inched toward me. My heart erupted like a drum in my chest. His head dipped, and then all thought of what I was about to do fled. There was no thinking. No calculated logic. Just pure sensation.
Blood roared in my ears as he closed the last scrap of space between us. It wasn't fast. Not like in the movies. No swooping head. I watched his face come closer. His gaze moved from my mouth back to my eyes several times, studying me, watching my reaction. His hand touched my face, holding my cheek.
No one had ever done that. Well, not that I had a lot of reference, but the warm rasp of his palm on my face felt so very intimate. It made the moment seem so real, so powerful.
I jumped a little when his mouth finally settled over mine. As though the contact brought on an electrical shock or something. He pulled back and looked at me. For a moment, I thought it was over, that he was finished after that brush of both of our lips.
Then he pressed his mouth down on mine again and there was nothing tentative about it. His kiss was confident, demanding. Pure deliciousness. Still holding my face with one hand, his other moved to the small of my back, drawing me closer. His lips tasted mine, angling first one way and then another. As though he wanted to sample every possible direction. His tongue traced the seam of my lips and I shuddered, letting him inside my mouth. My hands gripped his shoulders, fingers curling around soft cotton, reveling in the warm solidness of him beneath the fabric.
Then it was over. Too soon. I staggered, losing my balance. I caught hold of my open car door with one hand, blinking like I had just woken from some sort of dream. I lifted my hands to my lips, brushing them, feeling them still warm from his lips. I focused on him, watching in astonishment as he turned and left me standing beside my vehicle.
Not another word. Not another look back.
First off, this book was on my TBR list, but honestly I was a little hesitant to start reading it. I love Sophie Jordan's historical writing, but was hesitant to read a New Adult novel by her, there is such a big difference in the writing and styles of those two genres.
My fears were so off base! Earlier this week I was emailed the trailer posted above for Foreplay, after watching it I thought to myself this book really looks good, what have I been waiting for? I downloaded the ARC to my Kindle and on my lunch break started reading it. This book should come with a warning label: DO NOT START READING THIS UNTIL YOU HAVE TIME TO SIT DOWN AND FINISH IT ENTIRELY! I was late coming back from my lunch break, and may have put my kids to bed a half hour early last night so I could dive back in and finish this story.
I loved every single character in this book. Pepper is vulnerable, but also strong, driven and caring. Reece also has a troubled past and has trust issues, but he can't fight his attraction to her and he finds himself doing whatever he can to help her, even if it means the possibility of losing his heart in the process. The chemistry between these two is amazing.
This story does not contain the typical New Adult plotting that basically consists of sex every other page. Sophie Jordan does an incredible job of building sexual tension between two characters and pretty soon you can't wait for them to be together and once they are it was well worth the wait!
I loved the secondary characters, Sophie's college roommate Emerson is wild and fun and I can't wait for her story (Tease the 2nd book in the Ivy Chronicles is set for release March 2014). Logan, Reece's younger brother has to be a part of another story- he is too cute to be left out :) This book is definitely a stand alone, but I look hope to revisit with Reece and Pepper in future books within this series.
After finishing Foreplay I quickly browsed Sophie Jordan's website and discovered that she also has a young adult series, that now I need to check out as well, because she has proven to this blogger that she can write any genre :)!
Foreplay is a great upbeat New Adult story that will leave you smiling and thinking about it long after the last page is turned. This book gets 5 STARS from Save Your Money for Books, this entire series will be added to my TBR list- I can't wait for the next Ivy Chronicles book!
|Click here to add Foreplay to your Goodreads Shelf!|
I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions expressed here are my own.
Until next time.. HAPPY READING!