Published by NAL Trade on 4th November 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Buy on Amazon US • Buy on Amazon UK
Today’s premiere New Adult authors combine their talents to tell four original stories from inside one house.
When four girls decide to live off campus together as juniors at a college in Michigan, they expect it to be their best year yet. Little do they know, it’s a year that will change the rest of their lives.
BEHIND HER EYES by A.L. Jackson
Unable to live down her ex-boyfriend’s deception, Misha is determined to avoid betrayal. When, the new guy next door, Darryn starts to get under her skin, her defenses start to crumble. But trusting Darryn seems impossible, especially if he’s not sure he can trust himself.
SAVING ME by Molly McAdams
On the outside, Indy is always ready for a party—but inside she’s breaking. Kier makes a weekly routine of saving the girl next door from herself on Saturday nights… but when will she be ready to remember him on Sunday morning?
FOULING OUT by Tiffany King
Working at a sports bar, Courtney has become a pro at sidestepping propositions from arrogant jocks—which makes her a more elusive catch for campus basketball star Dalton than he expected. But when he falls for the saucy waitress, Dalton will have to rethink his game plan to prove he’s not the jerk Courtney expects.
BENEATH YOUR LAYERS by Christina Lee
In order to ace her fashion internship, Chloe must team up with local college dropout and set builder, Blake—much to her chagrin. But after some "hands-on" experience, Chloe will have to ask herself if Blake factors into her carefully laid plans…
Reviewed by Joanne
*I recieved an E-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for review*
I’m not usually a fan of novellas but I love A L Jackson’s books, so when I saw that she was part of this anthology I knew I had to give it a go. I really enjoyed reading the stories, what impressed me most was how all of the authors tied the characters together and followed on from the book before.
Behind Her Eyes
I really felt for Misha right from the start. She had been betrayed and humiliated in the worst possible way by someone she thought she could trust. When she returned from the school break she just wanted to keep her head down and concentrate on her studies, and hope that no one would mention what had happened. She didn’t plan on falling for anyone, but when she meets Darryn she’s fighting a losing battle. It’s going to take a lot for her to trust a guy again, but Darryn is in for the long haul.
Darryn fell for Misha the moment he saw her, but when he actually gets close enough to speak to her, he realises she’s not as outgoing as he imagined. He’s determined that he will break down her walls, and help her to come out of her shell though. I loved Darryn! He was so patient, so careful and protective of Misha that it was impossible not to love him. He was just what she needed to help her get over her humiliation, and move on with her life. My only complaint with this story is that it wasn’t long enough!
Indy is lost and alone. Her parents don’t want to know, and she’s just discovered her boyfriend cheating on her at a time when she really needed him. She deals with this by getting drunk at the parties held at her neighbour’s house, waking in the morning with no recollection of what she’d done the night before, or how she got back home. She knows she’s on a path self-destruction but doesn’t know how to break the cycle. At yet another party she stumbles into the bedroom of Kier, one of the guys living next door, he feels strangely familiar but she can’t figure out why.
Kier has been looking after Indy but she doesn’t even remember him the next day. He’s the quiet guy, the one that stays in his room during parties, and never has much to say to anyone. He just wants to be there for Indy, but he wants her to get to know him when she’s sober first.
I really liked these two, they were perfect for each other. They were both alone, neither had much parental involvement, and both had experienced devastating events that had proved to be life changing. Kier had made a big mistake when he was younger and he spent every day regretting it, but he was unsure how Indy would react when she found out. Indy had her own obstacles to overcome too, but the way they supported each other was so touching.
Courtney works as a waitress to support her way through college. She’s shocked when she goes to take an order from a group and comes face to face with Dalton Thompson – the college basketball superstar. He also just happens to be her ex best friend. they were inseparable until one day he just stopped hanging out with her and they never really spoke after that. She knew that he attended the same college but had managed to get to her Junior year without running into him.
Dalton is surprised to see Courtney, but when his attempt at conversation is rebuffed and he’s coldly dismissed he can’t figure out what Courtney’s problem is. He’s not used to having to work for a girls attention, so he’s on a mission to get Courtney to go out with him.
I loved the attraction between these two characters, they already had the connection that had been forged as youngsters. They had been friends for years but Courtney was holding onto her anger at being pushed aside. What she didn’t know was that Dalton was being strongly influenced by his father to concentrate on basketball and nothing else. Now that they have reconnected, they waste no time on catching up. I really enjoyed this story and would like to read more from the characters.
Beneath Your Layers
Chloe is a fashion student, and loves all things relating to clothing. She works in a local store to gain experience and credit towards her course and when the owner gives her free reign on a project she’s thrilled. Until she learns she has to work with her boss’s nephew Blake. She’s met him a few times and there’s always an uncomfortable atmosphere. The conversation isn’t exactly flowing, so she can’t imagine anything worse than being alone with him for hours on end.
Blake had to drop out of school to take care of his mother, but he doesn’t let anyone know that. He’s attracted to Chloe but he thinks she’s too stuck up to be friends with him He knows what everyone thinks of him, that he couldn’t hack it at school so he dropped out to work in construction, and he’s happy to let people believe that rather than learn the truth.
I liked this story, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the others. I wasn’t a fan of Chloe at all, and couldn’t relate to her or her relationship with Blake.
Fouling Out By Tiffany King
The warmth inside the building was soothing after walking from the car outside. I felt mildly disappointed when Dalton dropped his arm from my shoulders, until he reached for my hand. As we strolled along, I became hyperaware of how something as innocent as handholding could become somewhat erotic while sipping wine together. Dalton slid his thumb across the top of my hand in slow methodical strokes before gently caressing my pulse point. The hairs on the back of my neck felt as if they were standing on end. Each sweep of his thumb was a sensual dance with my sensitive skin, making it tingle.
It was becoming apparent to me that it might have been a bad call on my part to skip lunch. Between the scent of Dalton’s cologne and the alcohol I was consuming, I was already feeling slightly intoxicated. I nibbled on a few cubes of cheese to attempt to alleviate the buzzing in my head. Dalton’s breath teased my neck, making me shiver in a good way. I should have put some distance between us so I could regain my bearings, but instead I snuggled closer to him, wishing we were somewhere else with a lot fewer people around.
All the air escaped my lungs as Dalton slowly captured a bead of wine from my bottom lip with his finger. I watched with bated breath as he moved the finger to his own mouth, sucking the drop of wine. It was all I could do not to moan as my insides turned to putty.
“You need to stop looking at me like that,” Dalton murmured in my ear.
“Like what?” I licked the rest of the wine off my lip with the tip of my tongue.
This time it was Dalton who groaned softly. Placing his hands on my hips, he slowly backed me into a dim corner, away from prying eyes. “Like you’re thinking how great it would feel if I hoisted you up on that wine barrel table over there with your legs wrapped around my waist.”
“Are you sure that’s not you thinking that?” My hips responded almost instinctively as he pulled me snugly against his body. I could feel him, rock hard, pressed to my stomach. The wanting desire I had been keeping at bay from the moment he showed up at my house looking practically delectable with low-riding jeans and a black V-neck sweater that accentuated his well-toned chest was threatening to explode.