by Chelsea M. Cameron
Published on: 4/20/13
Genre: New Adult/Contemporary Romance
Katie Hallman is done with douchebags. Done with guys who treat her like crap and leave her broken. But then Stryker Grant is there anyway. With his numerous piercings and bleached hair, he’s the polar opposite of all of her past relationships, which makes him the perfect candidate.
At first, Katie just sees him as a physical escape from her previous rocky relationship, and Stryker doesn’t seem to mind just being a distraction from Katie’s problems. But soon he’s getting under her skin, peeling back layers she’d rather keep covered. She tries to make it clear that she doesn’t want a relationship, but keeps breaking her own rules.
Then a tragedy sends Katie into the only arms who are there to catch her, and she’ll realize that she needs him more than she ever thought possible. But is she ready to let herself trust another guy with her already-battered heart? Or will she push him away to protect herself from getting hurt again?
My Rating: 4 1/2 Coffee Cups!!
First off, thank you to the kick-butt, rocks my socks author that is Chelsea Cameron for gifting me with an advanced copy of her book. For all who haven't read it yet, pick up Deeper We Fall the first book in this series. You don't actually have to read it to fully understand what's going on in this book, but it's fun to have a little bit more background on some of the supporting characters.
I read Deeper We Fall and loved it. Loved the main characters Zan and Lottie, loved their story. But I tripped and fell face first in love with Katie and Stryker's story in this book. I kinda loved this book just a little bit more (sorry Zan!). You didn't really know too much about Katie in Deeper We Fall except that she was Lottie's roommate, she was dating a complete and total assface Zack and she has a weird, somewhat unhealthy obsession with pink. Same thing with Stryker. He became Zan's closest friend and was an odd genius-mechanic-musician. They were in the peripheral. So glad they became the main focus. They both have some pretty deep scars, Katie's a little bit more recent, and they dive head first into a purely physical relationship in order to try to escape them for a little while. They make this arrangement pretty much at the very beginning of the book. Katie propositions Stryker after satisfying her curiosity of kissing a guy with a lip ring, and being the complete guy that he is, he definitely doesn't turn her down.
Katie has been dealing with Zack. He is the picture perfect boyfriend. All American good looks and perfect manners. Amazing except for a dangerous need to control her. About 20% into the book Katie makes the mistake of meeting up with Zack for closure. By the end of the car ride she ends up battered and broken and tossed onto the front stoop of her dorm building like garbage. She's done. She doesn't want to give her heart to another person. She was fooled and reeled in by his charm and professions of love and it made her rethink everything, including who the person is in the mirror. She can't be with another guy, but she can't seem to turn off the voices in her head and the confusion in her soul. So, she reaches out to Stryker for a "distraction".
Stryker is the guy who protected her from Zack's public lashing at a Halloween Party. He is a genius, a musician, a mechanic. He is tatted up, pierced up, and bleached down. He is the polar opposite of Katie's pink loving, Hallmark Card family having, Taylor Swift listening to self. On paper they don't make sense. He's the guy who you don't bring home to mom and dad and Grandpa Jack. But then he sings to her over the phone to get her mind off things, he paints her fingernails and toenails, he distractedly draws on her hand and you can't help but swoon a little bit. Despite this, their relationship is the ultimate push and pull. They don't want the intimacy that is happening between them and they try and fight it desperately. They both have demons to fight and they don't know how to do it and love each other at the same time and- for lack of a better phrase- they're scared shitless to even try. Katie's been thru hell with Zack, she can't open her heart and she's understandably frightened to even try. She's struggling to find her identity. Stryker has only ever loved one person. His sister Trish. And other than her he's never been loved in return. His upbringing has seen to that. He's cut out for one night stands, not relationships.
They go thru quite a bit of a Tug of Rope game until Katie's world is turned upside down. She's struggling and drowning and the only person who can get thru to her is Stryker. I'll admit it, I cried (damn you Chelsea). It was heartbreaking, but Stryker was perfect. He was everything she needed. He was her support system. Most of all, he wasn't her "physical distraction", he was her best friend. He is not perfect though. He makes mistakes. One mistake in particular....
Their story is not pink and pretty and perfect. Katie is a mess. Stryker is a clusterf*%k. She cusses him out and he takes it. He occasionally acts like a douche and she deals with it. You put these together and they are perfect. They are exactly what the other needs.
PS- Will and Audrey next I wonder?? Hmmmm....