I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Love Me Not by Reese Ryan
Series: Bad Boys Gone Good #2
Published by Carina Press on December 30, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Abandoned by a mother who chose drugs over her, Jamie Charles barely got out of her own addiction alive. Now, she pours her pain into her art while pouring drinks at a local bar. To Jamie, love is a four-letter word—until she meets Miles, a charming ad exec with piercing blue eyes who makes no secret about his desire for her.
Miles Copeland has family demons of his own, but his unhappy upbringing drove him toward hard work and success. He's determined to win Jamie over, and when he finally does, it's worth every moment he spent waiting. But when he confesses that he's falling for her, she panics. Sex is one thing, but love requires more than she can give.
Jamie can't deny her feelings, but she's haunted by her past. Miles knows his heart, but Jamie's lingering doubts have him questioning their future. It might take the threat of losing him forever for her to realize that refusing to let love in is the worst mistake of all.
The set up
Jamie Charles had it pretty rough until she met Melanie Gordon when she was 8-years old. The Gordon family knew life at home was pretty grim and looked out for her. By the time she was 12, they formally became her legal guardians. As loved as she was by her new family, the early damage done left Jamie pretty scarred. She was tough and adopted risky behaviors as she tried to escape her memories. Now, she’s got a steady job that she’s good at while she hones her skills as an artist. Though she’s become responsible, Jamie doesn’t believe that committed relationships are in the cards and works really hard to keep it that way.
Miles Copeland was in Cleveland on a business trip and happened to stop by the bar and grille where Jamie was bartending. Drawn immediately to this appealing and intriguing woman, he was determined to get beneath that veneer she used to keep everyone at arm’s length. Complicating matters was the bar’s “no customer fraternizing” policy and he was going to have to return to New York in a month. It also doesn’t help that Jamie’s biological mother shows up after a 15-year absence.
What really worked
The story, told most from Jamie’s perspective, is emotionally draining. There are the highs from the blossoming romance between her and Miles. He’s pretty much a dream, though he makes a few decisions that almost derail their fragile relationship. Then there are those low moments when Jamie begins the unraveling of all those memories she’s successfully stifled over the last 15+ years. The harder she tries to pull away, the harder Miles holds on. I was riveted, almost terrified she’d do something to sabotage her relationship with Miles, drawn into her pain and her joy from finally finding someone who she couldn’t drive away.
The bottom line
I’ve waited impatiently for this book since I learned it was going to be Jamie’s story and it far surpassed anything I was hoping for. I was worried I wouldn’t like Jamie but ended up just wanting to protect her. Miles was sexy, romantic, sensitive and an incredible lover (be prepared for some serious, serious steam) and had enough imperfections to keep him real. I loved how Jamie’s transformation unfolded and developed, as well as the realism regarding her romance with Miles. The really great news? This isn’t the end of the series and future books are planned for one of the more tragic characters in this story and another who got my attention and soon as she was introduced. Another series I’m now hopelessly hooked on.
(P.S. – I’m religious about reading books in order so this is hard to say….you can read this one without having read the first one as the timeline occurs ahead of that story. But, as I loved the first book, why deny yourself that pleasure.)