Series: Wait For You #3
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Suspense
At 21, Calla hasn’t done a lot of things. She’s never been kissed, never seen the ocean, never gone to an amusement park. But growing up, she witnessed some things no child ever should. She still carries the physical and emotional scars of living with a strung-out mother, Mona—secrets she keeps from everyone, including her close circle of college friends.
But the safe cocoon Calla has carefully built is shattered when she discovers her mom has stolen her college money and run up a huge credit card debt in her name. Now, Calla has to go back to the small town she thought she'd left behind and clean up her mom’s mess again. Of course, when she arrives at her mother’s bar, Mona is nowhere to be found. Instead, six feet of hotness named Jackson James is pouring drinks and keeping the place humming.
Sexy and intense, Jax is in Calla’s business from the moment they meet, giving her a job and helping her search for Mona. And the way he looks at her makes it clear he wants to get horizontal . . . and maybe something more. Before Calla can let him get close, though, she’s got to deal with the pain of the past—and some very bad guys out to mess her up if she doesn’t give them her mom.
With all the sass and humor of any JLA novel, Stay With Me also contains thrilling suspense, and has an emotional depth that makes this a great addition to a well-loved series.
Anyone who’s read Wait For You and Be With Me would expect an entertaining read, jam packed with snark, hilarity, sexiness, some poignancy, and generally a page-turning storyline. Stay With Me had ALL of that, and a bit more. This addition to the series had a maturity that I liked, and hope to see expanded upon as this series continues. Set away from the classrooms and dorms that are typical in NA books, this sexy, suspenseful story unfolded far away from campus, in a world of bars, strip clubs, junkies, and thugs.
Calla returns home – a place she vowed never to return to – after finding out that her mother cleaned her bank account. Desperate and pissed off, she arrives with every intention of finding her mother, getting back her money, and getting back on track with her plans – plans that don’t involve living in the shit environment that she grew up in. Well, Calla’s naive, and things don’t ever unfold as planned. Who does she ends up finding instead? Theo James. Um, I mean Jackson James.
Look at this face:
Yeah. Now imagine that face behind a bar, serving drinks.
Look at this face:
Now imagine this face telling you that you’re beautiful, when you feel anything but. Imagine him vowing to protect you, and promising that he’ll keep you safe.
Look at this face:
Now imagine this face pissed off and murderous at the thought of anyone daring to harm you. Imagine him ready to tear the arms off anyone who would even think of upsetting you. Look at those biceps.
Look at this face:
Imagine this face quietly supporting you, patiently helping you build your self-esteem. This face wants you to be happy, and wants you to be bold and to conquer the world. This face.
Jackson James is a swoon-worthy, panty-dropping, ex-marine, manly MAN, who’s lived, loved, and he’s willing to fight for both love and life. Although we shouldn’t compare, we do, or at least I do. You do too (don’t lie!). And Jackson James gave Cameron Hamilton a run for his money. Jax and Calla gave Cam and Avery some serious competition in the lovable couple olympics. So good!
As is the theme with the previous books in this series, the protagonists have secrets. They’re both hiding sides of themselves from the other person, and only trust and understanding makes them bold enough to reveal themselves. Watching them both grow and learn to trust each other is the fun part. I especially loved watching Calla’s self-confidence develop. Any girl who wavers with her self-worth can identify with her doubts and fears. I LOVED that she wasn’t just another perfect looking heroine, and not only were her flaws internal, she had to battle some external imperfections as well. Because that stuff matters, even if we like to pretend it doesn’t.
The spark between these two…whoo! That shit is hot. I think this might be JLA’s steamiest romance, and I am not complaining one bit. One of the reasons that I love to read her novels is because she has this almost alchemistic ability to create chemistry between characters that melts your heart, but isn’t cheesy as hell. How she does it? I don’t know. I’m just glad she can.
Mixed in with the romance, is some suspense that will keep you worked up, because I definitely was. I appreciated that this book veered off from the common NA tropes, and although Stay With Me still contains the ingredients that we love and are comfortable with, it mixes in some new and exciting flavors that whetted my appetite for more from this series.
For those who already love this series: you’ll continue to love it, because Stay With Me is a stellar addition. For those who haven’t read any of the books yet: you can read this one without reading the others (but I suggest you read the others too! They’re great, especially Wait For You!).
P.S. I supplemented reading the ebook with the Audible production, and I recommend the audio version to those who love using that format. Check out Audible for a sample.
P.P.S. Fans of the Dream Man series by Kristen Ashley will love this. Jax reminded me a bit of Mitch from Law Man, and who doesn’t want more Mitch?!