Blurb (from Goodreads):
When Cassidy Jameson's best friend Tyler took her to Texas with him when he left for college, she was expecting his cousin, their new roommate, to be a Stetson-wearing cowboy since his family owned a ranch; not this incredibly gorgeous guy with a husky Southern drawl that seemed to make the world stop whenever she looked at him. Because of her past, she's only ever trusted two men in her life, Tyler and her dad whom passed away when she was six. But there's something about Gage that draws her to him in a way she can't explain, only problem? He's always telling Tyler that he doesn't want Cassidy living there and sees her as nothing more than his little sister.
Gage Carson was excited his cousin Tyler was coming to live with, and go to college with him. When he'd called to ask if he could bring his friend Cassi with him, Gage didn't care. Gage had heard about this mysterious friend since they were kids and felt like he already knew her. Nothing would prepare him for watching her jump out of Ty's Jeep though. Not only was Cassi the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen, but there was something about her that within seconds of meeting her, made Gage want to protect her, and make her his. Too bad Tyler made it a point to remind Gage on a daily basis that he was dating her and she was completely off limits.
For a year and a half, Gage and Cassidy dance around their feelings for each other as Tyler continues to keep them apart; until one day Tyler unknowingly pushes her right into Gage's arms. With Tyler unable to keep lying to them, they finally start a relationship both have been craving since their first meeting. But when an accident and disaster sends her back to Tyler and California, will Cassidy be able to come face to face with the demons from her past to live a life she and Gage deserve; or will the fact that she once again ran to Tyler be the final push that ends Cassidy and Gage for good?
Recommended for ages 17+ due to sexual situations and language.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins Publishers, and edelweiss.)
17-year-old Cassidy has had a difficult upbringing. Since her dad died when she was six, she’s suffered constant physical abuse at the hands of her mother and step-father.
Her best friend Tyler who lives only 2 doors away has been there for her through it all, always there to clean up her cuts and bruises, and to help her hide her bruises from the authorities.
Now, Tyler is off to college, and he’s taking Cassidy with him. Lodging with his cousin Gage, Tyler tries to make his relationship with Cassidy more than it is, but she doesn’t feel that way about him, she is in love with Gage. Gage feels the same way about Cassie, but Tyler will do anything to keep Cassie ‘his’.
Can Cassie ever have a relationship with anyone else with Tyler around? What will Tyler do when he finds out that Gage returns Cassie’s feelings? And how will this messed-up trio work out?
Where to start with this book? This book was just messed up. I mean seriously – messed up. This is one of those books that you want to read with your hands over your eyes. It’s like a bad horror movie, you want to look away, but at the same time you know you can’t.
Firstly, Tyler is just an icky son-of-a-b*tch. He lies, all the time, to Cassidy, to Gage, and probably even to himself. He constantly sticks his ore in where it’s not needed, and he even tries to force Cassie to have sex with him, and still she loves him and sees him as her best friend.
The things he comes out with are just disgusting, and time and time again I wanted to just kick him where it hurts, and tell him off for being so awful. He constantly kept telling Gage that Cassie was ‘his girl’, he told Gage that he was ‘off to bang his girl’, when Cassie had never had sex with him and wasn’t about to start, and the lies didn’t stop there. He constantly tried to mess things up between Cassie and Gage ‘cause he wanted her for himself, if Gage said that he loved her, Tyler told her that Gage really thought that she was a nuisance and only saw her as a sister. When things were working out between Cassie and Gage, Tyler would tell Gage that Cassie had just given him oral sex.
He even had the nerve to bring another girl home, tell her that Cassie was his sister, and then tell Cassie that he’d had to get some other girl in because he had needs that she wasn’t fulfilling!
Cassie needed to stand up for herself a little more, and stop relying on everything that Tyler said. If she had just told the truth, instead of hiding, or taking Tyler’s word for things, things might have been easier for her. I found her easy acceptance of everything that Tyler said to be very naïve of her, and I hated how she let Tyler walk all over her, just because she felt he was the only thing she had left.
Gage, could also have benefitted from a little more truth. Although he felt like he was doing the right thing a lot of the time, a little more truth, and speaking to Cassidy herself rather than Tyler, would have made things a lot easier.
Now, on to the relationships. This book had a serious case of what I’ve heard described as ‘insta-love’. This in itself doesn’t usually bother me that much, but in this book it sort-a did. Instantly as soon as Cassidy and Gage lay eyes on each other, there is instant attraction between the two of them – fair enough, nothing wrong with a bit of lust, however by 14% of the way in, Cassidy says that she loves Gage, which considering how they are living, and how much time they’ve spent together seemed a little quick? I found it very difficult to see where the ‘falling in love’ had taken place.
Relationship-wise, this book could probably have ended at the 50% mark, as the main points had kind-a happened. The rest of the book was more misunderstandings and communication problems than anything.
Storyline wise- this book was clearly split into parts for me. The first part was very YA love story, at around the 50% mark we go into new-adult territory, and there is quite a bit of loving going on, and then as we get towards the end of the book, we go into Mills and Boon territory. Seriously. This book was pretty weird like that. I would almost go so far as to say that the beginning and end really don’t match up all that well at all.
As for the physical abuse storyline, Cassie had supposedly been being beaten on a daily basis for over 11 years. She had been hit with hands, bottles, golf clubs – basically anything that was to hand. How had nobody noticed this in 11 years? How had they not killed her if they were beating her that much? Did nobody notice when her step-father sliced her up with broken glass?
I honestly don’t know the answers to these questions, but from what I remember, Tyler’s father was a doctor, and he used to stitch her cuts. While doctors have a patient confidentiality thing keeping them quiet, if a doctor knows that a patient is in that much physical danger, he has a duty to report the problem. I really don’t see how this could possibly have gone on for that long, without some action being taken, if it was really that bad.
Overall; this was a really messed up story. The beginning and the end didn’t mesh well, Tyler was just infuriating, and at times I really wanted to hide behind my hands whilst reading. I really just don’t know what else to think about this book other than that – it was messed up.
6 out of 10.
This book is available on kindle now, and will be published in paperback in April 2013.
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