Today I’m going to continue posting the promised reviews of the books I read in July. I’m a bit behind on schedule and I hope you will forgive me for the delay in posting reviews and covers. One of the beautiful books I read was Stay with me by Jennifer L. Armentrout (written under her pseudonym J. Lynn). I absolutely love Jennifer’s writing style and own almost all of her books (and I’m saving to buy the few that I miss 😉 ). Let me first tell you what the book’s about and then I will tell you why this book is so, so good!
Calla Fritz is used to hiding. Hiding the scar that she believes mars her beautiful face. Hiding her past and her family secrets from her new college friends.
But when her mother clears out her bank account and disappears, Calla is forced to return home and face up to a life she’d rather forget about. What she didn’t count on was meeting the one guy who seems to be able to see past her defences. Jackson ‘Jax’ James is like no-one else – and Calla can’t quite hide her feelings for a man who knows that beauty is more than skin deep.
But with some dangerous characters looking for her mother – men who are perfectly happy to punish Calla for her mother’s sins if she doesn’t turn up soon – Calla and Jax have more troubling things to think about than the searing heat between them…
This book was such an emotional read. You can’t help but feel for Calla and swoon for Jax. Calla is one of those characters that will have you rooting for her from start to finish. Life has been hard on this sweet and courageous girl. A single fire managed to destroy her entire family. Her two younger brothers died, her father packed-up and left without looking back, and her mom became an addict and alcoholic to deal with all the pain. Calla herself spend most of her time as a kid in a hospital recovering from the burns and has to deal with the scars that remain on her body as well as her soul. Added to that is the fact that her mother has changed into an irresponsible and selfish woman who forgets to pay the bills and take care of her daughter. Now, Calla’s gotten away from all that and is trying to make something of her life by studying to become a nurse. She knows her life isn’t all that great. Boys seem to only see the scar on her face and she’s afraid to open up to her friends about her past, but at least she has a roof over her head, a place to call her own and a future to look forward too. However, when summerbreak is approaching and Calla has to deal with the college payment for next year, she discovers something horrific. The money she’s been saving for college has been cleared out of her account, along with the little money she had to pay her regular bills and food. Without that money she will lose everything. When she learns that her own mother was the one that stole her money she decides to go back home and demand back everything her mother took. This simple plan goes seriously awry when her mom turns out to have disappeared without a trace. The only things that are left is the house she grew up in and Mona’s, the bar that her parents bought when everything was still perfect but that was neglected in the years following the tragedy.
This is where Jax comes in. Jackson is the bartender at Mona’s and knows everything about Calla and her mother. He also knows some things Calla doesn’t, like the fact that Calla’s mom is in big trouble -trouble that will affect Calla if he doesn’t get this shy and innocent girl to leave right now – or the fact that the house Calla grew up in has turned into a place where dangerous junkies and a ruthless drugdealer are common visitors. He knows he has to get rid of her for her own sake but he can’t bring himself to hurt this brave but fragile soul. So, instead, he vows to watch over her, yet at the same time nudge her in the direction of the town’s border. What Jax didn’t count on was the stubborn willpower and strength of Calla or the feelings he’s been secretly having for her for a long time. Because even though Calla hasn’t met Jax before she bumps into him at Mona’s, Jax has known about Calla for a long time and has been keeping an eye on her just as long. Besides, Jax sees the scars on Calla’s body as a token of her strength not as something ugly. How could he when he himself has his own scars to deal with. Scars that remind him of the war he has fought in and the brothers he has lost in combat. He will do everything in his power to protect Calla from harm and show her how beautiful she is.
The romance between these two characters is so realistic and beautiful that you can’t help but turn the pages to see if they will give in to their feelings, if they can overcome all obstacles and if they will have their happily ever after. Besides the romance and the awesome characters this book has a lot of suspense due to the problems that Calla’s mom left behind when she skipped town. Problems that involve a dangerous drugdealer that will stop at nothing to get back what Calla’s mom stole from him. This book is an absolute must-read that belongs in every romance-and-suspense-lover’s bookcase.