True Believers #2
Release Date: October 15, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms
Jessica Sweet thought going away to college would finally make her free of her parents' constant judgments and insistence she play chastity club role model for their church events, but if anything, the freedom has made her realize she can't go home and be a hypocrite anymore. Tired of dodging their questions, she stays at school over the summer and lands in an unexpected crash pad: Riley Mann's house.
Sarcastic, cocky, and full of opinions, Riley is also sexy personified with tattoos and biceps earned from working as a roofer all day. Not the right guy for her even if Jessica was looking for a relationship, which she is definitely not. But Jessica knows that Riley hides the burden of having to raise his younger brothers behind that grim and as she helps him get his house in order for a custody hearing, they begin to fall hard for each other, and she is forced to question what she's hiding herself.
Jessica has never had a problem getting naked with a guy, but when it comes to showing Riley how she truly feels inside, her fear of rejection may just ruin the best thing - the best guy - to ever happen to her...
"Relationship = Risk"
And it's a risk Jessica Sweet has been unwilling to take. With ultra-conservative parents who expect her to be their idea of the perfect daughter, she feels like she has little control in her life. So she exercises control by partying and hooking up with guys. In her defense, the hooking up is usually with a guy she's friends with.
Riley Mann doesn't do relationships either. Growing up in the Mann household didn't provide good role models, so he does his best to take care of his brothers by working hard. That leaves little time for girls.
When Jessica needs a place to stay for a week, Tyler Mann is quick to offer up his house. That means Jessica will be living with Riley. These two have a playfully antagonistic relationship - always teasing and snarking at each other. Oh what a difference a week makes. The time they spend together, working on the Mann's house, allows them to get better acquainted and they each begin removing bricks from each others' walls.
I liked Sweet quite a bit but not as much as True. Jessica was a bit harder for me to connect to. She is a preacher's daughter and her family is the source of most of her issues. While I understood those issues, I think this element could have been better developed. Also, I never really understood Riley's aversion to relationships. While I enjoyed watching as their bond grow, in the end I think McCarthy never made me feel it - she told me but never showed me. Also, the ending felt rushed. I was thrilled with where Jessica and Riley ended up but I wished there'd been more of a journey to that point.
I adore all these characters and am eager to dive into Believe. Phoenix, the Mann brothers' cousin, has me very intrigued. And I'm very curious as to how Robin is going to extract herself from the mess she's made. Plus, I'm anxious to see more of Riley and Jessica's, and Tyler and Rory's stories.