Five Ways to Fall (Ten Tiny Breaths Series #4)by K. A. Tucker
Purple-haired, sharp-tongued Reese MacKay knows all about making the wrong choice; she’s/i>/i>/i>
Sometimes you can’t change—and sometimes you just don’t want to. Discover Ben’s side of the story in this fourth novel by the beloved, top-selling indie author of Ten Tiny Breaths, One Tiny Lie, and Four Seconds to Lose.
Purple-haired, sharp-tongued Reese MacKay knows all about making the wrong choice; she’s made plenty of them in her twenty-odd-years. So when her impulsive, short-lived marriage ends in heartbreak, she decides it’s time for a change. She moves to Miami with the intention of hitting reset on her irresponsible life, and she does quite well…aside from an epically humiliating one-night stand in Cancun with a hot blond bouncer named Ben. Thank God she can get on a plane and leave that mistake behind her.
Football scholarship and frat parties with hot chicks? Part of charmer Ben Morris’s plan. Blown knee that kills any hope of a professional football career? So not part of the plan. Luckily Ben has brains to go with his knockout looks and magnetism. After three long years of balancing law school with his job as a bouncer at Penny’s Palace, he’s ready to lead a more mature life—until his first day of work, when he finds himself in the office of that crazy, hot chick he met in Cancun. The one he hasn’t stopped thinking about.
If Ben truly were a smart guy, he’d stay clear of Reese. She’s the boss’s stepdaughter and it’s been made very clear that office romances are grounds for dismissal. Plus, rumor has it she’s trouble. The only problem is, he likes trouble, especially when it’s so good-looking…
At a tequila-soaked bar in Cancún, a womanizing lawyer meets a beautiful woman with a bruised heart. Steamy shenanigans and romance ensue.Tucker (Four Seconds to Lose, 2014, etc.) returns with her fourth novel in the Ten Tiny Breaths series, which began with the Cleary sisters and quickly embraced all the quirky, unattached minor characters, developing their own love stories. This time, it’s Ben Morris’ turn—Ben is the bouncer from Penny’s Palace, a strip club. He’s left the strippers behind and aced law school. Before he starts working at a Miami law firm, he’s taken a vacation in Cancún, where he meets purple-haired, gorgeous and very drunk Reese MacKay. She’s reeling from a shattered marriage. Finding her husband, Jared, in the shower with his high school sweetheart was certainly surprising. Discovering that the sweetheart had moved herself into their apartment (while moving Reese’s belongings into the hallway) prompted war. After Reese had finished vandalizing what was arguably still her own home, her stepfather, Jack, had no choice but to bail her out, pack her up, take her to Miami, enroll her in an online paralegal degree program and hire her at his own law firm. Her friends have taken her to Cancún to erase Jared from her memory. Ben and Reese’s one-night stand goes horribly wrong, and Reese is eager to forget the embarrassing details. Back home in Miami, however, she discovers that Ben’s new boss is her stepfather. Of course, they can't resist the attraction they feel, and soon Reese is asking Ben to play her fake boyfriend in increasingly complex make-Jared-jealous schemes, and Ben is asking Reese to play his fake girlfriend in repel-clingy-women schemes.Tucker gives her leads just enough past damage to earn sympathy but wisely spends most of her time ratcheting up the sexual tension in this light romance.
Read an Excerpt
Five Ways to Fall
■ ■ ■
I’ve never seen that look on Daddy’s face before.
He’s had it since he walked back from the pay phone. “Go on, now,” he urges, his gruff voice cracking. “Go on inside.”
“But . . . why?” I whine, casting wary eyes at the truck-stop diner, empty but for a man with a Santa beard.
Daddy rests his hand on the steering wheel and turns his body to face me. “Reesie, baby.” I don’t like his tone. It’s that serious one that makes my bottom lip wobble. “I need you to go back inside, sit down in our booth, and ask that nice waitress for another piece of that pecan pie you like so much,” he says slowly, evenly.
I swallow back my tears. “Alone?”
His face tightens, like he’s mad. “Only for a little bit.”
“And then you’ll come in?”
He squeezes his eyes shut and I’m afraid I just made him really angry, but . . . I’ve never gone anywhere alone. I’m only five. “Remember that Daddy loves you, baby girl. Now go on.”
Stifling back a sob, I slide along the old bench seat and push the heavy old Ford truck door open.
“Reesie,” Daddy calls out as my red shoes hit the sidewalk.
Turning, I see his hand wiping at something on his cheek before he gives me a wink and a smile. The truck door makes a loud bang as I swing it tight. Holding my breath, I climb the steps and push as hard as I can against the diner door, the jangle of the bell ringing in my ears. I dart across the black-and-white checkered floor and climb into our booth—the one we were sitting in before Daddy called Mommy; it still has our dishes on the table—just in time to see the taillights of Daddy’s truck disappear.
When the nice waitress with the big hair comes by, I tell her my daddy will be here soon and I order that piece of chocolate pecan pie with a please and thank you. I sit in that booth and gobble it up, thinking how lucky I am to get two pieces in one night.
And I wait.
With my chin resting on my palm, tucked into the corner of the booth, I stare out that window, watching for the familiar blue truck to reappear, checking the door every time that bell jangles. When the kind policeman sits down across from me and asks me where my daddy is, I tell him he’ll be here soon.
■ ■ ■
There’s no kind policeman to comfort me now. No nice lady bringing me a piece of chocolate pecan pie to combat the sourness in my mouth. But at least this time I wasn’t abandoned.
I’m reminded of that the second I see my stepfather’s face through the small glass window in the door.
His salt-and-pepper hair is more salt than pepper and he’s gained at least ten pounds around his waist since I last saw him—nine years ago—but there’s no mistaking Jack Warner. I don’t think he recognizes me, though. The way his steely blue eyes wander over my violet hair . . . my piercings . . . the giant “Jared” tattoo that coils around my right shoulder, I think he’s wondering if the police officer led him into the wrong room.
I’m lucky that I’m even in a room this time. Normally they throw you into a holding cell or make you sit in an uncomfortable chair next to a drunk named Seth who stinks of malt scotch and body odor. I’m pretty sure the female arresting officer felt sorry for me. By the lethal glare she threw at Jared and Caroline as I was escorted out of Lina’s apartment, past their apartment door, on my way to the cruiser, the officer wasn’t impressed with what she’d heard of the situation.
She didn’t hear it from me, of course. Growing up around lawyers, I’ve learned not to say a word to the police without one present. It was my best friend and next-door neighbor, Lina, who declared that the apartment I trashed earlier today is still technically mine—even if my name isn’t on the lease—and that they should be arresting the thieving, heartless bitch who stole my husband.
Unfortunately, I’m the only one sitting here now.
I hold my breath as I watch Jack take a seat, adjusting his slightly rumpled suit jacket on his large frame as he tries to get comfortable in the hard plastic chair. It’s ironic—in this moment, it feels like he’s both an integral part of my childhood and a complete stranger.
I can’t believe I called him.
I can’t believe he actually came.
With a heavy sigh, he finally murmurs, “Reese’s Pieces.” He’s looking down at me the same way he did when I got caught rearranging the letters of a Baptist church sign to read something no nine-year-old girl—or twenty-year-old, for that matter—should have in her vocabulary. Despite the severe strain in our once close relationship, warmth immediately spreads through my chest. I haven’t heard that nickname in years. “So . . . destruction of private property?”
I guess the cops filled him in. “I prefer to call it artistic expression.” The canvas included Caroline’s prissy clothes, her pretentious throw cushions, and that damn pornographic picture of them hanging over our bed. “Besides,” I raise my hands, stained in crimson, and offer in a deadpan tone, “they can’t prove it was me.” When Lina found me sitting quietly in the dim kitchen light of her apartment, where I’ve been staying for the past two weeks, she let out a single yelp before realizing that I hadn’t turned into a homicidal maniac and was in fact covered in red paint. I probably should have made the cops’ job harder and showered before they arrived.
A tiny sad smile creeps over his face. I wonder if my attempt at humor adequately hides the crushing heartbreak and rejection that I’m drowning in after finding out my husband was having an affair with his high school sweetheart.
“I phoned Barry on my way here. Sounds like you’ve kept him busy these past few years.” By his clenching jaw, I see that wasn’t an easy call for Jack to make, even nine years later. Not surprising. Friends since they could barely walk, Jack and Barry were once equity partners together in his law firm. Until Barry had an affair with Jack’s wife.
All relationships instantly dissolved in a bath of bitterness that obviously hasn’t fully drained yet. Glancing at his hand, I can’t help but notice the absence of a wedding ring. I guess he hasn’t remarried. After what my mother put him through, I don’t blame him.
“And I understand why you called me now. You didn’t have a choice, did you?”
“Not really,” I admit, focusing on the stars and circles I’m finger-drawing over the table’s cold metal surface. Barry is a high-priced, successful criminal lawyer who has gotten his unruly stepdaughter out of more than one debacle. The last incident was on my eighteenth birthday when I decided it would be funny to go retro and moon cars.
One of those cars was a police cruiser.
The cop was an uptight prick.
And I was drunk.
After helping me avoid indecent exposure and underage public drunkenness charges, Barry announced that my juvenile record was sealed, I was now an adult, and he was officially washing his hands of me. Three months later, when my mother left him for husband number four, it really became official.
“I’m surprised Annabelle’s new husband didn’t want this swept under the rug quickly.”
“I didn’t phone Annabelle. I don’t want her to know about this.” I stopped calling her “Mom” when I was eight. We both agreed it wasn’t fitting for a woman whose true passions lay in exclusive club status and dirty martinis.
My doodling finger freezes suddenly. “You didn’t phone her, did you?” That would be like handing her torpedoes for an effective insult air strike. She had called it after all. She’d said I didn’t have what it took to keep my “blue-collar pretty-boy” husband happy for long.
Jack chuckles softly, though there’s no mirth in it. “No, I definitely did not phone her. What would I tell her, anyway? You weren’t exactly informative on the phone. Sounds like you’re in some hot water, though.”
My sigh of relief slides out and I’m back to doodling. “That’s what they tell me.” When the cops started throwing around words like “larceny” and “threats of bodily harm”—things that sounded excessive and unfitting, but permanently damaging to my fresh and clean adult record should they stick—I knew I wasn’t going to talk my way out of this one. It didn’t help that I used the picture of Caroline for target practice during my rampage, leaving a pair of scissors strategically placed through her eyes. “It’s a good thing you still have that same law firm. You were easy to find.”
Jack folds his arms over his chest and regards me with an unreadable face. A tiny part of me—the angry little girl lost somewhere inside—is ready to burst, to demand, “How could you have left me? I know why you left my mom, but how could you have shoved me out of your life so easily, too? I didn’t cheat on you!” But I bite my bottom lip. Pissing off the one person who can help me right now wouldn’t be smart. And I need to be smart.
Finally Jack leans back in his chair and says, “Okay, Reese. Start from the beginning and let’s see how we can solve this.”
I press my lips together to keep from smiling. Not because this is amusing. It’s just that we’ve been here before. This really is starting to feel like days long since lost, when we’d meet up in the kitchen around midnight—after Annabelle had gone to sleep, when Jack was finally home from work—to contemplate my latest mischief over bowls of ice cream. He’s even adopted the same hypnotic tone that always got me talking when my teachers, my guidance counselor, or anyone else really, couldn’t. I’m pretty sure he uses it on all of his clients.
Twenty minutes later, after I’ve given him a rundown of my situation, I hear his disappointed sigh. “Working in a pet shop, Reese?”
“Not anymore.” After leaving work early with the flu and coming home to the big discovery of Jared and her in the shower—oddly enough, the more it replays in my mind, the more it begins to resemble the shower scene from Scarface—I spent a week in Lina’s bed, heavily sedated with Jim Beam and Nyquil. My boss fired me over the phone.
I don’t care.
“And eloping in Vegas with a guy? At nineteen years old? After knowing him for six weeks?” I know that the chuckle that fills the room now isn’t directed at me, even before his words confirm it; Jack’s laughing at the irony of it all. “And you were always so adamant that you’d never get married.”
I have no answer to that, except a quiet “I loved him,” as the painful knot forms in my throat, as I fight the sob from tearing out of me. I did. I think I still do, despite how much Jared has hurt me. Since that day eight months ago when I stepped out of my best friend Lina’s apartment and quite literally ran into her neighbor, a reincarnation of a mint-eyed Greek demigod, I knew that I had met my soul mate. Fireworks exploded, lightning struck, electricity coursed. All that love-at-first-sight bullshit that I didn’t believe in—I instantly became a poster child for it. Common sense flew out the window with a cement block tied to its ankle.
Jared said he felt it, too.
And now, after six months of marital bliss, without a single warning sign, he’s back with her.
That rotten illness festering inside me enflames with the thought, the humiliating reality a burn that doesn’t want to subside.
“Look, Reese. I know you’ve always had a wild streak in you, even as a little girl. These choices you’ve made since I saw you last, though,” his head is shaking, “possession of marijuana . . . trespassing . . . underage drinking . . . a fistfight?”
“It’s not really that big a deal. A lot of people drink and smoke pot in high school,” I argue, adding, “I’m just the one who kept getting caught.”
“Drag racing?” He stares at me questioningly.
“Those were derby cars and that was totally blown out of proportion,” I clarify.
Jack slides his glasses off and gives his face a rough rub, looking exhausted. It’s a four-hour drive from Miami to Jacksonville and he arrived here five hours after I called, meaning he pretty much dropped everything to come. I can’t help but wonder why he’d do that.
“At least I didn’t get knocked up,” I joke.
By the look of exasperation he shoots me, he doesn’t find that remotely funny. “I had hoped you were too smart to get into this kind of trouble.”
“I guess even smart girls can make a clusterfuck of their lives, can’t they?” I mutter, though his words sting.
Because they’re true.
There’s a long pause, where Jack’s mouth twists in thought as he regards me. “What are you going to do with yourself now, Reese? How are you going to make up for this?” When I was little, Jack always asked me for suggestions as to how I should be punished for my various childish misdemeanors. I think it was his way of getting me to agree on the outcome without looking like the harsh stepfather. I was pretty good at coming up with suitable penances and it was definitely preferable to sitting in a chair while my mother shrieked about what an embarrassment I was to her, the gin sloshing out of her martini glass with her mad hand gesticulations.
But I’m not a little kid anymore and Jack’s not asking me to come up with a suitable punishment. He’s asking me how I’m going to fix my life.
All I have for him is a defeated shrug.
Because that’s how I feel right now. Defeated. “I don’t know. Get another job, I guess.”
“What about college?”
The eye roll happens before I can stop myself. Jack always hated my eye rolls. “My transcripts aren’t exactly going to woo the administrative offices.” Neither will the private school expulsion, earned when I broke into a teacher’s office and stole a midterm exam.
“Because you couldn’t do the work?” My arched brow answers him. “Because you didn’t do the work,” he answers for himself, shaking his head, his face a mask of extreme disappointment. “Is this how you want to live your life? In and out of police cars? Working minimum-wage jobs? In unstable relationships?”
“Does anybody ever really want that?”
Jack’s right. I was smart. Some may say I’m still smart. But I’ve made so many wrong turns along the way, I don’t know how many right ones it will take to course-correct.
I don’t know if that’s even possible.
I sit in silence, listening to the monotonous tick-tick-tick of the second hand on the wall clock above, watching Jack as he spends an exorbitant amount of time playing with the gold Rolex on his wrist, his breaths deep and ragged. I don’t know that I can count on him. I mean, he forgot about me once. Looking at the twenty-year-old version of who he once knew, he’s probably ready to stamp “lost cause” across my forehead.
And then he settles those kind gray eyes on me. “I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I arrived, but I had a long car ride up to think about it.” Folding his hands together on the table in front of him, a stern expression settles over his face. “I have a proposition. It comes with conditions, though.”
A small exhale escapes me as I chew the inside of my mouth, relief and wariness dancing together. “Okay. I guess?”
“No more, Reese. Not even the harmless stuff.”
“This is my first time here in years, Jack.” Ironically, I convinced myself that meeting Jared was a turning point in my life, leaving me the sated and smiling wife who was happy hanging out at home and keeping out of trouble.
“Yes . . .” His eyes graze the walls of the police station room. “And yet here you are again.”
He doesn’t get it. He must not have heard me. “This was different, Jack! She moved in! I haven’t even moved out yet! All my stuff is still in that apartment!”
He raises his hand to silence me. “You should have turned around and walked out. That would have been the mature, responsible thing to do. Instead, you let your emotions get the better of you.”
I smirk as another wave of familiarity washes over me. “You always said I was too emotional for my own good.”
“I did say that,” he acknowledges with a sad smile. “And I’m still right. No more, Reese.”
Picking at a loose thread on my sleeve as if the topic isn’t cutting into my heart, I offer casually, “Well, I can definitely promise that I won’t be getting married again. Ever.”
That earns a soft chuckle. “You and me both, kiddo.” A pause. “You remember Mason, don’t you?”
My geeky stepbrother who used to spend half his time scowling at me and the other half staring as if my head were about to revolve on my shoulders. I recall that the day we moved out, he watched with a bitter smile, condemning me to follow in my mother’s footsteps.
He despised my mother from the very first day that he met her.
My pursed lips at the mention of that name has Jack smiling. “Oh, yes. How could I forget? Your nemesis. Well, he’s finishing law school this spring.” Jack takes a deep breath and then holds it, as if he’s hesitating. “Why don’t you come and live with us until you get back on your feet.”
Jack continues, not addressing the bewilderment that must be plastered over my face. “I can get you into the paralegal program at Miami U. If you finish that, you can work for me. It doesn’t have to be forever, but at least you’ll have something solid to put on a résumé. It’s a fresh start.”
“I . . . uh . . . ” Did I just hear all that correctly?
His eyes drift over my hair again. “You should think about a more natural color for an office environment and . . .” His focus settles down to the tiny diamond-encrusted septum ring in my nose and he cringes. “Maybe a few less piercings.”
But . . . My tongue has somehow coiled itself into a useless ball inside my mouth as my mind grapples with this offer. It’s far from what I had expected. “Why are you doing this, Jack? I mean, it’s great and all, but why?” He really doesn’t owe me anything. It’s enough that he came all the way out here to bail me out.
“Because I shouldn’t have turned my back on you, Reese. I let—” A flash of pain betrays his otherwise calm demeanor. “Let’s just say I’m making amends.” He pauses. “What do you say? I need to get out of this town. I can feel Annabelle’s shadow looming.” He shivers for effect, making me snort.
“Well . . .” My fingers rap across the table as I give my current situation—that of a police station room—another once-over. I have no job, no home, a shattered heart, and a pending criminal record. I should probably make the first smart choice I’ve made in a long time. But . . . “Not sure the cops will let that happen, Jack.”
“You leave that with me.”
Another pause. “I’m riding my bike down.”
His mouth twists with displeasure. “I assume you’re not referring to one with pedals.”
“No pedals,” I confirm with a small smile. I got my motorcycle license when I turned eighteen and bought a bike a few months later. Another element of my “badass” self that Jared loves.
Jack heaves a sigh. “That shouldn’t surprise me. You always did threaten your mother with getting one. Anything else I should know?”
“I’m a slob,” I warn him. “And a certifiable bitch in the morning.”
“Well, I guess some things just don’t change, after all.” Reaching up to give his neck a slow scratch, he mumbles, “Mason will be thrilled.”
■ ■ ■
Six months later
“Could we have picked somewhere more commercial?” I ask dryly, draining my fourth margarita in record time as my gaze drifts over the beachside bar, complete with canopies, twinkling Christmas lights—in July—and too many happy, laughing people. Even with the sun setting and the light ocean breeze passing through, a light sheen of sweat coats the back of my neck. It’s a typical summer night in Cancún, Mexico—hell-hot.
“Commercial is safe,” Lina answers in her distinctive flat tone. She always sounds bored to tears.
I roll my eyes. “You’re safer in this country than you are in our own nation’s capital—you do realize that, right? That’s all just media hype.”
“Tell that to the American couple who just had their heads lopped off a month ago.”
“If I were going to tell them anything, it would be to not run drugs for the cartel,” I retort.
She acknowledges that with a lazy shrug as she sips on some frothy calorie-laden pink thing with an umbrella sticking out of it.
“Why don’t we put on a pile of diamonds, jump into a random cab, and get the guy to drive us through the quiet, dark back streets of Mexico City?”
Lina’s thin lips purse together tightly as she regards me. “It’s never fun to discover your best friend has a death wish.”
With a snort, I wave the server down for another drink. “But it would be fun to watch someone try to take Nicki down.”
As if hearing her name from across the lounge, Nicki—who I met when I answered a “roommate wanted” ad in the newspaper—and the third member of our little “Reese is turning twenty-one and is still bitter as hell so let’s go to Cancún” entourage, turns her head to catch our gaze from her seat on a swing by the bar. She winks as she downs another shot of tequila.
“How does she make that work so well?” Lina mutters with a hint of envy. I know exactly what she means. All around us are flirty girls in pastel barely-there dresses and sun-kissed skin. Not Nicki, though. She sits by that bar like a femme fatale in a skin-tight leopard print dress and four-inch black heels, her platinum-blond hair coiffed like Gwen Stefani’s, her red lips glaring against her pale skin, and sparkly chandelier earrings dangling from her ears. All that femininity oozing from her is counterbalanced by a full sleeve of ink and the muscular physique she’s honed through her latest passion: dead-weight lifting. The tall guy talking her ear off right now? She could bench-press his two-hundred-odd pounds without breaking a sweat. That, coupled with her three-year stint cage-fighting before she switched hobbies, makes her one badass twenty-five-year-old woman.
“It works so well because she’s beautiful and mysterious and she’s not stupid enough to run off and marry some guy she met in a hallway who’s still in love with his ex,” I mutter around my straw, catching the wince flash across Lina’s face. It’s the first time I’ve made any open reference to Jared since leaving for Miami, perfecting the art of denial while I impatiently waited for my heart to freeze.
Our waiter places a fresh margarita on the table next to me with a wink. I force a smile and I’m sure it’s altogether hostile by the way he hightails it back to the bar. I can’t help it. He has dark, shaggy hair and olive skin. Just like Jared.
“You have to let it go, Reese. It’s been six months. You—” My flat glare makes her voice falter, her words a dishonor to the very real, very raw pain I still feel. Especially today, on what would have been our one-year wedding anniversary.
And is instead Jared and Caroline’s wedding day.
Because karma hasn’t been cruel enough.
She quickly changes tactics. “You’ve started a whole new life. New city, new home. Soon, a new look . . .” Her free hand reaches up to flip strands of my hair, reminding me that the purple will be gone the day that I return. “You’ve got that great new job.”
I roll my eyes.
“It’s not cleaning up puppy shit and getting bitten by snakes.” She taps the puncture marks on the meaty part of my thumb. A physical reminder of the day I made the idiotic mistake of sticking my mouse-scented hand into a cage to freshen the aspen chips and ended up with a two-foot-long ball python’s fangs embedded in my flesh.
That happened the exact same day my sky fell. A very fitting scar.
“Not literally. But I’ll be working in a law firm, Lina. Plenty of snakes.”
After we made our agreement, Jack quickly went about throwing all kinds of legal jargon at the cops. In the end, it was unnecessary. Given the epically huge lack of judgment that Jared used sending me into that apartment unprepared to collect my things, he convinced Caroline not to press charges. So I walked out the police doors without any record of my moment of crazy.
Jack let me wallow in his spacious Miami house for one week, wearing my pajamas and gorging myself on Ben & Jerry’s Butter Pecan ice cream out of the tub for twenty-one consecutive meals, before he tossed a bunch of application papers my way. He said, “It takes four to six months for most students to get through, depending on how hard you work. You can do it all online if you want and I have a paralegal spot waiting for you when you’re done. Decent pay, good people. It’s just a start, Reese.”
I’ve never had any interest in working at a law firm—especially the one tainted by my mother—but I had made a deal with Jack and I am smart enough to see a good opportunity. So I immersed myself in the program, using it as a distraction. Once I got into it, I actually didn’t mind the course work. It took me five months to complete and I ended up finishing with a near-perfect score.
I start my new job the Monday after I get back from Cancún.
“Oh, no. You’re having doubts. You’re going to bail on Jack. If you do, you’re dead to me,” Lina says.
“Oh, ye of little faith.” Surprisingly, as unreliable as I can be at times, the thought of bailing on Jack has never crossed my mind.
“Fine. Let’s talk about happier things. How’s Annabelle?”
“Okay, see this?” I gesture to my face, which has contorted into a mixed pucker of disgust and loathing. “Sour face. Do not speak of she who must not be named.”
“Do you want me to break into her place while she sleeps and turn her fans on? Guaranteed death, according to my people.” Lina was adopted by a lovely Korean couple as a baby and raised to fully embrace their culture, including all of their death-by-fan superstitions. The fact that she’s a five-foot-eleven-inch willowy blond who towers over both her parents means nothing in the Chung household. Her name is actually Li-Na, but she Americanized it in high school to make life easier. She speaks Korean fluently—throwing more than a few people off—and can shovel food into her mouth with chopsticks like the best of them.
We’ve been best friends since sophomore year, when I discovered Lina crying in a bathroom stall after Raine Higgins and her posse of bored and bitchy juniors had been bullying her. I did what any naturally spiteful high school kid who hates bullies would do. I spray-painted Raine’s car with Korean expletives that I found on the internet. That, along with a picture of her giving her boyfriend a blow job in a parking lot that I covertly took—after stalking her at a party—and glued to the inside of the windshield of her locked car with Krazy Glue, was enough to keep Lina from ever being bothered by her again.
The tightness in my chest suddenly lifts with Lina’s attempts to sway my mood. “Are you sure you and Nicki don’t want a third roommate?” Lina and Nicki moved down to Miami about a month ago, into a condo that Lina’s parents bought for her as a college graduation present.
“Absolutely sure,” she confirms without missing a beat, her focus intent on the little pink umbrella twirling between her thumb and index finger. Lina’s living habits are about as opposite to mine as the Arctic Circle is to the Sahara Desert. Everything in her apartment—from her linen closet to her pasta jars—is tidy and labeled accordingly. Those two weeks that I sought refuge in her apartment after breaking up with Jared nearly destroyed her.
“Okay, enough about bad stuff. Didn’t we talk about finding you a fling?”
I groan as I survey the crowd. “I remember you talking about it and me ignoring you. I’ve tried. Three strikes is enough for me.”
“You have not tried, Reese. Admit it.”
Either there’s an influx of douchebags or Lina’s right and I’m subconsciously sabotaging myself. First there was Slick Steve, a senior at Miami U who showed up to our date with perfectly coiffed hair and an outfit right off the set of Grease the musical. Then there was Metrosexual Mark, a blind date from Nicki’s work who picked his teeth with his fork and had a weird habit of adding “if it were me” to 90 percent of the sentences that came out of his mouth.
The final straw, though?
Emilio. Good ol’ Spanish I-look-enough-like-your-ex-husband-that-if-you-dim-the-lights-this-might-actually-work Emilio. I might have been willing to see where it went had he not opened his wallet and laid it out on the table to proudly display his collection of extra-large Trojans, and then propositioned me in Spanish.
I shudder with the memory. “I’m starting my harem of cats.”
“You hate cats.”
“True. But I also hate limes, and look at me now!” I hold up my glass. “Besides, I’ve already found my Cancún fling. Lina, meet Mr. Cuervo. Mr. Cuervo . . . my best friend, Lina.” Leaning in, I waggle my brow and whisper, “If you’re nice, he’ll let you call him Jose. I plan on spending the next six nights with this naughty little Mexican.” I wave a hand at the server as he whizzes by, letting him know that I need another drink by pointing to my nearly empty glass, as I add, “He can be a bit of a whiny bitch in the morning but he makes up for it by dark.”
“Great. Because you’re not emotional enough when you’re sober,” she mutters, adding with a sigh, “Well, an incessantly drunk Reese should make for an interesting trip, at least. Just try not to get arrested. I hear the cells here aren’t as nice as the ones you’re used to back home.”
Nicki must have been monitoring my drink levels from her perch by the bar because she saunters over with a fresh margarita in hand, either oblivious or ignoring the attention she naturally garners. “Here you go, señorita,” she offers in a deceptively soft voice as she flicks her tongue piercing. I automatically roll my tongue, sensing the absence of mine. Jack hasn’t outright demanded that I remove my piercings but I knew, by the way he kept cringing, that the barbell through my tongue was truly freaking him out. I removed that one out of respect, but I’m holding out on the others until the last possible moment.
“Jose isn’t complaining about my level of intoxication,” I respond to Lina, giving the rim of my glass a slow, sultry lick. I have a high tolerance for alcohol, borne from years of underage partying. It would seem, though, that lame, tourist-trap Cancún serves strong margaritas and the warm and fuzzies are really kicking in.
“Who the fuck is Jose?” Nicki asks, her pretty face scrunching up.
“It’s Mr. Cuervo to you.”
She finally clues in and that musical laugh of hers rolls out. “Oh . . . oh, buddy! No! That’s so sad. We need to fix that.” Her curious eyes scan the lounge. “You promised me you’d exorcise Jared from your vagina if you met a hot guy . . . There. The one in front. Perfect.” She raises her inked arm, signaling someone as if she knows him.
Oh, God. I suck back a large gulp. “Seriously, Nicki. After the tooth picker you set me up with, I think I’m done. And exorcisms take at least two days to prepare for. Can’t I just drown myself in frozen green goodness for tonight? I’m not even dressed for it.” I’d thrown on a pair of shorts and an old faded rock concert tank. I don’t even have makeup on.
“What do you wanna be this time? Architect from L.A.?” she asks, ignoring my opposition completely. Her eyes twinkle as they flash to me. “Stripper from Pasadena?”
I nod with appreciation. “That was a good one.” Before Jared, the three of us used to head out to the bars on the weekends—Lina and I with fake ID. We’d make up identities: jobs, cities, sometimes names, and see how long we could keep it going while guys bought us drinks. Once, I had a guy completely sold on me being a goat herder from Iowa. He was as dumb as a bag of bricks.
The shuffle of approaching feet stirs an anxious flutter in my stomach. I really don’t want to carry on a conversation tonight, fake or otherwise. “Helloooo boys,” Nicki purrs playfully. I feel the eyes of women around us as they sit up to take notice, their rays of envy scorching my skin. I decide I can’t play disinterested just yet. I need to know what type of fiend Nicki has targeted. As casually as five margaritas will allow, I turn and . . . slide right off my chair, my shorts providing my ass with little protection against the hard tile floor.
“I have shamed Mr. Cuervo,” I mutter, ducking my head, the night air carrying mocking giggles my way as I accept that it’s only eight o’clock and I’m way more drunk than I realized.
A large hand appears in front of me, palm up. “Well, I’m impressed.” I hear the smile behind the masculine voice and I can’t decide if I like that or not. Accepting the help—because the sooner I’m off the floor, the better—I’m pulled to my feet and into the broad chest of a blond with a big, obnoxious grin.
Wearing a fucking red shirt.
Meet the Author
K.A. Tucker is the author of He Will Be My Ruin and the Ten Tiny Breaths and the Burying Water series. She currently resides outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.
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4.5/5 stars *sniffle* I can't believe this series is over! I have loved each and every book and I am going to miss these characters so much! K.A. has constructed stories that are filled with heart and emotion and she does an amazing job of really making you feel connected to these characters and what they have to overcome. I have been super excited for Ben's story, as I loved him back when we first met him in Ten Tiny Breaths. Pacing: Just right! I loved the slower build up of Reese and Ben's relationship. Reese is rather fragile to handle, so it wouldn't have made sense to have things escalate between them too quickly. Instead, they form a friendship first and from there we see the lines between friendship and more start to blur. Storyline: After a rather entertaining night in Cancun, Reese hoped she'd never lay eyes on the sexy, ripped blonde she'd humiliated herself in front of again. However, in her haste to exorcise her ex-husband from her brain, Reese neglects to get more details on Ben. Such as where he lives, or what he does.... The two find themselves face to face again months later, realizing they both work for the same law firm. Ben is constantly teasing Reese about their night in Cancun, which pisses her off to no end. Their banter is so amusing to watch and I loved seeing them actually develop a friendship with one another. Reese is still hurt over the infidelity of her ex-husband and to find he's also moved to Miami with his new wife is a shot to the gut for Reese. She was blindsided by their relationship and for a woman already struggling with abandonment issues, this does not bode well for any involved. Reese wants to make her ex jealous and what better way to do it than with a certain sexy, blonde haired ex-bouncer like Ben? Ben is a fun loving guy and has never gotten attached to any particular woman. While he is attracted to Reese, he loves that they have this casual, no strings relationship too. However, the more time he spends with her and getting to know her, makes him stop and wonder if there's something more here? And as for Reese, is making her ex husband jealous all she wants? Or does she want him to love her again and go back to the way she once thought things were between them? Characters: Oh, Reese. She is a firecracker and I loved that about her. For those of you who have read Ten Tiny Breaths, she is VERY similar to Kacey. (Ben once crushed on Kacey hardcore, so it's no surprise he's drawn to Reese.) Reese has a wild streak and has always been known to attract trouble. Underneath that sassy, spunky exterior is actually a very hurt woman. Having been abandoned by her father as a child, and now her husband- she is much more delicate than she lets on. Her former step-father Jack, is the one person who actually treated her like his own and loved her like a daughter. He owns the law firm both Reese and Ben work for and he is very protective of her and doesn't approve of inter-office relationships. This makes things rather interesting for flirtatious Ben and a very guarded Reese. Ben Morris reminds me of a teddy bear. He is one that I would want to clutch forever and ever and never let go of. He is a genuine good guy. He is a true mama's boy and watching his scenes with her are just precious. She desperately wants him to find a good girl and settle down, to which he jokes and blows off. However, the minute he brought Reese home with him, that mother's intuition kicked in and she just knew she was something special. Ben has his own demons to deal with concerning his father, however, which may give insight as to why Ben has never done serious relationships. Reese's step-brother and Ben's good friend, Mason, is also a fun addition to the storyline. He and Reese have never really gotten along and you would think they would give up their childish poking and prodding. Nope! They cracked me up and they were also really funny to watch, as Mason is the complete opposite of Reese. He is a rule follower and doesn't like to embrace the crazy. We do get to see Storm and Dan's wedding from Ben's POV, so Kacey does pop up briefly in this book, as does Nate, the other bouncer at Penny's. I will admit I missed seeing Livie, Cain, and Trent, but I do like how the series occurs in the same time frame. Final Thoughts: I really did enjoy this one. Reese and Ben are two great characters with a lot more depth than they let on. The slow build up of their relationship makes everything that much sweeter, even though they take plenty of liberties before they realize what they really mean to one another. Reese and Ben's flirtatious banter is one that will leave you chuckling and also giddy inside. I am sad to leave these characters behind, but I am satisfied with the stories K.A. did provide from their world and how she concluded them. Still, I wouldn't mind a novella of sorts to see how all our characters are faring....
You can read my reviews for the previous books by visiting my blog. I will admit that since I’ve been reading the Ten Tiny Breaths series, I haven’t really had a desire to read Ben’s story. However, after reading it, I’m so glad it was written. In fact, this may very well be my favorite book of the series. The humor is what did it for me. While there may have been funny parts in the other books, this book had it in spades. And I loved it! First, there’s Ben. He’s handsome and cocky. He’s unapologetic about his ways. He’s a great guy, though. He’s a good friend and he’s got love to give. Then, there’s Reese. She’s wild and a little bit crazy. She’s unapologetic about her ways. She’s perfect for Ben. Together, they were witty and funny. And full of sexual tension! It was a delight to watch these two come together. K. A. Tucker stated at the end of the book that this is the last planned book of the series. While that’s sad (I could think of a couple of characters that I’d like more insight into), I’m looking forward to reading other things by her. * This book was received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. * You can read all of my reviews on my blog, KDH Reviews.
First Thoughts: I have loved Ben for a long time, and I have been super excited to finally get his story. He has always been sweet but determined, and he definitely liked to have fun (as evidenced by his going away party in the previous book). I was also excited to see what kind of girl would be able to tame Ben because well the women in this series are just as amazing as the men. The Story: I loved this story, it was more humorous then the previous books in the series. It does still have your heartache but it was majorly toned down and not nearly as heartbreaking. I think the main difference in this book is that although Ben and Reese have issues, they aren’t as severe as characters from previous books. The Characters: Reese: As I said earlier, the women in this series are just as amazing as the men and Reese is no exception. Smart, witty, fly by the seat of her pants, she is absolutely amazing and she is definitely one of my favorite women in this series. Ben: Oh Ben how I love you… Ben is absolutely fantastic! Each book in this series I think I fall in love with the main man (for good reasons) but Ben well, so far he is my favorite. He is charming, fun, spontaneous, sweet, and just EVERYTHING! I think what I loved most about him though is that he is a crazy mama’s boy. I love me some bad boys but give me a sweet mama’s boy any day! Final Thoughts: It is not a surprise that I found this book utterly fantastic and I recommend that everyone pick this book up and read it. The great thing is, although this is a series they can all be read as standalone as well! I have also come to the conclusion that K.A. Tucker is magic with her words. She is always able to make you feel as if you are in the story with the characters, you are friends with them… not just a reader, this is REAL! That is why I keep coming back to her books, regardless of what she writes, I will always be excited and chomping at the bit to read her newest stuff
“If you have to fight over a guy, he’s not worth it. Go for the one who’s waiting for you.” THE STORY: Becca: WOW! This book was amazing! The characters were amazing! K.A. Tucker is amazing! I loved absolutely everything about this story…it was… well… AMAZING!! Without giving too much away I will say…this is not your typical romance. Lisa said it best when she said to me “finally reading a book with a slow burn romance is awesome!” The initial dislike, then friendship and finally build up of Reese and Ben’s romance was absolutely perfect! My favorite part of the whole book? The farm! It was so well written that I could actually see the beauty and feel the peace and relaxation when Ben and Reese were there. This story also tackles some real life issues that I do not want to give away and spoil the story, but Tucker handles them brilliantly in the genius way only she can! Lisa: GAH! K.A. Tucker never ceases to amaze me. This is probably one of my favorites in the series, though I’ve loved them all honestly. The slow burn romance was so refreshing after reading so many romances lately that border on insta-love. And I definitely agree with Becca… the setting for this story was fantastic! The farm was so much fun, and so unique compared to other books in this genre. People tend to be scared off by the NA genre lately, but trust me, there are some pretty fantastic books out there if you look… and this is one of those books. I can’t say one bad thing about it. “Have you always loved yourself this much?” “I had an awkward year in ‘ninety-nine, but I got over it quick.” THE CHARACTERS: Lisa: If you’re anything like me, you fell in love with Ben long ago. He’s the super-sweet, rough and tough bouncer with a heart of gold. A heart that he’s terrified to give away to anyone. He strictly forbids any type of commitment and insists that feelings do not find a place in any of his “relationships.” One night in Cancun he stumbles across Reese, the purple-haired spunky girl that’s looking for one fun night. Score! That one night (which is hilarious and had me rolling around in hysterics!) is just the beginning of this wonderful story. I loved that characters from the prior books, such as Casey and Trent, make a cameo appearance as well. My favorite series have companion novels like this, where each story is unique and separate to different characters, but here and there we get a little blast from the past to make us smile. Ben’s group of friends is so much fun! Getting to meet his family in this story made it so much better. Trust me, you will LOVE Ben’s mama! She was flat-out hilarious and easily my favorite character in this book. Becca and I went back and forth several times about how awesome she was. There are also characters you will despise and want to smack across the face, over and over again. But mixed in with those duds are quite a few gems that will steal your heart. What a group! Becca: I could not agree with Lisa more on all counts! This group of characters stole my heart! I honestly do not know who I loved more, from the giant, dimpled teddy bear Ben, to his Mama the tough lovin’ sweetheart who I wish I could have as my own Mom :) and then finally Reese… OK she is probably my favorite! I absolutely loved her! Her purple hair, her harley, her love of pecan pie and her minion cell phone ringtone :) She was so fierce and loyal and totally bad ass! I just loved her! I loved to hate the villains in this story and will just say that when Reese seeks revenge… you better watch out! I was laughing so hard at so many moments in this book, from Reese and Ben’s witty banter, to the moments in Cancun and finally those sweet, sweet revenge moments. K.A. Tucker amazes me again with the strength of her character building, and I agree with Lisa I loved the cameo’s from characters in the past :) “No way a guy who’s been in there wouldn’t be bothered watching someone else stick his tongue in your mouth.” “I think you should send that straight to Hallmark.” OVERALL: Becca: So shall I GUSH some more… I mean I have not one negative to say about this story. It was perfect from start to finish! *excited squeal* maybe I’ve had too much coffee today :) but seriously, K.A Tucker has done it again! amazing characters, breath taking settings, humor and a slow burn romance to die for! When you are finished checking out our review please put this on your MUST read list!! Lisa: Ha! Well said, Becca! As you can tell, we have massive crushes on K.A. Tucker and she can do no wrong in our eyes. We’re completely in sync with that fact. :) Five Ways to Fall, just like the other books in this series, was flawless and pure enjoyment. Becca and I both like our characters flawed, prefer our romances on the slow-burn side, and absolutely adore Tucker’s writing style. So if you’re anything like us, this is a series you won’t want to miss. And a book that’s worth the read even if you haven’t read this series. Though some characters from the past make an appearance, it’s not necessary to read all of the prior books before this one. Another A+ MUST read book from K.A. Tucker!
Oh, Ben and Reese. I wasn't sure about you two, but holy moly am I sure now. <3 Basically, I just want to read anything and everything KA Tucker writes. She knows how to write complicated characters and stories. She can keep readers engaged, interested, and emotionally involved throughout her books. She adds just the right amount of steam, tension, angst, depth, emotion, humor, wit, etc. Her characters stay with you for a long time, and I love that. :) This book is full of amazing characters, and we get updates about past characters from this series too, which always makes me happy. In FWTF, Ben and Reese are two fairly similar and completely different people. Their similarities threaten to keep them apart, while their differences bring them together. It's an interesting dynamic—one you don't want to miss. Ben also has a huge family, and Reese has her family (Mason and Jack!) and friends. They all come together to make this book special, fun, and unique. I love the writing style. Tucker keeps things fresh throughout the book. It never feels stale or overdone. It's always witty and funny without trying too hard or being over the top. Reese is vulnerable while being so tough. Ben is a softy even though he seems like he shouldn't be. But it's all believable, entertaining, and emotionally engaging. I laughed, I cried, I got angry...and I enjoyed it the whole time. <3 Seriously. If you haven't started this series, do yourself a favor and pick up Ten Tiny Breaths. Then move on down the line.
K.A. Tucker’s Ten Tiny Breaths series has introduced us to a myriad of interesting characters who are all a little broken in their own way. I’ve been hopelessly hooked on the characters, their relationships and Kathleen’s writing since I first picked up Ten Tiny Breaths last year. With each new book, I love this series more and more. Ben has been one of those characters who has floated in the background since the beginning and I was ridiculously excited to find the last book in this series would be his. I always knew there was more to him than met the eye. Ben and Reese meet during Spring Break and it’s a rather unforgettable night, but for all the wrong reasons. She’s mortified and hopes to never see him again. He can’t help but be intrigued by the purple haired girl who ran out on him in Cancun. He’s more than a little surprised to see her more serious and buttoned up, but still as spunky as ever, working as a paralegal at the law firm he’s just begun working for. As they work closely with each other, neither are able to hide the attraction they feel. What begins as physical attraction and sexual tension explodes into something more, something real and while it’s far from easy, it was right. I absolutely adored both Reese and Ben. I mean, I’ve had a soft spot for Ben from the time he first appeared in Ten Tiny Breaths. He played such a minor part, I always wanted to know more about this cocky, complicated guy. He really was the total package. He was hot, sexy, witty as hell, protective and sweet. He also had a troubled past and more than his share of family issues. Reese was a strong heroine. She was spunky, strong, smart and likable, even under the tough exterior. Both of these characters had a past and more baggage than they knew what to do with, but they didn’t let that get them down. As much as I enjoyed them each separately, they were twice as good together. I loved their banter and the chemistry between them. This book gave me a ton of feels in the way that K.A.’s books usually do. I connected with the characters and cheered them through the good and the bad. I laughed, smiled and cried as I devoured Five Ways to Fall in one sitting. K.A. has a way with characters. They’re all a little damaged and a lot lovable. I’ve loved this series from the start and now that we’re on the last book, it’s safe to say I’ll miss them quite a bit. I see many rereads of this series in my future. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
I just realized I never wrote a review of this read and now I've reread it. Let me just say the banter between Reese and Ben is priceless...seriously among the best I've read. I wish I was cool enough to think of this stuff to say or write because geez, amazing! A must read. Really quit reading this review and read this book. Wickedly hilarious and yet poignant.
Funny, sexy and smart writing. Sad to see the series go....wishing for more!
I have enjoyed this series so much!! And although this is to be the last book in the series, I see one more in here! Like the others in the series i would love to see Reese's and Bens love story come full circle with the happy ever after endinging!! And how can we leave Wilma and Jake with just a wink and an inuendo? Surely they must come together (with Reese and Ben's help) go keep the citrus grove thriving and back to its historical glory! PLEASE!! There must be one more novel in that creative mind that you posess!!! Just love these stories!
I loved this series. I am sorry to see it end. Loved the interaction between Reese and the playboy, Ben. Story pulled and flowed well and left me wanting more.
AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall: 4 Narration: 4 Story: 3 I’ve jumped about a bit with this series, but to Tucker’s credit, the story does stand without needing to have the information from the earlier books in the series. This is a solidly new adult series, with characters that are still finding themselves, at times frustrating but always engaging. This is predominantly Ben’s story – we are focused on his versions of events – with a solid input from Reese, and the total train-wreck that is her life. For me, Reese was about as emotionally mature as a turnip, or perhaps a 12 year old: spiteful, vengeful, angry and wholly insecure: completely unwilling to look forward to ‘consequences’ until long after she leaps. Her attempts to regain control of her life is a step in the right direction, but she still needs to deal with many more issues. Ben was the playboy in college, and he hasn’t changed his stripes at all. Even passing the bar and starting as a new associate in a law firm hasn’t matured his own views on relationships. That whole commitment-phobe storyline is well crafted, Tucker manages to give him enough personal insight to have an awareness of the immaturity, even as he is unwilling to change. Now, these two meet as a one night stand in Cancun – never believing they will meet again. Of course, this wouldn’t be much of a story if one night was all it was, and they meet again and Reese enlists Ben’s help in enacting her vengeance against her ex-husband. Oh, and she’s the stepdaughter of the boss, a relationship that Reese has studiously avoided and is acting out against, even though more backstory on that interaction would have served the story well. Tucker creates wonderfully compelling characters: easy to engage with, and wholly consuming your emotions for good and bad. Where this story lacked was in the actual storytelling: giving enough background to explain WHY Reese was such a train-wreck and so very vengeful: the attraction between she and Ben was well done and easily explained. And Ben? Most of his behavior was pretty self-explanatory and easy to understand, even when he didn’t quite see the writing on the wall. Narration in this story is provided by Elizabeth Louise and Deacon Lee. Both of these narrators did a wonderful job incorporating subtle nuance into Reese and Ben to bring their characters to light. Additional characterizations were also easy to delineate, pitch and pacing changes to indicate each secondary character’s appearance all were distinct and easy to pick out. Both narrators worked in concert to present a story that wasn’t overacted or overly presented, and never once distracting. Tucker’s conclusion to the series is a light and fun story, perhaps not what everyone that is a fan of her story to date will have expected, but a decent escapist read. I received an AudioBook copy of the title from Simon & Schuster Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
This is an awesome series.. I have loved each and every book. Like others I am sad to see it end. I really wish she would write one on Nate though. He was a constant in all the books and I think he could have an awesome story. If she wrote a book on him I think I could be in peace and she can quit after that. Lol. Read this series because u will not be dissapointed. She is an awesome writer and I will continue to be on the lookout for more of her books.
I hate to see the series end but what a great book to end on! K.A. Tucker writes so well that you are sucked into her story and you just can't stop reading!
Five Ways to Fall by K.A. Tucker surprised me and was everything I hoped it would be, and I’m so so so so so so so so sad that it’s the final book in the Ten Tiny Breaths series. In this final installment, the story of Ben unfolds. I will be honest, I wasn’t all that excited read Ben’s story. He was a secondary character in the Ten Tiny Breaths books, and in all honestly, I didn’t really care to hear his tale. But I have already kicked myself repeatedly for even having those thoughts. Shame on me, and shame on you if you were thinking the same. Ben is…amazing. A hardcore player/manwhore, but underneath that all, he is the sweetest guy ever. And the pairing of him and Reese were perfect in every way. In Five Ways to Fall, after a heartbreaking opener, the story opens up in Cancun, Mexico where our love birds first meet. It’s not exactly romantic and all fireworks, but it certainly is a night that they won’t forget. They probably will never run into each other ever again, right? Righhhhttttt. Ben leaves his job as bouncer and emerges into the lawyer world. Unable to relocate somewhere else due to his devotion to his mother, Ben lands a pretty great job…and runs into the one person he won’t soon forget. Reese, the girl from Cancun. And her stepfather is the big boss man. After a sorry excuse of a marriage (6 months), Reese hopes to “exorcise her demons” in Cancun with nights of debauchery. Unfortunately, the guy that she was supposed to use to forget about her cheating ex-husband lands a job as a lawyer at the firm she works at. Wanting to get back at her ex for crushing her heart, Reese and Ben decide to be each other “fake girlfriend/boyfriend” knowing full well that they will not develop any sort of feelings for each other…Let the games begin! In Five Ways to Fall, we learn the deep dark secret of Ben’s family and of Reese, both of which rocked me to the core. Past characters from the series make cameos (which I love), and Cain’s story kinda intersects with this one. It was interesting to see just how the effects of their parents’ relationships affects the relationships that both Ben and Reese have had. And it was completely heartbreaking when the secrets of their parents’ past catches up with them. What I really enjoyed about Five Ways to fall by K.A. Tucker was witnessing the budding relationship between Ben and Reese. There’s only one way that things can go when you have a “pretend to be my boyfriend/girlfriend” type relationship going on. I adored when the realization hit them both that there was definitely something going on between the two of them…something that they both weren’t counting on. The feisty Reese is the epitome of a woman scorned. She is one tough chick that I would NOT want on my bad side. The jabs between Reese and Ben is what made this book really addicting to me. I needed to breathe this story into myself. I was entranced by the interaction between these characters, finding them too cute for words. Ben is the ultimate playboy that only needed the right woman to change his ways…and I’m so thrilled that Reese was the one. Trust me when I say that you do not want to miss watching this unforgettable love story unfold before your eyes. With the personal demons that they are both exorcising, it was amazing to watch them find each other… even if it was a bumpy road.
Ten Tiny Breaths was one of my first New Adult novels and I really, really liked it. Then I had the worst luck with One Tiny Lie and Four Seconds to Lose (Hey, we cannot all love the same books! I’m glad that almost all of you loved FStL.), so I was legit scared to read Five Ways to Fall. I’m going to be really, really honest with you right now. Five Ways to Fall is K.A. Tucker’s best work to date and was also the best book I had read since Hothouse Flower in March! I absolutely loved loved loooooved it and you need to read it ASAP. Don’t believe me? Let me convince you a little more :) “If you have to fight over a guy, he’s not worth it. Go for the one who’s waiting for you.” Two words: BEN. MORRIS. OH GOODNESS. I didn't like Ben in Ten Tiny Breaths as a love interest for obvious reasons, but I've always loved him as a character and hoped that one day he'd have his own book. Boy was I ever glad it happened. His POV was brilliant! He has a sweet side and is super funny and bantery, but he doesn't turn a 180 simply because he feels an attraction towards Reese and is so very intrigued by her. Nope! He still notices every gorgeous woman and appreciates them in every way possible, including Reese. He is still very much a guy and I appreciated that aspect a ton! Made the story all the more realistic. I mean.. how realistic do you guys think it is that a guy who has spent time with a girl for a week and barely knows her is now a saint and doesn't look at other women? Not a sweet guy, but a well-known player? *shrug* I don't think it's very realistic, so moi applauds for a realistic and awesome guy POV. Since Reese is out for revenge when it comes to that ex husband of hers and Ben is the fake-boyfriend, her co-worker and new-found friend, we get LOTS and LOTS of Reese & Ben time. They have magnificent chemistry and their banter is just everything. EVERYTHING!!! I loved both of the backstories too which added great depth to an otherwise fun and adventurous story. There are so many hilarious moments and I had to contain my grin and LOL moments while reading this out in public. Obviously didn’t do a very good job since people kept giving me weird glances. Awkward. There are two minor complaints: Reese was a tad too obsessive over her ex-husband, but it’s still understandable. Reese's POV was a little troublesome for me simply because she's so full of hurt from Jared's betrayal and cheating. She's so caught up in revenge and making him pay, and still somewhat in love with him, that I just wanted to shake her and tell her that "Look! You have a good thing next to you! Notice him the way he deserves to be noticed, please." Of course, that happened as the novel progressed, but Reese chatting it up with Jared on Facebook and playing games was a little bit annoying. At the end of the day, the slow burn with Ben was totally worth feeling a little annoyed by Reese's obsession with revenge. The other complaint I have is the way the thing with Reese’s dad was dropped on us at the very end. Didn’t really like how info-dump the whole thing was, but even though a bit extreme, it felt like it could happen IRL. You guys!!! *shakes you* So freakin' glad I tried this one. Especialy after how mediocre I felt about OTL and FStL, but not this one. Adored the fiery persoanality of Reese and the evercharming Ben Morris with his handsome looks. It was the perfect blend of slow-burn and fantastic chemistry. The book moves on very nicely and the pacing was spot on! I loved it so much that I finally caved and got a paperback copy too so I can re-read it all day everyday in physical form when the mood strikes :) (I have a feeling that it'll happen a lot.) A definite recommend, my lovelies! Overall rating: 4.6 out of 5.0
I don't want this series to be over! I was so eager to read this book but I held off as long as I could, knowing this was going to be it. I know we're getting Trent's POV in September, but it's not the same at all. I started this book a little before midnight and finished it at 3 AM. It was so worth it. I miss this series already and hope she will one day choose to revisit it. Ben, Ben, Ben. What can I say about him? If you've read any of the other books in this series you know he's cocky, hot, smart, and a total man whore. One you'd like to sleep with of course, but a man whore nonetheless. He's honest about it too, so it makes it hard to hate him for it. Who knew he had such hidden depths and turmoil in his life? I felt so bad for him and the rest of his family. I have personal experience with some of what he went through, but that was rough! And no I won't say more because I don't want to spoil any of the book. I was so proud of him. Even with everything he turned out to be a good man. Reese was just full of surprises. Her outer appearance didn't completely match her inner personality. You know the cliche of hard on the outside, but soft on the inside? Well Reese was sort of like that. But only when it came to the people she cared about. I REALLY did not like Jared or Caroline, but as the book progressed I only felt sorry for her and so happy Reese had moved on. I loved Reese's humor. She's sarcastic but honest and rarely intentionally mean. So maybe the cliche is true when it comes to her. She's got a tongue that'll cut you like a razor but a heart of gold. The chemistry between Ben and Reese was fantastic. I was on the edge of my chair when they first came into the same frame and I stayed that way though out the book. Their first meeting is VERY memorable. As mentioned above, I read this book in three hours flat. I couldn't put it down. I laughed frequently and cried too, but not as much as I laughed. I really wish this series wasn't ending. K.A. Tucker has not only won me over with her books but thousands of others as well. Luckily, you can pick up any book in this series and read it as a stand alone. If you do, I can promise you'll want to read all the other books too, so you may as well as start at the beginning with Ten Tiny Breaths, followed by One Tiny Lie, and Four Ways to Lose.
I wanted to read Five Ways to Fall because I have totally fallen for K.A. Tucker's characters and the world she has built in relation to Kasey and Charlie... with Cain and his club making for a tight circle of friends and drama. This one helped prove to me that NA is still for me since the last I read was a DNF. Reese is fiery and handles herself. But she has a lot of pain inside her not only from her new husband cheating on her early into the marriage to her father leaving her and a tumultuous relationship with her mom. She really stole my heart, but she also frustrated me because she made such rash decisions over and over and it only ended up in hurting herself and making a failed relationship hurt even more. Then dealing with the law and keeping herself out of trouble, I just wished that she could have learned more from the past and made her life better. She was doing that for the most part getting into a good job with her stepdad and devouring the paralegal world. We know Ben from previous books, and he's the same here. Happy, goofy, funny, a player. But we get to see another side of him. We see his relationship with his mom, and some insight into his family life growing up. We get to see all professional and serious Ben at work and that is pretty hot. Ben also befriends Mason, Reese's stepbrother, and that creates an inside for getting the job there, and also shows how he will be friends with anyone. Though we do see a lot of growth from Mason, and I liked that. He was able to find himself and be a little more laid back and accepting once in the hands of a woman. That was another thing that I liked about this one. Not only do we get a peek into the lives from some of our fave main and secondary characters from the first books, but this one also adds some strong side characters. Lina had a lot of personality and I appreciated the honesty but loyalty between her and Reese. The ever present hot chemistry between the characters has swept me off my proverbial feet once again. Reese and Ben meet in an unexpected circumstance and then their first attempted hook up goes array. Which leads to some hilarity once they end up working together. But though there were some potential for hot moments that were unfortunately interupted early in the book, it makes for a better and longer tension to build between them with wanting to keep Ben's job, since her stepdad owns the law firm they both work for. The ending took me by surprise in some ways, but I ended up loving it. I think that it worked out well and gave me a sense of closure with Reese and Ben even if I will miss them, and wish that I could get more time in their world. I was sad to find out this is the last planned in Ten Tiny Breaths series, but can always hold out hope that she'll change her mind, or that somehow I can love a new set of characters she writes just as much. Bottom Line: Hot, romantic and sweet.
From what we all remember of Ben, was there any doubt his book would be fun, flirty and wild? Absolutely not. This guy is hilarious and sexy all rolled into one magnificent package. How can you not love him? Sure he can be a bit obnoxious and manwhore’ish at times (ok, all the time), but I have loved him from the start. And I for one am glad that he is looking to settle down, even without knowing it himself. Reese is a firecracker and you can be sure trouble isn't far behind. Even now, she is trying her best to walk the straight and narrow. But you guessed it...not long after returning home from her vaca gone horribly wrong, Reese learns that what happens in Cancun doesn’t' necessarily follow the same rules as Vegas and stays there. Oh no. Trouble found her and she is falling prey to its charm. I loved the whole storyline. They have this god awful hook up in Cancun, only to turn around and have to work together not long after. I loved these characters. Reese is this unattainable wild horse that can no longer be tamed. And Ben, the womanizing manwhore, has a past that has kept him from settling down. But together they become something entertaining and awesome. A power couple of sorts! And last but most definitely not least, I was smitten with the romance. Their romance built and built and built until us readers were about to explode, right along with them. I have absolutely loved every minute of this series. And FIVE WAYS TO FALL was one of my favorites out of the series. Of course, TEN TINY BREATHS will always be my most favorite. But FIVE WAYS TO FALL definitely came in second. The storyline, the characters, the building romance...ahhh! Loved it all. Tucker is one of those authors that no matter what she writes, I will be there to read it. 5 Kick Arse Stars!
** 5+ stars ** AMAZING! That was my last though when I finished reading the last line of this book. This series has to be one of my top three favorite series. It honestly got better with each book that came out. If I had to choose a favorite out of the 4.5 books within the series. It would be for me hands down, Five Ways to Fall. Each of the other books were still uniquely well written, with such a great story line. I loved how each book connected with the next one. They all intertwined with one another. Since I first read about Ben in Ten Tiny Breaths I LOVED him. He was so funny, easygoing, sexy in so many ways. This book was such a well written story line. I can honestly say that I myself got lost in the book, forgetting my surroundings, what I was thinking. I was able to picture everything and feel has if I was in a movie front row watching it instead of reading the book. Honestly whats there not to like about this book. I loved everything about it, from getting antsy because of the teasing between them to the small ways in which Ben and Reese were so affectionate towards one another without even realizing it. They created such a funny, loving, comfortable friendship between them that lead to falling for each other. It was so easy to get trapped within these pages of black and white. I stayed up late hours in the night finishing this book, time past i didn't even realize it. The way each character was portrayed was also something I enjoyed most. Usually from the books that I have read, which have been quite a lot, usually the heroine isn't so carefree, confident and funny person. Thats what I enjoyed most about it, that laughs between Reese's or Ben's comments were the best! They both had such a genuine personality which I adored from the very first page learning about the little situation she is in, to the Cancún incident where he was so confident and saw her as a challenge. I could honestly go into great details of things I LOVED about this book; given that about 90% of the book is highlighted with things that made me laugh, cry, feeling antsy, smiling, you name anything good about it and its highlighted. I honestly can also say that I would love like a mini sequel to Ben and Reese's story. Its probably me because I could just read book and books of them two. They became actually people instead of characters you're reading about (if that makes sense haha (: ) Needless to say I fell in love with these two characters. I applaud the author on her recent and future success. Amazingly done ! Five Ways to Fall (Ten Tiny Breaths, #4) by K.A. TuckerK.A. Tucker
Five Ways to Fall is the final book in the Ten Tiny Breaths series. This is playboy Ben's book, and one I've been looking forward to for some time now. I just knew he had a story behind his man whoring ways. Ben's always been a bit of an enigma. When Kacey first got a job at Penny's back in Ten Tiny Breaths, Ben was one of the bouncers by night while he toiled away at law school by day. He had a thing for Kacey at first, but when she started dating Trent, Ben got over it quickly with the assistance of Mercy and Hannah. *snicker* Now, Ben is a real lawyer and has secured his first job at a law firm. By chance, it's the same firm that Reese works at as a paralegal - Reese, the girl he had an awful near-one-night-stand with in Cancun a few months before. Reese, the first girl he hasn't been able to put out of his mind in... well, ever. And, now not only do they work together, but she happens to be the boss' step-daughter. Reese is trying to recover from a failed marriage and a lot of wild living. She was never supposed to see Ben again, and now she has to see him every day. For awhile they have this amazingly awesome love/hate thing going on. Reese is horribly embarrassed by what happened between them in Mexico and that Ben won't let her forget about it. But, then when she decides to use him to get back at her evil, cheating ex, they forge a sort of partnership. Both Ben and Reese are fun and free-spirited, so they really are perfectly suited for each other. Their snark and banter back and forth was hysterical and the perfect kind of foreplay for them. I absolutely loved these two together. This isn't the usual squishy, emo love story. Neither Ben nor Reese are the type to spout sonnets or flowery lovey dovey words. They get off on speeding around on dune buggies, playing paint ball and chugging beers. It was a very refreshing change. That doesn't mean that the hallmarks of a good new adult book aren't present. Ben's backstory is truly sad, and unexpected. Reese's life was equally tragic and her relationship with her awful mother is completely unhealthy. Of course, this gives Ben and Reese some common ground and something to start a meaningful relationship on. That and hot sex. That always helps. I loved the slow build of their relationship. It took Ben and Reese awhile to actually come together in a meaningful way. They seem to become good friends first, helping each other out of some sticky situations. Ben helps Reese get over her ex, and Reese helps Ben on his parents' citrus farm. And, in return, they reform their wild ways (at least with the opposite sex) and focus on each other. I'm so sad to see this series come to an end, but based on the characters that K.A. Tucker has created in her Ten Tiny Breaths series, I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.