Bad Romance: A Stepbrother Novel

Bad Romance: A Stepbrother Novel

by Jen McLaughlin

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399177903
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/15/2015
Series: Forbidden Love , #1
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 268
Sales rank: 110,021
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Jen McLaughlin is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy New Adult books who also writes contemporary romance under her pseudonym, Diane Alberts. She lives in northeast Pennsylvania with her husband, four kids, a schnauzer mutt, and three cats. Her goal is to write so many well-crafted romance books that even a non-romance reader will know her name.

Read an Excerpt

Seven years ago . . .
Jackson

Walt, my stepfather, frowned at the letter in his hand. “Yale said they would take him, despite his bad grades. I have to buy his way in, but I will.”

“They did?” Mother gasped, smiling.

“‘He’s’ right here,” I said drily. “And doesn’t want to go to Yale.”

Neither of them noticed.

“At least he can amount to something, unlike his father.”

Mother smiled even wider. “Thanks to you, Walter.”

“You’ll go at the end of the month,” Walt said, not even looking at me, even though he clearly spoke to me.

“You’re dismissed.”

The hell I was. “I don’t want to go to Yale. I’m joining the army.”

Walt laughed. “Not in my house.”

This was bullshit. Everything about it was. Mother was married for the millionth time, and this time to a man who quite clearly didn’t want the extra kid that came along with her. No big shocker, there. His new wife didn’t exactly want me, either.

She never tried to hide that fact from me.

Had told me, straight up to my face.

But to have some pompous prick all up in my business, telling me what I had to do with the rest of my life as if I needed to listen to him, was the last straw. I was eighteen years old. I didn’t have to listen to Walter Hastings. Or to his wife.

Screw them all.

They’d only been married a few months, and he wasn’t my damn stepfather, no matter what he thought. I mean, he was. Legally. But I didn’t need him.

I didn’t need anyone.

So I stood up, fisting my hands at my sides. “I don’t want to be a lawyer. I already told you that.”

Walt laughed. “And I told you that, under my roof, you do what I tell you to do, and that’s that. You’ll do it, and you’ll like it. I won’t budge.”

“Neither will I, Walt.”

“Don’t call me that,” Walt said, his voice low and seething. His name was Walter, and he hated it when I called him Walt . . . which was why I did it. “My name is Walter, or Mr. Hastings, or sir. No one calls me Walt. Learn some respect, boy.”

I didn’t answer. Just smirked.

Walt could kiss my ass.

“Jackson, dear . . .” Mother fidgeted. “It’s a good career. You’ll be lucky if you live to see the other side of twenty if you join the army. Listen to your father. He knows what’s best for you.”

I stiffened. I might not know my father, but I knew one thing. Walt wasn’t him. “He knows shit, and he sure as hell doesn’t know me because he’s not my father. He has no idea what’s best for me, or who I am. Or what I want. I want to—”

“Watch your mouth, young man, and how you speak to your mother. You’re going to law school, to Yale. That’s final, so get it into your head. End of discussion.” Walter picked up his newspaper, addressing his wife. “And if he wants to continue living here, he will stop annoying me.”

I gritted my teeth, because he was a tight-suited asshole. “Then I’ll leave this house. Go out on my own. Make my own way.”

“Over my dead body. You’re part of this family now, and while you are, you’ll live up to the Hastings name. And that’s all that will be said on this matter. You may go,” Walter said dismissively, flicking a hand my way. “I’m finished with you.”

There was so much I wanted to say, but why bother? I knew it was a waste of my time, so I walked away from them both. He wouldn’t listen, and, really, it didn’t matter even if he did. Officially, I was an adult now, so I didn’t need their approval to sign up for duty, no matter what they seemed to think. End of discussion. What the heck was that, anyway? The discussion was over when both parties decided it was. Not one.

Pompous prick.

As I left, I heard Walt sigh. “Honestly, Nancy, I don’t know what to do with that boy. Are you sure his father won’t take him off our hands? He’s nothing like my Lilly.”

Ah . . . Lilly Hastings. Fifteen. Rich. Smart. Sweet as hell. And gorgeous, to boot. Walter didn’t deserve her, and it boggled my mind that she was the old man’s daughter, because she was nothing like him. Everything she got, she must’ve gotten from her deceased mother. That was the only thing I could figure.

I initially tried to hate her on principle, but the thing was, I couldn’t. From my first day here, when she brought me chocolate chip cookies because they were my favorite, till today, she’d been nothing but kind to me. She was the only person who made life in the Hastings household bearable. And because Lilly was the total opposite of her father, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t hate her.

And believe me, I tried.

“Walter, you know he ran as soon as he found out I was pregnant. I had to raise Jackson by myself, and you know how hard that was on me,” Mother said, her voice low. She shouldn’t have bothered. I heard her, anyway. “But if you would consider letting him . . .”

I walked away, knowing how this conversation would end. Walt refused to accept that I had all but joined the army—all it needed was a few signatures, and it would be done. I passed all the tests, filled out the papers. It was a done deal, and I would be leaving soon. But once I was gone? Yeah, he’d get the picture pretty damn fast.

“Psst,” Lilly called out, holding two bottles of Coke. I would rather have a beer, but she wasn’t into rebelling. Not that badly, anyway. “Come here.”

I walked over, my heart thumping against my chest the closer I got to her. I might be three years older than her, but we connected on a level that couldn’t be ignored or explained. She just got me. And I got her. “What’s up, little girl?”

She flushed. “I hate it when you call me that.”

“I know.” I tapped her on her nose. “It’s why I do it.”

She stole another quick glance at me from under her ridiculously long eyelashes and bit down on her lower lip. My heart rate increased in response, but I ignored it. It was no secret that she had a huge crush on me. I liked her from day one, and I’d tried to keep that concealed as it wasn’t so much a sexual thing for me. Well, okay, she was a babe, so obviously I appreciated that like men did . . . but my feelings toward her were really more of a protective “I’ll take care of you” thing, if that made any sense at all.

At least we weren’t blood.

And thank God for that. I’d kill myself if I were a Hastings like that asshole in the other room. We were a family unit by marriage and legality only. And Lilly was pretty much my only friend, which made her my best friend, and a guy didn’t mess around with his best friend.

She was too young. Too pretty. Too clean.

Too good for a guy like me.

I graduated high school a month ago, five months after our parents married, and she was about to enter eleventh grade. I might only be eighteen, but I’d seen and done shit she had no clue about. And I intended to keep it that way.

“Don’t listen to him,” Lilly whispered. “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He never does.”

I smiled, because she was trying to make me feel better, and I wanted her to think it was working. She always tried to cheer me up after Walt went on one of his asshole binges with me. “I know. What’s up?”

“Come here. I want to show you something.” She held her hand out to mine, watching me with those bright green eyes of hers. “Alone.”

Just the way I liked it.

Walt laughed from the dining room, and his deep voice boomed as he said to his wife, “The boy is doomed to fail.”

I knew he talked about me. Just like I knew he hated me. Just like I knew the one way that I would be guaranteed freedom from his overbearing grasp. And it was through his Lilly. . . . Ah. He loved his sweet, innocent Lilly. Everyone did. If I took her, and dirtied her by making her mine, he would flip his shit. Never forgive me. And I would finally be free of his annoying interference in my life.

Customer Reviews

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Bad Romance: A Stepbrother Novel 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow I love this book . It had me smiling , then crying . What a rollercoaster of emotions . Loved the HEA. I recommend this book , I think you'll enjoy it .
BuckeyeAngel More than 1 year ago
Jackson was Lily's step-brother. He was 18 and she was 15. Jackson was Lily's first kiss. They got caught and he got kicked out of the family. 7 years, he was hurt while on a mission for the army and was back in the states. He hadn't been home long and was drawn to a woman he saw dancing. He found out it was Lily. Lily was caught between a rock and a hard place, but she finally decided to do what was truly right for her and not everyone else. This story had a lot of ups and downs and twists, but it was truly an excellent story. This story was awesome and ended as it should. I loved it. I loved the plot and most of all, Lily and Jackson. I highly recommend it. **I received an ARC of this story in exchange for an honest review**
AmberatWickedGoodblog More than 1 year ago
Ahhhh. Jackson Worthington, how I love you. Recently there have been a lot of stepbrother romance novels being written, some of them really good and some not so much. My opinion on this one - one of the best ive read! Jen McLaughlin/Diane Alberts has never let me down so when I saw that she was dipping into the stepbrother trope, I had a feeling it was going to be at the top of my list! Lily Hastings (spoiled Daddy's girl) is contracted to marry some douche in order to save her dad's company. In her mind, by marrying this man she has known her whole life but doesnt love, she is saving the jobs of hundreds of people. Taking one for the team, so to speak. Jackson Worthington is Lily's stepbrother. His worthless mother is married to Lily's overbearing father. As teenagers, Jackson and Lily share one steamy moment before getting caught and Jackson runs away to the military. After an injury forces him home, he and Lily reunite, quite by accident, and this is where the story really takes off. Lots of family drama, internal struggles and sexy times - this book has a really well rounded feel to it. I totally wanted to just pinch Lily's head off at times for her insane loyalty to her father's company. But Jackson... oh my. Sexy, sexy, sexy. The characters were very well developed and the editing was great, even for an ARC. And did I mention the cover.. {fans self} I will definitely recommend this book and give it 5***** wickedgoodstars! -asw
disneytothemax More than 1 year ago
This is Jackson and Lilly's journey to be together. What's wrong with that you ask? Everyone's love story is a journey! Only thing is Jackson and Lilly are stepbrother and sister. His mother marries Lilly's father. He always liked Lilly, maybe a little too much! He gives her her very first kiss and then off he goes to the military. Fast forward and Jackson is back in town and has his eyes set on this hot girl dancing in a club/bar. And of course, the only hot girl in the place that he wants turns around to face him, and it'is Lilly!! This was such a good story and I think it was well written! I fell in love with some of the characters and hated others! Will Jackson and Lilly get their happily ever after? Follow their journey to see!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A book that shows marriages might be saved with communication and caring
booklover0813 More than 1 year ago
Hot and Sexy a great combination ! I loved it , read in one day and still want more !
THHernandez More than 1 year ago
Anyone who follows my reviews knows I love a good angsty forbidden romance, and what's more forbidden than a stepbrother? Granted, they don't meet until they're teens and aren't really raised as siblings, but there is still something salacious about it. Jackson and Lilly are both messed up in very different ways. Jackson was abandoned by his father at a young age and he's always felt like a burden to his mother. Lilly has been the apple of daddy's eye her entire life, which he's scripted for her. Everything from her career to whom she'll marry is out of her control. Jackson acts out, and an off-limits Lilly is the perfect act of defiance. Lilly always behaves the way she's expected, never making her own choices, until Jackson. She wants him. The story is filled with lies, a few surprises, and intense emotions. Plot It's a straight-up story of forbidden love. With so many things keeping these two apart, it seems at times like they'll be insurmountable. Although the reader knows Jackson and Lilly belong together, Jackson's self-loathing and Lilly's sense of duty at times make us question if they really do. The plot moves at a steady pace and there aren't a lot of twists, but there are a few surprises that keep it from being just another contemporary romance. Characters Jackson and Lilly are well-developed, complex characters. Lilly experiences more growth through the story than Jackson, and I would have liked a little more from him. Their parents, on the other hand, seem a bit cliche at times, which works well for the plot. For a story light on characters, it would have been nice to find out more about why their abominable parents are the way they are, but that didn't detract in any way from my enjoyment of the romance. Ending I thought the ending was almost anticlimactic. There's a big event that leads up to the end that was unexpectedly awesome. I'm not disappointed, but I thought the actual ending lacked the same punch the climax held. I will say the conclusion was more than satisfying, though, and that's all I can ask for. What Didn't Work for Me 1. Too much waffling. I found Lilly to annoying at times. I totally understood her motivation, but she seemed to waffle on it a lot. Like way more than necessary. 2. Repetition. There were times I felt like we revisited the same issues over and over again. What I Enjoyed About Bad Romance 1. Loyalty. Jackson's loyalty to his country, to Lilly. Lilly's loyalty to Jackson, her father, the people who work for her father's company. Both of them were good people which helped me overlook some of their annoyingness. 2. First loves. There's a sweetness underlying the sexual chemistry of Jackson and Lilly that took their love story to another level for me. 3. Forbidden love. One of my favorite types of romances. 4. The angst. Another one of my favorite romantic elements. 5. Passion. There was so much passion between Jackson and Lilly it became almost its own character in the story. Bottom Line Bad Romance is a page-turning romance about forbidden love and learning to live your own life. Disclaimer I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too predictable!!!!
ReadYourWrites More than 1 year ago
Bad romance brought out so many emotions. ~ Loved this book. Reviewed by Kim Only Jen McLaughlin or Diane Alberts as I know her could get me to step out of my comfort zone and read a stepbrother romance. I get that apparently this is a whole new world in romance, but it just seems weird to me. So yeah, you guessed it, this is my first time reading a stepbrother romance. I won’t deny seeing some bad star ratings for Bad Romance and wondering if I really wanted to read it. But I honestly wanted to know what Jackson and Lily’s initial kiss was about and why Lily was marrying a man she didn’t love. There are so many issues and inner workings going on with Bad Romance, I don’t even know where to start. You have Jackson rebelling against his mother and stepfather because they want him to tow the line and fit into the little box they want him in. You have Lily always doing things to please her father and never really knowing what it’s like to do something for herself. Yes, Jackson and Lily are step-siblings. However, they probably only lived as step-siblings for a couple of months, a year at the most. During that time, nothing happened between them, even though Jackson knew Lily had a crush on him. Eventually, Lily decides to initiate a kiss with Jackson, resulting in him being kicked out of the house and the two never speaking again. Seven years later, fate brings these two back together. The two are still pretty much the same. Jackson became the soldier he wanted to be, only to have the career he loved end with a bullet. Now, he’s getting treatment and trying to adjust to his new career. Lily is still playing the good girl and dutiful daughter role. Only this time, she’s in a no-win situation. If she doesn’t marry the man picked out for her by her father, thousands of people will lose their jobs and her family’s company will go under. If she does get married, she will be forced to spend years with a man she doesn’t love, much less like. After Jackson saves Lily from a sticky situation, she invites him to move in with her, so they can reconnect and become friends. Old feelings die hard and the two are still attracted to each other. Bad Romance was hotter than hot. I’m talking fire alarms going off. But it was also full of pure love. Jackson has always tried to get Lily to be her own person and that doesn’t stop when they reconnect. There’s no doubt Lily is in a really hard predicament. I wouldn’t want to be in her situation. Did she handle it as a lot of women think they would have? No, but she did the best she could do, while still being who she was. I found so much to love about Bad Romance. I loved Jackson and Lily and the way they talked to each other, with playfulness and love. As I said, their bedroom and non-bedroom action was hot. The story brought out so many emotions within me from happiness, to sadness, to horror, to “oh, that just happened”. I just wish a certain scene would have played out differently with a lightbulb going off. Alas, people are shallow and stupid. Told in first person from the point of view of both Lily and Jackson, Bad Romance shows what happens when you allow someone to dictate your life. You’re able to see Lily grow as a person and see Jackson open himself up to love and being loved, even if it means him getting hurt. Bad Romance is one of those love stories I wish would never end. **Received a copy from Random House - Loveswept in exchange for an honest unbiased opinion.**
iheartyabooks More than 1 year ago
Bad Romance is a fresh take on a taboo storyline
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
onlyminordetails More than 1 year ago
My Thoughts: I started reading this book almost immediately after I got approved even though it wasn't releasing for a few weeks. I already love Jen McLaughlin's books (the ones written as Diane Alberts), so I knew I would enjoy this. It was literally impossible to stop reading! There's a lot to the story on this one. Jackson and Lily have a past, one where the two of them were separated because of a kiss. Years later they meet again and Lily, because of her kindness, offers Jackson a place to stay while he's in town. Not exactly the smartest idea considering her father would be extremely upset to discover he's living with her, but she doesn't care. Close quarters lead to temptation beyond what they can bear. But nothing can come out of a sordid affair like theirs. Not when she's supposed to be getting married to save her father's company. Stepbrother and stepsister caught? No, that can't happen. There's too much on the line. The heart wants what the heart wants, though. Is it possible for Jackson and Lily to find a way? Bad Romance is a very satisfying forbidden romance. The banter between Jackson and Lily was supurb in every way, and you know how much I LOVE banter. Not only that, but it was extremely sexy and requires a fan while you're reading it. Phew! Jen McLaughlin brings it with this stepbrother novel. My Rating: Exceptional
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
micharch More than 1 year ago
Lilly and Jackson share one passionate kiss before he gets kicked out of his new house by Lilly's father and joins the service. Seven years has passed and, even though Lilly wrote to him for several years, Jackson did not respond to any of her letters. Lilly was told by her father that Jackson used her in order to get kicked out of the house so he could live his own life. Lilly sees Jackson by accident and is immediately drawn to him again. Jackson thinks he is no good for Lilly but can't stop himself from wanting to be with her. Lilly spent much of this book being noble, but really failed at putting Jackson first. For a woman who was supposed to be so selfless, she sure had no problem putting Jackson through the ringer. Her sham of a fiance' and using the excuse that thousands would be put out of work if she didn't go through with it got old after a while. While it was nice that she was putting her needs last, she was also stringing Jackson along and had no problems wanting to continue using him to forget what her future was going to bring. Jackson did his best to steer clear of this, but found himself constantly entangled in her web. When Lilly constantly acted like a spoiled toddler it was difficult to find sympathy for her. To marry a man who was interested in the opposite sex, treated her terribly and allowed her father to treat her like a doormat for so many years was not endearing to me. She was just plain spineless and allowed everyone in her life to manipulate her. When Jackson was just willing to let her be who she wanted to be and find her own happy, she basically treated him the way everyone else treated her. I did enjoy the ending but did find myself confused as to how short the timeline in this book was, compared to the big news at the end.
jbebout1295 More than 1 year ago
Having never read this author before, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I have to say that I was definitely not disappointed. With this book, Jen McLaughlin has managed to deliver something so heart-wrenchingly poignant. These characters really stick with you, especially the tortured soul of Lilly's stepbrother, Jackson. He really just touches your heart; wanting love so much, yet truly believing he doesn't deserve it. The way Jackson and Lilly come together is just so achingly beautiful. You truly hurt with them every step of the way in their seemingly hopeless affair. This book is intriguing and sensual and romantic and erotic and tantalizing and scandalous and once started, you will not want to put it down. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a wonderfully well written novel about seemingly forbidden romance. * I was given an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
DorisB More than 1 year ago
Linda_RochesterNY More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC from Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept via NetGalley. 3 1/2 stars: Lilly is 15 and has a huge crush on her 18 year old stepbrother, Jackson. He's unwanted by his mother and unwelcome by his stepfather. Sweet Lilly is the only one he cares about - a little too much. So after one kiss, he is gone for seven years. After being injured while serving in the Army, he returns home but is determined not to give in to his attraction to Lilly. Lilly is engaged to a man she doesn't love and her heart still belongs to Jackson. This is a pretty standard stepbrother book. I liked Jackson but Lilly irritated me a little. There was so much thinking and talking instead of doing that I found my mind wandering a little sometimes. However, the sexy parts were nice and I did like the "big showdown" at the end. I liked this book but I didn't love it.
BookMama_1 More than 1 year ago
3.75 stars The Prologue for this book hooked me. What was going to happen to Jackson? to Lily? The more I read, the more I realized there was sooo much going on in this book. So many secrets! There was the engagement and the secrecy within that. Jackson not wanting anyone to know he was home. And more! Lily and Jackson each had their personal hang ups in this story. Jackson, the kid who wanted so much to belong. Who just needed to learn that he was good enough. Who had a hoity toity mother that, it seems, only looked out for herself. I got the impression she wanted the status that this marriage brought. Lily, who had no backbone when it came to Daddy and what she wanted. That was a real eye sore for me in this story. I dislike weak heroines like this. She had no problem standing up to others, but bowed down to Daddy's will. She was basically a doormat. The prologue mentioned that Jackson and his mother had moved in with Lily and her father just a few months before he graduated high school. And since he left for the army right after that, I have a hard time making a "familial" connection between these four characters. This is also your typical secret taboo relationship in which everything goes to heck in a handbasket with a pretty little bow on it when Jackson & Lily are caught. But then again, it's ok for Derek to mess around on Lily and the relationship continues as it was. But when Lily...oh heck... I gave this book 3.75 stars because the writing is great and the storyline is excellent with so much going on at once, but it was a bit too predictable. I would've liked to have seen a little bit stronger heroine. All that aside, I truly liked this book. *I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
MsChris1161 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this story by Jen McLaughlin. BAD ROMANCE is so much more than a stepbrother novel. Lily and Jackson's (love that name!) parents marry when Lily is 16 and Jackson a couple years older, but their lives couldn't be more different. Lily has been wanted, loved, protected and yes, controlled. Jackson's mother never wanted him and didn't bother to hide it. He's always been made to feel like a burden, a hindrance who never did anything right and would never be good enough. Until Lily. Right from the start she shows him unconditional love, a first time for him, but he's so convinced he's no good he fights how he feels. And then he leaves for 7 years. Jackson gains a sense of honor and worth as he fights for his country, but then he's injured and that too is gone. He is sent back to his hometown as a recruiter and to heal. He doesn't plan to let his family know he's back, but he sees Lily at a local tavern and she's in trouble. His protective instincts kick in... and then there's no going back. The feelings they share, the connection, the bond are undeniable. But there are so many reasons they shouldn't be together. So many things keeping them apart. I loved Jackson! JM does a tremendous job in developing his character. I could feel his pain and frustrations, and his desire to be a better man, and his desire for what he believes he doesn't deserve. Lily. Lily was harder for me to relate to, but her character was true and stayed the course. She has lived a life sacrificing herself to please or to help others, so as much as Jackson is the one thing she has always wanted for herself... She still feels compelled in her role as martyr. It was impossible not to respect that even when I wanted to tell her to grow a backbone. Bad Romance was well written, with an interesting storyline, some really steamy scenes, well-defined characters and backstory, and few surprises. I enjoyed reading it and definitely recommend it. 4 stars ~Complimentary copy downloaded from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Great read and I love both the main characters Jackson and Lily. The everyday struggle of what is good for a lot of people instead of what we really want to do for ourselves. Lily torn between what she must do and what she wants to do deep down. Love this book great read>
PennieM More than 1 year ago
This is my first "step" romance and now that I have qualified this review, here goes. Jackson and Lilly were thrown together when their parents suddenly married when he was 18 and she was 15. Jackson already knew what he wanted to do with his life and had a plan but his new stepfather thought he could change that and "lay down the law" and bully Jackson into doing his bidding but Jackson leaves and joins the Army. He becomes a sniper until a bullet in his shoulder leaves him unable to return to that vocation and now has accepted a position as a recruiter back home. This is where we start the story and are taken for a ride and really find out how two damaged souls can heal each other while falling in love. I enjoyed watching them fall but at times felt there was something lacking and still needs to be resolved. **Received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book couldjt put it down til i finished it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book wad ok. Too much wishy wadhy from female lead. I wont buy another from this author. Book wad boring.
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
This one had all the components of a great story but it just fell a bit short. It just didn't have the angst of a good "stepbrother" story. While teenagers, Jackson and Lily fight their attraction. Jackson knows Lily has a crush on him but he won't cross that line, until one night after another bad fight with his stepfather. One kiss is all they had before being discovered by Lily's father and immediately throws Jackson out of the house. Seven years later, after suffering an injury while fighting as a marine, Jackson is back. Lily is still Daddy's little girl and ready to marry a man she doesn't love to make him happy. Can she really avoid the temptation of Jackson?? Really not a bad story, just needed something to really spice it up.