The Summer of Jake

The Summer of Jake

by Rachel Bailey

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Overview

A new adult title from Entangled's Embrace imprint…

Falling in love wasn't part of the plan…

Life is just dandy for aspiring fashion designer Annalise Farley. She has a great job (or she will once her designs are discovered), parents who only slightly disapprove, a cat that thinks she's a dog, and a best friend…even if she hasn't seen her in a while.

But then Jake Maxwell saunters back into her life. Jake, the love god. Jake, her best friend's older brother. Jake, who broke her heart at sixteen without realizing it, then left to become a pro surfer. Now he's back, having taken the surfing and business worlds by storm, and he's ready for a new challenge—catching the eye of another girl. And he wants Annalise's help.

Helping Jake land his next girlfriend is too fraught with emotional danger for her liking, but then Jake offers to put her designs in his shops. Is that the sound of her life cracking at the seams? It's hard to tell with Jake smiling at her like she's the only thing that makes him happy…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633750180
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 08/04/2014
Series: Entangled Embrace
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 290
Sales rank: 461,881
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Rachel Bailey is a lover of books, chocolate, dogs, and ice cream. Luckily, she has three dogs, an ice cream maker, a steady supply of chocolate, and bookshelves overflowing with books, so she's covered on all fronts.
Despite spending her life trying to scam more time to read, she's managed to graduate with degrees in psychology and social work, and now has her dream job – making up stories for a living.
Her books have hit the USA Today bestseller list, are published in over twenty-six countries and have been translated into sixteen languages.
She lives on a piece of paradise (ten acres of native trees on the side of a hill, within driving distance to the beach) on Australia's east coast with her own personal hero. She loves to sit with a dog or two, overlooking the trees and read books from her ever-growing to-be-read pile.

Read an Excerpt

The Summer of Jake


By Rachel Bailey, Heather Howland, Kari Olson

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2014 Rachel Bailey
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63375-018-0


CHAPTER 1

Annalise

At five past midday, my phone rang, and — based on the laws of Murphy — I knew it had to be more bad news, so I was glad I hadn't changed out of my pajamas yet.

Yesterday's feat of being fired on my twentieth birthday from my first post-graduation job at Rodrigo's Fashion Studio, which was admittedly a placeholder job until my own designs hit it big, would be hard to top, but I had faith in Murphy and his bad luck laws to bring it.

I stood, dislodging onto the floor an unimpressed, stripy cat, half a packet of chocolate-coated licorice, and the dream collage I'd been working on, and answered. "Hello?"

"Annalise? It's Jake Maxwell."

My heart stopped stock-still. Unfortunately, my brain simultaneously froze, and my body gave a good imitation of paralysis. Jake Maxwell, surfing phenomenon, son of Australian rock star royalty, and my best friend's older brother, did not call me. We'd never had the sort of relationship that allowed for phone calls. In fact, it'd rarely allowed for one- on-one conversations, which made this call all the more unexpected.

Probably taking the silence to mean I didn't remember him, he added, "Kelly's brother."

His voice was as deep and smooth as a cup of hot chocolate. Being a chocoholic, I should have recognized that as a warning. I mean, what self-respecting addict doesn't know the path to hell is paved with chocolate-shrouded temptation?

Through a remarkable act of willpower, I regained control of my frozen bits. "Oh, Jake. Hi. Um, how are you?"

Then, as my brain re-engaged, I realized why he must've been calling. "Is it Kelly? Is something wrong with Kelly?" His sister was all we had in common.

"Kelly's fine. And I'm fine, too, thanks. Truth is, I want to ask a favor. Nothing too extreme." I could hear a smile in his voice, which made me wary about any favor he could want from me. Jake had always had a way about him — well, a way with me — and I wasn't promising anything without details.

"What sort of favor?"

"Ah, it's a bit awkward. How about I explain over coffee?"

I may have been apprehensive, but, honestly, refusal was never the easy option with Jake. Besides, it was just a coffee date. With a gorgeous man. What was not to like? "Sure."

"When do you have time?"

I paused, but it was more for effect than having anything even remotely resembling a prior engagement. Though my previously frozen bits were starting to warm to the idea of meeting Jake Maxwell again, I didn't want him to know. That would be handing him too much power. "How soon do you want to do this?"

"Today would be good. Can you meet in an hour?"

"Um," I stalled. Now that my schedule had opened, I had all the time in the world, but I remembered again about handing him the power. "Let's make it in two hours. At Coffee For You in Bondi Junction. Do you know it?"

"Sure do. I'll see you then. Thanks, Annalise."

I held the receiver, listening to the tone, playing the conversation back over in my head.

Jake Maxwell called me. Wanted to meet me. Until that phone call, I hadn't been certain he knew more than my name, rank, and serial number. Rank: sister's best friend. Serial number: 1-8-little-kid.

That fact didn't bother me now — well, almost didn't — but when I'd been an awkward, gangly teenager with a huge crush on my friend's older brother, the knowledge had been devastating.

For two summers, I'd tagged along with Kelly to Jake's surfing practice and occasional competitions, mooning over his bronzed physique, my eyes not even straying to the other competitors. To my sixteen-year-old fanciful imagination, he'd been a love god.

I remembered him emerging from the surf, brown hair slicked back, muscles pumped up, running across the sand with his surfboard under one arm. He'd often stop at our towels, and Kelly would jump up to congratulate him, throwing her arms around his neck, leaving me blushing in jealous embarrassment.

Then he'd turn to me, give me one of his slow, seductive smiles, say, "Hey", and jog off to his waiting fan club.

For those two summers, and the intervening winters, I'd watched Jake, dreamed of Jake, obsessed about Jake.

I'd been reluctant to tell Kelly at first, but soon found Kelly had a secret of her own — she was just as wrapped up in Jake's friend Adam. It became a common bond, the mutual need to watch Jake and Adam surf all summer and talk incessantly about them.

I smiled at the memory. I couldn't remember ever being as close to anyone as I'd been to Kelly as a teenager, and I supposed, to some extent, I had Jake to thank for that.

Sighing, I finally hung up the phone. And came crashing back to present-day, appalling reality.

This was the absolute worst time for a first-ever coffee date with the overachieving, uber-successful Jake. Being fired the previous day had left my ego a little bruised. Not to mention my pockets. The job as an assistant at a designer's studio — basically, cutting out fabric to make other people's designs — had been useful for making contacts, keeping a finger on the fashion-pulse, and affording groceries.

Now I had nothing.

Well, not quite: I had Rover, a cat who, through no fault of her own, thought she was a dog. A bright yellow ancient Mini with half a tank of gas. A pair of slightly disapproving parents. A collage covered in my dreams. And a stockpile of food devoid of nutritious value.

And I had a coffee date with Jake Maxwell for some unknown — possibly nefarious — reason.

I looked down at my purple polka dot pajamas, complete with chocolate and licorice smudges, and sighed. It was going to take the full hour and a half before I needed to leave to make myself presentable.

Part of me wanted to go all out, to knock him off his feet. But the part that had been crushed by his lack of attention in the past wanted to slap the preening part. I wasn't a kid now, and his voice certainly hadn't taken on that warm sexiness I'd heard him use with a dozen other girls.

After a moment's consideration, I decided to go the whole enchilada. It wasn't for Jake's benefit. I'd do as much before meeting anyone. Yes, indeedy.

After showering, I slipped on my lucky tan skirt with a mint green blouse. The lucky tan skirt worked its magic — I immediately felt more confident. Which was good. One day of wallowing was all I could afford. Tomorrow I'd have to start looking for a new job. Money for rent and cat food had to be my number one priority. And then I'd set about making every one of the things on my dream collage come true.

I poured some food into Rover's bowl as she bounced around my feet like the Jack Russell terrier she thought she was, then patted her head, and left.

It was warm outside with the Australian summer setting in. Despite living in a beachside suburb, I was too far away for a sea breeze. One day I'd live in an oceanfront place.

Mindy, my yellow Mini, started with her reassuringly familiar rattle-tat-tat sound, and I drove the five minutes to Bondi Junction. When I'd parked and locked her door, I paused to absorb the seaside atmosphere. Pelicans and seagulls sat on the streetlights, looking out to sea. The smell of surf spray filled the air. The sounds of waves mixed with traffic created an exciting medley.

The breeze caught my hair, and I reached to grab it as I made my way toward the café. The feel of my hair in my hand reminded me of one of the biggest disasters of my teens, which, of course, was connected to Jake.

I'd decided my thick brown hair would never catch his attention, so I dyed it blond to emulate the girls he hung around with. I'd known my tall, skinny frame could never fill out a bikini the way theirs did — theirs seemed made for bikinis — but at least I could do something about my hair. So, Kelly and I bought a bottle of peroxide, turned the music up loud in my bathroom, and proceeded to turn my chocolate hair into an interesting shade of orange. It was certainly eye-catching. When my mother arrived home, she almost fainted then took me to a hairdresser who dyed it back to chocolate. I'd left it the same ever since, with only a few highlights. Professionally applied highlights.

Walking into the Bondi Junction café, I looked around. He wasn't there. Excellent. That would give me a few moments to pull myself together. I was feeling decidedly un-together, and I knew it was important not to be carried away by old memories. It'd been a good four years since the height of my crush on Jake-Love-God-Maxwell. In that time, I'd completed a two-year fashion design course, dated other men, and even had a two-year relationship with one. I was definitely over Jake. Oh, yes.

Feeling centered again, I picked up my glass of water and was pleased with the graceful movement I was able to pull off. Unfortunately for the effect, I almost spilled the water when I saw Jake walk in.

He glanced around the tables until he spotted me then gave me his slow, seductive smile. He looked the same — his caramel hair a little long, shaggy and sun-bleached on the ends, dark eyes, athletic build encased in a gray T-shirt and faded jeans.

I was sixteen again.

This was bad. I was an adult, for pity's sake, not some lovesick teenager.

I gave a little wave, which may or may not have resembled a five-year- old's, and tried to hide my shock when he kissed my cheek before slipping into his seat. Several patrons of the cafe were watching us, probably having recognized Jake.

"Annalise Farley." Jake grinned, and his eyes captured mine. I was a rabbit caught in headlights. "I don't think I've seen you since Kelly's wedding last year."

Yes, the wedding — the less said about that, the better. I wrenched my eyes from his to focus on my water glass. "Mmm, it's probably been about that long. Kelly and I drifted a little after she married Adam. And my designs take up so much of my spare time, it hasn't left room for much else."

"From what I hear of your talent, I'm glad you're spending time on your own work." He picked up a glass and watched me over the rim as he drank, ice-cubes clinking.

"Hmph." I wrinkled my nose. Having repeatedly heard him use his smooth talk on women, I didn't believe him for a second. "How could you know that?"

He shrugged, a teasing glint in his eye. "I have my sources."

The waitress arrived to take our orders, and I allowed myself a sidelong look at Jake. He was still as gorgeous as he'd been at nineteen when he broke my heart — without even realizing it, because I'd been so invisible to him. Now, not only were we alone in a coffee shop, but he seemed to know about my fashion design work. Maybe he was more observant than I'd realized?

"How's Jake Maxwell Surf going?" I asked after the waitress had left.

Unlike me, he wasn't surprised that I'd been following his career. Or maybe he just realized his career was public knowledge. "Good. Great, really. I've got three JMS stores now, each with a surfing school, a retail outlet, and a board manufacturing operation. The main office is still here in Bondi, with the administration and board design section."

"Wow, that does sound great." Great, but predictable. Jake was destined to succeed at whatever he tried.

"In a way," Jake said, "it's the business that's brought me around to asking you for a favor."

He looked at me with puppy dog eyes — and with those eyes of darkest brown, the effect was fairly significant. And I bet he knew it. Time to focus. I needed to be absolutely on my guard. "So, what's the favor?"

He leaned back in his chair, linking his hands behind his head. "I've met my future girlfriend."

"Oh?" There was that strange freezing thing again. Twice in one day was probably bad.

"Scarlett, one of the receptionists from the law firm that handles JMS."

"Oh." Maybe I should check these symptoms with a doctor — paralysis of body parts could be a precursor to a stroke.

"Yeah, only problem is she's pretty classy."

"Oh?" Yep, brain, heart, hands — everything seized. I prayed I wasn't going to have a stroke there at the table. Although, the mouth-to-mouth might make it worthwhile ...

"And I'm not. I've always been a bit laid-back. More worried about catching the first waves of the morning than remembering to shave." He ran his hand over his day-old stubble to prove his point.

My eyes followed his hand as if it were a hypnotist's pendulum. I couldn't believe there was one thing about Jake Maxwell that needed changing. He was already so sexy that it was an effort to drag my eyes away.

"Thing is," he continued, "I want to make a move on her, but I think I'm a bit too rough around the edges for her taste."

"Oh." If someone had asked four years ago how I'd react to this news, I'd have said "panicky." But instead, a strange hollowness spread through my chest, engulfing my insides. Was that another symptom of a stroke?

"Which is where you come in."

"Oh?" And what had happened to my vocabulary? I was sure I'd had one earlier.

"I want you to help me clean up a bit. Not too much, just what fork to use first at dinner, maybe some clothes to wear places other than the beach, that sort of thing."

"Oh." Vocabularies probably froze before a stroke, too. I was sure I'd read that somewhere.

"You haven't said anything other than 'oh' for a while now. Should I take that to mean you're not interested?"

Not interested? My teenage crush appeared to have come back in force, just in time for him to tell me he'd met someone else. "Out of curiosity, is she blond?"

He frowned. "How did you know?"

"Just a guess. Jake, why are you asking me? You barely even know me."

"Of course I know you. Practically watched you grow up. Besides, you're the most sophisticated woman I know."

"You think I'm sophisticated?" The words fell out before I could catch them.

"Yep." He grinned. "And Kelly told me about your job working for that big fashion designer — you're the perfect person to help me. Besides, I have eyes — you wouldn't look out of place modeling some of those designs."

"Oh." The pleasure of finally being complimented by Jake was greatly outweighed by his earlier comment that Scarlett was blond. And did it have to be a Scarlett? That name spelled trouble. I knew from experience.

"We're back to 'oh', are we?"

I tried the remarkable willpower thing again on my brain, but ended up having to shake my head to get it to work. His plan sounded fabulous. Except for that teensy detail of helping him attract another woman while in the midst of my newly re-surfaced teenage crush. That part wasn't quite so fabulous. "I'm not sure."

"Say yes, Annalise. It'll be fun."

His gaze was so confident that I realized he was positive I'd agree. Of course. This was The World According To Jake, where everything always worked out just the way he wanted. "Why would I consider this, let alone agree to it?"

"I was hoping you'd ask that." He lifted one eyebrow the way only movie stars were supposed to and grinned with cocky self-assurance. Damn, even his cockiness was sexy. "I'd owe you a favor."

A favor? I considered asking if he had some grocery vouchers in his back pocket or maybe a spare room for a girl and her stripy cat. But then I realized something. This man was rich and needed something from me. And he owned shops. I designed things for shops. This could be the break to kick-start my career. My whole body snapped to attention.

"What sort of time frame do you have in mind?"

He leaned back in his chair in a lopsided slouch, one shoulder higher than the other. "I've got two weeks to get ready for a dinner Scarlett's company is holding for 'valued clients'. That's where I'll make my move."

At the mention of Scarlett again, I wavered, weighing my options: starvation ... Handing Jake to a blonde. Starvation ...

"Okay, here are my terms. You pay me an hourly consultant's fee. You also take on two of my casual wear designs in your retail outlets. If they don't sell, you cut them. If they do, you increase the number of designs."

He tapped an index finger on the table. "I have a buyer who chooses what goes in the shops, but I'll pay you the consultant's fee." His smile crinkled the corners of his intense, dark eyes. He was laying on the full charm, and even the knowledge it was aimed at getting another woman didn't give me immunity.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Summer of Jake by Rachel Bailey, Heather Howland, Kari Olson. Copyright © 2014 Rachel Bailey. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Summer of Jake 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
BottlesAndBooksReviewsJA More than 1 year ago
Annalise Farley's has always had two dreams. One: Be a fashion designer. Two: Jake Maxwell, the man who broke her heart as a teenager.  When Jake walks back into Annalise's life wanting advice on impressing his next conquest, Annalise uses it to her advantage to get her fashion displayed in one of Jake's stores, but what happens when Annalise finds herself falling for the boy who once broke her heart - without knowing her did?  Jake, finding himself restless needs Annalise's help to get the attention of his newest conquest. But when he finds himself spending more time with Annalise will he fall for her or will his sights remain on course for the other woman? The Summer of Jake is a wonderfully written book of first love, second chances, romance and passion. The book explores those awkward teenage years and adulthood and how second chances can be the best thing to ever happen to you. Rachel Bailey's writing is incredible and leaves you breathless. With each page turned, The Summer of Jake leaves you wanting, no, needing more. The chemistry between Jake and Annalise is written on every page even when they try to deny it for themselves. The passion between them heats up the pages and leaves you cheering for this couple from the very first one.  The Summer of Jake is a five star, oh my god, give me more read. Rachel Bailey has official turned me into a fan girl who needs more of her work. I absolutely loved The Summer of Jake and think it's the perfect beach read for all of you still lounging in the sun and enjoying the last rays of summer. 
micharch More than 1 year ago
This was a nice and easy read for me.  Rachel Bailey tells us of Annalise's crush on Jake since she was a teenager.  Jake requests her help in trying to catch the attention of another woman.  Annalise goes along with his request and barters for an agreement with him to get some of her designs sold in his surfing stores that he owns.  Jake and Annalise then find themselves being drawn to each other and neither one of them wants to get hurt.  The story flowed well and had a nice ending.  Overall a good read for a nice summer day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Solid story, hilarious, main characters are well developed, some emotional scenes, worth the money
grandmareads102 More than 1 year ago
Annalise Farley had a teenage crush on Jake Maxwell, but he never knew she was there. Now they are all grown up and Jake comes to her with an offer. He wants her to help him smooth his rough edges so that he can attract another woman. Since she's currently unemployed, she agrees. In exchange he will feature some of the clothing she designed in his successful surf shops. Perfect plan. Not really! Annalise still desires him. The Summer of Jake is a romantic friends to lovers story. Annalise and Jake are complex and well written characters. They love and interact with so much passion. The beautiful beaches are a perfect background for their romance. The dialogue is witty and humorous and the secondary characters add so much to the story. The book is well plotted and flows smoothly. I wanted Annalise and Jake to find their HEA. The Summer of Jake is a perfect summertime treat. Rachel Bailey wrote a wonderful story.
Lori-Gonzo More than 1 year ago
What a sweet story of friendship that blooms into something more.  Jake and Annelise made a beautiful friendship and took the time to get to know each other.  I loved this.  They had some witty banter along with chemistry.  The build up to their intimacy encounter was so good each taking turns putting on the brakes.  I enjoyed reading this book but the ending totally made the book for me.  It has to be one of the most romantic and sweet endings I have ever read. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is SUCH a fun read, even if you don’t read it in your head using an Australian accent like I did. The inside of Annalise’s head is a brilliant place to be (I imagine the inside of her cat/dog’s head is pretty entertaining, as well). Between raising a cat that thinks it’s a dog, speaking to her libido, etc., I just wanted to stay inside there. It was funny, lighthearted, and a great beach read (too bad I started it on the way home from sand and surf). Yes, Annalise and Jake both do their fair share of pining after the other, but there’s no overdramatic angst or fake depth. Instead, there’s awkward moments and tons of sexual frustration and tension. That’s not to say there’s no depth – it’s just not overdone, like most books. Annalise has always had a thing for Jake, but she realizes the depth of her feelings and it leads to a moment of total clarity regarding past relationships. Jake grows up, comes to terms with things said to him in the past, and makes a conscious decision to change. Speaking of Jake, most of this book I wanted to slap him on the forehead, “Shoulda had a V8!”-style. But in a loving way, of course. How could you not love him? His favorite movie quote is from P.S. I Love You. He’d just been holding on to so many things from when he was, like, 7-years-old, that he couldn’t see them from an adult’s perspective, just how he saw them when they were said. But then he “manned the eff up” and I wanted to climb him.
mysticrosetiger More than 1 year ago
This book is a good read. Annalise and Jake story is sometimes love hits you when you least expected but following your heart is everything you wanted.
BAB56 More than 1 year ago
Rachel Bailey’s The Summer of Jake is a bittersweet romance. When Annalise was a teenager, she had a crush on best friend’s brother, Jake. Annalise designs clothes, and Jake is a surfer and successful owner of surf shops. He wants to impress another woman. He asks Annalise to help make him over so that he can appear classy for the other woman. Needless to say the sparks fly between Annalise and Jake. It takes Jake a long time to get rid of the emotional baggage he has been carrying around. Once he is able to acknowledge and accept that he is not the person he thought he was, he then has the strength to go after what will truly make him happy. Received copy from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review
Anlenhart1 More than 1 year ago
Annalise has always had a crush on her best friends older brother Jake. He is a famous successful surfer/businessman who has a lot of baggage from past relationships and a complicated relationship with his father. She is a aspiring, quirky fashion designer who has an unhealthy attachment to her car. Needless to say her life blows up and when Jake approaches her to help him with a conquest, and she agrees provided he sell her designs in his store and a consultant fee. Needless to say, Annalise crush develops into real feelings and Jake starts to his sister's friend in a new light. I really enjoyed the setting, pacing, and humor of this book. The book is set in Australia, but the slang that is used is easily understood. The relationship between Jace and Annalise is realistic and develops at an appropriate pace. I also loved the relationship between main characters and their families/friends. I laughed out loud several times and plan on reading it again. This is a new adult book that didn't feel stereotypical, and made me want to visit Australia. I was given a free copy for an honest review.
psee More than 1 year ago
5 Star Review Jake Maxwell is a former pro surfer who owns multiple shops and has been leading a great life. Now he is a little bored and is trying to pursue someone from the legal department involved with his business. His concern is that he needs to update his image, look more the sophisticate than the surfer. Enter Annalise his little sister's friend. She is a designer and likely the most sophisticated person he knows and he is hoping she will help him land this girl from legal. Poor Annalise. What Jake doesn't know is that Annalise has crushed on him for years. But Annalise is a good person and she is willing to help Jake. Plus, she will be getting a pretty sweet deal for herself as Jake agrees to take on two of her designs in his shops as part of the deal. What happens along the way is Annalise realizes she not only still crushes on Jake, but she actually is in love with him and always has been. Jake recognizes his attraction to Annalise and wonders if he is pursuing the wrong girl, but then again, he knows he is not relationship material. He is just like his dad and he remembers all to clearly how his dad left his mom. So this book was a great read. I was able to get through it pretty quick and it was better than just your "brother falling for little sister's friend" book. Jake had some issues he needed to deal with, and his interaction with his family and his surfing mentor were touching. This book also comes through with some pretty amazing character chemistry. The boat scene was hot!!! There were also some really funny parts too. Their interaction and discussion at the family dinner was hilarious. There are also tender moments, and I especially loved when Jake was talking with his mom. On top of that, it was great how Jake comes through wonderfully in making up to Annalise. I loved it all and highly recommend this book!! Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
ysar More than 1 year ago
Annalise has been head over heels for Jake, her best friend's older brother, since she was fifteen years old, and while many years have passed, when she sees him again, those feelings haven't changed. So when Jake asks her to make him over so he can land a date with the incredibly attractive Scarlett, she's thrilled to spend time with him, though she knows the situation will break her heart. Jake's never been one for long-term relationships. The son of a famous musician known more for his womanizing and partying, Jake knows from experience that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and while he may not be as callous as his father was, he also knows it's not in his blood to love someone for the long run. If there was ever a woman he wanted to do that for, though, it's Annalise. But she's off limits, his little sister's best friend, too good for him by a long shot. Only he can't seem to get her out of his mind. The Verdict: The Summer of Jake is your classic story about the good girl who harbors unrequited love for the seemingly out-of-her-league and off-limits boy whose warped self-image but ultimately good heart has kept him out of the relationship game. But the ways the characters are developed and the plot unfolds makes it stand out. Annalise, though still crushing on Jake after all these years, is not your typical invisible admirer. Sure, she wishes he was hers, but she hasn't spent the years pining uselessly over him. She's pursued her passion — fashion design — and struck out on her own, with a few failed relationships along the way. And while she may be starry eyed when Jake approaches her for help with his next dating conquest, she remembers herself and bargains to get her designs showcased in his shop. Their interactions are really cute, with lots of smart banter and good-natured teasing, and she manages to keep her heart from showing for the most part. Jake was a little frustrating because the basis for his belief that he wasn't relationship material was pretty thin. One girlfriend had refused to take the next step with him because he was too laid back and interested in having fun rather than building stability. And there were the many times people had told him he was so much like his dad, but those mentions seemed rather vague. He took them to mean that he wouldn't be able to settle down and remain faithful to one woman, but for all we know, those people could have been complimenting him on his karaoke skills. If he'd had a string of failed relationships behind him, a penchant for drugs, or a tendency to let everyone down, his reluctance would have been more believable. I did enjoy the way both characters seemed to lay it all on the table instead of internalizing everything. Annalise kept her feelings to herself for as long as she could, but when the moment of truth came, she held nothing back. Jake wasn't quite so forthcoming with his words, but his actions made it clear that he held Annalise in different light than most women, and when he finally came to his senses and decided to just go for it, he put his whole heart on the line. The Summer of Jake is a sweet romance with none of the overdone angst I expected — and the best cat ever. It's absolutely perfect for readers who are tired of characters who sabotage things to hide their feelings and prefer a slow build with plenty of chemistry over the usual fall-into-bed-too-soon mess that other romance novels serve up. *Rcvd free in exchange for honest