The Temptation of Lila and Ethan

The Temptation of Lila and Ethan

by Jessica Sorensen

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Ella and Micha series comes a gripping story of passion, pain, and the courage to love . . .


On the surface, Lila Summers is flawless: good looks, expensive clothes, and a big, beautiful smile. But a dark past and even darker secrets are threatening to bubble over her perfect façade. She'll do anything to keep the emptiness inside hidden-which leads her into situations that always end badly. Whenever she hits bottom, there's only one person who's there to pull her out: Ethan Gregory.

Ethan set the rules a long time ago: he and Lila are just friends. He doesn't do relationships. Although his tattooed, bad boy exterior is a far cry from Lila's pretty princess image, Ethan can't deny they have a deeper connection than he's used to. If he's not careful, he could be in serious danger of becoming attached-and he's learned the hard way that attachment only leads to heartbreak.

When Lila falls farther than she ever has before, can Ethan continue to help as a friend? Or is he also getting close to falling . . . for her?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455574902
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 10/22/2013
Series: Ella and Micha , #3
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 222,888
File size: 875 KB

About the Author

The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Jessica Sorensen, lives with her husband and three kids. When she's not writing, she spends her time reading and hanging out with her family.

Read an Excerpt

The Temptation of Lila and Ethan

By Jessica Sorensen

Grand Central Publishing

Copyright © 2014 Jessica Sorensen
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4555-7489-6


Present day ...


I'm having a where-the-hell-am-I moment. My arms are flailing, my pulse fitfully racing as I struggle to get my bearings. I open my eyes, but I can't place a single thing about the room I'm in, other than I'm naked in a bed, sweaty, and super gross. My head feels like it's stuck in a fishbowl as I try to recollect where I left my pills, but I can't even remember where I am. There are photos on the walls, none of anyone I recognize, though. The closet is open and it looks like there's some kind of football uniform in there. Did I sleep with a football player? No, that doesn't sound familiar. My gaze slides to the opened condom wrapper on the nightstand and I feel relief wash through me. I'm on birth control and everything, but that only protects from pregnancy. God, I really need to stop doing this.

I've become accustomed to these kinds of situations, waking up in unfamiliar places with a headache, panic, and consistent, recognizable shame inside me that I know belongs there, just as much as the air in my lungs and the blood in my heart. I don't deserve to feel anything better after the decisions and choices that I've made. I know what I am on the inside now and I don't fight it anymore. It's both liberating and heartbreaking because this is how I have to be—who I am—and it's sad. But I can smile on the outside, show the world how happy I am, since that's what's important, even if I'm dying on the inside.

The routine is very simple and I know it like I know the back of my hand. I open my eyes, take in my surroundings, try to remember something, and then when all else fails, get the hell out of there. I slowly sit up, trying not to wake the guy lying in the bed next to me. He's got dark brown hair and a pretty sturdy body, but his back is turned to me and my memories are hazy, so I can't place what he looks like from the front. Maybe that's for the best, though. Whatever I was looking for with him—love, happiness, a blissful moment of connection—obviously never happened. And I'm at a point in my life where I doubt if it ever will.

Holding my breath, I climb out of bed and slip my dress on, covering myself up, along with the scar winding around my waist, reminding me of why I'm here. I attempt to get the back row of buttons done up, but my fingers are numb, like I was doing something weird with them last night, which could be a possibility. I do have tendency to get a little extreme when I'm that drunk. The fingernails sometimes come out, and back in boarding school I got deemed the slutty biter/screamer. Although, sometimes I wonder if I do it out of pleasure or from the fear that seems to surface when I have sex. And that confusion is his fault. I'll always hate him for that, even if I thought I loved him and would have done anything for him at the time. But how could I really, when I was way too young to feel love? Even now, I still haven't felt it and I'm twenty years old.

Leaving my dress unbuttoned, I collect my shoes and tiptoe toward the door. I notice a wad of cash on the nightstand beside the bed and a ring that looks like a football championship ring or something. There's also a stale sandwich on the dresser and several empty beer glasses.

"Ew, I must have really been drunk," I mutter, cringing at the food and then double cringing when I catch my untidy appearance in the mirror on the wall.

Making a repulsed face, I slip out of the room, thinking I'll be out in the hallway of one of the dorm buildings on campus. But I'm in a large, open living room with columns around the walls and picture windows everywhere, letting light easily flow in. The floor is marble and there's a large white rug spread out. It has to be a condo or something, with how fancy it is, not a dorm.

There are a couple of guys and a girl sitting on a leather couch in the middle of the room, watching a flat-screen television mounted on the wall just beside where I stepped out. I can't remember anything other than shots, a chic club, a sleek black Mercedes, someone's hands and lips on me, wishing I could black out, and then I must have gotten what I wanted because after that I remember nothing.

The guys simultaneously look up at me and I notice they're older, like maybe twenty-four or twenty-five, which makes me feel too young to be here, yet older guys seem to be my thing, at least when I'm drunk.

"Hey." One of them nods his scruffy chin at me. "You look a little lost."

"Yep, I'm totally lost." I force a smile, even though I'm frowning on the inside, and I hold my head high as I do the walk of shame. They start laughing at me and I find myself wishing I were someone sassier, like Ella, my best friend and old roommate. But I'm not. Sure, I can be sassy when the time calls for it, but right now I feel icky, gross, and disgusted with myself because I just woke up, my makeup's worn off, my hair's a mess, and my clothes smell like alcohol. Plus I'm crashing. Badly. And I don't have anything on me to help balance my mood.

I rush across the room and throw open the door. As I step out of the condo, I hear one of them laugh and say something about me being easy and slutty, but I close the door and shut out their voices. I walk down the hall and trot down the stairs to the bottom, where I push the door open and step outside into the sunlight and the lukewarm November air. Being outside makes me feel a little better, except I still can't recognize where I am. It's a condo complex—that much I get.

"Crap," I mutter, pressing my fingers to the brim of my nose. I have a splitting headache and my hair smells like beer and my pores feel sticky. I hike across the lawn toward the corner of the street so I can read the street sign, knowing it could be worse. I could be in one of the lower-class areas of Las Vegas, but this looks like it's a nice area, located near some cul-de-sacs and upper-class homes. When I reach the corner of the street, I shield my eyes with my hand and squint up at the street sign. Damn it, I'm way too far away from my apartment to walk. I can either take the bus, which I haven't been a fan of since I was fourteen, or I can call someone. The only person I really know around here anymore—the only one who I trust seeing me like this—is Ethan Gregory. He's the one and only bad boy I've ever had in my life and the one and only guy who's never wanted to sleep with me, which makes him seem less bad to me, but to all the other girls he sleeps with, not so much.

I first met him two summers ago when I went with my best friend Ella back to her hometown. He was the best friend to the guy Ella was in love with, Micha—although she wouldn't admit it at the time. While those two were working out their problems, I spent a lot of time with Ethan and we hit it off. There was this strange connection between us, like we understood each other, even though we were from totally separate worlds: rich and poor. Even when I went back to school in the fall, we still talked on the phone. And then he moved here and we've been hanging out pretty much ever since.

Cursing under my breath, I find my phone that luckily is still in the side pocket of my dress, and then I punch in Ethan's number.

He answers after three rings and his voice is laced with amusement. "Well, hello, lovely Lila. What'd you do this time?"

I ignore the ripple through my body that his voice always causes. After knowing him for a year, I've pretty much become an expert at discounting the emotions he always brings out inside me, which is a good thing for many different reasons. For one thing we live in two separate worlds: I like nice things and Ethan is very unmaterialistic. He calls me spoiled a lot and I call him a weirdo because I don't get half the things that he does, like refusing to buy nicer clothes when he has the money for them. He's so sexy and if he'd wear jeans without holes in them and new shoes and shirts he'd look so much better.

Plus, even though I hate to admit it, my mother's words always echo in my head: If you can't find a man to take care of you then you'll end up living in a crack house, just like your sister. Find a wealthy man, Lila, and hang on to him no matter what sacrifices you make. Despite the absurdity of it, I can't seem to get the mental picture out of my head of me curled up in a ball on a ratty old couch, dressed in rags, smoking crack from a pipe, and it scares me.

"I didn't do anything ... I don't think anyway. I just need a ride," I say in a whiny voice because I'm tired and filthy and disgusting.

"Again?" he replies, pretending to be annoyed but I've gotten to know him well enough to know he really isn't. He just likes people to think he is because he likes to seem tough and a badass. But I know he's not. He's actually really sweet and talks and listens to me and gives me candy canes. I still have a drawer full of the ones he gave me, unable to eat them or throw them away because then it feels like I'm losing a nice moment in my life with a guy and those kinds of moments are very rare, if nonexistent.

"Are you there?" he says, interrupting my thoughts.

"Yes, I need a ride again." I sink down on the curb, attempting not to think of candy canes and red lacy bras. That was a one-time thing. We both agreed that there would be no hooking up. Although, I agreed to it only because he seemed so eager to make it clear it would never happen again. "So will you or won't you come pick me up?"

"God, you're snippy today," he remarks with humor in his tone. "And I don't think I want to deal with it today. I'm too fucking tired from the woman I screwed last night. She really wore me out. Plus, I have to be to work later today."

"Don't be an ass." I scowl, even though he can't see me. "Please quit messing around and just come get me. Pretty please."

He pauses and then sighs, defeated. "I'll come get you though, but only if you say it."

"I'm not going to say it, Ethan. Not today." I prop my elbow on my knee and rest my chin against my hand. He wants me to tell him that I'll be his sex slave, something he made me promise to say the last time he picked me up. He doesn't really want me to be one, though. He just thinks he's funny.

"That was the deal," he reminds me. "If I ever had to come pick you up again."

"But I made the deal when I wasn't this cranky," I say and grimace. "When it seemed like a good idea."

"Fine." He surrenders way too easily and it makes me smile just a little. "But next time I'm making you ... In fact, I might even actually make you be my sex slave the next time you call me," he says and I sigh heavily. "I'll head out in a few."

"Thank you," I tell him, stretching my legs out onto the road. "And I'm sorry for being so pissy. I'm just hung-over."

"You didn't go out with that douche from the club, did you?" he asks and I can hear him moving around. "Because I told you the guy seemed sketchy. Although all the guys you've hooked up with seem a little bit sketchy, if you ask me—rich, preppy douche bags."

"They're not douche bags. They're just different from what you're used to." I yawn, extending my arms above my head. "And no, I didn't go home with the guy from the club ... I don't think anyway. I can't even remember who I went home with." I cringe as I try to put the pieces together, but I can't even seem to find one full piece.

"Lila ..." he starts, but then decides against it, probably because he sleeps around just as much as I do. "Where are you exactly?"

I breathe a sigh of relief, grateful he's not giving me anymore crap for my sexual mishap. I'm hung-over and having withdrawals and I can feel myself verging on a meltdown, something that can never happen, let alone in the open. "I'm on the corner of Vegas Drive and Rainbow."

"Where exactly? In like a store or a house or something?"

"No, I'm sitting on the curb."

He's quiet for a moment. This isn't the first time he's had to pick me up under these kinds of circumstances and it probably won't be the last. It's kind of our thing; we share our stories and never judge each other, despite how bad and ugly the stories are. He knows things about me that no one does, like how my father treats me, and I know things about him, too, like how his dad used to beat his mother and how he despises him for it. "I'll be there in, like, fifteen to twenty minutes. Don't go wandering off anywhere."

"Where would I go?" I pull my knees up and lower my forehead onto them. "It's too damn hot outside to even breathe."

"And try not to get into any trouble," he adds, disregarding my comment.

"Fine." I roll my eyes and then squeeze them shut, inhaling the sweltering air. "And, Ethan ..."

He pauses. "Yeah."

"Thank you again," I say softly because I really do feel bad for making him do these things for me. He's always so nice about it, too.

Another pause and then he gives an overexaggerated sigh. "Whatever. You're welcome."

We hang up and I feel slightly better. He's always there for me, even when he doesn't want to be. He's the only person I really talk to anymore and I worry what will happen if he decides to leave me.

I lie down on the sidewalk and twist my platinum ring around on my finger as I stare up at the melting blue sky and the blinding sunlight. For a moment I don't care about how filthy the ground is or the fact that my dress is undone and my eyes are starting to sting. In fact, for a split second I know I belong there and nowhere better. But as I press my cheek against the scalding concrete, I remember that I was taught not to lie on the filthy ground. I sit up straight and trace the ugly circular scars on each ankle, the mark of my biggest imperfection both inside and out.

The sun bears down on me as I attempt to remember some details of the previous night. But as usual, I'm drawing a blank. If I keep it up, then I wonder if one day my head will just be as empty as my heart. But on the bright side—my mother's bright side—at least I'll still have my beauty and that's all that really matters.


You know that point where you're about to wake up, but you can't quite seem to get your fucking eyelids to open so you get kind of stuck between being awake and asleep? Well, that's pretty much where I've been for the last four years. I feel stuck. Trapped in the same place, unable to move. In a life I'm not sure I want, yet I can't seem to figure out how to change it. I've felt differently only once and the person who brought the sunnier side out of me is no longer in my life. Although, sometimes Lila gets me close to breaking out of the daze, but in a different way, one based more on anger and sexual frustration than an actual deep emotion.

I even tried to escape the trapped feeling of my life once. I packed my shit and hit the road with no real destination other than to escape the trapped feelings that had been festering inside me for years. It wasn't bad being alone on the road with no worries about where I was going, but what I learned quickly was that you can't escape life, no matter how much you want to.

I wake up to "Hey Ho" by the Lumineers. It's the ringtone Lila picked out for herself, even though I told her it wasn't my kind of music. She insisted that it was the perfect song choice for her, and I meant to change it but I forgot and now I just don't care. In fact, it's kind of growing on me, like her.

I run my hand over my face, rubbing the drowsiness away, and then reach for my phone on the nightstand beside my bed. I answer it and give Lila a hard time because it seems like it's becoming a tradition. She calls me when she needs help, usually with a guy-related issue, and either I listen to her complain about it or go bail her out from whatever situation she's in.

It's the third time she's called me this month and it's only halfway into November. She told me once, over way too many shots of tequila—which always makes her dark alter ego come out—that she'd been like this since she was fourteen, never giving me an exact reason. Honestly, she seems to be going on a rapid downhill decline since Ella left, even taking a semester off of school, but I think that might have to do with money more than anything. But I'm worried she's lonely or something. A lot of people can't handle being alone, and I think Lila might be one of those people.

I remember the first time we had a real talk, back in Star Grove, where we first met. Our best friends had a thing for each other and we kind of met through them. During the first real time we spent together, we drank a bottle of Bacardi while my dad repainted her car that someone had spray-painted, talking about life, our weird views on casual, meaningless sex, and how at one point in our lives our parents treated us like shit, although Lila's still do.


Excerpted from The Temptation of Lila and Ethan by Jessica Sorensen. Copyright © 2014 Jessica Sorensen. Excerpted by permission of Grand Central Publishing.
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 Temptation of Lila and Ethan 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 65 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow! I loved it. Cannot wait for the next Ella and Micha.
RipeForReader More than 1 year ago
My rating: 4 of 5 ¿¿ Lila Summers learned a long time ago that as long as you have looks, the right presentation, the perfect package, what you carried around inside you mattered to no one. Other than the exterior that was carefully applied day after day for the benefit of the outside world, Lila was as lost to herself as she was to anyone else. Every now and then, when her lack of caring would lead her too close to danger, she had only one person to call who would keep her safe. Still young and already jaded by life, Ethan Gregory doesn't believe in relationships. He had a distorted view from childhood and had his own messed up attempt at one. Better to stick with no strings attached physical release and nothing else, which is why, although Lila tempted him plenty, he had never crossed that line with her. He doesn't want to mess up Lila's friendship, besides, she is too high maintenance for him. The next time Ethan responds to a call and finds Lila in real trouble, unable to put her customary shields up, fully exposed to him. He comes to realize how little he really knows about her. She has far more darkness than the occasional glimpses she would show. Having turned his back once before, Ethan is determined to help her, whether she welcomes him or not. He just needs to be careful not to get drawn in to her anymore than he already is. But an undeniably strong connection, explosive chemistry, increasing need and close proximity, make it impossible to deny themselves and each other what so clearly was what nature intended. ***** Pretty heavy and heady stuff, but really good!  The overall feel of the book is rather dark and messed up, but through the initial feel of depression and lost morality comes a thread of hope in the form of a pure emotion.....a selfless caring that breaks down walls and heals wounds. The rescue of another soul, and in doing so, saving one's own. Lila doesn't know love, has never experienced the concept of unconditional anything. She has been taught that to be accepted in any form, one must fit a particular mold that is based on appearance only. Who you are is never important, what you represent is. Her individuality crushed her entire life, she has no clue of her own identity and is utterly lost. Despite that, pieces of a personality have managed to shine through and people have been drawn to that, people who started caring for the Lila who could be, like Ethan, who gave her the freedom and courage to just be. Stuck in an unresolved tragedy in his past, Ethan never felt the need or the drive to move on. Convinced that relationships equalled pain, he would avoid involvement always. He had already turned away from a destructive path he had been on when he was younger, but had not healed emotionally. When his friendship with Lila intensified and he was forced to spend all his time with her to keep her safe, still not willing to cross the lines of friendship into a relationship, it was almost ironic. Whether a love relationship or a friendship relationship, when there is love involved, there is also the possibility of pain. Without realizing, he had already made himself vulnerable in a way he though he was avoiding. The character development was interesting to witness, Ethan was further ahead in his growth than Lila, but his growth was more gradual. For Lila it was sudden, almost brutal, the way all her protective layers were stripped away, forcing her to stand exposed all at once. But she had Ethan at her back.  A harsh, but quite beautiful coming of age story. Not for the faint of heart, due to the description of drug use, some sexual abuse and childhood verbal abuse. However, this is also a story of crawling out of the deepest and darkest of holes and finding yourself standing, for the first time, in the bright sunlight.  Ms. Sorensen is able to turn a troubling and destitute tale into a story of victory. A reminder that where you come from should never be an excuse for where you are going. ¿Compelling, intense, raw and hopeful tale of becoming!¿ **ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Forever in return for an honest review.**
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'll be honest, this wasn't my favorite book in the series. I enjoyed reading about Lila and Ethan since they were always running off and being mysterious in the other books, so it was cool to read about their backgrounds and friendship. There were a lot of repetitive scenes/descriptions between the different point of views, so i found myself skipping over paragraphs at a time. Also quite a few spelling and gramatical errors that could have been caught with one more read through. Overall though, I was happy I read it because it's a great addition to the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a cute and sweet story! I adored Ethan and Lila
JoannaDursi More than 1 year ago
Lila & Ethan have been friends since they met a year ago when Lila was in town with her college roommate Ella. Everyone thinks Lila has the perfect life. But what they don't know is that she has been using pills and sex for years to move through life numb....that is until she hits bottom. Ethan has been there to save her every time she's needed it. Ethan has his own secrets and has promised himself never to turn into his parents. The best way to do that?Meaningless sex and no relationships. While I absolutely love JS's Coincidence series, the last two books in this series have just been ok IMO. I liked this story, liked the growth both characters achieved but something was missing and I can't quite figure out what. I really hope the series picks up because I really like all the characters and know the potential is there. - I cry because Ethan's holding on to me and for the first time in my entire life, I feel like someone wants to hold me just as much as I want to hold on to them
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NerdAlertBL More than 1 year ago
This is the third book in The Secrets series. It can be read as a stand alone but it's so much better if you at least read The Secret of Ella and Micha first, where you first meet both Lila and Ethan.  Lila Summers is the definition of beauty. She is beautiful,  she comes from a very wealthy family, she loves beautiful things and gorgeous clothes. She is flawless, happy, and has a beautiful big smile. But that's all superficial and what is on the outside. But what is on the inside is dark, ugly, and broken. With a dark and devastating past, a troubled home life, and a very broken family, Lila will do anything to keep the darkness buried very deep.  "...Be flawless. Shine bright. Never, ever do anything less than excel..." "...We have expectations and standards to live up to. We must be perfect on the outside, despite what's on the inside..." "...She never does anything right.  I'm so sick and tired of the drama.  Either she needs to straighten up or she needs to go..." "...She forgot to tell me about the illusion of love and the darkness that comes with it. That eventually when the illusion is gone, the walls close in on you, crush you, and all you're left with is feeling more unloved, and worthless than you did before..." Ethan Gregory is a lot more than your typical bad boy. He may be sexy as all get out with his brown eyes,  black hair, holey jeans, and tattoos, but there is so much more to Ethan. Ethan also comes from a broken home that has left him with a fear if relationships.  He has a dark past as well that he is running from but not ready to let go of. So now he lives by a set of rules and keeps his friends at arms length.  "...A year ago I was an average guy going to school, and getting decent grades. Now I'm an almost seventeen - year - old high school dropout who's sitting in some druggies' house, unsure how the hell I got here..."  "...I'm trying to figure out why I'm still here. I know why I came here..." "...I've always secretly wished I could just leave all my stuff behind hitchhike across the country and write about what I see and feel and how much I hate being around people and the world and the constant chattering. It always feels like there's the rest of the world and then me..." Lila carries the image of the pretty princess and Ethan carries the image of the off limits bad boy, but these two opposites find that they share a deep connection and a friendship that outsiders can't make sense of. Can they find a way to deal with their dark pasts and move past? Can Lila finally let go of the emptiness and find self respect and self love? Can Ethan finally let go of his guilt and the past? Can they both pick up the pieces and move forward? Can they let go of the rules and reach out for what's right in front of them or is that risk just too much? "...I can see it in her eyes sometimes, when she gets really quiet. Sadness. Self - Doubt. Self - Torture, even..." "...I want someone who will love me like Micha loves Ella. I want someone - anyone - just to love me..." "...Break me. Throw me away. You don't want me. Of course you don't.  No one does..." "...And who knows, maybe we'll turn out to be one of the lucky ones. Either way it's worth the risk..."  Jessica Sorensen once again has completely captivated me. Lila's story is so dark and so beautifully sad that you will not want to put this book down for a single moment. And wait until you really get to know Ethan! He is a favorite on my list of book boyfriends now. He is a big delicious bowl of awesomesauce! This is truly a dark and sad story of two beautiful and broken people  and their struggles to finding themselves again. I love Jessica Sorensen and the magic her beautiful words create. This may be a bit of a darker story but it is moving and it plays itself out in an incredible and moving way. And the end..... oh the end, will leave you on your seat begging to have the next book at hand! I loved the story so much and am happy to give it a Nerd Alert A++ or 5 stars! Next book. I come! 
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I LOVED Ethan! If you already read the first two books just keep going. It is worth is.
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I honestly didn't think I would like it, but never judge a book by its cover so I gave it a shot and OMG! One of the best books I've ever read! I seriously wish I would have been more thorough though :( I didn't know there where other books before it! All in all I will be reading those books as well. A+ for this book! I want more of Lila and Ethan! Made me tear up towards the end
clamb4268 More than 1 year ago
Lila and Ethan's struggles are very real and make their love story that much more poignant. Totally loved reading this book and their relationship could be a lesson for anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LeahLR More than 1 year ago
I have always enjoyed the author. the story starts out slow but the character development is worth the read. I always like dynamic characters.