With an abusive relationship behind her, Skyler moves out of her Orange County apartment, changes her phone number, cuts ties with her friends, and moves in with her brother Josh, a talent agent with a spare room in his incredible house in Hollywood.
Josh is happy to take Skyler under his wing, but he has one rule: she can’t sleep with his roommate, Blake. That’s fine by Skyler. She doesn’t want a man in her life right now—and certainly not cocky Blake who’s with a different girl every night. But his all-American boy charm and his ripped model physique are difficult to refuse. Josh will never know if no one ever tells him. And a little secret now and then never hurt anyone…
"Tryst is rife with raw angst, delicious sexual tension, and toe-curling romance. It’s the kind of story that keeps you riveted from beginning to end."—Christina Lee, author of the Between Breaths series
“Brother’s hot best friend? A steamy friends with benefits arrangement? What more could you want? Tryst is a fun, tantalizing read!”—New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack
When Alex Rosa isn’t scouring city parks or cafes to write, she is most likely trying to convince her friends to join her on her next adventure. A sufferer of wanderlust, she is always looking for a new mountain to climb, a canyon to hike, or a plane to board. Her résumé consists of coroner, zoo worker, and most recently executive assistant, but she finds her home amongst words, whether it is in books or in film. Her obsessions are on the brink of bizarre, but that’s just the way she likes it.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
I watch my brother, Josh, burden himself with my belongings. His tall, lean frame scrambles by me, and his short black hair is damp with sweat. Why he chose to wear a tight V-neck sweater and jeans in the August heat is beyond me. I sigh as I swing my backpack over my shoulder. Josh is trying to manage a box and my luggage as we enter through the front door. He stumbles into the living room, and I remember that, though my brother is suave on the surface, clumsiness is genetic.
I love that Josh cares, but it can be overwhelming sometimes. It does make me smile that he’s so excited to let me live with him for a while. I should consider myself lucky. Sometimes I think he believes he owes it to me because he was gone so long for school, but it’s not as if we grew apart. He’s a twenty-seven-year-old business professional. Even the title makes me giggle, but he definitely has made a name for himself as an agent for some big-shot Hollywood talent agency. From what he’s told me, he has some famous clientele. He won’t tell me anything else about them, which I think is silly.
I set my backpack on the coffee table and finally turn my head to give this place a good look. Jeez, it’s nice in here, nothing like my shitty apartment in Orange County. His place is modern, minimal, and mostly white, with little contrast other than the large red sofa and love seat that face a large flat-screen TV. The place is not necessarily lacking in ‘bachelor pad,’ with a glowing red neon beer sign on the back wall, and black-and-white photographs of LA’s skyline.
I guess I knew my brother was never struggling for money. In a way, it makes me curious why he even has a roommate.
Josh interrupts my thoughts. He’s giddy, the corners of his mouth reaching from ear to ear, and it makes me smile, too. “I’m going to grab the last of your stuff, okay?” Before I can answer, he’s already out the door.
I’m glad my presence makes him happy. I feel like I am intruding on his bachelor life. Who wants to have their little twenty-two-year-old sister living with them?
I realize I’m parched. The large living room opens into the kitchen, where a dark granite island and counters greet me. The kitchen is spotless, with minimal kitchenware—a toaster, coffeemaker, and of course, a stainless-steel fridge. I wonder if this place is clean only because they knew I would be arriving. That would be something Josh would do.
I open cabinets, searching for a glass, and on the second attempt, a voice startles me.
“Cups are on the right, near the fridge.”
I turn around, and my breath catches in my throat at the sight. A barely dressed boy—er, man?—is standing there, idly watching me.
“Um, thank you.” I grab a glass and fill it with water.
He gives me this all-American-boy grin, seeming to enjoy my obvious discomfort. “No problem. Skyler, isn’t it?”
I take a sip and respond. “Yes. Roommate, I presume?” Getting those words out wasn’t so hard. As I wait for his response, my eyes drag down to his tan, toned physique, and I linger a little too long on the V at the edge of his navy-blue boxer briefs.
His voice brings me back to his stark, forest-colored eyes that complement his dark brown hair. Those eyes are distracting.
“I’ve got a name. Blake. Blake Everett. Nice to meet you.”
Was that a hint of attitude? Without a second thought and no shame, he leans his half-naked body over and raises his hand to shake mine. I can tell he’s enjoying this, and it only makes me feel uneasier.
I shake his hand as confidently as possible, and my imbedded manners kick in. “Nice to meet you too, Blake. Thanks for letting me stay here.”
He smirks, and I notice him giving me the once-over. I suddenly wish I wore nicer jeans rather than a torn-up pair. I don’t like the feeling of being under his judgmental eyes, because I am nowhere near able to compare to this Greek god. I run my hands through my curly black hair, and wish I’d brushed it before leaving this morning. He’s so pretty it hurts.
I’m aching to hear some sort of response, but I’m not sure he has one. I worry that I’m not welcome, but as he opens his mouth to respond, a voice from a bedroom down the hall interrupts. It’s high-pitched and squeaky.
“Blaaaaaaakkkeee, I’m thirsty. Come love me now!”
I flush crimson, realizing the implications of the whiny girl voice and his attire. If I am not mistaken, he flushes, too, but the arrogant smirk remains. Why are his lips so distracting?
He laughs, no doubt over my shocked expression, and then shrugs as if that explains everything.
“You mind if I take this?” he asks. He snatches the glass of water out of my hand, takes a quick sip, and winks at me. With that, he turns on his heels and walks back toward his bedroom. I hear his door shut.
He has me fuming. What an asshole is the only thought I can muster. That water was mine, not for some floozy he’s bedding. I take a deep breath, annoyed with my body’s hormones and with myself.
I hear Josh coming in through the front door, and I try to gather my equilibrium. He appears in the kitchen and utters the same statement that Blake made moments before. “Cups are on the far right next to the fridge.”
I scowl. “I’m aware. Thanks.”
His eyebrows shoot up. “Whoa, what’s wrong with you all of a sudden?”
“Nothing. I just met your roommate. He’s kind of a character.” Be cool.
As if completely understanding what I mean, he nods.
I can’t help myself, and continue, “You know he has a girl in his room right now?”
Josh smirks, which is a response I wasn’t expecting. “I hate to say it, but you might want to get used to that.” He sighs. “I hate that I’m bringing you into this environment.”
Environment? “Josh, I’m not a child anymore. I’m an adult. This environment is fine. I’m a college student, for Christ’s sake. It just caught me off guard, okay?”
The thought of bringing a guy home with me seems so far out of reach. No matter what environment I’m in, my overprotective brother will probably throw him out. Then I wonder if he brings girls home, which is weird.
He raises his hands in mock defense. “I’d hate to have to witness you bringing dudes home, but”—he winces at his words—“you’re an adult, and it’s whatever.”
I laugh and raise an eyebrow. “It’s ‘whatever’?”
He shakes his head, laughing. “Yeah, whatever. Just do me one favor.”
This brother-sister powwow has me reeling. “What?”
“Just don’t sleep with Blake. Like, ever. I mean it.” He squints as he says it, as if it’s weird to ask, and he’d be right.
I let out a laugh at his request. “Please, Josh, that will never happen. Good-looking or not, he’s obviously not my type. What does he do anyway that he’s home midday on a Thursday? I’m assuming my GPA wouldn’t even consider him.”
Josh visibly relaxes, and I wonder why but decide not to ask.
“He’s an actor, model . . . whatever.”
“There’s that word again: whatever. Do you represent him?”
He shakes his head. “God, no. I mean, he’s my best friend, but I’m glad I don’t work with him, although his agent is from my firm. He does pretty well for himself, but he’s not my gig.” He shrugs his shoulders nonchalantly.
“Sometimes I forget how Hollywood you are.” I’ll stick to my MCAT prep and biology texts, thank you.
He rolls his eyes at me. “Let me show you where you’re staying. It’s not as private as you might like, but hey, it’s a free room, right?”
The corners of my lips rise and I follow him into the living room. There’s a staircase to the left. I follow him up the stairs to a generously sized loft that overlooks the first floor. I can see what he means about privacy. There’s a skylight in the high-vaulted ceiling, and it’s my only view of the outside world. There’s also a large bed with a stark white comforter and pillows. It looks comfy, kind of like a cloud. Then there’s a dark-wooded chest of drawers. A misplaced-looking desk is against the same wall with a vanity mirror above it.
I smile at Josh as he looks to me for some sort of response.
“It used to be the office, but to be honest, we never used it. I bought the bed and the dresser, and kind of put everything together quickly. I hope it’s okay. Oh, and check this out . . .” He walks past me to the far wall and pulls at a string holding back a maroon-colored curtain. He tugs at the curtain, pulling it toward me, and it becomes similar to a wall.
“I couldn’t have my little sister out here in the open, ya know?”
I can’t help myself. I lean in and hug my brother. He’s helped me more than he’ll ever realize. He hated my ex-boyfriend, and after what happened, he’s done everything possible to make the situation better. I’m lucky that I didn’t have to switch schools. Moving and finding a new job was easier to do with his support. I have absolutely no idea what I would do, or where I would be, without him.
He hugs me back. “Everything will be okay, Sprout.”
I smile at the endearment and let him go. “Thank you so much, Josh. I don’t know how I will ever repay you.”
“Finish school. That’s all I ask.”
“You sound like Dad.”
At the mention of one of my parents, we both sigh inwardly, missing them instantaneously.
Cutting through the tension like the knowing older brother he is, he wraps his arm around my shoulder. “Let’s bring your stuff up now.”
I watch Josh place the last box in my bedroom.
“Have you applied to med schools yet?” he asks.
“Yeah, I have. I submit a few more applications in a couple of weeks, too.” There’s no way I’d miss those deadlines. I have worked too hard to give up now.
Jeez, always the responsible brother.
I fidget in my seat. “Are you coming to my game this Saturday? It’s against Cornell.”
“I’ll be there.” He smiles.
I relax. I don’t want to swamp my brother with my soccer game schedule, but I figured he would at least want to see the game where we play his alma mater. I play for UCLA’s women’s soccer team, and because of soccer, I’m on nearly a full-ride scholarship for my bachelor’s degree. It’s my senior year, and my last season.
I sigh, realizing the time. “I have to get to work.”
“Ya know, Skyler, you don’t have to work. I would be willing to help you out while you go to school. I know you only have to pay for textbooks and all, but still.”
I shake my head. “I will not burden you more than I have to, Josh. I should work. It keeps me busy and gives me some extra cash. I was working before, you know?”
“I know. I just want you to focus on school. It’s not every day that someone in our family will be a doctor. I just want to make sure you’re successful.”
I give him a playful jab in the arm. “Like you?”
He shoves me back and rolls his eyes. “Your way is a whole hell of a lot more honorable.”
“Stop it,” I say, and get up to get ready for work.
I thought working at a twenty-four-hour coffee shop might make the most sense since I could pick up hours at any time of day, and maybe squeeze in some studying here and there. Remembering how to make which latte this way and that coffee another has been more complicated than memorizing my medication chart for class. You would be surprised at what kind of concoctions some people order when they are trying to burn the midnight oil.
The only enjoyable part of my job is my barista counterpart, Tucker. He helped me fumble through my first week of mocha debacles.
“Tucker, tell me something funny.”
He raises a brow at me as he refills the milk carafe. “Rough day? I thought you were moving in with your brother today?”
“I did. I met his roommate today, too.”
“Oh, the mystery friend?”
I roll my eyes. I’d told Tucker that it was strange that I had never met my brother’s best friend, and that in light of the situation, I hoped he was pretty to look at.
“Yeah, mystery solved,” I spit out.
“He must be a looker for you to be so upset.” He snickers.
I pick up a dish towel and throw it at him. “How do you know?”
“The one thing I have learned about you is that you rarely mean what you say when it comes to boys. You’re looking for a distraction, but you don’t want too much of one. He must be cute.”
“And a slut,” I say with emphasis.
“My favorite. When am I invited over?” His smile practically oozes seduction.
Tucker loves men, and for him, the cuter and crazier, the better.
“Never at this rate. He had a girl over when I was there. He came into the kitchen, wearing just his underwear, and then I heard this chirpy voice down the hall beckoning him to love her. It was just gross.”
He laughs. “Jealous much?”
“Shut up. I don’t even know the guy.”
“Just because someone is getting some doesn’t mean you have to hate on him.”
I look for something else to throw, and he continues to laugh at me.
“Whose side are you on, Tucker?”
“I’m on the side of getting you laid!”
I guffaw. “I got only one rule from my brother, and that is to not sleep with Blake.”
Tucker leans against the counter, practically swooning. “Even his name is hot.”
“You’re not helping.” My voice goes into a high-chirp tone.
He regains his composure. “Strange rule.”
“I thought so, too. Did you get the large latte with an extra shot of espresso?”
“Are we talking about coffee now?” He sighs as if the topic of boys is way more palpable than work.
The front door signals an incoming customer, and I’m thrown as I see the person stroll into my coffee shop.
I whisper “Tucker” forcefully as he turns around to walk up to the register to greet the customer.
Tucker puts on his best smile. “Hello, how may I help you?”
“Can I get a large caramel mocha with soy, please?” The voice is crisp and beyond cool.
“Absolutely, sir, it would be my pleasure. Your name?”
The customer swivels his view to behind the counter and makes eye contact with me. His wry smile forms as his eyes dart over me again, and my heart quickens its pace.
“My name is Blake.” He looks amused. “Hey, roomie.”
I can’t stop staring, but neither can he. “Hey, Blake.”
“Nice to meet you, Blake,” Tucker cuts in. “I think I want to be your new best friend.”
“TUCKER!” is the only thing I can manage. I watch as Blake laughs.
I feel my face flush bright red. What is the appropriate reaction here?
Cutting off my outburst, Tucker can’t even help himself as he extends his manicured hand to Blake. “I’ve heard so much about you.”
It seems even Tucker isn’t immune to Blake’s looks.
Blake shoots me a deadly smirk as he looks back to Tucker. “Uh-oh, am I in trouble?” His voice is inviting and has a wonderfully deep timbre.
I find my eyes dragging over his tight black, fitted V-neck shirt and think idly, I know what he looks like underneath that. I’m mildly distracted by the memory of his hips.
“Big trouble with this one.” Tucker raises his eyebrows, signaling toward me.
Blake, without missing a beat, says, “I’m not too good with first impressions. Maybe I can make it up to you, roomie.”
He annoys me. Do I look like some bimbo who will drop everything for him? Because I’m not. Just because he’s good-looking doesn’t mean he controls me with those distracting looks of his. He needs to be put in his place, at least for the sake of all girl-dom. A boy should not be allowed to have that sort of power over women and their hormones.
I can see Tucker opening his mouth to respond for me, and I just can’t have that. I give Blake a stern expression as I purse my lips and shake my head. “That really won’t be necessary. It was a caramel mocha, wasn’t it?” I exaggerate my movements as I make my way to the coffee machine.
He squints in disbelief. “With soy milk, please.”
I nod. “With soy. Of course you would want soy. Let me get that for you.”
Is my voice dripping with disdain? Because I want it to.
Blake muffles his laughter and turns to Tucker. “Is she always like this?”
Tucker leans on the counter, joining Blake in observing me as I make his drink. “Nope, you seem to be the first person I’ve met to rile her up so much.”
I whip my head around, shocked. “Tucker Mitchell, would you stop it? You are supposed to be on my side.” I walk up to the counter, stomping my feet, and hand Blake his drink. “Here’s your caramel mocha . . . with soy.” I fake a smile and bat my eyelashes.
His catlike eyes, which are flicked with a wicked gold gleam, watch me as he sips the drink. “You’re kind of cute when you’re angry.”
Did he really just say that?
“She is, isn’t she?” Tucker butts in.
I go wide-eyed at both of them, darting my gaze back and forth. I want to scream.
When did I lose control of my life?
Seeming proud of himself, Blake nods his good-bye to Tucker, who is still staring dreamily, and then looks at me. “I’ll be seeing you around, roomie.” I swear he’s laughing at me behind that beguiling hot half-smile.
He strolls his hot body out of my coffee shop without looking back.
Once I hear the door shut, I scream, “Tucker! What the hell?”
Tucker looks at me, and with no shame or remorse, says, “I’d hit that.”
I close my eyes and slump my shoulders, exasperated.
There’s no hope for me.
As I drive down my new street at close to one in the morning, I’m on my blue tooth with Tucker. It’s our ritual so we don’t fall asleep on the drive home.
“Tucker, please stop.” I say, exasperated with the topic. When Tucker sees fresh meat, he can’t be stopped.
“I’m just saying, rules-shmules. He seems interested.”
“But what if I’m not?”
“Oh, you definitely are.”
“I don’t want anything to do with him. You can have him.”
“I would gladly take that one off your hands.”
“I don’t know what I’m even talking about right now. I haven’t been their roommate one full day and I already have you telling me to break all the rules for one cute guy. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and I would really rather have my pick of some other fish.”
“See, that’s what’s wrong with you. Stop comparing your men to fish. They are oh-so much more, hon.”
My problem with men goes far beyond comparing them to fish.
Even though his tone makes me laugh, I sigh. “Good night, Tucker. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
“Good night, Skye.”
With that, I toss my phone onto the passenger seat and pull up to the condo, but my eyebrows furrow at what’s in the driveway. Three cars. There should only be two considering I’m just now getting home.
Aggravated, I realize I need to park a block away now. Who the hell could be taking my spot?
Stumbling up the steps to the front door, tired and annoyed from working so late at night, I put my key into the lock.
I open the door as if I do it every day, and hang my keys on the wall next to it. I am so ready to crawl into bed. Midnight mochas would exhaust anyone.
I hear giggles, and my head shoots up at what’s going on in the living room.
The lights are off but the TV is on, and there on the couch is Blake in a mildly compromising position with a brunette. Does that guy ever let up?
I guess I know whose car is in my spot now.
Normally my reaction would have been shock and embarrassment for myself and the other individuals, but I find myself annoyed, so annoyed, and in no way shocked. This guy is unbelievable.
I make eye contact with Blake, who is straightening himself out and shushing the girl. His eyes even glitter in the dark as they meet mine. His stare is hauntingly sexy in the shadows.
The moment is getting too awkward for my liking, and the pretty brunette won’t stop her annoying giggle. I decide to scurry by them, and I have to bite my tongue hard to avoid saying something snarky.
I glance at Blake as I walk by, and he actually looks a little embarrassed. Or am I making that up? I feel his penetrating stare on me all the way up the stairs. It’s unnerving.
I pull the curtain to my little loft, making it into my personal room. The curtain is staying that way, as far as I’m concerned. I peel off my clothes in the darkness and crawl into my new bed. I sigh, wondering how much my voice will carry into the living room, and then wonder how much the sounds below will carry into my room. Ew.
I listen closely and I am disgusted with myself. What am I listening for? Moans and groans? No. I am hoping they take it somewhere else.
Sure enough, after a bit of muffled whispers, I hear the duo make their way down the hall and hear Blake’s door shut.
I wonder if that was the same girl from earlier. Probably not.
Tucker, no doubt, will find this story even more amusing than the last. It has me realizing that Blake and his escapades already make me angry, and he and I have only spoken a handful of words to each other.
I close my eyes and eventually drift into an unsettling sleep. All I can think of are those haunting green eyes and that annoying smile.
My eyes flicker open due to the bright sun shining right above me through the skylight. I am going to have to do something about that. Then I wonder if the sunlight isn’t what woke me, but instead the wafting smell of freshly brewed coffee.
Working in a coffee shop, I thought the smell would make me hurl, but the truth is, Tucker is a terrible influence. I swear that if it were allowed, I would have a coffee IV installed in my arm.
I climb out of bed, hoping that it’s my brother downstairs. I slip on a tank top and a pair of shorts, eager for some sibling chitchat. I need to mention last night to my brother, though he probably won’t find it surprising.
I look briefly in the mirror, running my fingers through my midnight black curls as a haphazard attempt to tame the lion’s mane before walking downstairs to the kitchen.
The moment my bare feet make contact with the wood floor, my breath catches in my throat. Blake swivels his body around to greet me. “Morning, roomie.” His voice is like a shot of caffeine that ignites my body. How does he do that?
My eyebrows furrow, and I think turning around and running back up to my room might be considered rude. “Good morning.”
I take a few steps toward the kitchen and worry that I’m intruding. His eyes make their journey up my body, and I feel extremely underdressed. My skin heats as I peer down at my thin tank and short shorts. I’m an idiot.
“Hungry? I made you food.” He puts his pantie-dropping grin on. Is he always like this? What is he playing at? Or is he just being nice?
Maybe I should give him the benefit of the doubt. Plus, what would he want with someone like me when he looks the way he does? Seriously.
I tiptoe to the counter, and he moves across the kitchen to dispense scrambled eggs onto the empty plate sitting in front of me. I’m watching the eggs, but realize that Blake is watching me. He has this smile, as if he is experiencing some private joke, and it makes my insides clench. How is it possible for a person to have this effect on anyone? It’s just downright unfair. Do other girls get like this in his presence?
Maybe I’m just a dime a dozen. It’s an unsettling thought.
I pretend he doesn’t affect me, and I run my hand through my hair while taking in a breath.
He chuckles, and I want to crawl out of my skin I feel so embarrassed. I’m so at the whim of my hormones, it’s ridiculous. No one should have to witness this. Maybe Tucker is right. Maybe I should just get laid and get it out of my system, and then maybe I wouldn’t be having issues controlling my libido. But Blake can’t be the one to solve these issues. I must remember rule numero uno!
He places the pan back on the stove, and as if the whole thing was timed, the toaster erupts. He snags the two wheat bread pieces and spins around gracefully to put them on my plate. His muscles ripple underneath his shirt when he moves.
I wish it were the food making my mouth water, but that would be a lie.
Before he says anything after his entertaining dance around the kitchen, I catch his eyes scanning my body again as I lean over the counter. Does this guy have any manners? I reflexively stand, straightening my posture.
“Ta-da!” He holds his hands up like a practiced magician.
I smile. “Ta-da?”
He shrugs, and it’s another adorable maneuver. “Yeah, ta-da. I made you breakfast. I wanted to show you that I’m not such a bad guy.” He turns around, maybe to avoid a judgmental stare as he opens the fridge. “And I’m sorry about last night. I probably should have been a little more courteous.”
Finally deciding to commit to the meal he’s made me, I grab a fork and lose my mouth filter along the way. “Yeah, you could probably be a bit better at that.”
As the fridge door slams shut, the sound catches my attention, and I look up to see Blake eyeing me. I feel tense under his scrutiny, and I decide on a subject change. “Is Josh gone?”
Shocking me and not asking permission, he grabs for my fork and eats some eggs.
“Hey, I thought those were mine?” I watch his sculpted lips slide over my fork. Deep breaths.
He hands me back the fork, grinning boyishly.
“Josh usually leaves around eight or nine in the morning.”
I stick my fork back in my eggs, bringing it to my mouth, remembering where this fork has just traveled. I didn’t realize I could be jealous of silverware. “Oh.”
“When do you have school?”
This encounter has sexual tension written all over it, but how is he still managing to treat me as if he has known me forever? My stomach is still in knots with his close proximity. I better get used to this. He is my roommate.
“I go to school Mondays and Wednesdays from eleven to five, and have soccer practice once a week too, along with fitting in working when I can.”
His eyes have this way of captivating me, and it takes everything in my being to tear my eyes away from his. “Your brother talks a lot about you.”
I finish off the last bit of eggs and take a bite out of my toast. “I hope it’s all good.”
“Mostly.” That wry smile is back.
“Well, I have some stories about him, too.” I decide I can’t eat anymore. I’m not hungry for food.
He sips his coffee, and I want to probe into his life now. “When do you work?” I worry that my tone comes off sarcastic.
He chuckles. “Eh, the life of an artist really doesn’t go according to a schedule. I just finished a cologne ad campaign, and next week I have some auditions.”
An artist? Who is he kidding?
My eyebrows shoot up. “Busy boy.”
He chuckles again. “I wish I were busier.”
I purse my lips, trying not to smile.
I hear a voice down the hall and it startles me. “Blaaakkkee, where’s my breakfast?”
My eyes go wide as I yank my stare back to his. That girl is still here? I lift up my hand to point at him accusingly. “You! You tricked me! You have no shame, sir.”
He laughs and shrugs. “Whoops.”
Of course those eggs weren’t for me! Why would he make me food? Why would he ever consider me?
I shove the now empty plate of food away. “You really had me going there.”
For the first time since I’ve known the guy, he actually looks offended. “What do you mean?”
I let out a cathartic laugh. “You’re good!” I continue to point my finger at him.
“You lost me.” His jaw seems strained with confusion, but it is such a beautiful jaw.
“I know your type.” Another laugh escapes my lips as I turn around and stroll toward my room. He’s just too much right now. Cosmo could write a whole article on this guy.
“My type?” he asks with raised brows, and for some ridiculous reason, the wrinkling V that forms between his eyebrows is heart-wrenchingly sweet looking.
My only response is, “Please leave me alone and go back to attending to your flavor of the month.”
I’m about to head up the stairs when I hear, “Skyler!”
My name sounds crisp out of his mouth, even with the hint of anger, and I don’t want to turn around to see those emerald depths, those broad shoulders, or those low-hanging shorts.
“Yeah, roomie?” I can’t help my tone. I have never felt so played, even if it was a minor encounter. Who am I kidding? I was tossed around like nobody’s business in my last relationship, and I will not let some hot guy toss me around now.
I don’t hear a response. The silence forces me to stop midstep and turn around. Just as I predicted, his eyes are too much and my skin tingles with his commanding stare, but the boyish smirk remains.
“What is it, Blake?”
He shrugs as if the words escape him. “I don’t know. I guess I should be sorry. I want us to be friends.” That’s still not an apology.
He really has no shame. I shake my head, dumfounded. “Fair enough, and let’s be clear: that’s what we are. Friends.”
His eyes glint, and I worry I just gave him a challenge. Oh God.
“I get it.” He stands straighter as he smiles. “Well, I better attend to my current flavor, then.”
There’s that attitude again.
I swear I see him wink at me before he starts his stroll down the hall.
For reasons I can’t yet define, I’m brimming with anger as I watch his delectable derriere walk away. My imagination gets carried away as I briefly fantasize about him dragging me upstairs to my room and pressing his hard body against mine. I press my thighs together in frustration, hating that he elicits this sort of response.
He is an asshole, that’s for sure. Why do silly girls like me always seem to want the dumb, dangerous ones? The whole rebel-without-a-cause thing.
Get a hold of yourself ends up being my mantra for the next twenty minutes.
I bust through the coffee shop doors and the bells ring out loudly, clanging together abruptly with the thrust of the door. I wave at Brian, the current barista at the register. He looks at the clock before waving back.
I grumble quietly as I choose my favorite couch in the back corner of the café with a large wooden table, and toss my backpack on top. I pull my anatomy textbook out and take a seat. I need a distraction, a productive one.
As I flip through my physiology chapter, I welcome the complicated statements and scattered overwhelming graphs. Anything to distract my brain right now.
I grab a pen and my notebook, thumbing through for a blank white sheet, huffing as I do so. I feel so out of sorts. So much so that I didn’t bother taking a shower, knowing it shared a wall with Blake’s bedroom.
“Caffeine to soothe the soul?”
Whipping my head up, I’m ready to shout, but instead lock gazes with Tucker’s warm brown eyes.
“Is there alcohol in that latte?” I snap.
He grins. “Uh, no, but that could be arranged. It’s your favorite, though: vanilla latte with caramel. By the way, you are aware it’s not even noon yet, and you’re already considering alcohol?”
I snag the drink from his outstretched hand as he takes a seat on an armchair across from me.
I eye him. “Since when do you reject alcohol before noon?”
He laughs. “True. What’s troubling you, my darling? You aren’t starting work for another two hours. I know we all get excited for anatomy, but come on.”
“In a way, I wish I could get my mind off anatomy for a little bit, now that I think about it, and I don’t mean textbook anatomy.”
His eyes sparkle with interest. “Oh, please tell me you’re talking about your delicious roommate, and that you finally got over yourself and moved in on that hot piece of—”
“Would you please get a hold of yourself, Tucker? Sheesh.” I rub at my temples.
He takes a sip of his coffee and asks, “What did lover boy do this time?”
“I wish you wouldn’t take so much interest in the jerk.”
“Man-oh-man, you are all in knots because of this guy. I’ve never seen you like this.”
I get snarky. “You’ve known me for five minutes, Tucker.”
His eyebrows tighten. “Whoa, I thought we were past that. Just because you’ve only been working here a month doesn’t mean I don’t know you better than you know yourself.”
I lean back into the couch, huffing like a child. He’s right, unfortunately.
Shaking it off, I say, “Sorry. You’re the only true friend I have.”
“What about Rich?”
“He would be a friend too if he stopped asking me out on dates and focused on studying.”
“Oh, the troubling life you lead. In all fairness, it does seem like you lead the guy on.”
My body feels like it is overheating with the conversation. “I don’t lead anyone on.”
“I’ve seen you two studying in here, all cozy and close. He buys you an endless supply of drinks, and studies here until the early hours of the morning just to spend time with you. You can’t be that oblivious.”
“Are we really about to ridicule my terrible love life?”
“I didn’t mean to, darling, but I don’t think you have the worst problems in the world. You have the into-you med student and the tempting bad-boy roommate. If you’ve got a problem with your life, we can switch places.”
Wrinkling my nose, I continue. “The ridiculousness never ceases with this guy. Last night after work, I caught him loving up an entirely different girl on the couch. It was awkward and uncomfortable.”
“That seems like normal boy behavior if you ask me.”
“Oh, it gets better.”
I delve into explaining this mornings breakfast debacle, my roommate’s inherent doucheiness, and how I couldn’t stand being in the house. I might have even huffed and puffed through the explanation.
Tucker hums his understanding as he sips his drink. “Damn, girl. Sounds like an interesting character.”
“He is not interesting. He’s an asshole.”
“An asshole? I hope we aren’t talking about me.”
My eyes swing upward and over Tucker’s head to lock with green eyes that are beginning to feel annoyingly familiar.
I let out a sigh and see Tucker holding back a laugh.
“Funny, you’re exactly who I was talking about.”
Blake’s tousled hair looks to be in adorable disarray, and the corners of his mouth twitch upward, revealing a dimple I didn’t notice before.
“Ouch, I didn’t think my eggs were that bad.”
Tucker lets out a laugh at my expense, and Blake joins in with him.
I set my lips in a hard line and nod, watching them share a moment that I want to end.
“Please tell me you have something better to do than stalk me, Blake?”
His chuckles stop as he examines my face. He looks hurt by my no-nonsense stare. Good. I’d like to think I affect him in some way.
Tucker is quick to get out of there. As he stands, he looks to me and says, “I’ll see you in a bit.” He turns to Blake, jabbing him in the chest with his finger. “You better watch it with this one. She’ll eat you alive.”
I reluctantly lock eyes with Blake.
“Would stalking you be that bad?” His tone is milk-chocolate smooth.
“Do these lines work on all the other bimbos you bed? Because I think you should take a look at my GPA before you start to make your assumptions.”
Not taking the hint, Blake takes the seat that Tucker previously occupied.
We just stare at each other for seconds, minutes—I don’t know how long. I become curious and nervous under his watch, wondering what’s happening and what he’s looking for. Are my demons obvious?
Catching me completely unaware, he speaks. “You’re so guarded. Who the hell damaged you so badly?”
The drink I’m bringing to my lips slips from my grasp and spills over my textbook. My anger vanishes in a puff of smoke. My shoulders tense as my emotions overwhelm me.
I need space. I need to clean up this mess. I need to get a grip.
I stand, stumbling with my words and my footing.
“Excuse—I just—um—I’m going to get napkins.”
Blake looks sympathetic but confused by my reaction, and I’m scared he knows my secret. I don’t want his pity.
He stands and places a firm grasp on my shoulder. His touch is electric.
“I’ll get it. Just take a seat, please.”
I feel an anxious need to leave. I don’t know this guy, and he doesn’t know me.
I watch him make his way to the counter and ask for napkins. My panic is leveling out as I watch him meander back to me.
Shaking myself from potentially wayward thoughts, I grab for my book and the cup I knocked over. He hands me a fistful of napkins, and I sop up the mess that’s now covering an important chapter. I close my book and take in a deep breath, trying to regain my confidence.
“Although time spent with you, Blake, be it brief, is always fairly entertaining, I should probably be going.”
“Don’t you have to work soon?” His tone is sincere and wanting, but why?
“Yeah, I do. I should probably get some food or something.”
“Let me take you to lunch.”
“What is it with you?”
He runs his hand through his hair. I think he knows what I mean, but instead responds, “What do you mean?”
I roll my eyes and slip my damp textbook into my backpack.
“Please let me take you out. I’m sorry if what I said was crossing the line. I’m just trying to figure you out. I would like to get to know you better. We are friends, right?” The word “friends” is emphasized as it exits his lips, and I eye him, still ready to run, wondering who he’s trying to convince.
“Friends?” I repeat.
He looks around, looking for—what? A sign? An answer?
“Yeah, friends. We’re roommates, and obviously I’ve been, what did you call me? Oh yeah, an asshole.”
I bite my bottom lip and retort, “A giant asshole.”
“Okay, fair enough. Plus, don’t you think Josh wants us to be friends?”
I nod, assessing the words in my head, and say, “Yeah, just friends.” And I do my part by enunciating friends, too.
The wry curve in his lips is back, and I know my big brother must have said something to Blake about keeping his grimy paws off me, too.
“I think I can manage that if you can. What do you say? I have some groveling to do to my new roommate. You can even get a free meal out of it. Friends?”
“Thank you, but I think I will actually just head home for a shower. I do appreciate the gesture.”
I almost feel bad for declining, but I feel more terrible that I can’t stop looking at how his chest rises and falls with each of his frustrated breaths.
“Skyler, I haven’t treated you as I should. Gimme a second chance?”
I swing my backpack over my shoulder. “This morning was your second chance.”
I walk past him.
“Okay, but third time’s the charm.”
Before I make it halfway to the door, I swivel around. “Can you cook? Or are your cooking skills as bad as your eggs?”
He lets his smirk fully appear in glorious Technicolor as he says, “Macaroni and cheese?”
“My favorite. You owe me a home cooked meal, roomie. I’m off at eight tonight.”
My boldness surprises even me. He could have plans. He could have all sorts of things to do tonight, but here I am, demanding his third chance.
Without hesitation, he says, “You got it.”
I let my eyebrows shoot up. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
With that, I turn back around and leave, hearing the jingle of the door shutting behind me.
I can do this. We can be friends. He seems to know the rule, too.
I’ve been sitting in my car for ten minutes now. I tap my fingers furiously on the steering wheel as I debate whether to go inside. It’s already nearing eight thirty, and I fear if I don’t go inside, he might think I’ve stood him up.
Maybe it would be good for him.
I shake the thought, trying to convince myself to give him the benefit of the doubt.
All day I could barely focus on the schematics of a perfect mocha, knowing that I had an evening with Blake, albeit an innocent one.
I huff loudly and decide to face him.
I step out of my car and make my way inside.
When I open the front door, the delightful smell of garlic greets me, and my eyebrows rise as I walk through the house.
I half hoped he would be shirtless, but then wanted to smack myself at the ridiculous secret confession.
As I follow the wafting, delicious smell into the kitchen, I see Blake’s broad (shirted) back, his narrow hips swaying to something he’s singing quietly to himself.
I hold back a laugh at the innocent scene. “So are you going to serenade me while we eat, too?”
He whips around. Without missing a beat, he replies, “If you want.”
My knees go wobbly for a second, and to hide it, I take a seat on the barstool next to the kitchen island. “So many talents, roomie.”
His eyes perk up at my words, as if my instigative attitude intrigues him, but he moves swiftly past it.
“Hope you’re hungry.”
I try to relax. This is home now, isn’t it? I heave in a large breath. “Famished, actually. Smells good, like garlic.”
He grins and swivels around to open the oven. He grabs for an oven mitt and then pulls out a pan, setting it on the counter in front of me. Garlic bread.
“Just for you,” he quips.
I purse my lips, holding back a laugh, and dramatically pretend to be looking under the counter, turning my head in different directions. “There’s no skanky girl hidden anywhere, is there? Someone that delicious food is really for?”
He rolls his eyes, and lets his grin shift into a no-nonsense one. “I deserve that.” I nod, agreeing. “And now for the main dish, macaroni and cheese!”
Surprising me, he turns back to the oven to remove two ceramic bowls of baked macaroni and cheese.
I let my mouth hang open. “I’m impressed.”
After placing my bowl in front of me, he hands me a fork. “Dig in. I am hoping this redeems me.”
I take the fork from his hand. My fingers tingle as they brush against his, and it makes me yank my hand back. He doesn’t seem to notice as he watches me intently, and having his direct attention with those green eyes makes my skin feel as if it’s on fire.
I gulp down the odd sensation and try to keep my cool. “It won’t be that easy.” I stab my fork into the bowl, attempting to pull my stare away from his. “Tell me about yourself, Blake. Something I don’t know.”
“There isn’t much to know. You already know the good stuff.” He takes a large forkful of food in his mouth, and my eyes linger too long on his lips.
Before taking a bite too, I reply, “You’ve got it wrong. You told me the boring stuff. Where were you born?”
His face softens, and he leans over the counter next to me as he forks more macaroni and cheese.
“I’m from Wisconsin.”
I take a bite and manage a half-mouthful remark. “A Midwestern boy, who would have thought?” He laughs, and I shy away for a moment as I continue to chew. “The food is divine, by the way.”
“Why, thank you. A compliment from you? I’ll take it.”
His playful side is growing on me.
When I look up, I notice his eyes darting over my face. I want to ask what he’s looking at, but the tumbling thought that he knows my secret scares me. I try to steer the conversation.
“So the Midwest. Why did you come to LA?”
“Now that’s a boring question. I’ll ask you one.”
I tense, watching him, and his long fingers come up to his mouth, distracting me once again.
“What’s your favorite food?”
I lick my lips. “Simple: popcorn.”
He laughs, and the warm tone wraps around me like a blanket. I don’t think I’ve really heard him laugh. Well, not with me anyway. Normally it has been at me.
“That isn’t a food,” he retorts.
“It is for the studying mind. Between school and work, popcorn fuels me while I study. I’m a pick-at-it sort of food girl. Always on the go.”
“Fair enough. Do you have a boyfriend?”
The question throws me, and I almost choke on my current mouthful.
“Why?” I have no filter.
He stands straighter. “No reason. Sometimes I wonder why you get so defensive with me. I can’t tell if you’re just always wound that tight, or it’s because I’m a guy.”
I lean back to look at him. “I’m not uptight, and I’m most definitely not defensive because you’re a guy. I’m defensive because of the way I see you with women.”
“Scared for yourself?” He has the audacity to wink.
I roll my eyes and laugh at his brazen approach. “You’re a piece of work, you know that?”
“I like it when I make you laugh. It’s much better than your evil eyes.”
I gulp down my last laugh, shaking his comment off probably less cool then I would have liked. “My question now. What is the most important thing to you in the entire world?”
Without any hesitation, he replies, “Family.”
My gut warms at his response. I didn’t expect that one.
“A Midwestern boy with a soft spot for family. Ya don’t say?”
He laughs again. It really is a wonderful sound. “I think you’re the one who’s a piece of work,” he replies.
I let myself grin. “My brother might agree with you.”
At the mention of my brother, he smirks, and it looks as if he is chewing something over. “Can I ask you something without you freaking out? If I overstep, I apologize.”
I stand straighter, watching him intently, while blindly pushing away my finished bowl of food. I think I know what is coming.
“Did your brother tell you anything about me? Ask you to do something? Or I guess I should say, not to do something, rather?”
I let out a series of laughs at his choice of words. “My brother is overprotective,” I reply.
“Actually, I think your brother doesn’t trust me when it comes to a pretty girl.”
I try not to blush at the compliment. “Can’t imagine why?” I goad. “I’m guessing Josh told you not to lay a hand on me?”
He grins. “In a manner of speaking. I’m sure his words with me were a little more colorful than with you.”
I tilt my head, analyzing his features. His short, dark brown hair sits in a well-manicured mess on his head, as if he styled it that way, and it frames his sculpted face superbly. His eyes have an amazing gold tinge around the edge of his bottomless green irises. They’re his strongest tools, I feel. His confidence is backed up by the fact that he never stops staring, and he never feels the need to break eye contact.
I bite my lip, fighting my wayward thoughts, and I notice that his stare shoots to my mouth. My heart skips a beat, and then tries to level out its rhythm.
I release my lip. This is not where I want the conversation to go.
I try to maneuver things into a safer zone. “Well, colorful or not, I’m glad we can be friends.”
There’s that word again. It’s like a safe word.
His eyes shoot back to mine, and I notice he is closer than he should be. I watch his tongue wet his lips, as if preparing for something, but I think I’m reading into it.
“Yeah, friends. I need more of those.”
His tone is whimsical.
I chew the inside of my cheek, staring at him, entranced. I can’t tell if I’m making it up or not, but his breathing sounds shallow with his close proximity, and I can’t seem to figure out if he is getting closer to me because time stops and his stare won’t let me look away.
“Helloooo! I’m home!”
Reflexively, both Blake and I put distance between us to the point where Blake turns around to place our dishes in the sink, and I spring off the barstool.
Then we both knew what was going on then? Can’t he follow the damn rules?
“Shit,” I whisper before making eye contact with my brother. “Hey, Josh!”
He embraces me in a hug, and I pray that he doesn’t notice me trying to get some control over my erratic breaths.
“So what were you guys doing?”
Josh shoots a stare at Blake rather than at me. I get the sinking feeling that there is more to this promise than has been explained, and it irks me.
“Just eating dinner.”
Yeah, simple. Just eating dinner. No, there wasn’t any sexual tension. No, not at all.
At four p.m., I pull into the driveway, and do what seems like my habitual checks. I glance to the right and see Blake’s midnight-blue Honda Civic.
Does Blake ever do anything?
I heave in a deep breath and grab my duffle bag, swing it over my shoulder after exiting my car, and head inside.
When I step into the foyer, I notice that things seem silent, and Blake is nowhere to be seen. Maybe with his trying schedule, he’s napping.
I make my way to the kitchen, desperately needing water after my intense practice. This being my last year on the team, each practice or game feels exhausting, physically and mentally, and heart-wrenching at the same time. I’m sad for the end and excited for the future, but I’m going to miss the camaraderie of my teammates. I can’t fathom leaving them after how much they supported me during my break up. They’ve helped me through some tough times.
I wipe the lingering sweat off my brow and fill a glass with water, thinking about the girls who’ve been there through the ebb and flow of the past year—hell, the past few months. I use my free hand to rub my jaw, which has been bruised so badly for weeks, and remember how Jen, our goalie, spent diligent time showing me how to cover it up with makeup for games.
Startling me out of my pity party, I whip my head up and see Blake. At least he’s wearing clothes this time. His formfitting white T-shirt clings to his taut chest and stomach, and I try my damnedest not to linger on the waistband of his loosely hanging basketball shorts, focusing instead on his adorable bedhead.
My lips twitch as I recall his singular word: Wow. Wow, what?
I peer down at my attire and realize that he must be referring to my black sports bra and spandex shorts. My body is still slick with sweat from practice. I wish I had taken a shower in the locker room.
I take a sip of my water, thinking, I can beat him at this. I have to.
“You can close your mouth now, Blake.”
He licks his lips first in outright carnal appreciation before smiling and ruffling his hair. “Your abs rival mine. I’m impressed.”
I laugh and roll my eyes as I pass him.
I’ve been playing soccer my whole life, and health and fitness have been my main priority since I was eighteen. Jason never really gave a fuck, so it’s nice that someone noticed.
I shake my head at my ongoing internal pity party and answer, “Blake. Always so modest.”
He laughs, and I can feel his emerald eyes watching my every move. Reflexively, I smooth out the back of my shorts.
“Did you just come from the gym?” he asks.
I turn around, already making it halfway across the living room. “No. I just came from soccer practice.” I chew my lip and do something before thinking about it. “I have a game that Josh is going to on Saturday. You’re more than welcome to come.”
I instantly regret inviting him, and I decide not to wait for an answer. “By the way, I have a friend coming over to study with me. He should be here in an hour. Just FYI. We’ll be in the living room.”
“He?” Blake asks.
I want to laugh at his tone, but refrain. “Yes. He. And he will be here soon. I hope you don’t mind.”
With that, I turn around and head upstairs to my room, not caring about what his answer will be.
“No, I don’t mind at all.”
Is there a tone to that? I can never tell.
Even though I know he can’t see my face, I purse my lips, wondering what the hell that was about. I peer at the clock, realizing that Richard will be here at any moment, and I rush to get changed.
Richard Bennett is, or should I say was, the captain of the men’s soccer team and my former biology TA. After our own flirty friendship began at coed practices, he also tutored me, and we became close. Of course there’s always more to the story, like periodic touchy-feely moments combined with drunken bouts of kissing, but we’ve agreed not to date. He has a psycho ex who wants me dead and he won’t stop sleeping with her. I don’t want to have anything to do with that. For now, the friendship and the attention are nice. I adore him. He’s smart, loyal, and a stand-up guy. He’s entirely too good for me.
Richard is the only reason I’m surviving my senior year, and he’s been furiously helping me with my medical school applications. He already attends UCLA’s med school program, and now he uses helping me study as a way to spend time with me. He doesn’t know I’ve figured out that last part.
Richard is perfect for me, and comically, he seems to think so, too, but a part of me wonders if I deserve someone as amazing as him, especially since I’m so far from being ready for any form of a relationship.
I’m single, for once. I want it to stay that way for a while. I need to work on me for a bit.
I fight my feelings for Rich, too; I’m not innocent, but what do you do when you value a friendship so much more?
Besides, a distraction from Blake is what I need. Oh, and studying, of course.
The doorbell rings and I run for it. I have felt out of sorts for days, and Rich has a way of calming me. Maybe it’s his caring eyes, which seem to absorb the stress that’s seeping out of my pores daily.
I smooth out my sheer floral blouse and ruffle my hair before opening the door.
Sometimes I forget how dashing Rich looks. I haven’t seen him since moving. Originally from New York, Rich can’t help but exude East Coast class. His father is a senator, I think, and he tells me about stories of summers in the Hamptons and trips to the Cape. He’s so out of my league, it’s ridiculous.
His familiar gray eyes clash wonderfully with his dirty blond hair. My eyes drag across his broad shoulders, clad in his typical buttoned, formfitting sky-blue dress shirt. I’ve always thought he’s too good for the City of Angels.
His eyes light up when he sees me, and I grin. “Hey, Skyler. Beautiful as usual.”
I don’t find his confidence and compliment intimidating, but instead charming and wonderful.
He moves by me and plants a kiss on my cheek.
I shake my head. “I thought we agreed you’d stop doing that?” I remark.
He reveals his smug, cocky I’m-too-good-for-this-city grin, and shrugs. “Whoops.” He sidesteps the question. “So are you ready for some organic chemistry?” He raises his eyebrows.
I pretend to swoon as I stroll toward him. “It’s like you’re whispering sweet nothings in my ear, Rich. Say it again . . . chemistry, what? Protons, electrons . . .”
He laughs and takes a seat on the bright red couch. “You’re a piece of work.”
My face pales, because it mirrors what Blake said last night. I try to shake the strange butterflies in my stomach from recalling that memory.
“What’s wrong?” Rich knows me far too well.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I absolutely fell in love with this book and the characters. 1st book I have read from this author, and can't wait to read more!
Although I do wanted to know more about the ex boyfriend Jason.
I was expecting so much more to the story...more about jason causing problems more meat to the book. It was not worth the money sorry.
Only problem I had with this book was it brought up the abusive ex without ever fully developing it. Otherwise a fun light read.
Kinda thought the ending was rushed but overall a good book
My kind of open bedroom !
Just ok...very predictible
Great book and very easy to read.
Such a good book I love Skyler and BLakes love story.I hope another book is coming soon!
I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Alex Rosa via Goodreads. Skylar has just gotten out of an abusive relationship with her ex-boyfriend with no where else to go she turns to her brother, Josh, for help. He is ore than willing to help her. He lets her move in with him and his best friend, Blake. The only rule that Josh gives her is not to sleep with Blake because he's a playboy and that he sleep with a different woman every night. And Josh does not want Skylar to be hurt again. But the only thing on Skylar's mind is school and work. She has no time for guys right now especially after everything that she went through with her ex. But things take a turn that she did not except. Upon meeting Blake she's attracted to him instantly. But she tries to fight it because Josh is the only family she has left. Will Skylar be able to resist Blake's seduction or will she give in? Blake has given his approval for Josh's little sister to stay and he also agreed not to sleep with her. But that promise is thrown out the window once he meets Skylar and they have a little disagreement. Then he tries to get to know and be friends plus he is also trying to seduce her. Once he gets to know her that makes hi want her even more. Will he be able to convince her that he has changed and that he's not a playboy anymore. I loved this book. I could not put it down once I started reading it. This is my first time reading this author and she good. I see that she has another book that she has written and I want to read it. Plus it looks like it's a series and if it is I can't wait to read the whole series. I highly recommend this book to others.
Loved Blake! It was a great read and grabs your interest right from the start! Can't wait for another book by this author!
Sometimes you find love when you aren't even looking for it. That's what happens in Alex Rosa's debut new adult novel, Tryst. Friends with benefits can get messy and it does for Blake and Skylar in this coming of age novel about two people who don't want a relationship but end up with one anyway. There is a lot to love about this complicated and emotionally tangled story. Shhhh! Don't tell Josh!, That's Skylar's brother who pretty much let her move in with him with one stipulation, don't mess with Blake... uh-oh! This was a really fun romp. Rosa draws readers in with the breezy, beautiful Skylar. She is a pre-med student, a soccer player and a risk taker. She wants something new and different in her life. So she decides to move to Hollywood to live with her brother. She was a sassy character who had a lot of spunk. I liked her from the first page. She was just a girl who wanted to have some fun. Getting into a relationship under her brothers nose was maybe not the smartest move. But it definitely proved to be interesting. A very good character all the way around. Blake was what I would call an enigma. He acted very open and accommodating with Skylar. He didn't want a serious relationship, neither did she. It was the perfect set up. But Blake isn't exactly what he seems, there is a whole lot more to this hero than meets the eye. I didn't realize how much he was holding back at all until it started to come out in the wash. He was a complicated, dude. But I like that in a good hero. One of my favorite parts... Skylar's relationship with her brother. He would make a perfect hero for Rosa's next book in my opinion. Josh was caring and he understood that Blake might not be ready for someone like Skylar. But you know how it goes, do they ever listen when you tell them stuff like that? There interactions were a lot of fun to read. Bottom Line: A very good debut. I think Rosa captured the spirit of new adult writing. This was a story about two people who had big dreams and a lot on their plate. Friends with benefits seemed like a good option, but fate intervened. Rosa does a great job with character development and creates a fun and energetic atmosphere. I'm looking forward to where she goes next with this.
As a reader quickly counting New Adult as a favorite genre, it's books like this that have me becoming obsessed with the genre. With its likable main and secondary characters, as well as sizzling sexual tension with a bit of angst, this story had me enthralled from start to finish. It not only put a smile on my face but had me blushing with the sensual and playful banter rife between the main characters, characters you couldn't help but like. Skyler's come a long way to start her life over after escaping from an abusive relationship. She had to leave everything behind, friends and schooling, to make sure her past stayed in the past. Her brother Josh offers her a haven, a place to make new friends and to find herself again. The only thing he asks from her is to not get involved with his roommate. There's nothing like forbidden fruit though and even as she and Blake start out as enemies they soon become more in an emotionally intense journey to HEA. Skyler's a likable heroine with a bruised heart and low self-esteem. She doesn't think herself worthy of happiness so she makes some bad choices trying to find herself. Using a friend who wants more to create jealousy adds to the sexual tension between her and Blake but left me disappointed at the childish act. Luckily she wizened up before too much damage was done. For the most part though I applaud her standing up for herself and thoroughly enjoyed the sensual tug of war between her and Blake as she gave as good as she got. Blake at first seems like nothing but a manwhore with his revolving door of women which makes him hard to like. His charm always shows through though and slowly he's able to form a connection with Skyler based on their mutual pain. He too has been hurt in the past and doesn't want to open his heart again. When he meets Skyler he wages an inner battle to keep his hands off her but once the fire is lit it rages out of control leaving heir relationship a scorching secret. Blake may seem superficial early on but quickly shows great emotional depth, understanding and supporting Skyler in rebuilding herself and dealing with her past once and for all. He's sweet, charming, and sexy and I couldn't get enough of him as he ultimately became the man Skyler needed to heal. This was a delightful read with witty banter teeming with sexual tension. The sensual battle of wills between Blake and Skyler was thoroughly entertaining with a richly rewarding payoff at the end. Josh was a caring brother who would do anything to keep Skyler safe and happy and I loved seeing his protective side, along with his partying side. The entire cast of characters in fact felt like friends with interactions reminiscent of real life which gave the story energy that kept me turning the pages voraciously. There are many wonderful characters seen throughout this book that could easily carry their own story and I hope Ms. Rosa visits all of them again soon.
Such a good book.
Loved this book - fast paced and highly enjoyable. I read it in under 24 hours and it had me up to the wee hours of the morning I couldn't put it down. SO excited for the sequel and future releases from this author!