Review + Excerpt + Trailer: Stay with Me (#3, Wait for You) by Jennifer L. Armentrout - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Review + Excerpt + Trailer: Stay with Me (#3, Wait for You) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

My Thoughts

Romance, suspense, sexiness, humor and heart—you’ll find everything in just the right balance in Calla and Jax’s story. I absolutely loved it!

5stars

Synopsis

stay with me coverAt 21, Calla hasn’t done a lot of things. She’s never been kissed, never seen the ocean, never gone to an amusement park. But growing up, she witnessed some things no child ever should. She still carries the physical and emotional scars of living with a strung-out mother, Mona—secrets she keeps from everyone, including her close circle of college friends.

But the safe cocoon Calla has carefully built is shattered when she discovers her mom has stolen her college money and run up a huge credit card debt in her name. Now, Calla has to go back to the small town she thought she’d left behind and clean up her mom’s mess again. Of course, when she arrives at her mother’s bar, Mona is nowhere to be found. Instead, six feet of hotness named Jackson James is pouring drinks and keeping the place humming.

Sexy and intense, Jax is in Calla’s business from the moment they meet, giving her a job and helping her search for Mona. And the way he looks at her makes it clear he wants to get horizontal . . . and maybe something more. Before Calla can let him get close, though, she’s got to deal with the pain of the past—and some very bad guys out to mess her up if she doesn’t give them her mom.

My Review

Every time I pick up a JLA book I immediately go to my happy place, giggling and swooning over stories that somehow manage to achieve the perfect balance of lightheartedness and emotional gravity. In addition, each story is infused with that recognizable Jennifer style, where her sharp and smart humor appears in a string of words unexpectedly trussed together to make the moment entirely memorable. Jennifer’s work always feels so current, so relatable, yet so undeniably unique that I’ve yet to find a story I didn’t love. This latest installment in the Wait for You series is Calla’s storya story replete with tragedy, heartache and disappointment, where scars on the inside and outside run deep, stifling a life of hope and possibility. Calla Fritz thought if she just kept her head down and her heart on hold, she could build a life for herself. She may not be able to have an epic romance or a normal family to fall back on, but she would have something. So she focused on the three F’s…

Finish college. Find a career in the nursing field. Finally reap the benefits of following through on something.”

Calla had great friendsbeautiful girls surrounded by beautiful boys. I’m talking the Hot Guy Brigade comprised of Cam, Ollie, Jase and Brandon. She watch these couples from afar with yearning, wanting that for herself, but feeling like that kind of happy was not in the cards for her. Calla’s face bore a permanent reminder of all that was painful and all that was impossible. Growing up, a tragedy had consumed every good thing, every dream, every semblance of normality and every hope for a bright future. Her entire life had collapsed and she had fled the place that reminded her of the demise of all she knew. She had barely experienced life… had never been kissed, never seen a beach, never been in love. And so much of it was due to what she’d experienced then. Until one day she discovers her bank account empty, unable to pay tuition and forced to return home to face the past she’d left behind. Her mom had once again shattered everything and she was hurt, angry and scared at the uncertainty of her future.

Walking into Mona’s (her mom’s establishment), she never expected to meet a gorgeous, intense, superhot bartender. With a smirky smile that melted the world and a gaze that burned right through her, he was everything she wished she could have. In addition to his off-the-charts hotness, he was kind and willing to help find her mother because she’s gone. Vanished. And in a deep, dangerous heap of trouble.

“I wanted to get to know Jackson—Jax—James better and I shouldn’t. That should be the last thing I wanted, but it wasn’t.”

Jackson (Jax) James has been running the bar and keeping the place afloat for some time now, and for some reason, he’s taken on the added task of helping her.  There is instant chemistry between the two, but Calla can’t seem to really see it… believe it, not with the deep scar running across her cheek marring any beauty she may have had once. But little by little, word by word, touch by touch, Jax helps her believe she’s beautiful. That’s she’s worth it. I absolutely loved them together. Loved how Jax so clearly cared for her from day one. And for the first time in her life, Calla felt wanted. Cared for. Safe.

“Here I was… with a MIA mom, no money, my future completely up in the air, and an unofficial member of the Hot Guy Brigade had kissed me.”

But with so much going on and with their situation intensifying in the worst possible way, whatever they felt was tough to process. It couldn’t flourish when the weight of the world seemed to crush the possibility of it. In addition, Jax couldn’t… wouldn’t love her if he saw her. If he knew what had happened. Her mother’s situation was now on her and she had to find her mother soon, before the barrel of a gun pointed right to her head. Each passing day brought a whole new level or urgency and danger, and the suspense of what was going to happen kept the story’s pacing fluid and engaging.

“If she doesn’t show, we’ll send her a message. You don’t want to be a part of that message.”

Jax and Calla’s story is full of trouble and secrets you don’t see coming. Each of them has something to hide, something that is defining to their character, something that continues to haunt them in the present. Jax must be honest with her about his own experiences and his own past and Calla must bravely face her past, her scars and her greatest fear… that she may turn out like her own mother.  Fans of the other books in the series will delight with appearances by all the couples we love as well as that humor that brings levity to heavy situations. There are so many moments that made me feel so much for Calla and what she’d experienced, what she still struggled through. Seeing Jax help her find her confidence was a beautiful thing to see, and it was his love that was able to really heal Calla in more ways than she realized.

“It was the things I shared with him and he shared with me. It was the fact that he saw me, all of me, and beyond the skin, and he knew what existed on me and inside me and not just the physical.”

This is my favorite book in the series and you can expect lots of humor, sexiness, suspense and heart. You won’t want to put it down!

addseriestogoodreads

Excerpt

As I lay there, trying to swallow a loud, obnoxious yawn, I remembered something he’d said when we first met, about life being too short. I imagined he had firsthand experience with shortened lives while he was serving. That mentality came from experience. I got that now. Could even understand it, but there was something I didn’t understand.

“Why?” I asked.

There was a beat. “Why what?”

Jax sounded tired, and I should shut up or point out that I was now tired and could sleep, so he could leave. But I didn’t. “Why are you here? You don’t know me and . . .” I trailed off, because there really wasn’t anything left to say.

A minute went by, and he hadn’t answered my question, and then I think another minute ticked on, and I was okay with him not answering because maybe he didn’t even know. Or maybe he was just bored and that was why he was here.

But then he moved.

Jax pressed against my back, and the next breath I took got stuck in my throat. My eyes shot open. The sheet and blanket were between us, but they felt like nothing.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Getting comfortable.” He dropped an arm over my waist, and my entire body jerked against his. “It’s time to sleep I think.”

“But—”

“You can’t sleep when you talk,” he remarked.

“You don’t need to be all up on me,” I pointed out.

His answering chuckle stirred the hair along the back of my neck. “Honey, I’m not all up on you.”

I freaking begged to differ on that point. I started to wiggle away, but the arm around my waist tightened, holding me in place.

“You’re not going anywhere,” he announced casually, as if he wasn’t holding me prisoner in the bed.

Okay. The whole prisoner thing might be melodramatic, but he wasn’t letting me up. Not when he was getting all kinds of comfy behind me.

Oh my God, this was spooning. Total spooning. I was spooning with an honorary member of the Hot Guy Brigade. Did I wake up in a parallel universe?

“Sleep,” he demanded, as if the one word carried that much power. “Go to sleep, Calla.” This time his voice was softer, quieter.

“Yeah, it doesn’t work that way, Jax. You have a nice voice, but it doesn’t hold the power to make me sleep on your command.”

He chuckled.

I rolled my eyes, but the most ridiculous thing ever was the fact that after a couple of minutes, my eyes stayed shut. I . . . I actually settled in against him. With his front pressed to my back, his long legs cradling mine, and his arm snug around my waist, I actually did feel safe. More than that, I felt something else—something I hadn’t felt in years.

I felt cared for . . . cherished.

Which was the epitome of dumb, because I barely knew him, but feeling that, recognizing what the warm, buzzing feeling was, I fell right asleep.

Trailer

Reading Order and Purchase Links

Click on each image to purchase from Amazon U.S. Each book can be read as a standalone.

Wait For You cover Wait For You cover Wait For You cover stay with me cover

Reading Order: Wait For You | Trust In Me (novella) | Be With MeStay With Me

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