I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Woodlands #2
Published by Pear Tree LLC on September 16, 2013
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Buy the Book • Goodreads
Whore. Slut. Typhoid Mary. I've been called all these at Central College. One drunken night, one act of irresponsible behavior, and my reputation was ruined. Guys labeled me as easy and girls shied away. To cope, I stayed away from Central social life and away from Central men, so why is it that my new biology lab partner is so irresistible to me? He's everything I shouldn't want. A former Marine involved in illegal fighting with a quick trigger temper and an easy smile for all the women. His fists aren't the danger to me, though, it's his charm. He's sliding his way into my heart and I'm afraid that he's going to be the one to break me. Impulsive. Unthinking. Hot tempered. I allow instinct to rule my behavior. If it feels good, do it, has been my motto because if I spend too much time thinking, I'll begin to remember exactly where I came from. At Central College, I've got fighting and I've got women and I thought I was satisfied until I met her. She's everything I didn't realize I wanted and the more time I spend with her, the more I want her. But she's been hurt too much in the past and I don't want to be the one to break her. I know I should walk away, but I just can't.
Yes, this is another sequel to a series, and yes, I did read it. But unlike a lot of the others that I’ve jumped into the middle of, you don’t have to read the first at all! This series of romances focuses on the men of Woodland squad who served together, and their new relationships as they leave the service. So the first one? Well, that couple is here, but it’s not their story. Instead, we are focused on the story of Bo and AM.
AM made a mistake a while back and slept with someone she shouldn’t have. Unfortunately, this happens a lot. The girl gets drunk and sleeps with a guy (and who cares, right? Consenting adults and all). Except then the guy starts spreading rumours and soon it turns out that the whole damn team slept with her. Or so they say, anyway, because AM knows the truth. She hasn’t slept with any of them, let alone the one guy who has been making her life a nightmare.
Bo, on the other hand, is in school and starting to crush on AM, who he is partnered with in biology. He has a slight (okay, not so slight) problem with his anger (and he participates in fight clubs and illegal fights to help burn off some of that anger). But he cares about AM and tries to help her see that, while also trying to fight for her honor. Or something like it anyway. He gets into a fight over her, punching out her worst bully.
The romance was sweet and tender, and built slowly because AM is still learning to trust others. She has a great group of friends, though, who have done everything they can to make sure she stays safe–even if they have missed out on some of what’s going on. I wouldn’t call this book steamy, by any means, but the romance ached in a good way, the way Bo and AM learn to trust and love one another, and how they learn to deal with each other’s flaws. And they are both definitely flawed human beings.
AM is my hero, though. She is being bullied, but she doesn’t let that stop her from going to the school she wants to attend. She does so much for the people she loves. And in the end, when she stands up for herself? I had chills. She was absolutely amazing. And if this is an indication of what kind of writer Jen Fredrick is then I can’t wait to read the next one in the series. And the first. And everything else she writes.