Author: Anne Eliot
Source: ebook from author for review
At a freshman party she doesn't remember, Jess Jordan was almost raped.
...Almost. Very nearly. Not quite. Three years later, Jess has managed to make everyone believe she's better. Over it. Because she is.
...Almost. Very nearly. Not quite.
Unfortunately, until Jess proves she's back to normal activities, her parents won't discuss college. So, she lands a summer internship and strikes a deal with hockey jock, Gray Porter: He gets $8,000. She gets a fake boyfriend and a social life.
Jess has no idea Gray signed on for reasons other than money. She also never expects to fall in love. But Gray’s amazingly hot, holds her hand all the time, and makes her forget that he’s simply doing his job. It’s like having a real boyfriend.
...Almost. Very nearly. Not quite.
Gray Porter is hiding secrets of his own. About Jess Jordan. About why he’s driven to protect her, why he won't cash her checks, or deny her anything she asks.
Three years ago, Jess Jordan was almost raped. Nothing happened. Well that is what she keeps hearing in her dreams, what she hears her parents saying after the horrific event. But even when you are almost raped…something did happen. And that something has broken her. She now has horrible nightmares and is usually up all night…leading her to sleep at different times throughout the day.
Along comes Gray Porter. Both are vying for the same internship that they both need to go to college. Gray needs the money from the job to pay for his first semester. Jess needs this job on her college applications so she can go to an Ivy League school and out from under her parent’s microscope. Together they work out a contract, a way for them both to get what they want. Jess needs to be ‘normal’ so she concocts a plan to have Gray fake date her. He gets the money from the job and a chance to secretly protect her and make up for the night he let her down 3 years ago. Jess gets a ‘normal’ life to showcase to her parents. Win, win. But when the dreams get worse for Jess…she cannot depict what is memory and what is imaginary. And just as things are starting to look up for the couple everything gets revealed. Will it all be too much for Jess? Can Gray not protect her like he intended? Will everyone end up on the losing end?
Almost was another book that started off sort of slow for me, almost debated putting it down and coming back later to it. And that was a scary thought since I have a blog tour coming up with Eliot's other book Unmaking Hunter Kennedy. But you know what happened next? Like the minute I had the ongoing debate starting in my head? I connected with the characters and the story. I ended up drinking it in and falling in love with it. I could not believe I almost laid this book down. It was just that awesome.
Yes there is an almost rape that happens. But please don’t let the idea stop you from reading the book. The author took a very serious, tragic event and turned it into a story about one character finally overcoming it. Of course those feelings don't go away overnight and the author didn’t make it out that way either. It is all very real, all very believable. I give a huge kudos for Eliot writing a story that may very well help others that are in Jess’ shoes.
Now let’s talk about Gray. Could an author write a sweeter, more perfect guy? Probably not. He knew Jess’ secret and never once treated her like she was broken and crazy. He did however treat her like she was a delicate piece of glass and that had me falling for him. There is a difference between someone treating you as if you are broken and someone treating you as if you are breakable. And the difference is what separates the men from the boys. Gray is definitely on the men’s side. He took care of Jess even when she had no idea he knew of her past. He wanted to be her protector and in doing so, the real Jess started emerging from her broken shell. He had her opening up to him and his friends and soon a new person was birthed. A new, stronger person. It just took a bit of time for her to see it. It was wonderful reading about them…absolutely wonderful.
There is one bad side of finishing a book at 2 in the morning: I lay in bed thinking of the awesome things I want to write in the review. Come the next day…all that glorious info flew off to dreamland the minute I closed my eyes. Now, here I am, sitting here worrying I forgot the great details I wanted to get across to you readers. Well if I did, oh well. Just know this…if you are a sucker for first love romance, like me, that has you grinning at the sweetness of it all, then I recommend this to you. Eliot is a wonderful romance writer and it shows in her story. And no Eliot, you are no prude. This was romance…sweet, perfect romance!