When Jayson Santiago was a young boy he was determined to make something of his life and get out of the projects. Years later he is the king of hip-hop, owning several businesses including Rucker Records and also being a famous performer. While he has had career success, he hasn't had much personal success and has made poor choices when it came to women. Victoria Watson grew up with everything she could ever ask for and more. She was used to luxury and never had to worry about anything until her mother died and her father started seeing younger women. When Tori finds herself having to live and work in the real world, she struggles to find a way to get back the one thing that was important to her. While working in a strip club she meets Jay, and they immediately hit it off. The attraction between them is off the charts, but Tori quickly learns that Jay is a player. Tori is determined to remain friends with him, but Jay has other ideas. Tori however won't be his casual piece on the side while he continues to see others as well. Can Jay leave behind his womanizing ways and finally settle down with the woman he always dreamed of? Or will he be unable to let Tori in and break her heart in the process?
I really liked Jayson. I loved seeing him as a young boy before everything happened and seeing how that life shaped who he was. I will admit that there were times in this story that I really hated him though. He did some really messed up things, and I wanted to punch him so hard. But with the help of his friends, mom and Tori he really started to be the man I knew he was. He was hot and absolutely oozed sex. It was clear from the start why Tori was so drawn to him, but I loved that it was because of him and not what he had. It was great to see that she had no clue who he was and see how that really allowed her to get to know the real him. Tori was strong and had lost so much, but she was such a survivor. I loved that she was down on her luck but was determined to make it on her own. She wasn't out for Jay's money or the benefits of being with him, and she was a genuinely kind person. She also didn't take crap off anyone, and I loved seeing her stand up for herself and others. Tori was so easy to relate to, and I thought that she was such a great heroine. I know that some will have problems with her because she was very forgiving and let go of some things almost too easily. But I think that just made her more real because she was willing to give multiple chances and was willing to believe the best in people. She had faith and hope when others didn't, and it showed what a great person she was. I thought that Jay and Tori were off the charts steamy together, and I loved their sexy times. But I also felt like they were so much more than that, and they were always there for one another. The support and love they gave each other was amazing to read about.
I will say that while I loved the characters and the story, the reason I didn't rate this at a full five stars was because of a few things that happened in the book. Without spoiling a lot of the story, there were a few times that Jay did things that I completely disagreed with, and it literally broke my heart. It was hard to get past the first time, and was even worse the second. I just had a hard time dealing with it as a reader, and felt so bad for Tori. I felt like he made excuses to deal with it, and I felt like it was kind of glossed over without much groveling or begging on his part. He got mad at Tori for having "attitude" when it was his mistake and he was the one who had majorly messed up. It was really hard to move past the hate I had for him in those moments, and that is why this one just wasn't an absolute home run for me. But honestly this story was so raw and real and showed that true love is messy and gritty. People make mistakes and screw things up, but love has a way of overcoming anything and that is what this story was about for me. Love doesn't always come in a neat gift wrapped box with a bow, and it would be boring if it did. That is one of the things I love most about Jessica's books, they are so believable because they aren't perfect and their flaws are what make them real. I honestly can't recommend her books enough, and I think that anyone looking for real life romance stories with flawed characters and a ton of heat should definitely check her books out. I can't wait to read more from her in the future, and with each new book of hers I just become more of a fan.
**ARC Provided by Author**
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