Rouse Me by Crystal Kaswell originally drew me in with the beautiful cover. I loved the look of it and it really made me want to read this story. Then I read the blurb, and I thought that it sounded really interesting. I occasionally like to really lose myself in some angst and drama, and what better way to do that than with a love triangle? All that being said while I did enjoy parts of this story, I was left with mixed feelings on this book. I think that this story had a lot of potential, but just fell a bit short.
Alyssa Summers has been through a tough time and is just starting to get her life back on track. She has a fiance that she loves and who has always been there for her. Even if they don't always agree on what is best for her, Alyssa knows that Ryan is just trying to look out for her. But when she meets Ryan's business partner Luke, she is instantly attracted to him and can't stop thinking about him. She knows that she should not be thinking about him like she does, but she is unable to stop herself. Alyssa wants Luke more than anything she has ever wanted before, but she also thinks that she needs Ryan. How can Alyssa possibly choose between her want and growing feelings for Luke when she still loves and needs Ryan?
I did not like Ryan at all! He didn't seem to truly care about Alyssa at all. He would try to control every bit of her life while claiming it was for her own good, and yet he didn't listen to when she would tell him her wants and needs. Ryan never seemed to want to really spend time with her or actually be around her though, and he was more than a workaholic. Alyssa was also hard for me to really like or connect with. Her inner monologues got really annoying, and I found her to be whiny and irritating. I really just felt like she complained a lot and was immature. She was wishy washy and weak, and I wanted her to grow a backbone and make some decisions. I did like Luke. I felt like he was good for Alyssa and he seemed to care about her. They got along well right off, and had insane chemistry. While Luke was broken and dealing with things, I felt like that was part of what made him work so well with Alyssa. They were both a bit fractured and I think that really allowed them to relate to one another in a way that others just couldn't.
What really was the biggest problem for me though was the actual relationships in this story. I don't agree with cheating, but I can handle a bit of it in books assuming that things end up working out and that there is a point behind it. I felt like it went on for far too long in this story without Alyssa ever actually making a choice. She really didn't belong with Ryan and I felt like she stayed with him out of a sense of her past and him being there for her even though she knew he wasn't right for her. I really wanted her to step up and I got tired of waiting for it to happen. I also felt like it was a bit anticlimactic when the truth was finally out there. It was almost as though Ryan had been expecting it from them and didn't really seem to react as a loving fiance would. I would be devastated if it was me, and I never felt any of that from him. I think there was a disconnect with Ryan's character for the reader and because of how he comes off from the beginning of the story it was hard to ever really sympathize with him. I think maybe if we had seen his POV it would have changed how I felt, but without that it was hard to really get behind this one. I am curious to see what happens next though, and I am definitely interested in reading the next book in this series. I hope that Crystal Kaswell is able to really give us more of these characters in the next book and that we really get to see what happens for them after everything that they have been through. I think that there are a lot of readers that will be able to really enjoy this story for what it is, but if you are sensitive to infidelity then this one might not be for you.
**Review Copy Provided by Truly Schmexy PR**
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