Behind Her Eyes by A.L. Jackson
Behind Her Eyes is Misha's story. She is just returning to school after her former boyfriend hurt her. Misha has a lot of trust issues and is scared that everyone will look at her differently after what Hunter put her through. When she finds out that the boys next door kicked Hunter out and got a new roommate, she is intrigued by him. Misha is instantly attracted to the new neighbor Darryn. But she is also afraid to let anything happen after her trust was destroyed before. But Darryn is determined to show her that things between them can be different and that he is worth taking a chance on. I really liked Darryn and Misha. They were really sweet together and you could feel the attraction between them. Darryn was kind and patient, and he really cared about Misha. He made a few bad choices, but you could tell that he was still a great guy. Misha had been through so much, and I felt really bad for her. But she was also strong and determined, and I thought that she was really brave to go back to school and face the past. Darryn and Misha were great for one another, and I felt like their connection was real and didn't feel rushed at all. I did feel as though this story was a bit slow though and that was the reason that I didn't rate this one higher. This one had a lot of depth for the short length though, and I liked how some tough issues were dealt with.
Saving Me by Molly McAdams
This novella was amazing! Molly McAdams once again proved that she is an amazing writer and is able to tackle the tough topics. This one had me feeling so many emotions, and I really felt like these characters were special. Indy had been abandoned in horrible ways. Her brother was killed, her parents kicked her out, and she returned to school only to find her boyfriend of two years sleeping with someone else. Indy ended up drinking to escape and didn't discriminate when it came to hooking up with random guys. But she also knew that she could always go to the one place she felt safe and rely on the guy who helped her out, even if she never remembered him when she was sober. Kier had wanted Indy for awhile, and after seeing what her ex did to her he knew he finally had a chance. But he also knew that she needed time to get over everything and that he wanted her to figure things out on her own without him informing her himself. When Indy finally figures out how much Kier has been a part of her life, she wants nothing more than to get to know him better. But Kier is also suffering and has secrets of his own. I loved Kier and Indy. They were so easy to like and relate to. While I have never experienced anything like they had, I really understood where they were each coming from. They were both vulnerable and looking for a way to move past the guilt and pain they were feeling. They were great for one another, and I loved seeing them help each other heal. Kier was so sweet and protective, he just wanted to take care of Indy in any way he could. Indy was so much stronger than she knew, and had been through more than anyone should have to go through. These two had amazing chemistry and shared a strong emotional connection as well. They could not have been more perfect for one another, and I could have easily read a full length novel featuring these two!
Fouling Out by Tiffany King
Fouling Out by Tiffany King is Courtney's story. I was really looking forward to this one because of the history between the characters and because I love me some sports romance stories! Courtney works at a local sports bar as a waitress and refuses to date athletes. She was once best friends with Dalton, the star of her school basketball team. They were inseparable until he suddenly became too cool to hang out with her and started spending all of his time playing basketball and hanging out with the cool kids. When Dalton shows up in her bar one night though, he tries to get her to talk to him only Courtney wants nothing to do with him. Dalton has no idea what has happened to make Courtney so cold, but he is determined to get back their friendship and see if there is something more between them. Dalton was really sweet, and I loved that he was determined. He wasn't afraid to do whatever it took to win Courtney over, and I loved his public declarations for her. I thought that Courtney was great and I loved that she made Dalton work for it. She was funny and I loved the witty banter between these two. I do think that Courtney was a little harsh with Dalton at times, but I was glad that she got over it and was able to give Dalton a second chance. These two were cute together and had a lot of chemistry. I really felt the connection between them, and I think a lot of that was because of the history between them. This one was really cute and I enjoyed it a lot.
Beneath Your Layers by Christina Lee
I really enjoyed this novella, and I loved that it was an enemies to lovers story. Christina Lee did a great job with this one and I loved getting Chloe's story. Chloe's goal is to work hard and head to New York after graduation to work in the fashion industry. She is always put together and prefers to wear dresses and heels rather than jeans and sneakers. When her boss offers her the chance to turn her school project into a possible job for the future, Chloe agrees reluctantly because it means working with her boss's nephew Blake. Blake has nothing in common with Chloe and views her as nothing more than an uptight girl with a stick up her butt. But as the two begin working together they quickly realize that they have more in common than they thought and that they have made assumptions about one another. But what will happen when the project is over and they no longer have to spend so much time together? Chloe did come off as uptight at first, but it was clear that she was much more than that after getting to know her better. She was smart and sassy, and I loved that she was comfortable with who she was. She was put together and enjoyed dressing up, and fashion was something that she was really passionate about. But I felt bad for her because of her mother. Blake was really good for her, and I thought that he was exactly what she needed to get her out of her comfort zone a bit. He got her to loosen up and that was good to see. Blake was a good guy and he was dedicated to his family. He sacrificed so much for others, and I liked seeing him have such a good attitude about everything. The chemistry between these two was amazing, and I loved how the tension continued to build. Christina Lee was able to take these two characters through so much in such a short amount of time, and it felt so natural. I really enjoyed Chloe and Blake's story.
Overall, this was a really great anthology. The stories all felt real and believable to me, and they didn't have any feelings of insta-love or feel rushed. That is usually one of my complaints about anthologies, but this one was so much better than I ever expected! I am a huge fan of all these authors, and I think that NA and contemporary fans will find this anthology to be a must read!
**ARC Provided by Penguin Group Berkley/Signet**
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