I could love the monster or leave the man.
Out of Love by Jewel E. Ann is now live!
Conspiracies. Corruption. Serial killers. You name it–I’m fascinated by it. My mom always blamed my overly curious and highly suspicious mind on my dad. My incredibly overbearing dad. Mr. No One Is Good Enough For My Daughter has been terrifying my dates since I turned fifteen. College is my chance to be free from his control and date any guy I want. I’m absolutely certain he would hate Slade Wylder–almost as certain as I am that I do too. Since when have I shied away from trouble? Slade fascinates me. He lives in a house I’m certain is haunted. His dog is trained as well as any guard I’ve ever seen. Rumor on campus is that he deals drugs. It would explain a lot. But it doesn’t explain why he saves me from my darkest moment. It doesn’t explain why I can’t stop thinking about him. And the explanation I finally discover is far more dangerous than any rumor.
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I’m fairly new to Jewel E. Ann’s stories, but the last two books that I’ve read by her has solidified her as a must-read author, and what it comes down to for me is how effortlessly she weaves a tale, ensuring that the development and depth of her characters are in tandem to the forward progress of the story line, which is sometimes difficult to do given the author’s intentions for her characters and how things play out compared to what the characters themselves dictate and with two unpredictable wild cards like Livy Knight and Slade Wylder, it probably could have gone either way, but I’m here to say that however Ann happened to corral her troops and give them the story they demanded, it’s brilliantly written and highly entertaining in the sense that there’s always something to sleuth out when it comes to the elusive college bad boy and the inquisitive and daring college girl.
Even without reading the previous three books in the Jack and Jill series, it’s clear that as much as Livy wants to get away from her domineering father and make her own path, she is more her father’s daughter than she realizes and is drawn to a guy who is every bit as mysterious and secretive as her father and what that means for Livy and for her connection to a man she can’t quite figure out but wants to give him everything that she is, but what if it means losing herself in the process.
Slade Wylder is allusive and standoffish, but it’s clear that he’s never met a girl like Livy and her persistence is meant to be a turnoff, at least in his mind, but it ends up being something that brings them toward each other rather than apart, but what that means for their respective pasts, for the danger that seems to be out there and imminent, in some ways, puts a different spin on things and how that will all play out is what makes this story so thought-provoking and had me riveted to my kindle until I reached the end.
As an English teacher, sometimes the twists and turns in stories aren’t difficult to figure out, but that by no means illustrates a writer’s inability to make a plot unpredictable because most romance readers don’t analyze scenes and actions the way I do…it’s the nature of the beast so to speak when it comes to my job as a teacher of rhetoric. So when a story line captivates me in a way that Out of Love did and I still didn’t see a few of the twists coming, which speaks to just how meticulous the author was to keep certain secrets hidden until right up to their reveals and that ingenuity and forethought makes for an exciting and entertaining read.
5 Poison Apples
After their kissy-huggy greeting ended, they walked toward the house with Jericho in tow. I waited for him to glance back at me. He saw me. There was no way he passed me a few seconds earlier on the street and didn’t see me. Yet, he made no attempt to acknowledge me.
My boy Jerry stopped abruptly and turned like he caught whiff of my scent. All the warm fuzzies filled my chest. A dog gave me more feels than any man had given me in a long time. Maybe ever.
Jericho liked me. Hell, maybe he loved me.
He protected me.
He smiled when he saw me—tongue out, tail in a low wag. I continued my way up the sidewalk, feigning surprise when he trotted toward me in spite of Slade barking his own command.
“Hey, Jerry.” I squatted down to give him double the love Miss Sophisticated gave him … and I had a treat in my pocket because part of me anticipated—hoped for—a chance encounter. “Oh, buddy … I love you too.” I closed my eyes and turned my face side to side while he showered me with kisses.
Slade cleared his throat.
I opened my eyes—noticing his friend must have gone inside. “Sorry.” I stood, sliding a treat into Jericho’s mouth along the way. “I know it’s hard for you to know he likes me more.” On a shrug, I bit my lips together to keep my shit-eating grin under control.
“Inside,” he said to Jericho while looking at me.
Jericho turned and headed to the back door.
“If you have a job to do … Jerry can hang with me tonight. I’m alone this evening.”
“Jericho. And he doesn’t need a babysitter.”
“Maybe I do.”
His brow tensed a fraction, contemplation settling into a slight frown for a few seconds, before he whistled and Jericho came running. “Send him home when your friends get back.”
Why was the only word that sat on the tip of my idle tongue? Why protect me?
“What are you going to do?” Okay, apparently “why” wasn’t the only word on the tip of my tongue after all. Six other words were in line first.
“Does it matter?”
Letting my gaze settle over his shoulder to the firehouse and images of Miss Sophisticated waiting for him, I lifted a single shoulder. “No. Just curious. Is she your girlfriend?”
“Does it matter?”
“I hate you.” I rolled my eyes. “Worst communication skills ever.”
“Good. Hate me. I prefer it.”
I recoiled. I didn’t really hate anyone. It wasn’t my personality to be hateful, vengeful, or hold grudges. Why did Slade Wylder want me to hate him? It was a joke. I hated his lack of sharing information.
“If you’re selling her some shit that will ruin her life, may I suggest you rethink that? Not cool, Wylder.”
Tipping my chin up, I gave him several tiny nods. “Okay then. I’ll take Jerry to my house and spoil him. Maybe he comes back to you … maybe he doesn’t.”
Slade let his gaze slide down my body, a slow and easy trip. He didn’t do that when we met. Somewhere along the way, he decided it was okay. I wasn’t sure what reaction he desired from me.
Maybe he did it out of pure selfish desire.
“I’m only allowing this because I love Jerry.”
Curious eyes met mine, slightly squinted.
I smirked. “Stripping me with those eyes of yours.”
I collected moments in my mind, my heart, my soul, like Aubrey collected rare coins—my mom dying, my dad spending a few years thoroughly drunk. Mostly bad moments—permanent scars.
That moment I tucked into my memory forever as one of the first truly great moments.
The corners of his mouth quirked into pure sin. If Satan was hot as fuck, his name would have been Slade Wylder, and I would have been in a whole helluva lot of trouble.
Meet Jewel E. Ann
Jewel is a Wall Street Journal & USA Today best selling author a with a quirky sense of humor. When she’s not saving the planet one tree at a time, you can find her role modeling questionable behavior to her three boys, binge-watching Netflix with her husband, and writing mind-bending romance.
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