No one understood me like Dash. No one made me feel so loved. That’s why, when he skipped town, it wrecked me.
Now I’m older. Wiser. I’ve just snagged my dream job, writing at a film studio. The lead animator on my project? You guessed it.
He’s not the boy next door. Not anymore.
I’m guarding my heart this time.
But Dash has secrets that could break us both.
I really enjoyed this book, a lot. It definitely can be read as a standalone, as somehow I managed to not read the 1st title in the series, not sure quite how that happened, but other than some minor updates as to where the characters are now, it is not necessary to have read it.
Dash and Amelia grew up together, as neighbors, the kind that see a lot of each other. And, then he leaves for college. When he comes back, they have a hot night together...and then things happen and their relationship ends there until a few years later, where most of the story takes place.
There is heat between them, but Amelia doesn't feel that she can totally trust Dash, and Dash doesn't feel that he is worthy of her. You know there is something Amelia doesn't know, and something that the reader doesn't know, but that he feels he has a reason to not want to dirty her with being with him.
There is a secret, and in this case, it has to be a secret revealed at the end. There are secrets that color the relationship, such as when one person lies about who they are, that need to be revealed early in the story or you lose, as a reader, the ability to trust and like the characters and their motives.
The secret Dash carries is different. It's a secret that could pull apart a new relationship (or one that he and Amelia have that is a second chance to start new) and it is one that he carries, one that he is embarrassed about, and one that ultimately he is not responsible for. Willing, arguably. But not responsible. Dash feels shame, and guilt with the secret, so he needs to be able to trust Amelia before he is really able to open up. And, when you find out what the secret is, it all makes so much sense and the scenes around the secret and the reveal are handled really, really well and you are ok with it, at least from the standpoint of believing that their relationship could move on from it.
Dash and Amelia were wonderful together. They balance one another, and the relationship they have from their shared past is a bond that you are not able to break, which is a good thing. You sense his attraction to her from the beginning, you can tell that he is holding back, that he wants more with her, but feels that he can't go there.
The sex is hot and passionate, but also advances the story as they become more intimate with one another, they also start to open up to one another. The progression of their relationship is obvious as the intimacy in their physical and emotional connection changes and heightens. This was a second chance romance, but what they built on was a past affection that draws them together now as the people they are today.
The book is well written with a well constructed plot and characters that you like. The pacing is strong, and the secondary characters enhance the story. There is a good balance with the secondary characters, and the flashbacks, with the things that happen now.
If you are new to Ella James, you can start here with no problem. If you aren't new, this book gives you exactly what you expect from this author and it is a pleasure to read.
Also, smut. But always, always romance.
Ella's obsessions include vanilla cream soda, hiking, other weird, crunchy things like rock collecting, and the antics of her three little monsters.
To find out more about her projects, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ellajamesbooks, tweet her at author_ellaj or follow her on Instagram (authorellajames).
Interested in the foreign rights for one of Ella’s books? Contact her agent, Rebecca Friedman, at firstname.lastname@example.org.