by Jescie Hall
Nicole never imagined anyone other than her seemingly perfect boyfriend, Patrick, could grab her attention.
That is, until ex-convict Cameron Hawke unexpectedly becomes their roommate, turning her entire, calculated little world upside down.
The tension in the house is thick as Hawke's lifestyle clashes abruptly with hers. Nicole's curiosities get the best of her as she attempts to learn the secrets behind Hawke's mysterious past.
Temptations become overwhelming as lines get crossed, feelings get blurry and the truth to a horrific past is unearthed, changing the lives of the three of them forever.
Drug use (weed, molly), emotional abuse (not by MC's), cheating, trauma from death of best friend
Oh. My. God.
I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did.
Considering the main love interests are cheating.
Which is not my cup of tea for multiple reasons - mainly, being close to someone who has felt the pain of being cheated on.
So if that is not something you are into, I still think that you will be okay with this book.
You'll understand why pretty quickly.
I also don't have a whole lot of faith in Wattpad books.
I know, I know! I'm so judgmental!
Considering Sarah J Maas started out on Wattpad, I shouldn't say shit.
But you know ... 365 Days also came from there. So ...
And before you ask, NO, I'm not going to read 365 Days. My best friend made me watch the movie - which while terrible, I found interesting despite myself - but the second movie had me rolling my eyes and scoffing from how cheesy and terrible it was.
Back to Hawke.
I don't want to ruin it for you.
I want you to fall in love with this book, and Hawke, yourself.
Because you will.
Listen, my best friend, who is MUCH more critical than me, and wouldn't normally enjoy a romance that features cheating, loved this book.
In terms of the story, it was amazing. Seriously. I've not read Jescie Hall's other work - she is a relatively new author from what I can tell, and has only written a few other books - but holy shit, when I tell you this woman can write - she can WRITE!
I was immediately invested in this story. I was interested in all the characters - even the ones I didn't like. I wanted answers to all my questions, and immediately started building up theories in my head as to Hawkes backstory, how Patrick and Hawke became acquainted, and Nicole and her figuring out who she is, and the dynamics of her relationship with Patrick and Hawke.
The story grabs a hold of you and doesn't let up until the very end.
THE VERY END! I usually can predict how a book will go pretty early on, but my theories were not even close to what happened in this book. Amazing.
Add on top of that the intense chemistry between Hawke and Nicole, the banter, and yes, the incredibly sexy scenes between them, and this book was one of the top 10 for me for the year.
It was seriously hot.
The characters were also incredibly gripping. Hawke, while seemingly grumpy at first and a bit cold, is easily lovable due to his charm. He is a natural flirt, a total playboy, but you know he has a heart of gold underneath the perception everyone has of him.
Nicole is interesting, because I'm not going to pretend I went into this story liking her.
She was kind of a bitch.
I mean, it didn't take me long to learn why she was the way she was, but that doesn't mean I was immediately team Nicole. It took a bit, but once we learn who Nicole really is, I ended up liking her.
Now, my best friend found her bland, and didn't understand why Hawke would fall for her so quickly, but I don't entirely agree with that assessment. I agree she is a bit bland - but I don't think someone being a bit boring makes them less loveable.
I shouldn't say it that way. I'm pretty boring, and my best friend loves me, so she obviously doesn't mean it that way.
It's just Nicole is ... a rule follower. She strives for the Stepford wife role of perfectionism - until Hawke gets her to loosen up and be herself. She is a normal woman. Just because Hawke has a criminal record, and is hot as hell, doesn't mean he can't fall for a normal gal. haha.
Whew, I rambled there! Story of my life.
I wish I could remember how I learned of this book.
But I wish I remembered so I could go back and thank the person, because I fucking loved this book so much! When I tell you I immediently went to goodreads and added Jescie Hall's other books to my TBR, because, wow. Hawke was an angsty, tension filled romance, that was equally sexy and plot heavy. You will NOT regret reading Hawke!
Hawke: “Ground rules?”
he asks, pushing off the counter and slowly lurking towards me.
Hawke: “I’ve got some myself.”
I nervously shift my weight at his closeness. He places both his palms on the counter behind me, trapping me with his arms. My eyes nervously dart around at them before I lift my chin and try to maintain some semblance of confidence. If Patrick came out right now, this would look totally threatening.
Hawke: “First, if you’re going to walk in on me in the shower, the least you can do is give me a handy.”
I scoff at his crudeness, then attempt to breathe normally. Yep. Nope. My mouth is parched inside the bubble of his aura.
Hawke: “And second, if you’re going to have sex in the bedroom next to me, at least try to pretend you’re enjoying it.”
Putting two shot glasses down, he pours up the Dragon’s Blood.
Cole: “Oh man. What’s this mixed with tonight?”
Dragon’s Blood gets made early in the night. Usually tail ends of whatever bottles of alcohol that could flow together, making a toxic concoction that would be sure to set you right. Total small-town bar shit.
John: “Your guess is as good as mine.”
He raises his brows along with his shot glass, clinking mine before we both choke down the burning liquid.
Cole: “Ugh, I taste Jager in that,”
I say in a hoarse tone.
Cole: “And something peach.”
He twists his face.
I make a pained face, pushing my glass forward, shrugging.
Cole: “Why not?”
Cole: “What are you so happy about? It’s not even nine.”
I groan, crinkling my nose. He slides down into his seat, crossing his arms behind his head, clearly unaware of how disgustingly perfect that makes him look, and shrugs.
Hawke: “I don’t know. Guess I’m just a happy kind of guy.”
Cole: “Ahh...so my assumption was right. You did have a plan.”
He rolls his eyes.
Hawke: “Yeah, I wanted to seduce you, maybe get some pics, and blackmail you into fucking me.”
My eyes stretch like saucers.
Hawke: “I’m just playin’. Chill, crazy. I’m really not that well thought out. I just wanted to kick it with you.”
He leans back against the couch again and sighs.
Hawke: “Could’ve been fun, though.”
Cole: “Blackmailing me?”
His brow furrows, as if blackmailing is literally the last thing he’d want to do.
Hawke: “No. Fucking you.”
Hawke: “You wreck me.”
He studies my lips, as if memorizing the curve of my mouth. My eyes flutter up to his as we stare at each other. I swallow at his words as his eyes sear through me, reaching something I’d thought unreachable.
Hawke: "Wreck me, Cole.”
He’s on to me. I can feel it. I flip him off as he cocks a brow, pointing to himself.
Hawke: “If not tonight, then soon!”
he yells back, making me laugh.
Hawke: “I just have one question,”
he whispers into my ear, nuzzling his nose into my hair, breathing me in. I swallow, closing my eyes tightly as a breath escapes me.
Hawke: “Who was it you were thinking about when you turned into an animal?”
he whispers before firmly pushing his hips into my backside, taking my breath away.
Hawke: “I’ll let you in on a little secret.”
He flips my hair over my shoulder, exposing my neck to him.
Hawke: “I was thinking about you, too,”
he whispers against my skin.
I really need to get my priorities straight. I almost hit second base at a Christian rock concert. Hell is just a stone’s throw away.
Hawke: “It can mean something sometimes,”
he whispers after a slight pause, looking down at his rings again. He looks back up at me with a tight jaw and a sad expression, like what he’s about to say hurts him in an unexplainable way.
Hawke: “It meant something with you.”
Hawke: “Oh, and you aren’t using me?”
Cole: “Excuse me?!”
Hawke: “Yeah, I said it. You use me. You use me to give you a high, anything to make you feel alive in your miserable, mundane life. But that’s as far as it goes for you in your perfect, calculated little world. Too stuck up to see the truth right in front of you. Too damn blind to open your eyes. Back to assuming again. Guess I should just go ahead and be who you think I am, huh?”
Cole: “You’re such an ass,”
I whisper through clenched teeth, feeling myself on the verge of tears.
Hawke: “You used me to get off with your fucking boyfriend. Do you have any idea how much that bothers me?”
He growls, leaning over me against the wall. I swallow, looking from those passionate eyes to his full lips and back.
Cole: “Bothers you?!”
He glares at me, through me, seething at the memory of Patrick touching me. He’s jealous.
Hawke: “His hands on you. Your mind on me. I saw it. Why the fuck you continue to put up with him and his shit is beyond me. I thought I knew you better than that, but I guess I don’t.”
Everything with him has meant way more than what he assumes. I’ve never used him in that sense. If anything, I’ve only fallen more into this undeniable feeling for him. I’m afraid of that truth and he’s pushing it out of me. He leans in closer with a dark look in his greenish eyes, using a hand to brush my hair behind my ear, making me feel the heat of his touch before he brushes his lips against the shell of my ear.
Hawke: “I just wonder if even after you’re married, you’ll still need to think of me to get off.”
I shove him from me as hard as I can until he hits the opposing wall of the hallway. He hits it with a grunt, the air leaving his chest.
Cole: “Piss off, Hawke!”
I say before turning and leaving him against the wall.
I say softly, reaching up to touch the side of his face.
Cole: “You are so much more than a past.”
Cole: "What’s happening between us?”
He takes his wet fingers, turning me to face him again.
Hawke: “I don’t know. But it’s the worst feeling in the world.”
The pain in the truth of what he’s emitting is palpable.
Cole: “What do you mean?”
He releases a deep breath, moving me so I’m against the back wall of the shower, where he rests an arm against the wall above me, shielding me from the water. His other hand reaches up and pushes the hair back off my forehead before tucking it behind my ear. He holds the side of my neck, his thumb running the length of my jaw, before his eyes connect with mine.
Hawke: “I’m staring at the only thing that’s got me feeling things after years of feeling numb. The only eyes that have ever made me question myself and who I am in their reflection. You’re right here in front of me, yet we’re just out of reach.”
Cole: “Are you alright?”
I ask softly, looking him in the eye again, running my hands through the hair at the top of his head. His hands settle at my hips as he looks up at me with desire flowing out of those ocean eyes.
Hawke: “I’m not alright. I’ll never be right again.”
Hawke: “It just never stops,”
he says softly, running his thumb over my bottom lip.
Cole: “What’s that?”
I question, cocking my head.
Hawke: “Every second with you makes me need another,”
he says, as if he’s pained by the thought. I pause, my heart aching in my chest. I reach between us, running my hand slowly down his chest towards the tented area in his sweats. While staring directly into his eyes, I pull his pants down with his help until we are finally pressed up against each other in only the form we were created.
Cole: “Never stop,”
I whisper against his lips.
Hawke: “Never stop what?”
he asks, trailing his fingers up and down my back.
Cole: “Needing me,”
I say, before we fall back into our kiss like we never left it.
I just barely touch my mouth to the shell of his ear, whispering words from a favorite poem by Jonathon Muncy Storm that made me think of him,
Cole: “You’re my calm in the soul, crazy in the flesh.”
Hawke: “Wreck me, shatter me, destroy me, be the ruin of me. I don’t care, just make me feel again,”
he whispers against my lips.
Cole: “There’s got to be a way. A way for us to figure this out. Together,”
I beg, moving in towards him again.
Cole: “Don’t lose me in the madness.”
Hawke: “You’re the purest, dirtiest little thing.”
He grins, his eyes narrowing in on me.
Hawke: “A saint with the lips of a sinner. A woman who owns her demons.”
Cole: “Let me own you,”
I whisper, my lips inches from his. I stick my tongue out for him, waiting. He quickly licks my tongue, then savagely attacks my mouth with his own before pulling away and finding my eyes again.
Hawke: “Trust me, baby, you do.”
Hawke: “Crazy, right? She’s fucking incredible, though. Wild as fuck, drives me crazy,”
he continues, a twinkle in his playful eyes.
Hawke: “I’m in love with her. It’s insane.”
Cole: “This is ridiculous,”
I announce to the entire table.
Cole: “For all of you who preach about being Christian and Catholic, to then sit here at your fancy dinner in your fancy house, trolling on people whose lives aren’t as privileged as yours, judging people who may have made bad decisions or mistakes when they had no help or guidance, you’re truly the worst. It’s literally disgusting to me.”
Cole: “You’re my calm in the soul, crazy in the flesh,”
I utter the words of my favorite poet to him again, this time with him conscious. His smile widens at the poem, his face seemingly nervous at the mention of it as he toys with his lip ring.
Cole: “What? Why are you looking like that?”
I ask, getting all self-conscious for actually saying it out loud. He looks down at his chest between us, then back into my eyes. It’s then that I see it. The words inked onto his skin, across his chest. It’s barely visible between all the other tattoos, but there it is. Etched onto him, over his heart. I touch the words, my mouth dropping open in confusion.
Cole: “What? When? How?”
Hawke: “I heard you that morning. You whispered the words into my ear when you thought I was asleep, and I knew then that you loved me in the same crazy, uncontrollable way that I love you. When I left that morning to get your car fixed, I stopped at my guy’s shop. Knew I needed it on me, forever.”
I’m in total shock. How did I not see it until now? How could I not have known he heard me? My insides stir with a deep, understood love.
Hawke: “You wanted me to show you my scars? Well, you’re covering them, Cole. All of them.”
Hawke: “There’s a part of you that’s always thinking about me and my feelings, somehow always understanding what I’m going through and who I am. You see the truth in people, even when you were taught not to. You saw me.”
Cole: “I see you,”
I whisper, running my fingers over his face, kissing his lips softly.
Cole: “I see you.”
Kid: “Eh, I knew y’all were a thing long before you did. The way you were looking at him at the bar, the way he kept staring you down like a psycho. I knew y’all had to be fucking on the low. It’s sexy as fuck though, all that sneaking around.”
He wiggles his eyebrows at me and I can’t help but scoff with a smile.
Kid: “You’re a bad girl.”
Cole: “Cameron, look at me,”
I demand, grabbing his shirt into my fist and pulling him into me, making sure his eyes lock onto mine.
Cole: “I’ll never lose you in the madness.”
Cole: “You’re the kind of guy devils tell angels to go talk to to get them to fall, not knowing you’re the type to save them from the depths of Hell they’ve surrendered themselves to.”
Cole: “You know what’s funny?”
I ask, leaning against the edge with an easy smile.
Cole: “I was with you for years. Years. And I didn’t know what an orgasm was until I met Hawke.”
His face drops. It’s clear he can’t breathe with the truths I’ve released into his air.
Cole: “Like, I legitimately had no idea what it was. Never had enough time to have the chance to find out with you. Two minutes is a long time when you’re holding a plank, not when having sex with your significant other.”
His mouth drops open as he stares at me, so I continue whispering.
Cole: “In fact, it wasn’t until Hawke fucked me in his bed, on the couch, on the kitchen table, all over that damn house, while you were out of town on business, did I finally realize how phenomenal sex can be.”
The conversation is creating a fire inside of him. I feel it building as his nostrils flare and his chest rises as falls more dramatically. I lean forward, closer to his ear.
Cole: “He fucked me so good, I even let him cum in me,”
I whisper in his ear, before leaning back with an angelic grin.
Leonard: “I’m a big city dog living a small-town life. I hear things, see things. He’s a good boy who’s struggled with things out of his control. But oaks grow strong in contrary winds,”
he says with a hint of hope in his eyes. His statement gives me pause. Even in small towns where the rich and entitled attempt to rule, you find genuine souls. Ones with hearts so real they grow through the cracks, watching, waiting, ready to stand up for what’s right, stand up for the ones who need it, deserve it. That’s the good side of people knowing everything about you in these sheltered towns. The only side that counts.
Cole: “That they do,”
I whisper in response, loving that Leonard has a seemingly deep-rooted respect for Hawke.
He grips the back of my neck, pulling me into him, our foreheads meshing together as he stares down at me.
Hawke: “My home is right here,”
he says with conviction, moving his palm to the place my racing heart resides.
Hawke: “I just didn’t want you to regret it. You know there’s a negative connotation around couples' tattoos.”
I say, turning to face him.
Cole: “You literally put my name on your forearm!”
He smiles, looking down at the tattoo. On the inside of his forearm near the elbow, he had me write out Cole in cursive.
Hawke: “That’s different. I’m obsessed with you. It makes sense.”
Hawke: “You save me,”
he says in a raspy tone.
Hawke: “You wreck me, break me apart, pick up my pieces, and you fucking save me.”
#roommates #slowburn #smalltown #touchheranddie #trauma #wallflower #whodidit #wrongside #alpha #badboy #enemiestolovers #forbiddenlove #forcedproximity #lovetriange #oppositesattract #playboy #cheating