by Linda Kage
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Let your hair down, Caroline, they said. It'll be fun, they said.
I know I've closed myself off in a major way over the past year, ever since “the incident” where I messed up my life completely. It's past time I try to live again or just give up altogether. But this is quite possibly the craziest thing I've ever done. In a last ditch effort to invigorate myself, I'm standing outside Oren Tenning's bedroom, I just peeled off the sexiest pair of underwear I own, and my hand is already raised to knock. My brother would disown me for doing anything with his best friend, and he'd probably kill Oren. But if I play my cards right, no one will ever know about this. Not even Ten.
Maybe after tonight, I’ll finally get over this stupid, irrational crush I hate having on the biggest jerk I’ve ever met. Or maybe I’ll just end up falling for him even harder. Maybe I’ll discover there’s so much more to my crude, carefree hunk than meets the eye.
That’s the curious thing about temptation. It festers and grows. You feed that bitch soon enough and she morphs into craving, and then craving turns into obsession. Pretty soon, nothing in your life is as important as that one thing you want but can’t have.
Well, it’s becoming increasingly clear that I am addicted to these boys in this wonderfully ‘forbidden ‘ series. Linda Kage may have never been on my radar before, but it is clear that she is now. Despite the cheesy dialogue (though, I’ll admit I’m seeing it less and less the farther into the series I go), the somewhat unrealistic situations, the certainty that everything is always going to blow up in everyone’s faces in the end….Linda Kage’s men make me do this:
Every. Single. Time.
It’s my own damn fault, really. I could’ve and should’ve turned her off of me for good by now. It’s just that every time I think I’ve finally done something that will make her hate me forever-something she’ll never forgive me for-the panic sets in. I can’t bear the thought of her hating me and never forgiving me. So then I have to go and do something to ensure her forgiveness.
It’s true that I wouldn’t normally touch these books with a ten-foot pole. But it’s clear that they are what I crave and what I am enjoying right now. And if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So, here I am reading book 5 without a single guilty bone in my body-even if this is my ultimate guilty pleasure, it seems.
I know what you’re thinking. Why didn’t I just cut ties with her then if I was so worried about Gamble? Well, why don’t you ask a smoker why they don’t just stop smoking, an alcoholic why they don’t just stop drinking, a book lover why they don’t just stop reading? And fuck you for thinking an addiction was even remotely easy to quit. I was addicted to this girl. I wasn’t anywhere near ready to give her up.
And thus started the true turmoil.
As it turns out, this was yet another favorite in the series, right up there along with Mason and Noel’s stories. But, unlike with those stories, it’s not a matter of lack of time to write a review so much as I’m too tired to write a decent one. And it’s not fair. Ten’s story was out of this world amazing. It can even be said it might be the best story of this series to date-it had tons of movie quotes and references (a fact I could not ignore, seeing as I adore movies almost as much as books) because Caroline is a film major, and Ten has been progressively maturing and showing how utterly loyal and charming he can be with each new book, especially his own. So yeah, this story was absolutely fantastic-I just am so tired and can’t see myself writing too much more….and that makes me sad.
As soon as she passed, I shifted out my arm that had been hanging down at my side and flexed the backs of my fingers so that they brushed across hers. I kept my attention on Gamble, making sure he saw none of this. Caroline responded by weaving her fingers through mine so they interlaced for the fraction of a moment before she pulled them away and was gone.
I stared after her, pulverized. She’d been right fucking there, and the only thing I’d gotten to do was barely brush my hand against hers?
One of the biggest appeals of this one was the couple in the spotlight: We’ve been watching Oren and Caroline flirt for a couple books now, so the build-up was one that didn’t let us down. And, even more than that, we have known all of these characters since book one and two-it’s to the point where every time a character from a past book jumps in, I squeal and squirm around in my seat in delight, welcoming the familiar banter and unavoidable butterflies that erupt once Noel or Mason enter the scene-
She looked up at Lowe as if she might start crying, or commit murder. I wasn’t sure which. “Sometimes he just…irritates the hell out of me.”
“I know, baby. I know.” Lowe [Mason] fed her another piece of chocolate and kissed her cheek. “He irritates the hell out of me, too.”
Yeah, I never said I wasn’t hopeless.
Oh, and did I mention the main love interests were very close to Noel? As in, Ten is Noel’s BEST friend….and Caroline is Noel’s SISTER? Yeah…
Good luck with that, guys, really. If you’ve read the previous books, you know that Noel is a tad…hmmm…
protective. And NO ONE will EVER be good enough for his little sister, especially his manwhoring best friend.
Something’s gotta give soon or I’ll explode…most likely inside her.
I just hope it doesn’t end up with me dead at the hands of my best friend.
But what happens when he is the one person that cares most and is best for her? Will Noel ever be able to see past everything Ten has done in the past? And will he realize that Caroline is so far in love with him that it doesn’t even matter?
Oren wouldn’t just out-of-the-blue decide to become monogamous to some stranger in the dark who refused to show him her face or tell him her name.
“I can’t text him, saying, ‘Your dick is now mine. Get it near any other woman, and I’ll physically remove it from you and keep it in a jar by my bedside.’ That would sound a bit creepy.”
“Actually, I was thinking it sounded a lot creepy.”
Caroline and Ten were special to me as a couple. We have had so much time to see them as friends and star-crossed wannabe lovers that now we are already invested in them as a couple-
Watching tears fill Caroline’s eyes right before she rushed from the kitchen and not being able to chase after her had to be one of the hardest things I’d ever fucking done-or not done, in this case. Or maybe restraining myself from knocking Noel’s teeth down his throat was the hardest. I couldn’t quite decide. But I’ll tell you one thing; standing there like a dumbass and doing nothing slaughtered me.
-and as such, we know they are meant to be together despite how hard it will be for them to be together. Ten is a loud-mouthed womanizing manwhore. But he is also the sweetest, most loyal friend ever-and if he could have the girl he wants, he would never look in another woman’s direction. And Caroline is everything Oren could ever want-snarky, conniving, dirty-minded, smart, and a beautiful blonde bombshell.
That still didn’t excuse her in my book. She’d traumatized my Oren. The bitch must die….in my head anyway. I pictured myself pushing her off the side of a bridge and listening to her scream all the way down until…oops, she wasn’t screaming anymore.
She evens out his hard edges and challenges him at every turn. She is the reason they get a chance, sneaking into his room pretending to be someone else. They drive each other crazy-but no two people belong together more than them.
Gamble’s woman opened the door.
“Ten,” she said in surprise. “Uh…Noel’s not here this evening. He’s working-“
“I know.” Rolling my eyes, I muttered, “I’m here for the kid. The littlest one.”
Her eyebrows shot up. “Colton?”
“Yep. That one. He wants to play… ” I sighed heavily, “catch.”
So, you know, this one made me extremely happy. All of Kage’s books in this series always have a totally over-the-top climactic ending, but none were quite as amazing andperilous as this one. I will admit it’s wholly unbelievable and the resolution was as easy as they always tend to be…yet, who cares? It was everything I crave on top of a totally fun and sexy story with a man that I couldn’t help to fall for as the main lead, and I got to see a pissy Noel and a vulnerable, but bull-headed, Ten finally square off on the one of the most important girls in their lives. I must admit some of my favorite moments involved the strife between a livid and stubborn Noel and a-force-to-be-reckoned-with Ten…
Gamble contorted his face into an expression of supreme confusion. Then he glanced at his wife. “He didn’t hit on you, did he?”
She sighed and rolled her eyes. “Noel. Really?”
“Yeah, Noel,” I echoed. “Really? I was a perfectly respectable gentleman.” Then I winked at Shakespeare [Noel’s wife, Aspen]. “After we put our clothes back on.”
Gam’s face turned dark red. “You motherfucker!”
…but that’s just me. I love my Noel and I was ecstatic he was in this one so much. But, hey, I’ll never get enough of these guys. I just wish I could have Mason and Noel and Oren Tenning all to myself. Sigh. A girl can dream, can’t she?
*Ps, can you tell I totally shoved in every quote I could?? That’s not even all of them. Sigh.