Jaxon is the guy she’s supposed to avoid.
K.C. is the girl he won’t let get away….
K. C. Carter has always followed the rules—until this year, when a mistake leaves her the talk of her college campus and her carefully arranged life comes crashing to a halt. Now she’s stuck in her small hometown for the summer to complete her court-ordered community service, and to make matters worse, trouble is living right next door.
Jaxon Trent is the worst kind of temptation and exactly what K.C. was supposed to stay away from in high school. But he never forgot her. She was the one girl who wouldn’t give him the time of day and the only one to ever say no. Fate has brought K.C. back into his life—except what he thought was a great twist of luck turns out to be too close for comfort. As the bond between them grows, he discovers that convincing K.C. to get out from her mother’s shadow is hard, but revealing the darkest parts of his soul is nearly impossible…
I’d like to preface this review by saying how much of a KC (heroine) hater I was based off my impression of her from Bully and Until You. If it hadn’t been for a good friend who confirmed to me that the KC in this book is totally different from the shallow, backstabbing chick we all know from the other books, I most definitely would’ve passed on this book. From my rating you can probably tell this was an average read for me, but believe me when I say that I am glad I read this book because the author truly and fully redeemed KC’s character. Not only that, but in my eyes, she completely outshines the others and is probably my favorite character in this series. So for that and that alone, I think it’s worth it to check this one out, especially if you’re a longtime fan of these books since it’ll just richen your overall reading experience of this series. So where did things go wrong? As surprising as it sounds, this time it’s the hero who drove me up a wall and made me want to run him over with his Mustang GT and call it a day. More on that part later as I’m going to tackle the positive parts first…
From the first few books, the few KC scenes really didn’t do her any favors in portraying a positive image of this girl. By the time I got to this book, part of me really didn’t care about her – after all, it was Jax that had my attention. But as I read and got tidbits here and there about KC’s past and family life, I came to understand her mentality. The snarky and outwardly perfect girl had cracks after all. And let me tell you, it tore me apart to read about this vulnerable side of hers, especially when her struggles and pain seemed so obvious…yet no one saw. No one noticed her, except for Jax, the one guy she tries so hard to avoid.
For the most part, what’s known about Jax is an enigma. All I remember from before was that he had a horrid family life living with his psycho father and has been either overlooked or viewed as trash. Even though he’s a manwhore, the only girl that’s ever got to him was KC, who in turn only sees him as a boy. But that’s all about to change.
Just like its predecessors, this book features hot and cold behavior from the hero, push/pull relationship dynamic that generates most of the angst, and hot sex. Like, an insanely intense/steamy/explosive/nuclear sex level. Not that I’m complaining!
And yet, while the author did a stellar job of capturing KC and Jax’s sizzling chemistry, their relationship lacked an emotional bond. For most of the book, it would be this back and forth love/hate dynamic between the two plus some steamy scenes, but very rarely did I ever read a scene that made me feel emotionally invested in these characters as a couple. Because individually? The author nailed that part, and did an amazing job with the character development that explained motives and made me feel for them. Nevertheless, the lack of a tangible emotional bond between the two weakened the romance, plus a scene near the end of the book absolutely made me flip my shit and rant to my wall for a whole hour. Because you know what that part told me? That when the going got tough, Jax scurried away with his tailed tucked between his legs. That KC was the one strong enough to shoulder the hurt and burden all alone. Usually when the jerk hero does something extra jerky, I NEED GROVELING!!! There was no groveling in this book unfortunately because this couple got together so quickly after for a second I thought I must’ve been imagining things.
I really did struggle with my rating. My mind was sweeping between the 2-4 star range for hours. Before the terrible move on Jax’s part near the end of the book, I was fully prepared to give this book a 4 star rating. When it did happen, I knocked a full star off because not only did it make me realize how WEAK the romantic connection was considering the book was almost finished, but also how rushed the last 15% of the book was with the exchanging of ‘I-love-yous’ like it was the apocalypse. That and the drama with Jax’s father and how predictable it was made me decide on a 3 star rating.
Like a friend told me before, this book really did feel more like KC’s story than anything else. Her character was phenomenal and where she’s concerned I’d happily give 5 stars any day. Overall, the romance didn’t wow me but if you’re a reader who’s interested in reading about KC’s transformation, I would recommend this one.
Falling Away is the 3rd book in the Fall Away series and if you want, can be read as a standalone. However, I would recommend reading at least Bully and Until You to get a general sense of KC (Bully) and Jax’s (Until You) characters.