Title: Stay With Me
Series: Wait For You #3
Author: J Lynn/Jennifer L Arrmentrout
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 23 Sept 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads
At 21, Calla hasn’t done a lot of things. She’s never been kissed, never seen the ocean, never gone to an amusement park. But growing up, she witnessed some things no child ever should. She still carries the physical and emotional scars of living with a strung-out mother, Mona—secrets she keeps from everyone, including her close circle of college friends.
But the safe cocoon Calla has carefully built is shattered when she discovers her mom has stolen her college money and run up a huge credit card debt in her name. Now, Calla has to go back to the small town she thought she’d left behind and clean up her mom’s mess again. Of course, when she arrives at her mother’s bar, Mona is nowhere to be found. Instead, six feet of hotness named Jackson James is pouring drinks and keeping the place humming.
Sexy and intense, Jax is in Calla’s business from the moment they meet, giving her a job and helping her search for Mona. And the way he looks at her makes it clear he wants to get horizontal . . . and maybe something more. Before Calla can let him get close, though, she’s got to deal with the pain of the past—and some very bad guys out to mess her up if she doesn’t give them her mom.
We were introduced to Calla in Be With Me as Tess’s friend. Although her facial scar is mentioned she is only a brief peripheral character and I have to say I was a little surprised to see her get her own story. But what a story it is.
Having survived a horrific event as a child and then her parents emotional withdrawal my heart went out to Calla, all my nurturing instincts kicked into overdrive with her. Although she has serious self-esteem issues, that are completely understandable, she has such inner strength you can’t help but admire and love her. She is so much stronger than she gives herself credit for. She doesn’t allow negativity into her life, she really is one of the most upbeat people you could ever wish to meet.
I really liked the progression of the previous characters in the story shown alongside Calla, especially the friendship dynamic between all the characters. How they each relied on the other, they have an amazing support system. The way in which they were unafraid to show their vulnerabilities to each other, especially the girls was a monumental moment within the plot.
Jax has his own issues to deal with but what can I say this guy will melt the coldest/hardest heart. Although I could have quite happily slapped him for the way in which he handled a certain deranged, evil bitch *GRRR* I loved the way in which he was able to push past Calla’s barriers, breaking them down one at a time while simultaneously building her confidence.
This book deals with issues of body image and self perception, alongside the reality that people are generally superficial in the way they view others based on looks alone. My 14 year old daughter generally has a soapbox rant about this issue, she is extremely mature in her attitude that people should be seen for their actions and personality rather than their appearance. Yes, she does make me very proud
Stay With Me while being a swoon-worthy, smexy romance covers a lot of emotional issues that affect our perception while promoting positivity and kindness.