I have been waiting for this book since I finished its immediate predecessor, Free Me, not to mention the Fixed Trilogy. It may have only been a month or so, but it feels like YEARS.
Gwen Anders came to The Sky Launch to begin fresh, away from the horrors of her past. She fit in quickly, becoming good friends with her co-manager, Alayna Withers and the owner of the club, Hudson Pierce. Though the circumstances that brought her here were not the best, she’s never felt more at home.
But starting a new life means letting go. And there are some things she doesn’t want to leave behind – like JC, the man who taught her how to let loose. The man she wasn’t supposed to fall in love with. The man she doesn’t want to lose.
Now, with the reason she ran still a threat, Gwen fears she’ll never be able to move on completely. And if she does, can she still hold out hope that JC loves her enough to come and find her?
When last we saw Gwen and JC, he was headed into the Witness Protection Program, destination and duration unknown, and she was headed back to New York after the two had an emotional confrontation in Las Vegas, during which Gwen found out JC got married in a drunken stupor after he proposed to her.
JC had warned her that he did stupid things when he was drunk. Consider this particular move Exhibit A.
Find Me picks up not quite a year later. Gwen is co-manager of Sky Launch, along with Alayna Pierce (the lucky LUCKY girl who married Hudson) and she has a little something-something going on with nineteen-year-old Pierce brother Chandler. Theirs is a relationship based solely in sexual release, at least as far as Gwen is concerned. But when you’re dealing with a nineteen-year-old’s feelings, it’s never that simple.
Accustomed to closing herself off from anything emotional, Gwen is still reeling from the way JC freed her to feel. She certainly does feel: she feels grief and loss at not having JC with her, she feels guilt for rocking that headboard with Chandler (who, let’s just say, has room for improvement when it comes to the sexy times), and she feels nervous anticipation at possibly seeing JC again.
It’s no way to live, actually, and Gwen has changes to make. She sets July 4th as the date when she will stop waiting for JC. Independence Day, when she will let freedom ring.
Buuuuut … you know that JC won’t be gone permanently, right? Even if (when) he does come back – when he finds her – will he still want her? Will she still want him? Will they still love each other?
Laurelin Paige builds the tension, keeping you wondering what will happen between Gwen and JC. All along, Chandler hovers, waiting to soothe Gwen’s troubled soul. Maybe he’s the right man for her, granted with a little sexual instruction.
And about that sex. Anyone who has read Laurelin Paige’s books knows that the woman can write those sexy times. Chandler may not quite have Hudson’s skills in rocking that headboard, but he’s young. He can learn. We already know what JC can do, but he isn’t around right now, is he. Chandler sure is.
For those of you curious about Alayna and Hudson, they make more than one appearance here. Hudson is still Hudson, but Alayna seems to have gained more confidence in herself. It’s nice to see. You also get a few glimpses of Norma and Boyd, who continue to think that they are hiding their relationship from Hudson. Yeah. Good luck with that.
Whereas Gwen needed to learn to let herself fully feel in Free Me, she needs to learn who she is with and without a man in her life in Find Me. She has depended on others, primarily Norma, to direct and guide her throughout her life, and now it’s time for her to chart her own path. She turns to Alayna for help, but she’s learning to make her own decisions. In order to have the relationship she wants, she first needs to find herself. Neither Norma nor Alayna allows a man to define who she is, and Gwen has to internalize this as well.
Will JC find Gwen? Will Chandler be the one who shows her unconditional love? To some degree, it doesn’t matter. Gwen’s self-discovery takes precedence, and only once she fulfills that will she be the woman that the man in her life needs and deserves.
I enjoyed this one sooooo much. But then again, I am, I admit, a dorky fangirl when it comes to Laurelin Paige.
I grabbed my cell and checked the time. It was six-twenty-nine. I threw it in my purse and turned back to the mirror to give myself a pep talk. “We will not have sex. We will not have sex. We will not have sex.”
Jesus, I was so horny already, and I hadn’t even seen him yet. I’d thought about taking care of myself before JC got there but wasn’t sure if that would make things better or worse. By the time I’d decided it would make it better, Ben was there, and now JC was ringing my buzzer.
“You look incredible,” he said when I opened the door.
I blushed as I gave him a onceover. He was dressed in khakis with a fitted shirt and a lightweight jacket. Lots of buttons, I thought. Which was a good thing, considering how damn good he looked. Had he always been that buff? “You do, too.” My thighs felt hot. Good thing I’d changed out of my pants.
I really should have pulled out my vibrator earlier.
“You brought flowers?” I’d been so taken by him I hadn’t noticed the small bouquet in his hands. Three red roses dressed with some smaller white bell-shaped flowers I couldn’t identify were wrapped in a red ribbon. I hadn’t expected it. “I didn’t know you were the kind of guy who brought girls roses.”
He shrugged with one shoulder. “I’m trying to impress you. I have a feeling this date is a test of some kind, and I want to make sure I pass.”
“Not a test,” I said dismissively. Though, wasn’t that what this was? A test to see if we got along as well outside the bedroom as we did inside? “But thank you. You do impress.”
I shifted my weight to one hip and flitted my glance between JC, still standing on the other side of the threshold, and the flowers in my hand. “I should put these in water.” But I wasn’t sure I was ready to invite him in. Because in meant we’d be closer to my bed. And my couch. And my kitchen counter. All of which were locations that could be tempting.
Really, I just shouldn’t be anywhere alone with him.
Either JC felt the same way I did or he could read my mind. “You can do that later. The plastic containers on the stems should last until we get back. And we should get going.”
“Perfect.” I set them on the console table behind me, relieved and nervous all at once. I took a deep breath, grabbed my purse, and turned back to him. “Let’s go!”
In the hallway, he offered me his hand. I took it, then, there it was—the shock of his touch as his fingers weaved with mine. I let out an involuntary sigh, and with it bricks of tension fell from my body. Release. It shuddered through me as electricity sparked up my limb from where we were connected and spread throughout my body, and I wondered if this was what it felt like to melt. What it felt like to be frozen for so long and then, finally, to have the sun brush against cold ice, transforming it into something more fluid, something entirely different.
I glanced down to where we were joined, so overcome by how right it felt to be touching him in this simple way. When I looked back at him, I found his eyes pinned on me. His expression said he’d felt it too.
“You messed up, you know,” he said, as we started toward the elevator. “You were supposed to wear something that I didn’t want to rip off of you.”
My cheeks heated—actually, I wasn’t sure they’d ever cooled from the first blush he’d caused. “You said it would be impossible for me to wear anything that wouldn’t elicit that response. The only other choice was to go naked.”
“That would have been an excellent choice.”
“But not very practical.”
“I’ve never been a fan of practical.” He pushed the call button and the elevator doors opened immediately, the car likely still there from when he’d arrived.
We stepped inside, our hands still molded together. The doors closed, and I so badly wanted to turn and kiss him.
Instead I delivered the short speech I’d practiced since I’d woken up that afternoon. “I think I should tell you, I don’t have sex on first dates.”
“Wow. That’s…surprising. Considering we had sex before we’d ever even been on a date.” He squeezed my hand. “But, after you left me with blue balls this morning, I already figured out you’d turned into a prude.”
I laughed. “I’m not a prude. I’m cautious. And that’s nothing new. That’s always been me.”
“Yes, it has.” The short phrase was full of subtext, and I knew he was remembering how uptight I’d been when we’d first met. Icy. Frigid bitch.
“I’m better than I was,” I assured him.
He nodded. “I know. Otherwise you wouldn’t have given me even this much of you. And if you want to wait, then I can too.”
What I wanted was to push him against the wall and devour him.
But that was an in-the-moment want, and long-term, I wanted a relationship that was real and lasting. “Thank you. It means a lot.”
He leaned in close and, though we were alone, whispered in my ear. “I’m not going to say that I’m not dying to have you under me, Gwen. Because I am. But I’m dying to just be with you more.”
Despite the descent of the elevator, his words sent me floating. “You’re really good at that impressing thing.”
He gave me my favorite grin. “Who knew?”
FIND ME is the HIGHLY ANTICIPATED sequel to FREE ME and the Conclusion of Gwen and JC’s Story
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About the Author:
Laurelin Paige is the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Fixed Trilogy. She’s a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead, or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She’s also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn’t do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio.
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