Love Me (Take Me #2) by Bella Andra
Love Me is the sequel of Take Me. After reading Love Me I find it is not necessary to read Take Me first but if you have then you will have a slightly better understanding of the main characters history. I did read Take Me but did not realize until Janica started talking about the Italian wedding festival, then I had one of those lesser "Ah, ha" moments.
Janica Ellis is the younger sister of the heroine in Take Me. She is a clothing designer and is unjustly foisted the role of careless baby sibling. Boys and girls, this is why it is important to write a thorough review, because if I remember correctly I did not care too much for Janica in the prequel. However, she proves me and the other nay-sayers wrong by showing a great deal of maturity and personal growth. Her business is thriving and she is trying everything in her power to keep her feelings for Luke at bay. Our first interaction with her is the start of possible threesome with two randoms she picked up at a bar. Ok, well, that does not show the most maturity but it does tell me that she is at least taking her life, and her pleasure, by the balls. Then Luke shows up and crashes the party.
Luke Carson, surgeon, twin brother to hero in Take Me, and all around dumbass. Just kidding about that last one. He did have a bit of "stupid boy syndrome," but obviously got smart eventually. He is forced to leave the hospital because of fatigue and decides to release some tension with his sister-in-law. Well, there were quiet a few releases and bonds that were forged. He is then forced to take an extended vacation and finds himself with said sister-in-law, Janica, in Big Sur. Luke is the typical romance novel hero. Never going to fall in love, never going to commit to one person, runs away from said love and spends a majority of the book squandering precious time with the person, all so in the last 5 or so pages he finally grows a pair and declares his never-dying, all-comsuming love and adoration. Did I get all the character points? He's taken aback by his burgeoning feelings for Janica and it takes him awhile to finally realize that he is a romance novel hero and there is no escaping fates (or Bella Andre's) decree.
This was a very sweet book. Don't get me wrong, it had that heat and passion that almost every Bella Andre book has but this had just the right amount of sweetness. Love Me has one of the most enchanting passages about love and making love I've read in a long time:
"'I'm so damn lucky you're here.' His statement was out there before he could think better of saying it. She blinked up at him, her big brown eyes warm with arousal-and love. 'You are?' Her response took him by surprise, the fact that she didn't know it already. And it made him want her even more. It made him want to show her how lucky he was, rather than just tell her with words. The surf crashed around them as her slowly stripped off her clothes. The moon shined down over them as he ran kisses over her skin. The fire flickered as she cried out with pleasure in his arms. As he made love to Janica Ellis, the warning bells and lights clanged and chimmed and shined as loudly as they could, trying to remind him that the higher the heights, the bigger the fall. But with Janica moving beneath him and the stars up above in a cloudless sky, he couldn't stop himself from feeling greater pleasure-and deeper peace-than he ever had before."
Sweet, right? I was Janica's champion throughout the book. I was rooting her on, cringing every so often at her if-only-I-can-make-him-love-me-a-little shtick, but, nevertheless, hoping she got her HEA. Her humor and her sticktoitiveness were great. Then she got her guy and she was still holding out. Wait, what? Luke announces to all and sundry that he loves her and she refuses to ride off into the sunset. Janica lost a little of my support at that point. Then she got whiny about how if only he wanted to love her "not just someone who can't help himself."
My disappointment did not last long, the books climax came along and had me enthralled again. Up, downs, good and not so good, I really enjoyed Love Me. I remember wanting to read this book at the end of Take Me because I wanted to see how Janica and Luke's HEA would transpire. Although, the journey was not exactly what I like/expected, I still enjoyed the ride and continue to enjoy Bella Andre's characters and their development.
Love Me was a wonderful way to kick off my Freebie Challenge!