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All Pepped Up (Pepper Jones Book 2) Kindle Edition
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Her relationship with Jace is on the rails, pulling away from the station. While he has been out with a number of young women, a little careless with his body and the emotions of the women he has been involved with, he connects with Pepper as a boyfriend. His relationship with Pepper is the first one he has had and he cares about it and needs it. Being involved with Pepper grounds him. He starts doing his homework and making an effort to spend time with his dad and Wes. He tries to give Pepper what she needs. His hair-trigger anger seems to stabilize. He keeps his sex drive in check with Pepper. He watches over her as she tries to be more social at parties. She is learning how to behave at parties, how to drink in moderation, how to be in a hot tub with a group, how to sleep over at friends' houses when the winter weather makes driving home a bad idea. Jace helps her navigate a new set of boy and girl friends as his girlfriend. Not everyone adjusts easily to their new relationship.
As for Pepper, she is discovering what being the girlfriend of a magnetic personality is like. At parties, he is the center of the room, the person who can hand his empty beer can to a passing friend at a party, who is offered the best seat in a crowded hot tub. He is a young man who is in demand and in control, and he anchors the group -- without him there are no parties. She is learning about her own magnetism as an attractive person, and her new status as the quarterback's girlfriend is not a situation she exploits. She tries to keep it on the down low. She does not want to make waves. Despite her efforts, the drama finds her. She keeps her head clear with her daily running routine. She takes care of her dog, Dave. Her relationship demands start to take up space in her life that she used to fill with running races and competing at meets. Now that she has won the national championship in cross country running, her motivation to win in the spring track events seems a little less intense, and it's confusing to her -- why is she not as engaged? She still loves to run, but is she burned out? And the college recruiting: does she want to play that game? College visits around the country seem like a lot of empty effort when all she wants is to stay local, run for her state college team and keep things on track with her grandmother and her boyfriend.
It will be interesting to see how she negotiates the challenges of her senior year in the next book. Her handsome football star boyfriend will be facing his own new life at college, and her coach is encouraging her to make her own informed decision by exploring the college offers she will have from recruiters. Look forward to seeing how Pepper and Jace make a go of things in the next book.
"It's only ever been you. No matter what other girls say, you're all that matters. It's always been like that. I'm gonna keep trying to show you."
Pepper Jones has everything she has ever wanted, and it should be perfect right? Not quite. Being Jace Wilder's girlfriend is not easy. The girls from his past are always trying to step in and cause more problems for them. But there is also other unexpected complications, that catch Pepper completely by surprise. She had no idea the secrets that were being kept from her.
"I should let you go," he whispers. "But I don't think I can do that."
Unlike the first book, this time Pepper is the one who is struggling to find the answers. She has to learn to get over her jealousy and learn to trust Jace and their relationship. And also dealing with running, and her lack of enthusiasm in competing. She has always loved running, it frees her and clears her mind, and it still does. But does she want to continue to compete? Or has she changed too much and lost her love for it?
"I'm not just an imposter. I've proven that I have the courage to race like I own the track."
I loved seeing how much Jace truly loves Pepper! It was beautiful to see and watch them interact with each other. Along the way they have to learn to trust each other (he is so cute when he's jealous though) and their love for each other. But we also get to see them both grow as individuals and learn who they are. Fighting to stay together and not let anyone or any secret break the strong bond that they have always had.
"You" - I point at his chest - "big bad Jace Wilder. Were afraid of losing me" _ I point to myself with a huge grin on my face - "little Pepper Jones, the girl next door?"
He grabs my finger and pulls me toward him so that I'm almost sitting on his lap. "I'm still scared," he whispers gruffly.
Is their love strong enough to survive? Or will it all be too much for them and break them apart?
This book is a must read and I can't wait for what is next. I have to say I am hoping (and pleading) that someday Wes gets a story because I LOVE him! For me this book was a lot different than book 1, but still awesome! I love Ali's writing style and how the characters interact and flow so well. Can't wait for more from her!
Fellow cross country runner