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Easy (Contours of the Heart) Paperback – Bargain Price, November 6, 2012
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Sexual Assault Survivor Resources
About the Author
I had never noticed Lucas before that night. It was as though he didn’t exist, and then suddenly, he was everywhere.
I’d just bailed on the Halloween party still in full swing behind me. Weaving between the cars crammed into the parking lot behind my ex’s frat house, I tapped out a text to my roommate. The night was beautiful and warm—a typical Southern-style Indian summer. From the wide-open windows of the house, music blared across the pavement, punctuated with occasional bursts of laughter, drunken challenges, and calls for more shots.
As tonight’s designated driver, it was my responsibility to get Erin back to our dorm across campus in one unmangled piece, whether or not I could stand another minute of the party. My message told her to call or text when she was ready to go. The way she and her boyfriend, Chaz, had been tequila-soaked dirty dancing before they linked hands and tripped up the stairs to his room, she might not be calling me until tomorrow. I chuckled over the thought of the short walk of shame she’d endure from the front porch to my truck, if so.
I hit Send as I dug in my bag for my keys. The moon was too cloud-obscured and the fully lit windows of the house were too far away to provide any light at the far end of the lot. I had to go by feel. Swearing when a mechanical pencil jabbed a fingertip, I stomped one stiletto-clad foot, almost certain I’d drawn blood. Once the keys were in my hand I sucked on the finger; the slight metallic taste told me I’d punctured the skin.
“Figures,” I muttered, unlocking the truck door.
In the initial seconds that followed, I was too disoriented to comprehend what was happening. One moment I was pulling the truck door open, and the next I was lying flat on my face across the seat, breathless and immobile. I struggled to rise but couldn’t, because the weight on top of me was too heavy.
“The little devil costume suits you, Jackie.” The voice was slurred but familiar.
My first thought was Don’t call me that, but that objection was quickly dismissed in favor of terror as I felt a hand pushing my already short skirt higher. My right arm was useless, trapped between my body and the seat. I clawed my left hand into the seat next to my face, trying again to push myself upright, and the hand on the bare skin of my thigh whipped up and grabbed my wrist. I cried out when he wrenched my arm behind my back, clamping it firmly in his other hand. His forearm pressed into my upper back. I couldn’t move.
“Buck, get off me. Let go.” My voice quavered, but I tried to deliver the command with as much authority as possible. I could smell the beer on his breath and something stronger in his sweat, and a wave of nausea rose and fell in my stomach.
His free hand was back on my left thigh, his weight settled onto my right side, covering me. My feet dangled outside the truck, the door still open. I tried to pull my knee up to get it under me, and he laughed at my pathetic efforts. When he shoved his hand between my open legs, I cried out, snapping my leg back down too late. I heaved and squirmed, first thinking to dislodge him and then, realizing I was no match for his size, I started to beg.
“Buck, stop. Please—you’re just drunk and you’ll regret this tomorrow. Oh my God—”
He wedged his knee between my legs and air hit my bare hip. I heard the unmistakable sound of a zipper and he laughed in my ear when I went from rationally imploring to crying. “No-no-no-no . . .” Under his weight, I couldn’t get enough breath together to scream, and my mouth was mashed against the seat, muffling any protest I made. Struggling uselessly, I couldn’t believe that this guy I’d known for over a year, who’d not once treated me with disrespect the entire time I’d dated Kennedy, was attacking me in my own truck at the back of the frat house parking lot.
He ripped my panties down to my knees, and between his efforts to push them down and my renewed effort to escape, I heard the fragile fabric tear. “Jesus, Jackie, I always knew you had a great ass, but Christ, girl.” His hand thrust between my legs again and the weight lifted for a split second—just long enough for me to suck in a lungful of air and scream. Releasing my wrist, he slapped his hand over the back of my head and turned my face into the leather seat until I was silent, almost unable to breathe.
Even freed, my left arm was useless. I leveraged my hand against the floor of the cab and pushed, but my wrenched and aching muscles wouldn’t obey. I sobbed into the cushion, tears and saliva mixing under my cheek. “Please don’t, please don’t, oh God stop-stop-stop . . .” I hated the weedy sound of my powerless voice.
His weight lifted from me for a split second—he’d changed his mind or he was repositioning, I didn’t wait to find out which. Twisting and pulling my legs up, I felt the spiky heels of my shoes tear into the pliant leather as I propelled myself to the far side of the bench seat and scrambled for the handle. Blood rushed in my ears as my body rallied for all-out fight or flight. And then I stopped, because Buck was no longer in the truck at all.
At first, I couldn’t figure out why he was standing there, just past the door, facing away from me. And then his head snapped back. Twice. He swung wildly at something but his fists hit nothing. Not until he stumbled back against my truck did I see what—or who—he was fighting.
The guy never took his eyes off Buck as he delivered two more sharp jabs to his face, bobbing to the side as they circled and Buck threw futile punches of his own, blood streaming from his nose. Finally, Buck ducked his head and rushed forward with bull-like intent, but that effort was his undoing as the stranger swung an easy uppercut to his jaw. When Buck’s head snapped up, an elbow cracked into his temple with a sickening thud. He collided with the side of the truck again, pushing off and rushing the stranger a second time. As though the entire fight was choreographed, he grabbed Buck’s shoulders and pulled him forward, hard, kneeing him under the chin. Buck crumpled to the ground, moaning and cringing.
The stranger stared down, fists balled, elbows slightly bent, poised to deliver another blow if necessary. There was no need. Buck was nearly unconscious. I cowered against the far door, panting and curling into a ball as shock replaced the panic. I must have whimpered, because his eyes snapped up to mine. He rolled Buck aside with one booted foot and stepped up to the door, peering in.
“You okay?” His tone was low, careful. I wanted to say yes. I wanted to nod. But I couldn’t. I was so not okay. “I’m gonna call 911. Do you need medical assistance, or just the police?”
I envisioned the campus police arriving at the scene, the partygoers who would spill from the house when the sirens came. Erin and Chaz were only two of the many friends I had in there, more than half of them underage and drinking. It would be my fault if the party became the focus of the police. I would be a pariah.
I shook my head. “Don’t call.” My voice was gravelly.
“Don’t call an ambulance?”
I cleared my throat and shook my head. “Don’t call anyone. Don’t call the police.”
His jaw hung ajar and he stared across the expanse of seat. “Am I wrong, or did this guy just try to rape you”—I flinched at the ugly word—“and you’re telling me not to call the police?” He snapped his mouth closed, shook his head once, and peered at me again. “Or did I interrupt something I shouldn’t have?”
I gasped, my eyes welling up. “N-no. But I just want to go home.”
Buck groaned and rolled onto his back. “Fuuuuuck,” he said, not opening his eyes, one of which was probably swollen shut anyway.
My savior stared down at him, his jaw working. He rocked his neck to one side and then back, rolled his shoulders. “Fine. I’ll drive you.”
I shook my head. I wasn’t about to escape one attack just to do something as stupid as get into a stranger’s car. “I can drive myself,” I rasped. My eyes flicked to my bag, wedged against the console, its contents spilled across the floor of the driver’s side. He glanced down, leaned to pick out my keys from the bits and pieces of my personal effects.
“I believe you were looking for these, before.” He dangled them from his fingers as I realized that I still hadn’t moved any closer to him.
I licked my lip and tasted blood for the second time that night. Scooting forward into the faint illumination shed by the tiny overhead light, I was careful to keep my skirt pulled down. A wave of dizziness crashed over me as I became fully conscious of what had almost happened, and my hand trembled when I reached out for my keys.
Frowning, he clamped his fist around them and dropped his arm back to his side. “I can’t let you drive.” Judging by his expression, my face was a disaster.
I blinked, my hand still extended for the keys he’d just confiscated. “What? Why?”
He ticked three reasons off on his fingers. “You’re shaking, probably an aftereffect of the assault. I have no idea if you’re actually uninjured. And you’ve probably been drinking.”
“I have not,” I snapped. “I’m the designated driver.”
He raised one brow and glanced around. “Who exactly are you designated for? If anyone had been with you, by the way, you might have been safe tonight. Instead, you walked out into a dark parking lot alone, paying absolutely no attention to your surroundings. Real responsible.”
Suddenly I was beyond angry. Angry at Kennedy for breaking my heart two weeks ago and not being with me tonight, seeing me to the safety of my truck. Angry at Erin for talking me into coming to this stupid party, and even angrier with myself for agreeing. Furious at the barely conscious asswipe drooling and bleeding on the concrete a few feet away. And seething at the stranger who was holding my keys hostage while accusing me of being brainless and careless.
“So it’s my fault he attacked me?” My throat was raw, but I pushed past the pain. “It’s my fault I can’t walk from a house to my truck without one of you trying to rape me?” I threw the word back at him to let him see I could bear it.
“‘One of you’? You’re gonna lump me in with that piece of shit?” He pointed at Buck, but his eyes never left mine. “I am nothing like him.” That was when I noticed the thin silver ring through the left side of his lower lip.
Great. I was in a parking lot, alone, with an insulted, facially pierced stranger who still had my keys. I couldn’t take any more of this night. A sob came from my throat as I tried to remain composed. “May I have my keys, please?” I held my hand out, willing the tremors to subside.
He swallowed, looking at me, and I stared back into his clear eyes. I couldn’t tell their color in the dim light, but they contrasted compellingly with his dark hair. His voice was softer, less hostile. “Do you live on campus? Let me drive you. I can walk back over here and get my ride after.”
No more fight in me, I nodded, reaching over to get my bag out of his way. He helped gather the lip gloss, wallet, tampons, hair ties, pens, and pencils strewn across the floor and return them to my bag. The last item he picked up was a condom packet. He cleared his throat and held it out to me. “That’s not mine,” I said, recoiling.
He frowned. “You sure?”
I clamped my jaw, trying not to be furious all over again. “Positive.”
He glanced back at Buck. “Bastard. He was probably gonna . . .” He glanced into my eyes and back at Buck, scowling. “Uh . . . conceal the evidence.”
I couldn’t even contemplate that. He shoved the square package into his front jeans pocket. “I’ll throw it away—he’s sure as hell not getting it back.” Brow still furrowed, he swung his gaze to me again as he climbed in and started the truck. “Are you sure you don’t want me to call the police?”
Laughter sounded from the back door of the house and I nodded. Framed exactly within the center window, Kennedy danced with his arms around a girl dressed in a gauzy, low-cut white outfit, wings, and a halo. Perfect. Just perfect.
At some point during my battle with Buck, I’d lost the devil-horned headband Erin had stuffed onto my head while I sat on the bed whining that I didn’t want to go to a stupid costume party. Without the accessory, I was just a girl in a skimpy red-sequined dress that I’d refuse to be caught dead wearing otherwise.
The headlights illuminated Buck as we backed out of the parking spot. Throwing a hand in front of his eyes, he attempted to roll to a sitting position. I could see his split lip, misshapen nose, and swollen eye even from that distance.
It was just as well I wasn’t the one behind the wheel. I probably would have run him over.
I gave the name of my dorm when asked, and stared out the passenger window, unable to speak another word as we meandered across campus. With a straightjacket hug, I gripped myself, trying to conceal the shudders wracking through me every five seconds. I didn’t want him to see, but I couldn’t make them stop.
The dorm lot was nearly full; spots near the door were all taken. He angled the truck into a back space and hopped out, coming around to meet me as I slid from the passenger side of my own truck. Teetering on the edge of breaking down and losing it, I took the keys after he activated the door locks, and followed him to the building.
“Your ID?” he asked when we reached the door.
My hands shook as I unsnapped the front flap on my bag and withdrew the card. When he took it from my fingers, I noted the blood on his knuckles and gasped. “Oh, my God. You’re bleeding.”
He glanced at his hand and shook his head, once. “Nah. Mostly his blood.” His lips pressed flat and he turned away to swipe the card through the door access reader, and I wondered if he meant to follow me inside. I didn’t think I could hold myself together for much longer.
After opening the door, he handed me the card. In the light from the entry vestibule, I could see his eyes more clearly—they were a clear gray blue under his lowered brows. “You sure you’re okay?” he asked for the second time, and I felt my face crumple.
Chin down, I shoved the card into my bag and nodded uselessly. “Yes. Fine,” I lied.
He huffed a disbelieving sigh, running a hand through his hair. “Can I call someone for you?”
I shook my head. I had to get to my room so I could fall apart. “Thank you, but no.” I slipped past him, careful not to brush against any part of him, and headed for the stairs.
“Jackie?” he called softly, unmoving from the doorway. I looked back, gripping the handrail, and our eyes met. “It wasn’t your fault.”
I bit my lip, hard, nodding once before I turned and ran up the stairs, my shoes rapping against the concrete steps. At the second floor landing, I stopped abruptly and turned to look back at the door. He was gone.
I didn’t know his name, and couldn’t remember ever seeing him before, let alone meeting him. I’d have remembered those unusually clear eyes. I had no idea who he was . . . and he’d just called me by name. Not the name on my ID—Jacqueline—but Jackie, the nickname I’d gone by ever since Kennedy renamed me, our junior year of high school.
• • • • • • • • • •
Two weeks ago
“Wanna come up? Or stay over? Erin is staying at Chaz’s this weekend . . .” My voice was playful, singsongy. “His roommate’s out of town. Which means I’ll be all alone . . .”
Kennedy and I were a month from our three-year anniversary. There was no need to be coy. Erin had taken to calling us an old married couple lately. To which I’d reply, “Jealous.” And then she’d flip me off.
“Um, yeah. I’ll come up for a little while.” He kneaded the back of his neck as he pulled into the dorm parking lot and searched for a parking space, his expression inscrutable.
Prickles of apprehension arose in my chest, and I swallowed uneasily. “Are you all right?” The neck rubbing was a known stress signal.
He flicked a glance in my direction. “Yeah. Sure.” He pulled into the first open spot, wedging his BMW between two pickups. He never, ever wedged his prized import into constricted spots. Door dings drove him insane. Something was up. I knew he was worried over upcoming midterms, especially precalc. His fraternity was hosting a mixer the next night, too, which was plain stupid the weekend before midterms.
I swiped us into the building and we entered the back stairwell that always creeped me out when I was alone. With Kennedy behind me, all I noticed was dingy, gum-adorned walls and the stale, almost sour smell. I jogged up the last flight and we emerged into the hallway.
Glancing back at him while unlocking my door, I shook my head over the charming portrayal of a penis someone had doodled onto the whiteboard Erin and I used for notes to each other and from our suitemates. Coed dorms were less mature than depicted on college websites. Sometimes it was like living with a bunch of twelve year olds.
“You could call in sick tomorrow night, you know.” I laid a palm on his arm. “Stay here with me—we’ll hide out and spend the weekend studying and ordering takeout . . . and other stress-reducing activities . . .” I grinned naughtily. He stared at his shoes.
My heart sped up and I suddenly felt warm all over. Something was definitely wrong. I wanted him to spit it out, whatever it was, because my mind was conjuring nothing but alarming possibilities. It had been so long since we’d had a problem or a real conflict that I felt blindsided.
He moved into my room and sat on my desk chair, not my bed.
I walked up to him, our knees bumping, wanting him to tell me he was just in a bad mood, or worried about his upcoming exams. My heart thudding heavily, I put a hand on his shoulder. “Kennedy?”
“Jackie, we need to talk.”
The drumming pulse in my ears grew louder, and my hand dropped from his shoulder. I grabbed it up in my other hand and sat on the bed, three feet from him. My mouth was so dry I couldn’t swallow, let alone speak.
He was silent, avoiding my eyes for a couple of minutes that felt like forever. Finally, he lifted his gaze to me. He looked sad. Oh, God. Ohgodohgodohgod.
“I’ve been having some . . . trouble . . . lately. With other girls.”
I blinked, glad I was sitting down. My legs would have buckled and sent me to the floor if I’d have been standing. “What do you mean?” I croaked out. “What do you mean, ‘trouble’ and ‘other girls’?”
He sighed heavily. “Not like that, not really. I mean, I haven’t done anything.” He looked away and sighed again. “But I think I want to.”
“I don’t understand.” My mind worked frantically to make the best possible situation out of this, but every single remotely possible alternative sucked.
He got up and paced the room twice before planting himself on the edge of the chair, leaning forward, elbows on his knees and hands clasped. “You know how important it is to me to pursue a career in law and politics.”
I nodded, still stunned to silence and pedaling hard to keep up.
“You know our sister sorority?”
I nodded again, acknowledging the very thing I’d worried about when he moved into the frat house. Apparently, I hadn’t worried enough.
“There’s a girl—a couple of girls, actually, that . . . well.”
I tried to keep my voice rational and level. “Kennedy, this doesn’t make sense. You aren’t saying you’ve acted on this, or that you want to—”
He stared into my eyes, so there’d be no mistake. “I want to.”
Really, he could have just punched me in the stomach, because my brain refused to comprehend the words he was saying. A physical assault, it might have understood. “You want to? What the hell do you mean, you want to?”
He bolted out of the chair, walked to the door and back—a distance of a dozen feet. “What do you think I mean? Jesus. Don’t make me say it.”
I gaped. “Why not? Why not say it—if you can imagine doing it—then why the fuck not say it? And what does this have to do with your career plans—”
“I was getting to that. Look, everyone knows that one of the worst things a political candidate or elected representative can do is to become embroiled in some sexual scandal.” His eyes locked on mine in what I recognized as his debate face. “I’m only human, Jackie, and if I have these desires to sow my wild oats or whatever and I repress it, I’ll probably have the same desire later, even worse. But acting on it then would be a career killer.” He spread his hands helplessly. “I have no choice but to get it out of my system while I can do it without annihilating my future professional standing.”
I told myself, This isn’t happening. My boyfriend of three years was not breaking up with me so he could bang coeds with shameless abandon. I blinked hard and tried to take a deep breath, but I couldn’t. There was no oxygen in the room. I glared at him, silent.
His jaw clenched. “Okay, so I guess trying to let you down easy was a bad idea—”
“This is your idea of letting me down easy? Breaking up with me so you can screw other girls? Without feeling guilty? Are you serious?”
“As a heart attack.”
The last thing I thought before I picked up my econ textbook and hurled it at him: How can he use such a piece-of-shit cliché in a moment like this?
Erin’s voice woke me. “Jacqueline Wallace, get your ass out of that bed and go save your GPA. For chrissake, if I’d let a guy throw off my academic mojo like this, I’d never hear the end of it.”
I made a dismissive sound from under the comforter before peeking out at her. “What academic mojo?”
Her hands on her hips, she was wrapped in a towel, fresh from a shower. “Ha. Ha. Very funny. Get up.”
I sniffed, but didn’t budge. “I’m doing fine in all of my other classes. Can’t I just fail this one?”
Her mouth dropped open. “Are you even listening to yourself?”
I was listening to myself. And I was every bit as disgusted with my cowardly sentiments as Erin—if not more so. But the thought of sitting next to Kennedy for an hour-long class three days a week was unbearable. I couldn’t be sure what his newfound single status would mean in terms of open flirtations or hookups, but whatever it meant, I didn’t want to stare it in the face. Imagining the details was bad enough.
If only I hadn’t pressed him to take a class with me this semester. When we registered for fall classes, he questioned why I wanted to take economics—not a required course for my music education degree. I wondered if he had sensed, even then, that this was where we’d end up. Or if he’d known.
“You can and you will.” She ripped the comforter off. “Now get up and get in that shower. I have to get to French on time or Monsieur Bidot will question me mercilessly en passé composé. I can barely do past tense in English. God knows I can’t do it en français at ass o’clock in the morning.”
I dragged myself out of bed and arrived outside the classroom at straight-up nine o’clock, knowing that Kennedy, habitually punctual, would already be there. The classroom was large and sloped. Slipping through the back door, I spotted him, sixth row center. The seat to his right was empty—my seat. Dr. Heller had passed around a seating chart the second week of class, and he used it to take attendance and give credit for class participation. I would have to talk with him after class, because there was no way I was sitting there again.
My eyes scanned the back rows. There were two empty seats. One was three rows down between a guy leaning on his hand, mostly asleep, and a girl drinking a Venti something and chattering nonstop to her neighbor. The other open seat was on the back row, next to a guy who appeared to be doodling something into the margin of his textbook. I turned in that direction at the same time the professor entered a side door below, and the artist raised his head to scan the front of the classroom. I froze, recognizing my savior from two nights ago. If I could’ve moved, I would have turned and fled the classroom.
The attack came flooding back. The helplessness. The terror. The humiliation. I’d curled into a ball on my bed and cried all night, thankful for Erin’s text that she was staying with Chaz. I hadn’t told her what Buck had done—partly because I knew she’d feel responsible for making me go to the party and for letting me leave alone. Partly because I wanted to forget it had happened at all.
“If everyone will be seated, we’ll begin.” The professor’s statement shook me from my stupor—I was the only student standing. I bolted to the empty chair between the chatty girl and the sleepy guy.
She glanced at me, never pausing in her weekend confession of how trashed she’d been and where and with whom. The guy unsquinted his eyes just enough to notice when I slid into the bolted-down chair between them, but he didn’t otherwise move.
“Is this seat taken?” I whispered to him.
He shook his head and mumbled, “It was. But she dropped. Or stopped coming. Whatever.”
I pulled a spiral from my bag, relieved. I tried not to look at Kennedy, but the angled seating made that effort challenging. His perfectly styled dirty blond hair and the familiar uncreased button-down shirt drew my eyes every time he moved. I knew the effect of that green plaid next to his striking green eyes. I’d known him since ninth grade. I’d watched him alter his style from a boy who wore mesh shorts and sneakers every day to the guy who sent his fitted shirts out to be pressed, kept his shoes scuff-free, and always looked as though he’d just stepped from the cover of a magazine. I’d seen more than one teacher turn her head as he passed before snapping her gaze away from his perfect, off-limits body.
Junior year, we had pre-AP English together. He focused on me from the first day of class, flashing his dimpled smile in my direction before taking his seat, inviting me to join his study group, inquiring about my weekend plans—and finally making himself a part of them. I’d never been so confidently pursued. As our class president, he was familiar to everyone, and he made a concerted effort to become familiar with everyone. As an athlete, he was a credit to the baseball team. As a student, his academic standing was in the top 10 percent. As a member of the debate team, he was known for conclusive arguments and an unbeaten record.
As a boyfriend, he was patient and attentive, never pushing me too far or too fast. Never forgetting a birthday or an anniversary. Never making me doubt his intentions for us. Once we were official, he changed my name—and everyone followed suit, including me. “You’re my Jackie,” he told me, referencing the wife of John F. Kennedy, his namesake and personal idol.
He wasn’t related. His parents were just weirdly political—and also at odds with each other. He had a sister named Reagan and a brother named Carter.
Three years had passed since I’d gone by Jacqueline, and I fought daily to regain that one original part of myself that I’d put aside for him. It wasn’t the only thing I’d given up, or the most important. It was just the only one I could get back.
• • • • • • • • • •
Between trying to avoid staring at Kennedy for fifty minutes straight and having skipped the class for two weeks, my brain was sluggish and uncooperative. When class ended, I realized I’d absorbed little of the lecture.
I followed Dr. Heller to his office, running through various appeals in my head to induce him to give me a chance to catch up. Until that moment, I hadn’t cared that I was failing. Now that the possibility had become a probability, I was terrified. I had never failed a class. What would I tell my parents and my advisor? This F would be on my transcript for the rest of my life.
“All right, Ms. Wallace.” Dr. Heller removed a textbook and a stack of disorderly notes from his battered attaché and moved around his office as though I wasn’t standing there. “State your case.”
I cleared my throat. “My case?”
Tiredly, he peered at me over his glasses. “You missed two straight weeks of class—including the midterm—and you missed today. I assume you’re standing here in my office in order to make some sort of case for why you should not fail macroeconomics. I’m waiting with bated breath for that explanation.” He sighed, shelving the textbook. “I always think I’ve heard them all, but I’ve been known to be surprised. So go ahead. I don’t have all day, and I presume you don’t either.”
I swallowed. “I was in class today. I just sat in a different seat.”
He nodded. “I’ll take your word for that, since you approached me at the end of the lecture. That’s one day of participation back in your favor—amounting to about a quarter of a grade point. You still have six missed class days and a zero on a major exam.”
Oh, God. As if a plug had been pulled, the jumbled excuses and realizations came pouring out. “My boyfriend broke up with me, and he’s in the class, and I can’t stand to see him, let alone sit next to him . . . Oh my God, I missed the midterm. I’m going to fail. I’ve never failed a class in my life.” As if that speech wasn’t mortifying enough, my eyes watered and spilled over. I bit my lip to keep from sobbing outright, staring at his desk, unable to meet the repulsed expression I imagined him wearing.
I heard his sigh in the same moment a tissue appeared in my line of vision. “It’s your lucky day, Ms. Wallace.”
I took the tissue and pressed it to my wet cheeks, eyeing him cautiously.
“As it happens, I have a daughter just a bit younger than you. She recently endured a nasty little breakup. My whip-smart, straight-A student turned into an emotional wreck who did nothing but cry, sleep, and cry some more—for about two weeks. And then she came to her senses and decided that no boy was going to ruin her scholastic record. For the sake of my daughter, I’ll give you one chance. One. If you blow it, you will receive the grade you’ve earned at the end of the semester. Do we understand each other?”
I nodded, more tears spilling.
“Good.” My professor shifted uncomfortably and handed me another tissue. “Oh, for Pete’s sake—as I told my daughter, there’s not a boy on the planet worth this amount of angst. I know; I used to be one.” He scribbled on a slip of paper and handed it to me. “Here’s the email address of my class tutor, Landon Maxfield. If you aren’t familiar with his supplemental instruction sessions, I suggest you get familiar with them. You’ll no doubt need some one-on-one tutoring as well. He was an excellent student in my class two years ago, and he’s been tutoring for me since then. I’ll give him the details of the project I expect you to do to replace the midterm grade.”
Another sob escaped me when I thanked him, and I thought he might explode from discomfort. “Well, well, yes, of course, you’re welcome.” He pulled out the seating chart. “Show me where you’ll be sitting from now on, so you can earn those quarter points for attendance.” I pointed to my new seat, and he wrote my name in the square.
I had my shot. All I had to do was get in touch with this Landon person and turn in a project. How hard could it be?
• • • • • • • • • •
The Starbucks line in the student union was ridiculously long, but it was raining and I wasn’t in the mood to get soaked crossing the street to the indie coffee shop just off campus to get my fix before my afternoon class. In unrelated reasoning, that was also where Kennedy was most likely to be—we went there almost daily after lunch. On principle, he tended to shun “corporate monstrosities” like Starbucks, even if the coffee was better.
“There’s no way I’m making it across campus on time if I wait in this line.” Erin growled her annoyance, leaning to check out how many people were ahead of us. “Nine people. Nine! And five waiting for drinks! Who the hell are all of these people?” The guy in front of us glanced over his shoulder with a scowl. She scowled back at him and I pressed my lips together to keep from laughing.
“Caffeine addicts like us?” I suggested.
“Ugh,” she huffed and then grabbed my arm. “I almost forgot—did you hear what happened to Buck Saturday night?”
My stomach dropped. The night I just wanted to forget wouldn’t leave me alone. I shook my head.
“He got jumped in the parking lot behind the house. A couple of guys wanted his wallet. Probably homeless people, he said—that’s what we get with a campus right in the middle of a big city. They didn’t get anything, the bastards, but damn, Buck’s face is busted up.” She leaned closer. “He actually looks a little hotter like that. Rowr, if you know what I mean.”
I felt ill, standing there mute and feigning interest instead of refuting Buck’s explanation of the events leading to his pummeled face.
“Well, crap. I’m gonna have to chug a Rockstar to keep from zoning out during poli-sci. I can’t be late—we’ve got a quiz. I’ll see you after work.” She gave me a quick hug and scurried off.
I scooted forward with the line, my mind going over Saturday night for the thousandth time. I couldn’t shake how vulnerable I felt still. I’d never been blind to the fact that guys are stronger. Kennedy had scooped me into his arms more times than I could count, one time tossing me over his shoulder and running up a flight of stairs as I clung to his back, upside down and laughing. He’d easily opened jars I couldn’t open, moved furniture I could hardly budge. His superior strength had been evident when he’d braced himself above me, biceps hard under my hands.
Two weeks ago, he’d torn out my heart, and I’d never felt so hurt, so empty.
But he’d never used his physical strength against me.
No, that was all Buck. Buck, a campus hottie who didn’t have a problem getting girls. A guy who’d never given any indication that he could or would hurt me, or that he was aware of me at all, except as Kennedy’s girlfriend. I could blame the alcohol . . . but no. Alcohol removes inhibitions. It doesn’t trigger criminal violence where there was none before.
I shook off my reverie and looked across the counter, prepared to give my usual order, and there stood the guy from Saturday night. The guy I’d avoided sitting next to this morning in econ. My mouth hung open but nothing came out. And once again, Saturday night came flooding back. My face heated, remembering the position I’d been in, what he must have witnessed before he’d intervened, how foolish he must consider me.
But then, he’d said it wasn’t my fault.
And he’d called me by my name. The name I no longer used, as of sixteen days ago.
My split-second wish that he wouldn’t recall who I was went ungranted. I returned his penetrating gaze and could see he remembered all of it, clearly. Every mortifying bit. My face burned.
“Are you ready to order?” His question pulled me from my disorientation. His voice was calm, but I felt the exasperation of the restless customers behind me.
“Grande caffè americano. Please.” My words were so mumbled that I half expected him to ask me to repeat myself.
But he marked the cup, which was when I noted the two or three layers of thin white gauze wrapped around his knuckles. He passed the cup to the barista and rang up the drink as I handed over my card.
“Doing okay today?” he asked, his words so seemingly casual, yet so full of meaning between us. He swiped my card and handed it back with the receipt.
“I’m fine.” The knuckles of his left hand were scuffed but not severely abraded. As I took the card and receipt, his fingers grazed over mine. I snatched my hand away. “Thanks.”
His eyes widened, but he said nothing else.
“I’ll have a Venti caramel macchiato—skinny, no whip.” The impatient girl behind me gave her order over my shoulder, not touching me, but pressing too far into my personal space for comfort.
His jaw tensed almost imperceptibly when he shifted his gaze to her. Marking the cup, he gave her the total in clipped tones, his eyes flicking to me once more as I stepped away. I don’t know if he looked at me after that. I waited for my coffee at the other end of the bar, then hurried away without adding my usual dribble of milk and three packets of sugar.
Macroeconomics was a survey course, and as such the roster was huge—probably two hundred students. I could avoid eye contact with two boys in the midst of that many people for the remaining six weeks of fall semester, couldn’t I?
I dutifully emailed the econ tutor when I got back to the dorm after class, and started on my art history homework. While tapping out a response essay on a neoclassical sculptor and his influence on the style, I mumbled a thank-you to my inner neurotic that I’d at least kept up in my non-econ classes.
With Erin at work, I could buckle down to an evening of quiet studying. Here in our microscopic room, she couldn’t help being a near constant distraction. While I attempted to cram for an algebra test last week, the following conversation took place: “I had to have those pumps for my job, Daddy!” she argued into her cell. “You said you wanted me to learn the value of work while I’m in school, and you always say a person should dress for success, so I’m only trying to follow your words of wisdom.”
When she glanced at me, I rolled my eyes. My roommate was a hostess at a swanky restaurant downtown, a position she frequently used as an excuse for overspending her clothing budget. Three hundred dollar shoes, essential for a job that paid nine bucks an hour? I stifled my laugh when she winked back at me. Her father always caved, especially when she employed the D-word—Daddy.
I wasn’t expecting a quick reply from Landon Maxfield. As an upperclassman and a tutor for a huge class like Dr. Heller’s, he had to be busy. I was also certain he’d be none too thrilled to assist a failing sophomore who’d skipped the midterm and two weeks of class, and who had never attended one of his tutoring sessions. I was prepared to show him I would work hard to catch up and get out of his hair as quickly as possible.
Fifteen minutes after I emailed him, my inbox dinged. He’d replied, in the same formal tone I’d chosen after switching back and forth between using his first or last name in the address, finally deciding on Mr. Maxfield.
Dr. Heller has informed me of your need to catch up in macro and the project you’ll need to complete in order to replace the midterm grade. Since he’s approved you to do this work, there’s no need to share the reason why you’ve fallen so far behind with me. I’m employed as a tutor, so this falls under my job description.
We can meet on campus, preferably in the library, to discuss the project. It’s detailed and will require a great deal of outside research on your part. I’ve been instructed by Dr. Heller as to the level of assistance I should provide. Basically, he wants to see what you can do, alone. I’ll be available for general questions, of course.
My group tutoring sessions are MWTh 1-2:00, but those cover current material. I assume you’ll need more assistance comprehending the material you missed. Let me know the times you’re available to meet for individual tutoring sessions and we’ll coordinate from there.
My jaw tensed. Though perfectly polite, the tone of his email reeked of condescension . . . until his signature at the very end: LM. Was he being friendly, or casual, or ridiculing my attempt to sound like a serious, mature student? I’d alluded to the breakup in my email, hoping he wouldn’t want or ask for details. Now I felt as though he’d not only scoffed at learning the particulars, but also he thought less of me for letting a relationship crisis affect my academic life.
I read his email again and got even madder. So he thought I was too dumb to comprehend the course material on my own?
I can’t attend your sessions because I have art history MW 1-2:30, and I tutor at the middle school on Thursday afternoons. I live on campus and am available to meet late afternoons Monday/Wednesday, and most evenings. I’m also free on weekends when I’m not tutoring.
I’ve begun reading the course material on GDP, CPI, and inflation, and I’m working on the review questions at the end of chapter 9. If you want to meet to pass on the project requirements, I’m sure I can catch up on the regular coursework on my own.
I pressed Send and felt superior for all of about twenty seconds. In actuality, I’d barely glanced at chapter 9. So far, it looked less like comprehensible supply and demand charts, and more like gibberish with dollar signs and confusing shifts tossed in for fun. As for GDP and CPI, I knew what those acronyms signified . . . sort of.
Oh, God. I’d just haughtily dismissed the tutor provided by my professor—the professor who wasn’t obligated to give me a second chance, but had.
When my email dinged again, I swallowed before clicking over to it. A new message from Landon Maxfield was at the top of my inbox.
If you prefer to catch up on your own, that’s your prerogative, of course. I’ll gather the information on the project and we can meet, say, Wednesday just after 2:00?
PS—What do you tutor?
His reply didn’t seem angry. He was civil. Nice, even. I was so emotional lately that I couldn’t judge anything clearly.
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(1) Lucas: for the most part he was sweet, protective, amazing, supportive (see below for some negatives),
(2) Jacqueline: she was tough but sensitive. Her experiences were not uncommon and while I didn’t agree with all her choices especially at the beginning of the book, she stood up and represented!
(3) Katie: super minor side character and sorority president or something but DAMN did she perfectly embody what it is to support your “sisters” in a time of crisis! She was a totally minor character but LOVED HER! In general the ladies’ support of each other in this book was super encouraging.
(4) The feels! This book was a roller coaster of emotions. (SPOILER) I loved the split identity thing allowing J to get to know different sides of Lucas and love both. You think your coming for Jacqueline’s story and issues only to realize that Lucas needs some lovin’ healing too!
Things that didn’t work:
(1) SOOOOO Many of Jacqueline’s decisions. I’m a pretty big introvert so maybe it’s just my own hang ups but had I just been heartbroken and nearly raped, I wouldn’t probably be jumping back into partying and drinking right away. No judgment here but it didn’t seem like a very realistic reaction to recent events (maybe she was repressing or something, I just don’t know).
(2) The continuing thoughts and comparisons of her experiences with her ex, especially early on, and choosing to have thanksgiving with him though she was already with Lucas... just no. The ex was way too present in this story for my preferences. When I read a love story I want it to be about the MCs not other hang ups.
(3) Lucas’ hot and coldness. Frankly I felt that Jacqueline had been through enough that she didn’t need that wishy-washiness from Lucas, some of this was due to his need to protect her but later it becomes about protecting himself. His reasons become a lot more understandable later in the book but caused me a lot of irritation early on and then again later in the book when he continued to try pushing her away.
Overall it was a good book I’d recommend reading but there were some personal irritations and decisions made by the characters that is didn’t agree with that dragged down my rating.
(Contours of the Heart #1)
by Tammara Webber
Let me say that this book was released nearly eight years ago; you might ask why do I feel like reading it right now? Well… I was making my January cleanup of book shelfs in Goodreads, and saw that this was my very first book “To read” and didn't get to do it, so as expected, I clicked on it and oh boy, it had almost 209,000 ratings, so I was like WHAT? What took me so long? Well it's January 24rd, 2020…and I'm about to get my emotions in a twist.
About 10%-15% of the reading I was hooked!! And I mean I wanted to keep reading while I was showering, there are books that you like, the ones you love and there are others; like this one, books that you feel, and you connect.
Jackeline thought she had it all figured it out, until her high school sweetheart wants to “experience” the full college adventure. So she's starts wondering if the choice of following her boyfriend to college was at all defendable. But then she met HIM, and she became aware of everything that she was missing while being stuck as the girlfriend of the golden boy. But there's always a catch…isn't it?
Luca has a had a hard past, and in present day he's a reformed ultra-sexy bad boy; he's quiet and doesn't divulge much about himself. And I have to keep it that way for you to know him and love him as much as I did.
Let me say that this book was read in one day, I had my starbucks and a house full of quiet and that was all it took for me, to be immersed in such a wonderful and so Easy (see what I did there ;)…) experience, so get your hands on this one, you'll love it!
Goodreads Rating: 5 stars
We can debate the decisions Jacqueline makes, but they are true to life. As frustrating and upsetting it is to read about, the unnerving fact is that many of these crimes go unreported. Victims just want it all to go away. They know that they will be judged, even by their own sex. I really loved when the sorority president called them on it and demanded to know if they were sisters or not. I also liked how Jacqueline became empowered as the story continued. Erin was also the best friend ever, and I adored her.
Then we have the incredibly sexy, incredibly perfect Lucas. He is absolutely a dream guy, but that's why we read romance novels, right? He is gorgeous, considerate, smart, protective, and good at everything. I enjoyed this romance so much, and I didn't mind that he was unrealistically perfect. Then the author stunned me with the revelation about his past, and that added a compellingly dark layer to him that I hadn't been expecting.
This was an engrossing story that had a great slow burn romance. Absolutely one of the best new adult books I have read.
Top international reviews
There are other great things about Easy other than The Guy, like the way that it deals with the subject of rape outside of the normal parameters of a typical romance novel. I especially think that the scene where Jacqueline and Mindi testify to the sorority about the rape is an extremely important part that reflects, unfortunately, broader issues regarding rape, sexual abuse and harassment. It is also particularly strong because it is women asking the questions and justifying the rape, which sadly again reflects reality. This is not to say that rape only effects women, because it doesn't, and it certainly isn't a female only problem (as represented by the male characters in this story). The president of the sorority, Katie's, speech holds a really powerful message it in: there is no justification or excuse for rape and, questions of virginity or being in a relationship with that person, are completely and utterly mute points. I admire Tammara's ability to incorporate a rape story line into a contemporary romance novel with skill and tact that fits the readership so seamlessly.
I've also noticed throughout writing this review that I haven't really mentioned Jacqueline, the main character, which would be sort of surprising had I have not already come to terms with the fact that although I love Easy I don't really connect to Jacqueline as a character. There is nothing wrong with her, in fact she gets brownie points from me for NOT being an annoying main character falling in love, her actions are rational and she is realistic, which is perhaps the point. I would go as far as to say she is one of the most realistic female main characters I have read, and in someways this is the problem/brilliance as it makes her seem kind of passive, she doesn't really have any problems to overcome or growing to do and she is fairly well rounded and normal - she is an "every-women" for lack of a better term. Overall, it made connecting with the story easier and it emphasized the relationship with Lucas which is really what the book felt like it was about.
Easy is one of those books that you can read time and time again yet the emotions it invokes are as raw as the very first time. It’s a multi-layered story incorporating some very sensitive issues including sexual assault. Tamara Webber manages to convey the issues within the story with sensitivity while not detracting from the emotional punch they pack. Easy is intense and emotional from the very first page and doesn’t let go even after you finish that last page. Lucas and Jacqueline burrow their way into the readers hearts and stay there.
Told from Jacqueline’s perspective, it is her character development that is the foundation of the narrative. Having lived in her boyfriends shadow for the past few years, to the extent of putting her own dreams on hold to follow him to college (you do want to scream at her for that). It’s a major dent to her self-esteem when he breaks up with her to ‘sow his wild oats’ (douche). Not only does she lose her boyfriend but also her social circle that revolved around him. For someone so level-headed she is really thrown off track by that selfish A****. Leading to other incidents that would have broken a weaker person, Jacqueline works hard to gain control of her life and move on.
It’s very difficult not to give away spoilers to the story as so much happens yet is interlinked in the most ingenious fashion. Previous events are woven into the story by means of flashback giving insight and understanding to the current events. The use of email within the narrative adds impact visually as well as progressing the story-line. I absolutely adored the banter between the characters :)
Tragedy, secrets and crazy, abusive douche-bags all add to the tension/drama within the story. While love and acceptance aid the character development.
For me, Easy takes the role of damsel in distress alongside the gallant white knight (can’t you just picture Lucas as a white knight) throws in a ton of barriers for them to overcome to form a beautiful yet heart-wrenching and smexy modern fairy-tale.
Now for all of you that know the horrible feeling of loving a book, suggesting it to someone else, only to then find that they actually rather disliked it.... well you can imagine what poor Kerrie was facing. When then coupled with the fact that this had to be the book that got me back into my usual book reading mojo.... well no pressure whatsoever right?!
Well if I ever had any doubt in Kerrie's book selection abilities and recommendations (which for the record I never did have) this suggestion completely and utterly blew them away.
Easy has got to be one of the best and most enjoyable novels I have had the pleasure of reading this year, a feeling even further enhanced by the fact it cured me of my book sluggishness!
Now I could give you a little bit of a feel for the story, its twists and characters; and perhaps drop a few hints hear and there as to what Tammara Webber has in store for you, but I'm not going to. Not this time.
The beauty and joy of this book lies in the simplicity, realism and sheer sweet romance that it presents. I cannot say that the story held many unexpected moments, but I can tell you that since my first encounter with Tammara Webber's "Easy" I have re-read it at least 5 times, that I own it on kindle and in paperback too, and that most likely as soon as I have finished writing this review I will go back to reading it again.
Easy has done what less and less books tend to do nowadays lost in the world of trilogies, complex stories and cliffhangers. It delivered a wonderfully executed and yet simple story of romance, young love, deception, fear and trust in the world you and I face everyday.
Easy has unquestionably been the comfort read of the year for me, and I praise Tammara Webber for her lovely work and the feelings she stirred and brought in me. I know for definite that I will be returning to it several times again and that more hours of sleep shall be gladly lost to it.
If you liked this and would like to stick along the lines of simple straightforward and lovely contemporary romances then I suggest you take a look at the following titles: Breathe by Abbi Glines, To Catch A Pirate by Jade Parker, The Vincent Boys and The Vincent Brothers by Abbi Glines. Should you want some more lovely romance but perhaps with a pinch of magic and mystical then I recommend Finding Sky by Joss Stirling, As You Wish by Jackson Pearce and Beastly by Alex Flinn.
so its pretty much what it says on the tin. Jacqueline is left devastated after her high school boyfriend, the reason she chose to go to this college instead of a performing arts college, finishes with her.
all her friends are basically his friends. the one class that they shared she finds herself unable to face him, and doesn't go for a couple of weeks, thus meaning she's failing in that class. a first for her.
and just to kick her when she's down, one of her ex-boyfriends fraternity brothers tries to rape her. he gets pretty close to succeeding, until Lucas catches him and beats the s**t out of him!
cue knight in shining armour!
i have to say, this does deal heavily with sexual assault, without actually featuring a rape scene(thank god). but if its not something you feel comfortable reading about you will not like this. it is part of the on going story.
there are a few things, that are not obvious to Jacqueline, that i saw straight away. but it doesn't ruin the story.
and then at the same time there are secrets revealed that i didn't see coming.
there were 2 occasions, while reading, when the story kind of came to a climax, in that all the secrets were revealed, and i couldn't see how she could continue with the story and keep it as compelling. but boy did she manage that!
and i think it is written pretty well. but then i know jack all about how to write a novel, so make of that as you will!!! lol
all in all a good contemporary romance, and i would recommend! :D
Meanwhile Jacqueline finds herself also drawn to a guy called Lucas in her class who played hero for her one night. Lucas is everything her ex isn't he is a tattooed bad boy and may just be the rebound guy that she is looking for.
I had seen that quite a few people were raving about this book and it had been likened to Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, which I enjoyed reading so I thought I would try this book. I will say that there are some similarities between the two books. The story is set at college there is a tattooed bad boy, break ups, and a Thanksgiving dinner, but the characters are completely different. I must admit that I preferred the characters in this book.
This is a little bit of a spoiler but I would like to warn you before reading the book that there is a storyline of rape in the book and the main character does get attacked but not raped. I know some of you may not like this as a storyline and I feel that you should be aware of it before reading.
I preferred the first half of the book where Jacqueline is flirting with Lucas and Landon to the second part of the book that dragged a little for me and it is for that reason why I won't be giving this book full marks. However I did enjoy Easy and read it in one sitting. I liked both Jacqueline and Lucas and I could really feel the chemistry between them. If you liked Beautiful Disaster then I recommend this book for you and I am going to give Easy 4 stars.
What I love about this book, is it keeps you gripped, there is always something waiting to happen. When I started reading it, I didn't want it to be just about Jacqueline and Lucas getting together. And it wasn't.
I found myself crying at parts of the book. And I love the message the book holds.
If you loved Beautiful Disaster then this book is right up your street. I will definitely be reading it again in the future. And I think its time I bought Tammara Webber's Between the Lines (Between the Lines #1) that has been sitting in my wishlist for a few months now. I can't wait to read whatever she writes next! I 100% recommend this book!
Jacqueline has moved across country and turned down her music college choice to be with her boyfriend Kennedy. After he dumps basically so he can screw around, she goes into a slight melt down and withdrawal but her friend is there to pick her up and take her to a party, on her way out she is shoved into the back of her car and is alomst raped by (her friend) Buck. When she thinks I'm not going to get through this alive, she realises that Buck is no longer near her but being dragged off by a mysterious guy.
This mysterious guy ends up being in one of her classes and although she has never noticed him before that night, she is now connected to him. Lucas is my ideal tall ark and handsome with a little bad boy in him.... Or is he? Lucas has his own demons ones that's he is not willing to share and with the introduction of an online tutor to help her catch up..... She feels uneasy.
This book bought out raw emotion in me, it is beautifully written and is not just a love story. It focuses on the empowerment of women and for me that old saying "never judge a book by its cover" comes to mind. Jacqueline honestly believes she has made a huge mistake in following Kennedy with everything that's happened to her..... But maybe she is where she was always meant to be?
Will definately read more by tamara webber.
Over the past 12 months around the blogosphere, all I've heard about is Easy by Tammara Webber. Nearly every person who reads this type of genre has recommended this book to me. And why you ask? Because, it's awesome and yes, everyone is so right!
Easy is one of them novels that everyone is going to love, it's got a fantastic story line with awesome characters and a love story that is spine-tingling hot - really hot! The story deals with a very true and troubling subject - rape. Because of the subject, it's a story that will speak to many people and I have to applaud Tammara Webber for taking such a difficult story and making it work so well.
I have to say, I was expecting a novel that was highly emotional because of the topic of the story, but while we did get some emotions from the main character Jacqueline, I felt she dealt with her emotions very well and was honestly quite a strong character. She did have a little break-down but, she picks herself up and tries to move on from it. Not many people could do that but it just proves how strong she was. And Lucas - swoon-worthy Lucas who is a very hot mystery. I was constantly asking myself "what are his secrets? What is he hiding?" and I have to say, it took me a few chapters to catch on who is actually was. He's plays a role in Jacqueline's life from the very first part of the story even if he doesn't always to appear to be there. Also the scenes between Jacqueline and Lucas are very intense and addicting from the start. There's something about them together that I just loved - they bring out the best in one another and really show each other what it really means to love. I just loved how connected I felt to these two.
"I'm trying to protect you. From myself. I don't do..." he swung a finger back and forth between us"...this."
Overall, Easy is a highly charged and gripping read, and if haven't not picked up this book yet, then I highly recommend you do. You surely won't be disappointed - I know I wasn't, and I can't wait to read more work from Tammara Webber.
Wow, I really REALLY enjoyed this book! Let me tell you why - the story is young, sexual and very romantic but at the same time it has a serious edge, any author who writes about the subject of assault or rape has to be so careful that it comes across in the right way. This author has, in my opinion, achieved this because it didn't feel like it overwhelmed the story. There was a really good message given repeatedly to the girls who were attacked which I think would translate into real life. One other reason I loved this book so much was the incredible kissing scenes, my goodness this author knows how to write them well!
The attack on Jacqueline happened within the first chapter, it was a shocking way to start the story but certainly effective at making me want to know more. I had so many questions about Jacqueline, Buck and her rescuer Lucas.
There were some fun moments in the story that made me chuckle, most of those being when Jacqueline was with her friends, particularly Erin who was feisty and quite funny. Then came Landon, the tutor, and the increasingly flirty emails being sent back and forth between him and Jacqueline (I do love a book with emails and texts, I feel that I can relate to them more easily).
Lucas was wonderful, he clearly had some secrets which I was dying to find out but he was tough, sensitive and completely sexy! He loved to draw and there was a very sensual moment when he was drawing Jacqueline for the first time, I certainly enjoyed that part.
Buck was the villain of the story and I have to admit my heart started pounding every time he went near Jacqueline, he was definitely not a nice character but saying that, there wouldn't have been much of a story without him - all good books need a bad guy!
This is one of those books that you just can't put down, needless to say I read it in less than a day and I look forward to reading more from this author.
That said I really did enjoy reading Easy, and I made time to hang out with Jacqueline and Lucas. They were a great couple, and Lucas has certainly done something for lip rings which I have never liked before, but I felt like he was just too flaky. He wouldn't call Jacqueline for days on end and she kind of let him get away with that - it drove me nuts!!
I actually really respected the heck out of what Easy had to say about rape and its victims though. I think that aspect really provoked thought, and I hope it helps someone out there to prevent such an awful thing happening. I loved how the self-defense was worked into the story, and Jacqueline's BFF Erin made me grin a bunch of times with her enthusiasm for groin kicking! ;)
I felt like the epilogue went a touch too far into perfectville, but I can't complain because I was reading this for a Happily Ever After, so I absolutely got what I paid for.
When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she's single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.
Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex's frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night--but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.
When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he's hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy
The book starts when Jacqueline is attacked by her ex's friend in a car park; she is saved by a stranger who at Jacqueline's insistence does not call the police. Jacqueline takes the course many victims do. She doesn't tell anyone, she pretends it didn't happen, she shuts herself of.
The subject matter is dealt with well and while Jacqueline is the focus, Tammara Webber explores a lot of characters in detail, they are three-dimensional people who help (or hinder) Jacqueline's journey. Instead of Erin being the best friend who moves the story along - she is vital to our protagonist and I really really liked her.
Easy is a great piece of storytelling and character development and I can't wait for Tammara Webber's other books to be realised as paperbacks in the UK.