Formats available: ebook, paperback, audiobook
Genre: New Adult romance, Contemporary romance
Series: Losing It #3
Length: 323 pages
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Date Released: October 15, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository
Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find where you truly belong…
Most girls would kill to spend months traveling around Europe after college graduation with no responsibility, no parents, and no-limit credit cards. Kelsey Summers is no exception. She’s having the time of her life . . . or that’s what she keeps telling herself.
It’s a lonely business trying to find out who you are, especially when you’re afraid you won’t like what you discover. No amount of drinking or dancing can chase away Kelsey’s loneliness, but maybe Jackson Hunt can. After a few chance meetings, he convinces her to take a journey of adventure instead of alcohol. With each new city and experience, Kelsey’s mind becomes a little clearer and her heart a little less hers. Jackson helps her unravel her own dreams and desires. But the more she learns about herself, the more Kelsey realizes how little she knows about Jackson.
That seems kind of right, because at the beginning of the story, Kelsey Summers is only loosely connected to pretty much everything; reality, sobriety, safety, her own sense of identity and self-worth.
The ruin bar in Budapest where the story really begins is a metaphor for Kelsey’s life. She feels ruined and she’s working hard towards making the outside match the inside, even if that isn’t what she thinks she’s doing.
She thinks she’s collecting adventures by spending her way across Europe using her Daddy’s platinum American Express card. What she’s really doing is anesthetizing herself so that she doesn’t feel any pain.
Until Jackson Hunt swoops in and helps her stumble away from the Euro-trash flavor-of-the-night, but doesn’t take her anywhere except back to the hostel where she’s deliberately slumming it.
His departure, after taking care of her but not taking care of what they obviously both want, leaves her unsettled enough to want to see him again. Both fortunately and unfortunately for Kelsey, Jackson turns up just when she needs another rescue.
But this time he decides to stick around, since she seems to be making a habit of requiring his services. Except he’s not providing the services she definitely wants, the kind that make her forgot herself in a stranger’s arms and body for a night at a time.
Kelsey feels broken, and Jackson tries to help her pull herself together, without adding the sexual relationship they both want into the mix. It’s better if Kelsey finds a piece of herself before she tries to give any more of herself away to anyone else.
Even the man who might come to love her.
Because Jackson Hunt has already been where Kelsey is, even if he doesn’t know exactly what brought her there. He knows exactly what he’s protecting her from.
Particularly since her father paid him to be her bodyguard. Becoming her lover has totally screwed everything up. Especially Kelsey.
Escape Rating B+: On the one hand, the love story between Jackson and Kelsey is both very moving and very hot. You not only follow their adventure across Europe, you follow the push-pull of their intense attraction and his resistance and you want them to figure out a way to make things work.
On that other hand, Jackson’s secret in particular is screamingly obvious. While it becomes apparent through the story that Kelsey’s parents’ reasons for hiring a bodyguard may not have been totally pure, there’s no question in the reader’s mind that she needed some kind of safety net. She had totally stopped even minimally minding her own safety. She’d stopped caring about her future, any future. Jackson stepped in not just to keep her from drinking herself to death, but to keep her from getting beaten, raped, drugged or a whole lot of other bad things.
Kelsey was deliberately looking for friends in the lowest places she could find.
At first, it does seem like Kelsey is a whiny and bitchy little rich girl, pissing and moaning about the safe country-club lifestyle she doesn’t want to go back to, but also refusing to let go of daddy’s Amex. It’s only as Kelsey starts to reveal herself to Jackson that we figure out just what is going on. Or went on.
It’s not difficult to guess what Kelsey’s trauma is. The only questions are who the perpetrator was and what happened afterwards. Kelsey’s pain resides much more in the aftermath than the original event. And that totally makes sense.
Kelsey, like Bliss in Losing It and Cade in Faking It, trained as an actor. She uses her training to cover up whatever she really feels, to the point where the mask has become the only face she shows the world. Jackson forces her to really feel her own emotions, and then she discovers that everything they had was a lie.
But Kelsey has finally found either her courage, or her true self.
Jackson doesn’t save Kelsey after all. But he helped her build enough tools that she was able to save herself.