When Kyle Calloway died, he took a part of Nell with him. She wasn’t the only one left to pick up the pieces, however; Kyle’s death left a gaping hole in the hearts and lives of his parents and his older brother Colton, and ultimately broke the will of the girl he loved.
THE STORY YOU NEVER IMAGINED…
Becca de Rosa is Nell’s best friend. When Kyle died, Nell was so devastated that no one could reach her, not even her best friend Becca. As she tries to help Nell through her grief, Becca’s own life is thrust into turmoil, and everything she knows is changed.
Jason Dorsey asked Nell out the week after her sixteenth birthday, but that date never happened. Instead, he ended up going out with Nell’s best friend, Becca. He had no way of knowing, then, how that one date would send him on a life-long journey with Becca. He had no way of knowing the tragedies and triumphs he would experience, or that in Becca, he might find the love of a lifetime.
THE HEARTACHE YOU’LL NEVER FORGET…
I went shopping with Nell for Winter Formal on a Saturday afternoon while Jason and Kyle did the same, and we had plans to meet as a foursome for a double date after shopping. We shared a changing room and stuffed ourselves into gowns, vetoing dress after dress, usually without even bothering to zip up the back.
Nell was the first one to bring up the subject of our boyfriends, thankfully, since I’d been trying to work out a way to ask my questions. “So you and Jason have been dating for what, three months?”
I nodded. “Yeah. Since September. October was when it became official or whatever.”
She gave me sly grin, her strawberry blonde hair cascading in front of her face as she bent to step into a forest-green sheath dress. “So…how far have you and Jason gone?”
“How far?” I pretended not to know what she meant.
She smacked me on the shoulder. “You know what I mean. I’ve seen you kissing in his truck after school. So spill. How far have you gone?”
“Like, in terms of bases?” I asked.
Nell snorted, a surprisingly ungraceful sound from her. “Ohmigod, Becca, that’s such a stupid way to measure it. Just tell me.”
I shrugged. “We just kiss. That’s all. We’ve…” I trailed off as I squirmed into a strapless blue dress with a scoop neck, but the squirm was as much discomfort with the conversation as it was to fit myself into the tight dress. “We’ve t-t-touched each other a little. Over our clothes. But that’s where we’ve stopped.”
“So far.” Nell tugged the top of the bodice of my dress up, and then zipped it for me as I stuffed my breasts further down. “Has he touched your boobs? Bare, I mean?”
I blushed and shook my head, turning from side to side to see how the dress fit. It was tight, and short, and it pushed my already-in the-way breasts up so far I was sure they’d spill out if I so much as breathed wrong. “No, he ha-hasn’t.”
Nell giggled, covering her mouth with her hand, then leaned closer to me. “I wonder what it feels like?”
I bumped my head against hers, laughing with her as I tried to imagine how it would feel. “I don’t nn-n-know. Pretty amazing, though, I’d think. He’s touched me over my bra, and I feel like I’m on fire when he does that. I can’t even imagine what it would be like b-bare.”
Nell was blushing as hard as me. “I dare you to let him.” She met my eyes, serious, but stifling laughter.
I shook my head. “No! I’m not gonna do that on a dare. It’s hard enough stopping as it is.”
The laughter died in her eyes then, and she nodded her understanding. “It is for us, too. We have to keep reminding ourselves that we have to stop, or we never will.” She met my eyes. “Do you think you’ll go all the way with him?”
I shrugged. “I can’t say I haven’t th-th-thought about it. I want to, but I’m scared, too.”
Nell nodded, and the conversation switched to other topics as we tried on more dresses. After six stores, we both ended up with the perfect dress. Mine was a deep maroon sleeveless dress, made of soft silk that split between my breasts and came up over my shoulders as straps, but left my chest bare from navel to neck, with a gauzy material stretched between the split so my skin wasn’t completely bare. The hem ended right above my knees, and I had a pair of black heels to match a coat that I’d wear over it when outside. It was sexy and daring, but not so skanky that Father would freak out. I knew Jason would love it, and that was all that mattered.
Nell’s dress was much like mine, but in dark blue, a shade that accentuated her fair skin. Hers was a bit more revealing, lacking the semi-see-through material that mine had, and the hem was actually two full inches above the knee. I couldn’t imagine Father letting me wear something like that, and I didn’t dare try.
We attended Winter Formal in January as a group of four, with Nell borrowing her dad’s SUV so we could all ride together. Jason was breathtaking in a black suit, cut tight to his impressive muscles. He had a black shirt with a thin maroon tie the perfect shade to match my dress. His hair was freshly cut, spiked and carefully styled, his jaw shaved down a shadow.
After the dance was over, we all four, plus a dozen of our other friends, crashed a Ram’s Horn restaurant a few miles from the banquet center where the dance had been held. I couldn’t keep my eyes off Jason, even as we both mingled with our friends, our entire school having basically taken over the nonsmoking section. Every once in a while I’d feel his gaze on me, and I’d meet his eyes, startled as always by their vivid green hue. I’d gotten a one-time-only extension of my curfew to two in the morning, but when midnight came around most of the other kids had split off into couples.
Jason had left his truck at my house, so Nell dropped us off there, and we slid into the cold seats, shivering and chattering until the heater had the cab warm.
“So where should we go, sexy lady?” Jason asked me, pulling away from my house.
I shrugged. “The hill?” That had had turned into our code for let’s go make out.
He grinned at me in anticipation, and I felt heat begin to boil in my blood before we’d even gotten there. He made it in record time, even with the snow. He cut the lights, left the engine on, turned the radio down low, and then unbuckled his seatbelt, waiting for me.
I was nervous, for some reason. I shrugged out of my coat, and felt exposed as his eyes roamed my body. Then I undid the seatbelt and slid across the cloth seat until my thigh touched his. My dress had hiked up a bit as I slid over, and the hem was now midway up my thigh.
I felt Jason’s eyes on my thighs, and then his fingers touched my knee. So far, our touch exploration had been from the waist up, but now, with this dress leaving so much of my body bare, I realized all bets were off. It hadn’t seemed so revealing in the store, or even at the dance. It was actually a very conservative dress in comparison to some of the barely there things other girls wore. But yet, this close to Jason, knowing how hard it was getting to stop when we reached that line, I felt nearly naked.
“You’re shaking,” Jason whispered. “You cold?”
I shook my head. “No. Just…nervous.”
I shrugged, not sure how to put it into words. I was silent for a long time, planning it out, and Jason just waited patiently, one hand on my knee, a finger tracing distracting circles at the exact place where knee began to seem more like thigh.
“I’m nervous about us,” I said. “I’m nervous about how kissing you seems to be so hard to stop.”
“We can go, if you want.”
I shook my head. “No, I don’t want to. I suggested we come here because I wanted to. I’m just…nervous about where it’s going.”
Jason nodded. “We’ll stop whenever you want.”
“What if…what if…sometimes I don’t w-want to stop? But other times I’m afraid of what w-w-will happen if we don’t?”
“I know what you mean. I don’t ever want to stop, to be honest. But I also don’t want to pressure you.”
I finally was able to meet his eyes. “Are you ever nervous about…going all the way?”
“I want it to be right. I want it to be perfect.” He took my hand but left his other on my leg. “I’m nervous about that, yeah. But we don’t have to talk about it now, right?”
I shrugged. “Maybe we should? We can’t keep…ignoring the subject.” I held his gaze and said the words I’d been scripting in my head. “I don’t want being with you like that to be an accident. I want it to be on purpose.”
He nodded. “Me, too. Are you ready for that?”
“I asked you first.” He grinned.
I shrugged. “Yeah? But no. I don’t know how to explain it. I love kissing you. I love touching you and letting you touch me. I want more. But that…going all way is…it’s a big deal, isn’t it?”
He nodded. “Yeah, it is, I suppose. And that’s pretty much how I feel.” He smirked slyly at me. “Maybe we should just…push the boundaries a little, and see how we feel?”
I snorted, and then giggled. “That is such a guy thing to suggest.”
“Well, I am a guy.” He glanced at his hand, which had inched up my thigh. “Am I wrong, though?”
Damn him, he knew me. That was exactly what I wanted, to ease into the idea. Get used to it, some. Part of me was full of warning, however, insinuating that just maybe it wasn’t such a good idea.
I ignored the voice and waited for Jason to kiss me. Oh, boy, did he kiss me.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
*ARC Given to Blog for Honest Review*
3.5 “stuttering” Kisses
I will be one of the first to admit when I heard there was going to be another book after Falling Into You I automatically assumed it was going to be a continuation. Was I a teensy-tiny bit sad that it wasn’t? I can’t lie…I was. I L.O.V.E.D. Nell and Colton. Still do. Always will. Falling Into You was an amazing book that really, really touched me. But…on the flip side, I was also very excited at all the possibilities that come with a new couple. 🙂
Rebecca Noura de Rosa is sweet, innocent, kind, shy…she’s a very smart girl, speaks three languages (English, Arabic and Italian), 4.0 GPA and already a ton of credits towards her Bachelor’s degree. She’s also Nell’s best friend. She’s a good girl, with an overprotective father and a bad boy brother. She’s half Italian, half Lebanese…so she’s exotic and beautiful – curly brown hair, brown eyes…but she can’t see how wonderful she is. She has one ‘flaw’ – she stutters. A girl that has so much to say in heart but keeps it all in because of fear. Fear of being made fun of for something she can’t control.
“And yes, for the record, I do speak three fucking languages.” Jason’s eyes bugged out at my curse word, which apparently surprised him. “And yes, I can drop the F-bomb in all three. Can, and do. Just because I’m quiet and have a stutter doesn’t mean I don’t like to swear.”
Jason Michael Dorsey…what can I say about Jason. He’s 5’11”, blonde hair, gorgeous bright green eyes, star football player…and possibly the sweetest guy ever on the face of the planet. Like God just decided…well, I’m going to make Jason perfect today. And then gave him the shittiest family life…ever. Like there is crap and then there is Jason’s home life. That poor boy…and his situation is impossible. His dad is the chief of police so he literally has NO WHERE to go and his mom has completely checked out. So, he’s stuck. And we get to sit there and take it. And that sucks too.
‘He wanted me to be a man, a warrior. Men don’t feel pain. Men can run plays with bruised ribs and battered kidneys. Men don’t cry. Men don’t tell. Men break records.’
So Becca has had a crush on Jason forever but Jason has been so into Nell he never considered anyone else. Not to say he didn’t like Becca…but you know how crushes go…everyone else just kinda disappears. And really, it’s all Kyle and Nell’s fault that Jason and Becca got together in the first place…which makes it super sweet (in my opinion). It’s hard for me to remember at times that they are only 16 years old…they don’t act like it! They’ve both had to grow up very quickly and are more mature than their age. So when Jason said something after he kissed Becca for the first time that it was his first kiss I was like, ‘No way…really??’
“God…Becca.” His voice was thick, low, rough. “How am I supposed to be able to breathe when you’re so beautiful?”
Falling Into Us is…different. It’s not angsty…I kept waiting for the angst but it never came. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the story, it’s a beautiful story – it’s just Becca and Jason’s story. It’s not easy, far from it…but it’s just their story. About two kids who fell in love at 16 and how they grew up. How they managed to get through all the good, the bad and the ugly and come out the other side of everything because they had each other. It’s similar to FIY in the aspect of skipping around years, there are gaps in time where things are not shown, but explained so you aren’t confused. Like FIY it goes from two different POV’s, Becca and Jason, which I liked…it was never confusing, you always knew who’s POV you were in.
‘Exactly because I get so lost
Because it feels so much like falling
Into you and me
Being in love it’s scary
So much like falling
A frightening descent into
Yes, you and me
Falling into Us
And I don’t dare stop the fall
Because I need it far too much’
This book dealt with some harsh stuff that I wasn’t expecting…gritty stuff, stuff that gives you a pit in your stomach because it’s uncomfortable and sad and makes you mad…but watching them go thru it together made it a little more bearable. They clung to each other. Not that he didn’t have friends or anything, but Becca was basically the only thing Jason had. And Becca opened up to Jason about things that not even her best friend Nell knew. They gave each other peace…made each other better…it was very calming. It’s kinda funny because after that first date they just…were.
‘I felt, in that moment, that our souls had crashed together and merged, like every aspect of our minds, hearts, bodies, and souls were bleeding together. I knew I’d never love anyone the way I loved Jason, and I knew I’d never try.’
I hate saying this because while I did have feelings and emotions for Becca and Jason…it wasn’t the same as with Nell and Colton. I am not even going to try and compare the two, they are two VERY different stories…but they both went thru pain and heartbreak, and while I felt it…it just wasn’t as strong as in FIY . Maybe that’s my fault, because FIY is on an insanely high pedestal in my brain, so it would be next to impossible to compete. But I did truly love getting to see more Colton and Nell. Somehow Jasinda was able to kind of wrap up their story as well as tying it into Becca and Jason’s.
“The only way past the pain is through it. You can’t escape it. You can’t ignore it. Pain, grief, anger, misery…they don’t go away – they just increase and compound and get worse. You have to live through them, acknowledge them. You have to give your pain its due.” ~Nell
I will give Ms. Wilder credit for writing another heart gripping story that had me enraptured with a devastatingly amazing couple. My heart still craves more, but I have a feeling it always will. This series is one that just leaves you with the desire for more…*sigh*
Grand Prize Giveaway: Kindle Paperwhite
First Place Winner: $100 Amazon GiftCard
Second & Third Place: 2 Signed Paperback Copies of Falling Into Us
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jasinda Wilder is a Michigan native with a penchant for titillating tales about sexy men and strong women. When she’s not writing, she’s probably shopping, baking, or reading.
Some of her favorite authors include Nora Roberts, JR Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Liliana Hart and Bella Andre.
She loves to travel and some of her favorite vacations spots are Las Vegas, New York City and Toledo, Ohio.
You can often find Jasinda drinking sweet red wine with frozen berries and eating a cupcake.
Jasinda is represented by Kristin Nelson of the Nelson Literary Agency.