True love stabs you in the front.
Nick Steele just wants a normal life, cliché or not. He had one once, back in Chicago. Before his father died and he took a year off from college to grieve. Now, he’s starting fresh at a prestigious—but tiny—Catholic university. Adjusting to small-town life will be a challenge, along with making friends and keeping his scholarship. All he wants to do is blend in, get his diploma, and go back home.
But Sebastian Prinsen—campus heartthrob and a notorious player—has other plans. He notices Nick right away and makes a bet with his two best friends: Who can kiss the new kid first? Nick seems immune to Sebastian’s charms, and yet genuine chemistry sparks between them. Even worse, real feelings do too. Sebastian falls more and more every time Nick blows him off, but if he comes clean about the bet, Nick will hate him forever.
The last thing Nick wants is to fall in love while he’s still grieving, but Sebastian feels like home to him. Nick wants that so badly he may ignore the warning signs and risk his fragile heart once more.
While I enjoyed this book a lot, I didn't exactly want to pop a ring on its finger, throw my legs in the air, and have its babies.
The strange thing for me about this book was that, since the vast majority of the story had Nick and Sebastian at odds with one another, all of the on-page time with the side characters, I found myself engaged as much with them as I was with the primary MC's.
The story took place over the first three weeks that Nick and Sebastian knew one another, but in that time, it *felt* as if they had maybe a half dozen'ish real conversations with one another throughout the entire book. There may have been more, but it didn't feel that way to me. : (
The remainder of the pages included tons of internal monologues and interactions between one of the MC's and the side characters, all of whom I loved, BTW.
Sebastian's best friends, Theo and Dante, they totally stole the show for me. I was honestly just as happy to see them work out their issues as I was to see Nick and Sebastian finally get their shit together.
I was actually enjoying the story much more before the bet was revealed and Sebastian allowed his douchey, insecure side to roam free. I got that he was emotionally vulnerable, but duuuuude, you choose *that* to say to a guy that you have feelings for? Nuh uh.
In regards to steam, there were only really two sexy scenes, but they were well-written and pretty hot.
Overall, I think I just needed a lot more "getting to know you" scenes between the MC's and less internal monologuing for me to have been fully convinced that the feels were due to budding love than flaming sexual attraction.
Also, fewer instances of the MC's lashing out, at times a bit brutally, while trying to protect their fragile psyches wouldn't have made me the least bit mad.
I'd rate this story at around 3.5 *big-ole-baggage-laden* stars.
My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
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