Reviewed by Mandi and Tori
Blurb: Despite her outgoing demeanor, Olivia is painfully insecure around the opposite sex—usually, she can’t get up the nerve to approach guys she’s interested in. But moving to Edinburgh has given her a new start, and, after she develops a crush on a sexy postgrad, she decides it’s time to push past her fears and go after what she wants.
Nate Sawyer is a gorgeous player who never commits, but to his close friends, he’s as loyal as they come. So when Olivia turns to him with her relationship woes, he offers to instruct her in the art of flirting and to help her become more sexually confident.
The friendly education in seduction soon grows into an intense and hot romance. But then Nate’s past and commitment issues rear their ugly heads, and Olivia is left broken-hearted. When Nate realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, he will have to work harder than he ever has before to entice his best friend into falling back in love with him—or he may lose her forever…
Mandi: A lot of things worked for me in this book, and a couple of things didn’t but overall I really enjoyed this one. This time Samantha Young gives us a lighter, less broody hero in Nate. When he was eighteen his one true love died of cancer, and now many years later he is still hung up on that relationship. He sleeps around…a lot…but never commits because he is still in love with Alana. Included in his group of friends (who are those from previous books – Braden and Joss, Cam and Jo) is Olivia, a librarian who is best friends with him. They’ve never crossed the romance line. Olivia’s mom was really sick when she was in her prime dating twenties, so now she feels awkward and embarrassed around men. She has no confidence when it comes to flirting or dating so she turns to Nate for help. She asks him to teach her how to flirt, kiss and eventually have sex. While I usually roll my eyes at this trope, I think it works really well in this book. The scenes become quite intense and emotional. Tori, do you feel the same way?
Tori: I agree wholeheartedly. While the first two installments were decidedly more emotional and darker, this one was lighter; in both the storyline and the characterization. Olivia and Nate were fun-as individuals and as a couple. I loved their “Which would you…” game. They had wonderful dynamics and dialogue. Olivia’s inner rants were hilarious and Nate’s cocky bad boy attitude was acceptable because you could see from the beginning he cared for Olivia. I admit I had some problems with Nate’s fears concerning attachment and commitment. It was unbelievable for me. I’ve always been vocal that pining for someone for 10 years is a bit ridiculous. I had a problem with Joss for the same reasons. The past can shape your life but when it takes it over, I find it hard to believe you can’t move on. I did enjoy how Nate and Olivia react to one another once they decide to carry out Olivia’s plan. Their chemistry almost made my e reader combust. There is a good balance between the physical and emotional. Speaking of Joss, is it just me or is she getting more irritating? lol
Mandi: First Nate – I had a hard time believing he would be SO caught up in a dead past love, especially when it took place when he was so young. Maybe I just needed more about that story to make it stick. I can see Nate a player, but not so forlorn over the past relationship.
Tori: Yes, perhaps if we had seen that relationship, it would have been easier to buy into Nate’s reasons. As it was, I didn’t see Nate pining for anyone. It felt like an excuse.
Mandi: Now Joss – I’m so not a fan of Joss. I guess I liked her in book one but man she is prickly. I’ll give credit to the author – she sure writes her consistently. But if she wasn’t in anymore books I’d be fine with that. Speaking of supporting characters, I just love the group Nate and Olivia hang out with. Cam, Jo, Braden, Joss *mutters*, and it looks like we get Hannah’s book next. I like that this author continues the story of her previous characters and that we get to see the hero and heroine hang out with friends, not just with each other. It feels more like a full, well rounded story.
Tori: I don’t mind prickly but Joss has always felt like a bit of drama queen to me. As in, “Let me make it all about ME…” But yes, kudos to Young for making her constantly irritating. :P Seeing a strong presence of previous characters adds a nice flow to the arc. We aren’t left wondering what everyone else is up to. I really liked that Olivia and Nate had such supporting parents. Olivia’s dad and both of Nate’s parents maintained a strong presence in their lives which helped to guide them over the hurdles they encountered in their relationship. I am looking forward to Alex and E’s wedding and of course, Hannah’s story. Poor Hannah. lol She will have a rough time falling in love with all the protective males in her future. Also looking forward to Cole’s story. Who IS his mysterious friend and why can’t they be together?
Let’s talk about the lurrrrvvveee scenes. Woo wee. Nate may not have being in a relationship down pat but he certainly has the physical parts well covered. I enjoyed watching him learn right along with Olivia. Some of their scenes left me feeling a bit… flushed.
Mandi: Yes, the love scenes are so intense in this one. For as laid back and flirty as Nate is, he is one sexy beast. I love how he builds up Olivia’s confidence in the bedroom. I really, really wish we had gotten his point of view in this book. I needed to be in his head at times, and I was disappointed that we miss that. I feel as though only having Olivia’s point of view didn’t work for me as well as in the previous books.
Overall, I think this is a sexy book and Samantha Young continues to write well done contemporary romance. Rating: B
Tori: Agree. This book wasn’t just Olivia finding her groove, but also Nate making peace with the past and moving forward. I too would have like his POV. It felt a little unbalanced as though one main character was mute. I too would have loved being in his head, especially after his penis head moment.
Samantha Young’s winning streak continues with Before Jamaica Lane and I look forward to reading more from her. Her enchanting couples and delicious romances make her books an auto buy for this reader. Rating: B
Tori’s Favorite Quotes: "Don’t hide from me." He bent his head to whisper over my lips. "Ever."
" I like him, but I sound like Rain Man every time I try to talk to him."
Nate made a choking noise in the back of his throat.
"Are you laughing?"
He cleared it and answered shakily, "Never." He was so laughing.
Mandi’s Favorite Quotes: “It’s a manwhore miracle.”
“My mum always said if you can’t say something nice, say something memorable.”