Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: ‘These violent delights have violent ends.’
Jaxon is the guy she’s supposed to avoid. K.C. is the girl he won’t let get away….
K.C. Carter has always followed the rules—until this year, when a mistake leaves her the talk of her college campus and her carefully arranged life comes crashing to a halt. Now she’s stuck in her small hometown for the summer to complete her court-ordered community service, and to make matters worse, trouble is living right next door.
Jaxon Trent is the worst kind of temptation and exactly what K.C. was supposed to stay away from in high school. But he never forgot her. She was the one girl who wouldn’t give him the time of day and the only one to ever say no. Fate has brought K.C. back into his life—except what he thought was a great twist of luck turns out to be too close for comfort. As they grow closer, he discovers that convincing K.C. to get out from her mother’s shadow is hard, but revealing the darkest parts of his soul is nearly impossible.…(Amazon)
THERE ARE SPOILERS IN HERE!! Proceed at your own risk.
Falling Away is the third in Douglas’s YA/NA uber dramatic teen romance contemporary. Douglas amps up the drama, angst, emotional constants, and sex to bring fans a roller coaster ride that reads fast and furious. Douglas has an appealing voice for the younger crowd and it resonates on paper rather well. Descriptive scenes and well drawn out emotions will keep readers glued to the pages as Douglas once again pens a love story between two damaged souls who struggle against the attraction. Bits of playful snark and humor helps to balance the darkness in here.
This is K.C. Carter’s story. Jaxon Trent may be in this story with K.C. but it is ultimately her story. Initially set up as a flaky, snarky, stuck up, rich princess, we soon learn that K.C.’s life is a lie and she has not had an easy time of it. Unlike most fans, I never really had any issues with K.C. Yes, she wasn’t perfect and did some stupid things but really…who doesn’t in high school? If we can forgive Jared for being a giant abusive douche for YEARS to Tate, then I think we can forgive K.C. for her little indiscretion(s).
I am a sucker for crack-like YA/NA with over the top characters and actions, but I wasn’t blown away by this book. The basic setup is Bully redux. There were entirely too many similarities between both stories for me to be comfortable with the results.
KC lives in Tate’s old house. Jax lives in Jared’s old house. There is nasty animosity between Jax and KC. They want each other but treat each other abominably. Especially Jax. His weapons are far sharper and deadly than K.C.’s
Their first scene that touches off their battle of the wills is like deja vu. K.C comes over to complain about the noise from a party Jax is throwing and “rescue” her cousin, Shane. Jax responds by making inappropriate suggestions and then insulting her.
“Man, I wanted you, K.C. I wanted to undo do you.” His lips were so close to my face I could feel the moistness of his breath as he whispered, “I want to dirty you up. […] Then I got to know you. You are gutless and helpless and I never met anyone who wanted so desperately out of her own skin.”
Even Jax and K.C.’s personalities and actions mirror Tate and Jared’s in certain situations.
As the story progresses, Douglas explores the dynamics that make up Jax and K.C. She digs deep into their psyches and drags out their demons and the reasons behind them. We already know what Jax’s issues are. Raised by an abusive father, he was forced into situations that no child should go through. Made to feel worthless and less than human. his way of adapting is to start working for Fallon’s father-a man of questionable work ethics. Using his talents at gathering information and making ungodly amounts of money doing it gives Jax the control over his life that he needs. He will never be at anyone’s mercy again.
SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!!
K.C.’s demons are different but just as heartbreaking. We learn her childhood was abusive both mentally and physically. Her father killed her older sister in a regrettable accident and K.C. is forced to adopt her sister’s name and persona in order to spare her parents any more pain. K.C. uses rules in order to survive. If she does what is required of her, she can escape her family’s wrath. When she screws up at college, she begins to see that living someone elses life is no life at all.
The growth of K.C. and Jax individually is interesting and I enjoyed seeing the minute changes in them as they learn they are worthy of love. Each deal with their issues in different ways and the ways they use go far in further showcasing the changes being made. The chemistry between them is like getting hit with lightning. It’s shocking, electric, and a little bit painful. The antagonism works like an aphrodisiac with this couple. My eyebrows did raise at the experience Jax gas, but I didn’t complain too much because it made for some very hot and erotic scenes.
“I want to terrorize you,” I confessed. “I want to cut you without drawing blood. I want to break you.” I pulled her into me. “And then I want to fuck you.”
The problem is Jax. Douglas is quite adept at creating the ultimate bad boy hero who is a complete jerk until a single moment makes him realize what he has thrown away. Unfortunately in here, she did her job to well. I went from sort of liking Jax and willing to give him a chance to redeem himself to thinking that if I was K.C. I would have left after his third temper tantrum and called it quits. He treats her horribly and his actions at the 85% mark had me tossing up my hands and saying, “enough.” The fact that his grovel for forgiveness is virtually non existent only made it worse. In my mind, K.C. deserved better than Jax.
THEN HE DOES IT AGAIN!
The last few chapters are rushed. Douglas tries to cement the relationship and prove to us that K.C. and Jax are on the same page and in love. All is forgiven. Meh. The emotional connection I was hoping for the whole book never occurs. Their romance is weak and shaky. Jax manipulates K.C. emotionally and mentally throughout the book. Leading her on then shutting her down brutally when things get too hard for him to handle. K.C. seemed far more committed to Jax then vice versa. She exhibited compassion, strength, maturity, and the need to protect him, even from himself, while Jax seems to only want her sexually or whines that he is no good for her then does something asinine to solidify that. Some of K.C.’s shining moments is the fact she doesn’t become a clingy mess every time Jax has a freak out and leaves her. And he freaks out a lot. I love that Douglas helps K.C. develop the backbone and growth she needs to deal with Jax’s yo-yo brand of love. A strong base at her back in the form of old and new friends also helps.
“Liam didn’t want me. My mother didn’t want me. Jax didn’t want me. I had Tate. I had Shane. I had Fallen. I wasn’t perfect, but I also wasn’t alone.”
The secondary cast is just about everyone we’ve ever met in the series and I enjoyed seeing how they have matured and gotten on with their lives. Fallen’s dad interest in Jax surpasses employer/employee and has a personal feel to it. He is the father figure Jax always needed and he more than fills that role…when Jax will let him.
“You want a woman, then you have to start acting like a man…”
Tate’s Dad gives K.C. the parental guidance, affection, and protection she so desperately needed. His advice about sex cracked me up.
“1. Boys will lie, cheat, and steal to get into your pants. A man will stand the test of time. Make him wait, and you’ll see which one he is.
2. They will try to tell you that it feels better without a condom. You just tell me where they live.
2. And relationships are supposed to make your life better. You don’t drag each other down. You hold each other up.”
The plot device used to facilitate the ending is a dramatic undertaking that clears everything up rather tamely in conjunction with it’s build up. We are left with the assumption that Jax has finally gotten his act together and that he and K.C. have a decent chance but I’m not convinced. Douglas also gives us hints to the controversy that will arise in the last novella which ends the series with Tate and Jared and it doesn’t look good, folks.