Hi there! I’m so excited to share an excerpt and review for a new contemporary romance from best-selling author Jennifer Armentrout, writing as J. Lynn. FIRE IN YOU is long-time friends-to-lovers romance featuring a gal who fell for a lost boy way back when, and the man finally making good on his promise.
Check out the excerpt, and review, and get in on the giveaway below!
About the book:
From the # 1 New York Times and International bestselling author comes a richly moving story about heartbreak and guilt, second chances and hope. Full of familiar, fan-favorite characters and no two people more deserving of a happy ending, Fire In You will burn bright beyond the last page…
Jillian Lima’s whole world was destroyed in a span of a few hours. The same night her childhood love, Brock ‘the Beast’ Mitchell, broke her heart, her life was irrevocably altered by the hand of a stranger with a gun. It takes six years to slowly glue together the shattered pieces of her life, but Jillian is finally ready to stop existing in a past full of pain and regret. She takes a job at her father’s martial arts Academy and she’s going out on her first date since a failed relationship that was more yuck than yum. Jillian is determined to start living.
She just never expected Brock to be a part of her life again. But he’s firmly back in her life before she knows it, and not only is he older, he’s impossibly more handsome, more teasing and more everything. And when he sees Jillian, he’s no longer capable of thinking of her as the little girl who was his shadow growing up or the daughter of the man who gave him a second chance at life. He sees the woman who’d always been there for him, the one person who believed in him no matter what.
Brock knows she’s the one he should’ve made his, and what begins as a tentative friendship quickly turns to red-hot chemistry that sparks a flame that burns brighter than lust. Falling for Brock again risks more than her heart, because when the sorrow-filled and guilt-ridden past resurfaces, and a web of lies threatens to rip them apart, the fallout could lay waste to everything they’ve fought to build together, and destroy the dreams of those they care most about.
How about a little taste?
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” I gasped.
Brock’s eyes widened and then he threw back his head, laughing loudly and freely. “Ms. Lima, language.”
My face turned blood red. Did he seriously just say that to me?
Andre’s smile was a bit sly as he eyed the both of us, and I knew—I just knew—he was fully aware of the fact I had no idea Brock was going to be here. Just like my mother had to have known and just like my father had failed to mention.
My family was a bunch of assholes.
“Okay, I’m going to go—uh, pretend to do something,” Andre said.
Brock’s brown eyes were trained on me as he stepped aside and clapped the shorter man on the shoulder.
“Good luck,” Andre said to him, and my hands balled into fists.
The half-grin appeared on Brock’s mouth and he waited until Andre had disappeared. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you use the word ‘fuck’ before.” His gaze flipped to the ceiling. “Well, there was the one time you tripped over your own feet and banged your knees off the pool deck. Pretty sure you yelled ‘fuck’ then.”
“This is not happening,” I murmured, heart thumping heavily in my chest.
“Actually, I think you yelled ‘fuck’ when your uncle Julio caught you trying to sneak out of the house. You remember that, right? You were trying to follow me—”
“You can stop,” I snapped, “with the walk down Fuck Lane.”
That grin increased, spreading into a full smile that caused my stomach to dip. I placed steadying hands on my desk. “Please tell me I’m dreaming right now.”
“If you were dreaming, I’d hope we’d both have less clothes on.”
“What?” My jaw hit the top of the table. Was he flirting with me? Not entirely surprising. If you looked up “flirt” on the internet, I was sure it had a picture of him grinning the panties right off of some chick, so I guessed a fiancée wasn’t going to change that.
Chuckling, Brock leaned against the door and folded his arms across his broad chest, stretching the material of his white button-down. My gaze dropped. Yep. He was wearing the damn Chucks. “You’re not dreaming, Jillian. I’m the new General Manager and you’re my assistant manager.”
“There is no way,” I said dumbly.
He glanced around, arching a brow. “Is it really that surprising?”
I wanted to scream yes, but I should’ve guessed it the moment I saw Brock Friday night. Anger swept through me. Not only did I feel incredibly stupid for not figuring out Brock was my new boss, I was extremely pissed everyone in my family had basically set me up.
Taking a deep breath, I asked, “Can you give me a second? Please?”
Brock didn’t move for a moment and then he unfolded his arms. “Your wish is my command.”
My fingers curled around the edge of the desk to stop myself from throwing something at him. The moment he stepped out of my office, I hurried to the door and closed it behind him. Storming back to the desk, I pulled my cellphone out of the little slip inside my purse and jabbed my finger on my father’s contact.
He answered on the third ring, his accented voice way too cheery for this time of the morning. “Jillian, my baby girl, are you—”
“Brock is the new General Manager?” I whispered-yelled into the phone.
“You’re at the office already? It’s not even eight-fifteen— Wait, Brock is already there too?” He laughed. “That is surprising.”
“That’s not really important right now.” I took a deep, calming breath. “Brock really is…he’s the GM?”
“I don’t think you really need to ask that question,” he responded. “Especially when you know the answer to it.”
Closing my eyes, I held the phone so tightly I was surprised it didn’t shatter into a million pieces. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Would it have a made a difference?” he asked.
Yes. A thousand times yes, but I didn’t say that. I refused to admit that. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You’re going to have to ask him that.” There was a pause. “I didn’t offer you this job because I thought you couldn’t handle working with him or that you would be calling me on your first day, thirty minutes before you should even be there.”
“And I’m not saying that to hurt you, hon. You know that. Hurting you is the last thing I’d ever want to do.” There was another gap of silence while I contemplated knocking the computer off my desk with a ninja kick, and then Dad said, “You can do this.”
Then he hung up on me.
What in the hell?
4.5 stars for this slow-burning contemporary romance.
I wanted to say this was a second-chance romance, but it didn’t quite fit that mold–the lovers hadn’t had a break-up, per se.
Jillian Lima and Brock Mitchell have known each other for twenty years. That’s when Jillian’s father took Brock, as cast-away kid, off the mean streets of Philly, and raised him as his own. Brock was 14, Jillian was 8, and she idolized her burly new housemate all her life since. When she got into high school, she was more than gone for him, and she spent hours, days and weeks caring for Brock when he was injured in mixed martial arts competitions.
See, Jillian’s father has run the Lima Academy in Philly her whole life. He trained Brock to become a world-champ MMA fighter, and Jillian always imagined a life working at the Academy, and building a life with Brock. But, Brock always saw her as a little sister, and discounted her youthful love to infatuation. Plus, he didn’t want to upset her father by dating Jillybean, who was too young to be acceptable.
Six years ago, when Jillian was nearly 21, she went out with Brock, thinking they were going on a real date. For this naive gal, putting on make-up was practically a novelty. Still, the night wore on and more and more of his friends, and sexier women, showed up, and he bailed, sending her on her way without even taking her for the dinner he’d promised. It broke her heart, and the criminal who attacked her on her way home broke her spirit. It took over a year to finish off the reconstructive surgery she’d needed, but her world had long since imploded.
Now, she’s ready to start her life over again–at 28. Jillian has accepted a position working as an assistant GM at the Martinsburg, WV, Lima Academy. It’s a huge pay raise and will help her finance the trips she’d always planned to make but never did. Only, she learns on her first day that the GM for the facility is Brock. Dealing with him on a day-to-day basis is frustrating. She’s hardly put all her mixed feelings behind her, and learning that Brock’s no longer engaged does funny things to her emotional state. There’s no doubt the attraction still exists, but she’s not capable of moving things forward in any way.
No matter. Brock’s flirtatious and fun, with a significant amount of complimenting his Jillybean. He’s determined to win her heart, and his dear friend, back.
It’s a bit of a slow burn–lots of Jillian agonizing over her fears and incapacitated by her mortification over her longstanding love for Brock. She knows he knew, and she’s trying to be professional. Still, he chips away at her defenses relentlessly, making everyday forays into her personal sphere–even interrupting a date, cordially, as if he’d “happened” to be in the area. It looks like their lives take the same course, but there’s a wee bit of conflict near the end. Both Jillian and Brock have to learn to let go of the past, in order to grow into a future together. I thought is was a low-conflict read, with a nice development of the romance. Brock and Jillian have a good, solid history, with a loving family that supports their budding relationship. There’s a bit of sexytimes after the halfway point, but much of it revolves around Jillian learning to love herself, changed as she is after the attack.
External conflicts finally hit within the 90% mark, and it seemed a bit late, especially as Jillian mostly had to settle those on her own. She does develop a bit of strength way at the end, though I’d wished to see her fierceness a lot sooner. That said, Jillian and Brock do develop the love of their lifetime by the end of the book.
Interested? You can find FIRE IN YOU on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks.
Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for a chance to win a signed set of Wait For You books (US only).
Good luck and keep reading my friends!
About the Author:
# 1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling author Jennifer Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. She spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.
Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories…which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Jennifer has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Reviewers Choice Award for Wait for You, the 2015 Editor’s Pick for Fall With Me, and the 2014/2015 Moerser-Jugendbuch- Jury award for Obsidian. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.
She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.
Catch up with Jennifer on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.