Title – When We Met
Author – A.L. Jackson, Molly McAdams, Tiffany King, Christina Lee
Publication Date – November 4, 2014
Today’s premiere New Adult authors combine their talents to tell four original stories from inside one house.
When four girls decide to live off campus together as juniors at a college in Michigan, they expect it to be their best year yet. Little do they know, it’s a year that will change the rest of their lives.
BEHIND HER EYES by A.L. Jackson
Unable to live down her ex-boyfriend’s deception, Misha is determined to avoid betrayal. When, the new guy next door, Darryn starts to get under her skin, her defenses start to crumble. But trusting Darryn seems impossible, especially if he’s not sure he can trust himself.
SAVING ME by Molly McAdams
On the outside, Indy is always ready for a party—but inside she’s breaking. Kier makes a weekly routine of saving the girl next door from herself on Saturday nights… but when will she be ready to remember him on Sunday morning?
FOULING OUT by Tiffany King
Working at a sports bar, Courtney has become a pro at sidestepping propositions from arrogant jocks—which makes her a more elusive catch for campus basketball star Dalton than he expected. But when he falls for the saucy waitress, Dalton will have to rethink his game plan to prove he’s not the jerk Courtney expects.
BENEATH YOUR LAYERS by Christina Lee
In order to ace her fashion internship, Chloe must team up with local college dropout and set builder, Blake—much to her chagrin. But after some “hands-on” experience, Chloe will have to ask herself if Blake factors into her carefully laid plans…
When We Met is a gratifying collection of stories from four fabulous authors. While each story had a unique feel, all four novellas shared an overall vibe of self-discovery and self-acceptance. Each one centered around a different character, detailing the individual journeys taking place inside the shared life of the college roommates.
In Behind Her Eyes, A.L. Jackson crafted Misha’s story to be ripe with insecurity and self-doubt. Misha has been betrayed and A.L. did a fantastic job at giving the character the anxieties and hesitancies one would expect after such heartbreak. I easily connected to Misha, feeling her pain as she fought to gain control of her life again. I loved the sizzling chemistry between Misha and Darryn. I could sense the intensity growing between them as their story progressed. Their story was well written, delving into the emotional depths of their personal struggles despite the limited length of a novella. Misha demonstrated significant character growth, while Darryn effortlessly won my heart with his passion and ferocity. I definitely haven’t had enough of these two yet.
Saving Me by Molly McAdams was definitely my favorite of the novellas. Indy’s story was undoubtedly the most tragic of the bunch, tearing at my heart from the beginning. I loved Kier, his devotion to and adoration of Indy was incredibly touching. This story was simply heart wrenching, riddled with angst and overwhelming devastation. Indy’s battle with self-destruction was sobering, while Kier’s determination to save her was moving. Molly did an amazing job at bringing these characters and their warring emotions to life. I loved the development of Indy and Kier’s relationship, watching it unfold was equal parts nerve wracking and thrilling. This story really gripped at my heart while addressing some of life’s harsher realities. Both of these characters faced significant private battles, making their chance at a happily ever after even sweeter.
Fouling Out by Tiffany King brought me right back to my own college days. The excitement of university life was evident all throughout this story and it triggered some serious nostalgia. Tiffany perfectly captured the atmosphere surrounding athletics in a college town, nailing the hero worship of athletes and the pressure it places on a young adult. Courtney and Dalton’s dynamic was so much fun. I loved their text messages back and forth; they really captured the essence of these characters. These two were fun and flirty, while still genuine in their insecurities. I enjoyed watching these old friends reconnect and yet really see each other for the first time. Courtney really pushed Dalton to be his own person and Dalton showed Courtney how to trust. Their witty banter and shared history definitely made me smile.
Beneath Your Layers by Christina Lee demonstrated an interesting dichotomy when it came to Chloe and Blake’s personal struggles. They were both drowning in their sense of duty but in very different ways. Both struggled with what they felt were their responsibilities, only truly putting themselves first when they were together. The initial hostility between them turned into a tension that couldn’t be ignored and Christina made sure we could feel the heat. I adored their games of truth or dare. Their shared moments of honesty really made the characters feel real and as they exposed themselves emotionally to the other, their connection grew. I would have liked more time to really delve into Blake’s emotions as he was sacrificing so much to take care of everyone else. Watching Chloe define herself and decide to actively direct her own life was satisfying. I enjoyed seeing this relationship form and experiencing the beginning growth for Blake and Chloe.
While there was some crossover between the novellas, I would have loved to see more. The occasional scene when one of the other couples would make an appearance always seemed to enhance the story and connect the characters in a special way. Since we were dealing with roommates, I wanted to see their lives overlap to a greater extent. I really enjoyed getting to know these characters. Their unique voices and distinct stories really gave each couple their own dynamic, while they all experienced college and the growing pains of life, together. When We Met will certainly satisfy your desire for a little college romance.
When I learned that four authors would be coming together to deliver this story of four roommates in a single book, I was ecstatic – especially given the authors involved. I put the book up there with one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I loved diving into this story and getting so many characters in one place.
Behind Her Eyes by A.L. Jackson introduces us to Misha, a girl who almost let an ex run her off from school. Even though she hasn’t recovered from her humiliation, she decides to return and on her first day back, she meets Darryn. Her body is screaming trouble, but her heart won’t have it. Above all else, Behind Her Eyes becomes a story of acceptance and strength. Misha was forced to overcome her fears and insecurities in order to love herself. It’s an important message that I don’t think people hear very often. I also fell pretty dang hard for Darryn. He was so sweet and patient; the epitome of “never judge a book by its cover”. I really appreciated the short chapters from his point of view. Those small snippets really helped the reader to understand where he was coming from, and honestly helped develop their chemistry further.
Molly McAdams wrote what is probably the most gut-wrenching story of all the roommates. Indy and Kier are both running from events in their pasts, though both dealing quite differently. While Kier essentially becomes a recluse, Indy decides that drinking herself into oblivion is the best way to forget, and somehow stumbles into his room every Saturday night. She never remembers, but it’s a routine that eventually blossoms into a friendship – and forces them to face their inner demons. I really enjoyed this story because of how genuine it felt. I know girls who used drinking as a coping mechanism; heck, at one point in my life that was me to a degree. Her journey of discovery felt so authentic. Further, Kier was so patient, kind, and dedicated to helping Indy better herself. Together, they just jived really well for me. I really appreciated that while the chemistry was there, their story was much more one of friendship. You saw the beginning stages of the relationship and with that came the building of trust and security.
Fouling Out by Tiffany King is a light-hearted story about Courtney and Dalton; childhood friends who stopped speaking to each other because of outside influences. They have attended the same high school and college, but haven’t run into each other, until one night when Court is Dalton’s waitress. He instantly recognizes her, but she’s not so quick to let go of the hurt she has carried for so long. She makes him earn her trust and really work to regain their friendship status. These two had some great dialogue, especially through their text messages. It was a cute, sweet type of read with very minimal angst or drama. I loved seeing the path that their relationship took. However, I will say that it kind of ended abruptly; turning that last page, I didn’t think that I would be getting the next roommate’s story.
Blake and Chloe are the last couple we meet in Beneath Your Layers by Christina Lee. While the other girls’ stories were leaning towards an instant love feel, Beneath Your Layers was on the other end of the spectrum with a love/hate relationship. Chloe and Blake are from different worlds and dislike each other based on one interaction where they misunderstood the other. When they’re forced to work together, they start opening up and realizing that the other is nothing like what they originally thought. I really appreciated the chase in this one and how it spanned over their whole time together, really digging to get to know each other. The whole idea of truth or dare was innovative, adorable, and made me feel like I was learning about Blake and Chloe with each other, rather than just passively through what the author wanted me to know. I definitely though that their book was the perfect way to round out When We Met.
I really did enjoy When We Met by these four ladies. Each couple had a unique twist to their love and the author’s voices did shine through. That being said, it really was four short stories within one larger one. There was not very much intersecting and weaving of the roommates, which is what I had expected. These characters could have been anyone, and I didn’t feel like they were roommates most of the time. However, it did introduce me to two authors that I hadn’t previously encountered and served as a taste tester to see if I liked their styles. Overall, it was a great book but there wasn’t much connecting flow. I really hope that they choose to do more with these characters because all of them left me feeling like there was more to tell.
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Behind Her Eyes by A.L. Jackson
Now I could feel him, his eyes all over me, caressing me slowly, up and down.
I let all my insecurities drift away as I swayed in time to the music, in sync with the throb of the crowd and the intermittent lights that glowed against my lids.
A charged moment passed, before strong hands found my hips and gripped them from behind. For a beat, I stiffened, before I again gave in to this sublime release. And again, he felt good. Right. All this intense energy that ricocheted between us wrapped me up in a frenzy of nerves, alight and alive. The smell of him took me whole, all soap and man and sex.
My heart beat frantically, racing to keep up with my thoughts that were spiraling out of control.
A shimmer of fear slithered through me, before he pulled my back into the safety of his firm chest.
And that was what I felt.
With him, and I didn’t know why, and I was searching inside myself for resolve, for the commitment I’d made to never allow myself to be so easily played again.
But it was just out of my reach.
Darryn held me close, our bodies moving in time, like we shared the same breath, the same space. I leaned back, my head on his shoulder as his face found the curve of my neck. Chills sped, spinning my body into a violent cataclysm of need. He let his hands roam, palms pressing hard as he ran them down the front of my legs, spanning them wide as he trailed them back up to my hips and over my stomach. Fingertips dipped into my ribs as he slid them up the curve of my sides, and he lifted my arms as he went, in the same fluid motion fastening my hands around the back of his neck.
All those butterflies scattered, a clash of discordant wings that fluttered haphazardly through my insides, leaving my stomach in a coiled mess of confusion and need. Why him? Why now?
Holding me close, he brushed his mouth over the shell of my ear, his whispered words injected directly to my manic heart. “Goddamn, Misha. What are you trying to do to me?”
I suddenly found it impossible to breathe, because it was him who was slowly undoing all the fibers of reservation woven through my weakened spirit.
“Can’t get you off my mind.” He leaned in closer, his hand sweeping up my stomach. Fingers brushed between my breasts, and I released a sharp gasp.
“Been dying to touch you,” he murmured low.
Saving Me by Molly McAdams
“I’m about to embarrass the hell out of myself, but I don’t care anymore. I feel like when I’m near you, I’m safe, and it makes no sense to me. It is the weirdest feeling to have with someone I only know three things about.”
My eyebrows rose at that and I turned to fully face her. “Three?”
“Yes. Three things. Your name is Kier, you’re extremely quiet, and you are the biggest puzzle I’ve ever tried to figure out.”
“I’m the puzzle?”
“Yes!” she said in exasperation.
That had to have been the most backward statement I’d ever heard. “And why am I a puzzle?”
“Because of what I just told you. I don’t know you, you don’t even talk to anyone, and I feel safe when you’re near me! Why is that? I feel like I’m going crazy because all I’ve been able to think about for these past two weeks is you, and how every time you open your mouth it’s like déjà vu, and I just—I don’t know what’s happening.” Her green eyes were massive and she looked like she was on the edge of losing her shit.
I took a few steps toward her and lowered my voice. “Calm down, Indy. You’re fine.”
“I just don’t understand,” she said loudly, the pitch of her voice rising. “Do you believe in past lives?” she asked suddenly.
I paused, a laugh slipping past my lips. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Past lives? Like that whole stupid YOLO saying is really just bullshit, because we’re about to get another shot down the road?”
I tried to contain my smile, but she was really fucking adorable when she was like this. “What does that have to do with what you’re freaking out over?”
“In stories with soul mates they find each other no matter what in every life. And it’s like they have a weird connection they can’t explain.”
I closed the distance between us and dropped my head so I was looking directly into her eyes. “Are you saying we’re soul mates?”
“No!” she said, horror lacing her voice, her cheeks filling with heat.
“I think you were,” I teased.
“I wasn’t, I was just saying that in stories . . . I don’t know what I’m saying, okay? But I don’t get what’s going on with us!”
“So now there’s an us?”
“Oh my God,” she whispered. “I need to stop talking.”
I laughed and took a step back. “I’m teasing you, Indy. And no, I don’t believe in past lives. I think we have this one, and that’s it.”
She sighed, and her body visibly relaxed. When she spoke again, she sounded exhausted—and in a way, defeated. “I don’t, either, but I can’t figure out how to explain this feeling like I know you.”
I ground my jaw for a few seconds as her green eyes held mine. “Because maybe you do know me. You’re just not ready to remember why.”
Beneath Your Layers by Christina Lee
I motioned for the bar. “Want me to get you a soda or a water?”
Chloe stared at me for another long moment before she said, “No, thanks.”
We listened to the next song quietly standing beside each other, lost in our own thoughts. Until she turned to me and said, “Truth or dare?”
“Dare,” I said, almost breathless. Given her mood, maybe she’d give me something good this time.
“Your turn, Blake,” she said. “Do something spontaneous.”
My fingers trembled from wanting to touch her so badly and all I could think about was doing just that.
“You sure that’s what you want?” I said, turning and backing her against the wall.
“Yes,” she breathed out.
“Something spontaneous or something I’ve been thinking about doing for days?” I said, my lips coming closer to hers. “Maybe weeks?”
Her breath caught. “It . . . it’s your call.”
My head swung forward, our foreheads practically touching. Fluttery breaths were escaping her lips. I place my arms on either side of her head and she bit down on her lip.
My heart thrashed in my chest and all I could think about was how desperate I was to kiss her, but how nervous I was to blow this opportunity.
So I attempted to read her signals and they were definitely mixed. Her eyes flitted between panic and lust.
When I pinned my hip against hers, I could’ve sworn I heard a low moan in the back of her throat.
“Please,” she rasped out. “Please . . . don’t . . . Blake.”
My stomach was in my throat. Fuck, either I’d scared her or I’d been reading her wrong.
I leaned back to give her space, but her fingers suddenly skimmed across my waist, clenching my shirt and drawing me nearer.
“Don’t what?” I asked in confusion. She was so fucking messing with my head.
“Don’t . . .” She was panting now. “Don’t stop.”
Fouling Out by Tiffany King
The warmth inside the building was soothing after walking from the car outside. I felt mildly disappointed when Dalton dropped his arm from my shoulders, until he reached for my hand. As we strolled along, I became hyperaware of how something as innocent as handholding could become somewhat erotic while sipping wine together. Dalton slid his thumb across the top of my hand in slow methodical strokes before gently caressing my pulse point. The hairs on the back of my neck felt as if they were standing on end. Each sweep of his thumb was a sensual dance with my sensitive skin, making it tingle.
It was becoming apparent to me that it might have been a bad call on my part to skip lunch. Between the scent of Dalton’s cologne and the alcohol I was consuming, I was already feeling slightly intoxicated. I nibbled on a few cubes of cheese to attempt to alleviate the buzzing in my head. Dalton’s breath teased my neck, making me shiver in a good way. I should have put some distance between us so I could regain my bearings, but instead I snuggled closer to him, wishing we were somewhere else with a lot fewer people around.
All the air escaped my lungs as Dalton slowly captured a bead of wine from my bottom lip with his finger. I watched with bated breath as he moved the finger to his own mouth, sucking the drop of wine. It was all I could do not to moan as my insides turned to putty.
“You need to stop looking at me like that,” Dalton murmured in my ear.
“Like what?” I licked the rest of the wine off my lip with the tip of my tongue.
This time it was Dalton who groaned softly. Placing his hands on my hips, he slowly backed me into a dim corner, away from prying eyes. “Like you’re thinking how great it would feel if I hoisted you up on that wine barrel table over there with your legs wrapped around my waist.”
“Are you sure that’s not you thinking that?” My hips responded almost instinctively as he pulled me snugly against his body. I could feel him, rock hard, pressed to my stomach. The wanting desire I had been keeping at bay from the moment he showed up at my house looking practically delectable with low-riding jeans and a black V-neck sweater that accentuated his well-toned chest was threatening to explode.
A.L. Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of Take This Regret and Lost to You, as well as other contemporary romance titles, including Come to Me Quietly, Come to Me Softly, Pulled, When We Collide, and If Forever Comes.
She first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student. She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.
Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves.
To stay up to date with important news on A.L. Jackson, including new releases, sales, and exclusive specials and excerpts, text “jackson” to 96000 to subscribe!
USA Today Bestselling author Tiffany King is a lifelong reading fanatic who is now living her dream as a writer, weaving Young Adult and New Adult romance tales for others to enjoy. She has a loving husband and two wonderful kids. (Five, if you count her three spoiled cats). Her addictions include: Her iPhone and iPad, chocolate, Diet Coke, chocolate, Harry Potter, chocolate, zombies and her favorite TV shows. Want to know what they are? Just ask.
For information on any of Author Tiffany’s titles, visit her blog!
Molly grew up in California but now lives in the oh-so-amazing state of Texas with her husband and furry four-legged daughters. When she’s not diving into the world of her characters, some of her hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, traveling, and long walks on the beach … which roughly translates to being a homebody with her hubby and dishing out movie quotes. She has a weakness for crude-humored movies and fried pickles, and loves curling up in a fluffy comforter during a thunderstorm … or under one in a bathtub if there are tornados. That way she can pretend they aren’t really happening.
Come be my friend!
She’s addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. She believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.
Author of the Between Breaths series from Penguin. ALL OF YOU, BEFORE YOU BREAK and WHISPER TO ME available now, PROMISE ME THIS on October 7th, 2014.
Also Adult contemporary romance TWO OF HEARTS coming from Peguin/NAL on May 5th 2015.