Title: Whatever You Do
Author: Stephanie Smith
Series: Try Again #2
Release Date: January 15, 2015
How do you trust someone who is everything you’re trying to avoid?
Harper Lindell is having a bad day. You know, if a bad day consists of getting fired from your cushy job and then catching your boyfriend red handed playing hide the salami.
Sick of meeting the same guys over and over, Harper decides to try her luck at Internet dating. How bad could it be? Right?
Tate Washington wasn’t looking to meet anyone. Still dealing with the consequences of his one serious relationship, all he’s interested in is revamping his family’s behind-the-times café.
He didn’t plan on seeing the beautiful receptionist from Argo again, walking into his life to use his café as a dating hub, and using him as a BFF.
Can Harper really trust Tate, who is everything she thinks she needs to steer clear of?
Can Tate wait while Harper works through her insecurities and fears?
Stephanie Smith is sneaking in and stealing my heart with her Try Again series. I enjoyed Wherever You Will Go, Brooke and Saxon’s story. With Harper and Tate’s story, Whatever You Do, Stephanie has managed to make me fall completely in love with the fantastic group of characters she has created. We get more Brooke and Saxon, which is absolutely adorable, but this time around, Harper and Tate’s story is an entirely different kind of love story. I felt completely connected to these two wonderful characters and found myself securely invested in their journeys. This couple is funny and adventurous and absolutely adorable. Stephanie Smith definitely had me laughing, loving and feeling right beside Harper and Tate.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have played the bad boy. Just seeming like I wanted to screw her. I came on way too strong, and clearly, it has scared her off. Fuck, I’m headed straight for the friend zone.”
Stephanie Smith does character development well, designing each character to be unique in personality, physicality, behavior, and voice. I knew from Wherever You Will Go that Harper was a firecracker and Stephanie certainly did not disappoint. I loved her attitude, sass, and independence, which Stephanie infused with a sadness and vulnerability that connected me to the character. Harper and Tate are both so incredibly genuine that you can’t help but find some of yourself in them. Tate was refreshing, falling into that boy next-door vibe with just enough bad boy in him to make him perfectly interesting. The chemistry that has been crafted between these two is electric. Their hilarious banter and outright flirtation were some of my favorite parts of this story. Despite the emotional weight of their story, they possessed a levity that kept me grinning.
“He’s changing me already. I feel it. Changing the way I look at the world. Building the trust back, which I thought had been completely shattered after years of it being tested and trampled on.”
Both Harper and Tate had difficult pasts, and uncovering them was definitely a surprise. This story took a few unexpected turns, but ultimately left me feeling satisfied and appreciative of this couple’s difficult journey. I certainly see some exciting growth in Stephanie’s writing since she wrote Wherever You Will Go. It leaves me absolutely excited to see what she’ll do next. The storyline had a decent balance of emotional angst, fun moments, and steamy scenes to keep the reader hooked on the story. I felt like the story moved at a comfortable pace, never feeling too rushed or making me lose interest. I appreciated the up-to-date pop culture references and the fresh, relevant feel of the characters, their relationship, and the journey. I’m excited to see whose story we get next and I can’t wait to spend more time with this awesome bunch!
Tate chuckles as he picks up a tomato and throws it to me. Thanking my quick reflexes, I catch it mid-air.
“Here, cut those,” he says, gesturing to the pile of tomatoes already stacked on the bench next to where he is preparing bacon.
I pop the tomato down and head to wash my hands. Once I return to the counter, Tate approaches me with an apron and wraps his arms around me as he ties the strings in front. We get stuck into it and work in companionable silence for the next few minutes.
“I’m sorry about the other day,” he says, not pausing for a second from the bacon he is cutting.
“I know,” I respond.
“I’m glad we’re okay.”
Silence descends once more, and we continue our tasks before Tate speaks again. “The other day, you said how you’ve never felt an instant connection with someone before.”
“Yeah?” I ask warily, wondering if I freaked him out.
“I didn’t get to tell you that I feel the same. When we’re together, it feels right.”
“Yeah … it does.”
Even though we don’t mention another thing about it, the silence doesn’t come again as the shots keep flowing and the music on the old radio gets louder and louder. We are laughing and carrying on and there is more ‘accidental’ touching on both sides.
‘Black Widow’ by Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora flows through the speakers and I sigh in happiness. “I love this song.” I leave my tomatoes behind to shake my hips all over the kitchen to the beat, singing along with the lyrics.
Warmth covers my back as two strong hands land on my hips. Tate pushes into me from behind and moves his hips along with my own or forces my hips to move along with his—I’m not sure.
“You’re so fucking sexy, Harper,” he whispers into my ear. “I won’t be able to keep this friendship platonic if you keep shaking your ass like that in my kitchen.” His warm breath flows over my collarbone as he nuzzles my neck and goosebumps break out across my skin. Tate must notice as he lifts his head and slowly peppers small, light kisses along the crease of my shoulder.
My head rolls back onto his shoulder, and my body liquefies at the intimate and sensual touch. He’s breaking down my walls. My common sense. He’s slowly softening me, melting me so he can mould me as he pleases, and it’s working.
As the realisation hits me, I jump out of Tate’s arms, grab hold of his hand, and pull him to the middle of the kitchen. I smile seductively at him and wink. “I’ll just have to keep you in line and focused then.”
He throws his head back and laughs, allowing me to ignore the moment and lead him around the centre workbench as we shake, shimmy, and wiggle to ‘Shake it Off’ by Taylor Swift, which is now playing on the stereo.
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Don’t miss the rest of the Try Again series:
Wherever You Will Go (Try Again #1)
How My Heart Breaks (Try Again #3)
Whatever It Takes (Try Again #4)
I’m first & foremost a reader & fangirl, I will always be first & foremost a reader & fangirl. I am on street teams, I pimp and I brag. I LOVE my Authors!! I have recently started writing as a way to relax and spend some time for me. My first novel Wherever You Will Go is due to release later this year. I’m having so much fun writing my first story and I’m looking forward to the journey it is taking me on.