Title: Back To The Drawing Board
Author: L.L. Collins
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 10, 2015
Lies. Betrayal. Deceit. Carter knows them all too well. His whole life was based on them. He decided long ago that his life would be on his own terms. No one would dictate his future, since he’d had no control over his past.
Desire. Lust. Love.
Julia is the bosses’ daughter. She’s everything that Carter wants, and nothing that he thinks he needs. She’s got plans of her own, and Carter is one of them.
Both determined to control their own paths, can she show him what his future could be like if he just lets go, or will he send her BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD?
Back to the Drawing Board is a fun, flirty, standalone novel that will have you experiencing all the feels. Carter and Julia have something truly special and I enjoyed all of the ups and downs of their journey. One of the great things about this novel was that while it is definitely not necessary to read the Twisted Series before jumping into Carter’s story, for anyone who has read them there is a sense of coming home with Back to the Drawing Board. I got a deep satisfaction out of seeing Carter with his family and experiencing how their story effected his own. Putting these two stories in parallel felt like an expression of the timelessness of love. Julia and Carter’s story was the total package, making me laugh, keeping me guessing, and connecting me with the characters in unexpected ways. Once again, L.L. Collins has blown me away with her fantastic storytelling and the amount of heart she managed to infuse throughout this book.
“That was us. No alcohol, no barriers between us. Just us, acting on what we’re both trying to deny.”
Carter was a great character and right from the start I found myself invested in his growth. His family situation has shaped him in more ways than one and as he ventures out on his own, Carter struggles to reconcile the life he had growing up with the life he wants. L.L. Collins did a great job at allowing Carter to develop slowly and naturally, peeling back the various layers of his complex personality to expose his conflicting emotions. Underneath the confident, intelligent, and professional mask lies a genuine vulnerability that had him stealing my heart in no time. He certainly met his match in Julia and I absolutely loved her. Her own struggle to define life on her own terms allowed for some significant character development. L.L. Collins challenged and pushed Julia, while allowing her inner strength to shine through. The more time she spent fighting for Carter, the bolder she became in the rest of her life, resulting in a newfound confidence that was utterly captivating.
“But now, the reality of loving you and wanting to be with you, is way beyond what I could’ve imagined. I didn’t know I wanted it, needed it. But I do. I need you, not just anyone.”
Back to the Drawing Board had a great storyline, balancing angst and emotion with humor and steam. Both Carter and Julia face personal journeys where they must decide what they want out of life and what kind of person they strive to be. L.L. Collins juxtaposes their individual stories, exposing the challenges they face as a couple. The differences in their journeys kept things interesting, while the similarities stirred up some intense emotional moments. The relationship that developed between these two felt genuine as they shared their worlds with each other, introducing one another to their friends, family, hobbies, etc. The chemistry between Carter and Julia was undeniable and from the moment they met there was an energy between them that made this story vibrate with lust and love. Back to the Drawing Board is an addictive standalone novel that will make you feel and wish for more.
“Let’s play a game,” I said, breaking the silence. “A quick one. We’re only a few minutes away from the restaurant.”
“Never Have I Ever again?”
“Nope. Let’s do a short version of Twenty Questions. Like, two questions. We can resume later.”
“Tell me the rules.”
“We get to ask each other any two questions, and we have to answer them.”
Carter cleared his throat, looking over at me. “Sounds…interesting.”
“You start,” I said. I wanted him to get personal.
“You’re putting me on the spot,” he laughed.
“That’s the point.”
“Okay….have you had a serious boyfriend before?”
I furrowed my brow. That’s what he wanted to know? “Yes. In high school. We broke up after our first year of college and I haven’t talked to him since. His name was Scott.”
A look I didn’t understand passed over his face. “He was your only boyfriend? Like, ever?”
“That’s what you want for your second question? It’ll be my turn next.”
He nodded, so I continued. “He’s been the only…serious boyfriend. Since him, I frankly haven’t had the time or the desire to have a boyfriend. I’ve gone out with guys, but that’s it. Nothing serious.” I didn’t think I wanted to get into the details of all of that, so I was glad it was his last question.
“My turn. First, where did you get this hot car?”
He laughed. “My dad and I restored it. It’s a ’69 Camaro SS. It took us most of the last few years to perfect it. He’s a mechanic, and I didn’t grow up knowing anything at all about cars, so it was a great way for us to bond. I found out that I love restoring old cars, and driving them. And having hot girls in them.” He wiggled his eyebrows at me, and we both laughed. I loved that he was lightening up with me. Now it was time to get more serious.
“Okay, my next question is…if you could remember one thing about that night that we can’t remember, what would it be and why?”
Carter coughed. “Whoa,” he said. “You don’t mess around.” We hadn’t discussed ‘that night’ since right after we both realized we couldn’t remember. “I…Julia. Wow. I’m not sure how to answer that.”
“Truthfully,” I said. I loved making him uncomfortable.
“I wish I could remember touching you,” he said, the deepness of his voice tickling all through my body. “Everywhere.” It felt like he just had touched me, everywhere. I squirmed in my seat, almost wishing I hadn’t asked. Now I really wanted to attack him.
When I didn’t answer, he looked over at me. I smiled, reaching out and touching the scruff on his face, my favorite thing to do. “Wow is right,” I said quietly. “I wish I could remember that, too.” We looked at each other until the car behind us honked their horn.
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LL Collins is a teacher who loves spending her days in the Florida sun with her husband and boys, reading, and writing. Her love of writing has found a home in the self-publishing world. The Living Again series: Living Again, Reaching Rachel, Guarding Hearts, Finding Forever, and Breaking Free: A Living Again Novella are available now in both eBook and paperback. The Twisted Series, consisting of both Twisted Souls and Twisted Paths, is available now exclusively on Amazon.
LL has been writing since she was old enough to write. Always a story in her head, she finally decided to let the characters out to try to make her lifelong dreams of becoming an author come true. She has been a teacher for over ten years, a wife for 15, and a mom to two boys, 13 and 11.