Title: Grasping Air
Author: Carrie Aarons
Series: Flipped #2
Release Date: October 23, 2016
We were the seconds after a grip released the bar, body floating through the air with nervous wonder. Would we successfully grab it again, or would we hit the mat, shattered and defeated?
Peyton Adams learned a long time ago that selfish and detached is the only way to be in life. What most people call shameless or obnoxious behavior, she considers key to getting where she needs to go. Most disapproving of all? USA Gymnastics’ golden boy with an eight-pack, Jared Hargrove. After being cut from the women’s team right before Rio, Peyton is back on the post-Summer Games tour. Not only is she the only one without a gold medal, but her history with Jared won’t stay buried for long.
Control and good manners; the two things drilled into Jared Hargrove’s head from birth. As a four-time gold medalist, he’s always obeyed the rules and reaped the reward. Well, except for the whirlwind week four years ago in London when wild-child Peyton Adams finally got under his skin, and into his bed. She broke his heart, and he hasn’t removed the ice wall around it since. Now she’s back to redeem herself to the world of gymnastics, and it seems, to push his buttons more than ever.
After years of resentment and heartache, can they repair a relationship so badly broken that most people wouldn’t even try? Or will they continue to fall, grasping at any last emotion before they finally collapse?
Carrie Aarons returns readers to the world of Olympic gymnastics with Grasping Air, the second novel in the Flipped series and Peyton and Jared’s story. Told with all of the sparkle and passion that I’ve come to love from this author, this second chance romance was sweet, sassy and overflowing with feels. Having met Jared and Peyton in Blind Landing and getting a preview of their undeniable attraction, I was thrilled to finally hear their story. Thrown together on tour, the small confines of the bus made for some seriously heady sexual tension, plenty of sarcastic banter and the kind of scorching chemistry that threatened to set the pages on fire. I adored getting to know this couple. Peyton’s spontaneity clashed with Jared’s tightly controlled temperament to guarantee an entertaining and unexpected story. Fun, flirty and fantastically feisty, Grasping Air was a light-hearted read and a great addition to the series.
“It doesn’t make sense that such a serious man and such a wild woman could come together and burn hotter than a supernova. But we do.”
I enjoyed getting to unravel Jared and Peyton over the course of the story. Their opposite personalities and drastically different upbringings made them an ideal match. Jared and Peyton pushed each other’s buttons, forcing one another to reveal pieces of themselves they’d prefer to keep secret, and resulting in some great growth from both characters. I was hoping for a little more exploration of Jared and Peyton’s outside relationships. While I was glad to see Jared with his family and the brief glimpses we got of the couple with the other gymnasts, they felt a bit isolated in this book. I would have liked to further explore Peyton’s relationship with Natalia. I think it would have helped make Peyton relatable and her behavior a little easier to forgive knowing the kind of loyalty and love she was capable of. I did enjoy the moments Jared and Peyton spent with the rest of the team. Seeing how easily they fit into one another’s lives and experiencing the camaraderie they shared with their friends brought some much needed laughter and levity to this story.
“In all of the turmoil between us, I’d forgotten how truly radiant we were during the good moments. How high we’d soared, how fast we’d swung.”
I had some issues with the pacing of this novel. There were a few times where the story moved a little too slowly for my tastes and I would have preferred a bit more depth in terms of the emotional development of Jared and Peyton’s relationship. For instance, I felt like we barely got to experience what happened between them the first time around and that undermined my ability to fully invest in their reconciliation. While I personally wanted a bit more substance and emotional angst from this novel, it should be noted that this book was every bit the sweet, entertaining read I thought it would be. I absolutely adored the premise of Grasping Air. I appreciated the way Carrie Aarons twisted the Olympic gymnastics storyline into something fresh and unique. While this book definitely felt like part of the series, it was its own dynamic and enjoyable entity. If you’re looking for something smart, funny and full of life then Grasping Air definitely delivers and Carrie Aaron’s passion for her characters and the world she has so carefully crafted absolutely shines through.
Carrie Aarons has once again dazzled me with her enchanting world of gymnastics. Her characters are fun and vivacious, always leaving me wanting more. Grasping Air follows the tumultuous relationship between Peyton and Jared, and boy did it create some serious somersaults. I absolutely adored the push and pull of their relationship and found myself constantly on edge wondering what would happen next.
“While I’m not running in the opposite direction, I’m also not going anywhere near Jared Hargrove. Because not only will he burn me, he’ll ruin me. Completely.”
These two characters truly epitomize the definition of opposites attract. Where one was loud and outgoing, the other was quiet and reserved. Where one liked having focus and something to keep him grounded, the other was a free spirit and appreciated her wings. While Peyton drove me somewhat crazy in the beginning, the insight into her emotions and thoughts were invaluable. She constantly put on this tough exterior, only to hide the bruises on her psyche. While her actions or words weren’t always done in a considerate manner, it was knowing how vulnerable she was that made me soften to her and come to really love and adore who she was. Jared was the opposite in that he didn’t seem like the grudge holding type, yet in those moments of anger and frustration, he was a volcano boiling over. I kind of loved seeing him lose control, whether in anger or passion, because it added that much depth to his personality. What resulted from these two polar opposite characters was an explosive relationship in both the ups and downs. They fought hard, but learned to love harder, and it made this reader fall in love too!
“Because letting someone else in, to protect, help and support you, that required giving away a piece of your heart. I’d paid that price before. And it was far too high.”
My only complaint about this novel was the pacing of it. At times, I wished for more action to drive the plot forward. It’s not that there was anything wrong per say, but for my personal taste, I was left wanting just a little more. There were a couple lulls that I think could have been filled with a deeper connection (i.e. bringing Peyton home for the first time) and it would have kept me invested just a smidge more. That being said, there’s something about a gymnast that will get me every single time. Throw in the fact that both the hero and the heroine take part, plus some time with the couple from the first book, and I was sold. Grasping Air by Carrie Aaron’s was a tumbling pass that mesmerizes you, a bar routine that leaves you gasping, and a vault that makes you hold your breath until that landing is stuck. It’s definitely one that left this judge smiling!
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Don’t miss the rest of the series:
Blind Landing (Flipped #1)