Title: Stay with Me
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Pub. Date: September 23, 2014
At 21, Calla hasn’t done a lot of things. She’s never been kissed, never seen the ocean, never gone to an amusement park. But growing up, she witnessed some things no child ever should. She still carries the physical and emotional scars of living with a strung-out mother, Mona—secrets she keeps from everyone, including her close circle of college friends.
But the safe cocoon Calla has carefully built is shattered when she discovers her mom has stolen her college money and run up a huge credit card debt in her name. Now, Calla has to go back to the small town she thought she’d left behind and clean up her mom’s mess again. Of course, when she arrives at her mother’s bar, Mona is nowhere to be found. Instead, six feet of hotness named Jackson James is pouring drinks and keeping the place humming.
Sexy and intense, Jax is in Calla’s business from the moment they meet, giving her a job and helping her search for Mona. And the way he looks at her makes it clear he wants to get horizontal . . . and maybe something more. Before Calla can let him get close, though, she’s got to deal with the pain of the past—and some very bad guys out to mess her up if she doesn’t give them her mom.
This will be a spoiler free review.
This book is one of my all-time favorite JLA books. It’s also the only JLA book to-date that can put me into a reading slump.
I would kill to have Jackson “Jax” James in my life. He’s just so sweet and wickedly charming and pretty freaking sinful. He’s also caring AF. That’s one thing that I love about Jen’s male characters, they know what they want, they’re emotionally available, they’re not perfect, so they make mistakes, and they care so deeply.
I mean, that sounds pretty much like the perfect guy – so where they at?
Then there’s Calla and something about her story just speaks to me, pulls on my heart strings. Can I relate to anything she goes through – no, not at all. Yet, my heart hurts for her. Like, genuinely aches for the shit her mother puts her through, and by the time Jax enters the picture…I’m already invested.
I do have to laugh at the fact that Calla is all “woe is me, I’m 21 and never been kissed” – yo, if Jax were to be my first kiss, I’d fucking hold out.
My crush on this fictional man is not healthy, but I’d die for him to be real.
I don’t even know if I can adequately explain why I love this book so much, I just do. I just want to shove it at people and make them read it. I think it harkens back to that whole “damsel in distress” trope that I’m all for. Jax is very much the protector in this book, and with what Calla faces, she needs a protector and he makes her feel safe.
Jfc, just thinking about this book is putting me into a mood. It’s making me sad about my own life and lack of significant other. If I could rip Jax from the pages of this book and into reality I so fucking would.
I think my favorite part of this book is the tequila scene. It’s so adorable, funny and absolutely sweet. And I love how Jax takes it upon himself to give Calla all the firsts she hasn’t been able to have. That shit’s so good and I’m here for it.
On top of the sexy AF love interest that is Jax, the danger magnet that is Calla, Jen doesn’t disappoint with this plot. I love that all of these books deal with pretty heavy topics. They’re balanced with the cute couple moments and the cheesy lines, but these characters deal with some really hard, heavy things. Jen could have just written a cutesy NA romance where the biggest obstacle is a lack of communication, but instead she gives these characters near tragic backstories that usually come back to haunt them in some way. Then together the guy and girl work through the trauma and come out the other side stronger.
I just love it.
I’m just going to end this review here, because if I think about this book any longer, I will fully throw myself into a slump bemoaning about how Jax isn’t real and life isn’t fair. Jen’s books are usually my go-to’s to pull me from reading slumps but not this book. I could read it over and over and over again, but I’d never end up reading anything else. I’m still going to highly recommend this book, because you need to meet Jax. If you’ve loved all of Jen’s other male love interests, then you’re going to want to meet this man.