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The VIP series were the first books that I’ve read by Kristen Callihan and I’ve been dying to read Jax’s story. To be honest, it has been a long time since I’ve read this series, so I think a re-read is in order. I can’t say that I have a whole lot of rockstar romances that I absolutely love, but this book will always be a fave. We get to see the much deeper side of this life and how absolutely crazy it can be. I fell head over heels in love with Jax and Stella and just their story, overall. It’s emotional, it’s real and absolutely beautiful. With all the fame, there can also be a much darker and painful side that many never see.
I could never imagine being famous nor would I ever want to be. To me, there’s nothing appealing about being in the spotlight, I feel like eventually, it takes its toll on you and just sucks your soul! In this book, we witness 2 years after Jax hit rock bottom and he’s still trying to figure everything out in his life. And in enters Stella Grey, who just comes crashing into his life. The first chapter was easily one of my favorites, it’s when they first meet and it’s absolutely comical. Every man should know that you should never come between a woman and her sweets! My husband knows better and reading this hilarious event unfold had me in fits and I fell in love with Stella almost instantly.
I really enjoyed how their story started off with a lot of humor and banter that’ll have you snickering for days and it transitions into another layer where we see some depth of Callihan’s main characters. When a new job that Stella takes on ends up having her being neighbors with Jax, once they get past all that loathing, she begins to see past his attractive ways. And she quickly realizes that she understands him more than he thinks she does, there’s definitely something akin between these two.
Jax has a bit of a battle to get through before we see that happy ending. And I appreciated the way Kristen wrote about Jax and handling his mental health. It’s something that’s very real and relatable and I loved that she didn’t gloss over it or try to tuck away in a corner to be ignored.
Stella was more than willing to walk next to him and give Jax everything he’d need to get past his demons. But Jax needed to take that big leap into the unknown with her. To love, to trust; something that didn’t come easy for the both of them.
I can’t tell you enough about how much I loved this book, it’s easily my favorite in the series. It was easily a one-sitting kind of read and don’t even get me started on the number of times that I teared up reading their beautiful story. Callihan flawlessly weaves us a story where we’re quickly transitioned between lightheartedness and the feels.
FALL is a book that everyone needs to add to the top of their TBR!
The air between us shifts. I’m filled with a strange giddiness, wanting to laugh for the fun of it, but I’m also too warm, my limbs oddly heavy as if simple movements might be too much for me.
His tone turns soft and cajoling, teasing the truth out of me. “Are you going to tell me what you do?” When I say nothing, the corners of his eyes crinkle. “I see. You’re going to torture me a bit.”
The warm, fuzzy feeling grows as I shrug. “Torture feels apropos in this scenario.”
He hums again, taking another step toward me. “What makes you think I won’t like being tortured by you?”
The heat of his body and the scent of his skin makes my head light and my pulse pound. How did it get to this point where the highlight of my day is flirting with Jax Blackwood? Despite the thrill, I know I’m in over my head. I haven’t gone out on a date in months because I form attachments, I get emotional, and then I hurt when they inevitably leave. And this man will leave. He is as bright and fleeting as a camera flash. I’ll be left with the image of him seared into my memory and nothing more.
I tell myself all of this, the voice in my head as stern as possible. But it doesn’t make me back away. It doesn’t stop my body from somehow straining toward his without even moving. Because it might be stupid of me, but I want to feel something that isn’t planned. Something, for however briefly, that’s real.
He’s too attuned to me not to notice. John’s lids lower as his attention slides down my body before easing back up to my face. Slowly, he rests his forearm on the wall beside my head. “Tell me, Stella,” he murmurs.
“No,” I whisper back, flirting, even though I shouldn’t.
His biceps bunch as he leans in, a smile dancing on his lips. “Tell.”
My breasts graze his chest, and I feel it in my toes.
“You’re crowding me.” I hate how breathy I sound.
“Can’t help it.” His voice is a rumble, the heat of his breath playing over my skin. He ducks his head, drawing close until our lips nearly brush, and when he speaks again, his tone is almost conversational, except for the husky quality that touches deep within my core. “You smell like strawberries. Fucking delicious.”
My lids flutter, and I swallow hard. “Ordinarily, I’d call you out on that cliché but since I’ve been eating strawberries, you aren’t exactly wrong.”
His chuckle is slow and easy, as he eases back and his gaze slowly travels over my face. “Were they sweet, Stella Button?”
He’s looking at my mouth like he might try to find out. My lips tremble in response, and John tracks the movement, his breathing getting deeper, faster. “You have two freckles on your lips. One on the top lip and one on the bottom corner.”
Those damn freckles. They were the bane of my adolescence. I hid them with lipstick and silently cursed whenever someone mentioned them.
Freckles don’t have any feelings, but I swear it’s as if he’s touching them.
“You’re just noticing this?” I try to make it sound like a joke, but it comes out weak and thready.
His own lips quirk. “Oh, I noticed. It’s distracting as hell. They’re like two little dots of butter toffee. Makes me want to lick them, get a taste.”
Oh, God. Lick them, please. I can almost feel it. I want to feel it.
No. Bad Stella. Behave.
John’s lips part a fraction like he just might take that taste.
“Back off,” I whisper. And yet somehow my traitorous hands find their way to his sides, running over the waistband of his jeans, holding him there.
John makes a sound deep in his throat and tilts his hips, pressing them against mine. A distinctly thick bulge nudges my belly. Both of us lose a breath, and then he’s closer, his cheek touching my temple. “You’ll have to let me go first.”
My thumbs slide under the edge of his shirt and find smooth, taut skin. A tremor goes through his body. I try to think, search for what the hell we’ve been talking about.
His lips brush the crest of my cheek as he murmurs against my skin. “Tell me what you do, Stella. You know you want to.”
My smile feels illicit. Somehow the action is directly tied to all my happy parts, making them draw hot and tight. “I don’t think I do.”
Another hum. “Liar. You’re dying to.”