Series: The Reluctant Romantics #1.5
Published by Self-Published on January 29th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
We fell in love in a lightning strike, a sudden anomaly in a sea of lost people. He knew right away, yet I was hesitant. I could have never prepared myself for a love like ours. No one could. As a child, I had conjured an amazing story in my mind. It was a story I could retell about a man that would move me like no other; a story about the way we met and how he had swept me off my feet. But, the ending to that fairytale was so far from the reality. No one will want to hear that story now, but for Grant, I will always tell it.
***Explicit Sex and Language. Not for those who are not fans of spontaneous love affairs.
Reading Order for The Reluctant Romantics Series
The Mind 1.5 (Novella for Grant and Rose)
The Heart (Coming March) 2016 (less)
I’m a huge Kate Stewart fan. I loved Loving the White Liar, and I was so spellbound by The Fall that it made my Top Ten of 2015 list. We are introduced to Rose and Grant in The Fall (the prequel to this book), and I was looking forward to the story of their whirlwind romance. The blurb makes it clear that the book isn’t intended for readers who dislike Insta-love – admittedly, something I’m not crazy about. The romantic in me appreciates the dedication: “For those who still believe in love at first sight.” The cynic in me, though, rejects that notion. Do I believe in attraction at first sight? Absolutely! Love? Not so much.
Perhaps that explains why it took me awhile to connect with the story. I think I would have bought into their spontaneous love affair more if Grant had even a little interaction with Rose before being convinced she’s the one he should spend the rest of his life with (and vice versa). In the beginning of the book, he comes across as rather stalker-ish in his intense pursuit of her <spoiler>He suddenly appears in her bedroom in the middle of the night to ask her on a date.</spoiler>. It was borderline creepy, so I appreciated that Rose felt the same way. Her apprehension makes the scenario more believable. She’s one tough cookie – a little prickly, very skeptical, driven in her career goals, and feisty. Her mind battles her heart, whereas Grant is a true romantic and incredibly agreeable. He is determined to open her mind to the possibility of love regardless of how long it takes. In the process, he starts to wear down Rose’s defenses – and mine. The deeper they fall in love, the more I enjoyed the story. The last half of the book is especially exceptional.
Although the book is told primarily through Rose’s narrative, there are a few chapters written from Grant’s POV. I loved those chapters because they offer key insight into Grant’s feelings and motivations, and I came to understand his rash behavior.
The story has incredible depth for a novella, which is a testament to Kate Stewart’s creative and intuitive writing style. Ultimately, The Mind is a tender love affair between two beautiful characters and the reader as well. It’s a sexy and emotional journey – one I’m glad I took a chance on. I’m ready for the continuation of the story in The Heart!
Recommended for fans of:
Love at first sight
**ARC received from the author in exchange for an honest review.**
When I started school, I’d decided that love could wait. Well, after my one and only boyfriend threw me away for someone that looked more like the girl I’d taken a seat next to. I envied girls like that, so well put together at all times: the right clothes, the right shoes, perfect hair and skin tone, no matter the weather. I, however, was a hot mess and had been since I was a kid. Growing up, I had absolutely no interest in playing Barbie’s with my sister when I could be swinging from trees. When we were younger, Dallas used to come in from playing to show our parents she hadn’t gotten her clothes dirty, while I, to my mother’s absolute horror, brought in anything that crawled or hopped. As I watched the girl next to me play with her perfectly painted nails, I swore to myself that one day I would make time for things like that. I would become a better, more alluring version of myself.
School came first, love would have to wait, and my father agreed wholeheartedly. My mother, on the other hand, had told me “The whole world would not make a damn bit of sense until I fell in love.” I’d already tried that and had barely made it out alive. My parents were a pair of romantics. While I did subscribe to their brand of thought, right now was not the time.
Curiosity got the best of me and I turned to my left, although I had sworn to myself I wouldn’t, and felt the prick of a tingle start from my scalp then down my back as I found his eyes on me.
Turning my attention back to the lecture, I cursed my stupid curiosity. Why was he still looking at me?
When we were dismissed, I stood up to make my way to my apartment to read what I could to prep for my next lab, but was stopped short at the door by the same man that had already taken up too much of my imagination. I pushed past him for the second time but was stopped in the corridor when he addressed me.
“You.” It was a statement from him, not a question. I turned to look at him, utterly confused.
“Me?” I noticed his girlfriend eyeing our exchange as she continued to talk to her friends.
“What’s your name?”
“Rose,” he mimicked, his eyes still intent on mine. He stood with his hands in the pockets of his jeans as he continued to stare. I finally broke our gaze. He smiled at the ground for a moment then looked at me again. “Okay.” His smile was breathtaking. It was boyishly handsome on a face that screamed all man. I was supposed to be doing something. What was I doing? He had my full attention. I couldn’t tear my eyes away. He was quite a bit taller than I was and had a broad chest that was torturing his pale blue t-shirt. He didn’t belong in my class. He didn’t belong in this school, and it was too easy to tell. He had a deep tan and looked to be a bit of a roughneck. We stared at each other for a full minute as I tried desperately to take all of him in, but he had too much body for me to compartmentalize. Between the bulges in his arms, his broad chest, and an ass I was straining to get a glimpse of, I concluded he looked like Tarzan in modern day clothing. If I kept my appraisal of him going on any longer, I felt I would start spouting off things like: “You Tarzan, me Jane, and me want to swing.”
“Okay, Rose,” he said, interrupting my inner dialogue and daydream. Damn him! We were almost happy living in the trees. It was obvious he had something on his mind.
“Is there a conversation I’m having with you that I don’t know about?” I asked in a hushed tone.
“Yes, Rose, there is.” I was graced with another smile— oh, God, a dimple— then, “I’ll see you around.”
“Well… who are you?” He looked back at me with a confidence I’d only seen a few men carry, namely my father.
“I’m the man that’s going to marry you.” I snorted, quite unattractively, as my reply. Then he caught my gaze again, imploring me to believe him. “I’m the man that you are going to marry.”