Published by Self Published on 12/19/17
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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When the new girl in town, Eliza “Izzy” Forrester decides to hit the local drinking hole, she’s not ready to meet the town’s good, solid guy. She’s definitely not prepared to engage in her very first hookup with him.
Then Izzy wakes up the next morning in Johnny Gamble’s bed and good girl Izzy finds she likes being bad for Johnny.
Even so, Izzy feels Johnny holding her at arm’s length. But Johnny makes it clear he wants more and Izzy already knows she wants as much of hot-in-bed, sweet-out-of-it Johnny Gamble.
Floating on air thinking this is going somewhere, Izzy quickly learns why Johnny holds distant.
He’s in love with someone else. Someone who left him and did it leaving him broken. Whoever was up next would be runner up, second best. Knowing the stakes, Izzy will take what she can get from the gentleman that’s Johnny Gamble. And even knowing his heart might never mend, Johnny can’t seem to stay away from Izzy.
Until out of nowhere, his lost love comes back to town. He’s not going back, but Johnny still knows the right thing to do is let Izzy go.
And Izzy knew the stakes, so she makes it easy and slips though his fingers.
But that’s before Johnny realizes Eliza moved to town to escape danger that’s been swirling around her.
And that’s why Johnny decides to wade in.
That and the fact Eliza Forrester makes breakfast with a canary singing on her shoulder and fills out tight dresses in a way Johnny Gamble cannot get out of his head.
The Hookup confirms that KA only gets better, her writing and her storytelling grows and changes, remaining familiar but always feeling fresh, and she can make you fall in love again and again with characters that are strangers at first but quickly become favorites. And The Hookup is definitely a new favorite.
5 “This was Everything” Stars.
I fell asleep reading The Hookup. I was so into it, I couldn’t put it down even though my eyes were drooping. I fell asleep in a small town in Kentucky watching two people deal with the aftermath of their hookup and, I swear, Johnny Gamble and Izzy Forrester infiltrated my dreams with that mess, that push and pull, with their assumptions and insecurities and steamy attraction. I dreamt of this book and I woke up before the sun to dive right back into it. I was HOOKED. I was consumed. I adored this book SO MUCH and I couldn’t get enough of it.
I love that Kristen Ashley’s characters can range anywhere in age from early 20s to late 40s. I love that she writes books that involve women finding love for the first time and for the last time in different stages of their life. But characters in their early 30s are my favorite and that’s where Izzy and Johnny fall. Young, but mature enough that they’ve dealt with their share of heartbreak, with their share of loss. Young with their whole lives ahead of them, but with enough life experience that they can truly appreciate a gift when it presents itself after having lived through so much heartache.
A good part of The Hookup guarantees the pleasure pain of those yummy heart tugs I love to feel while reading something that hurts so good. The uncertainty and the fragility of what may or may not become of Johnny and Izzy after their hookup had my nerves on edge and my heart in my throat. But aside from all that angst and all that uncertainty is this underlying rightness, this certainty the reader feels that this is going to be good… SO. FREAKING. GOOD. The chemistry between these characters, characters who, by the way, just became TWO OF MY FAVORITE KA PERSONALITIES, is on fire. They click together even when they don’t realize they’re doing it, even when they insist this won’t work.
This book is old school KA in that it fills you immediately with that all-consuming warmth that only this author knows how to deliver. With the opening words, you feel instantly enveloped in KA’s world and it’s familiar and perfect and intoxicating. But this story feels new and fresh and exciting as well. KA takes us to Matlock, Kentucky and sweeps us away in a new town with new friends and a new story that I couldn’t get enough of. I’m not sure if it’s just been too long since I’ve read a Kristen Ashley novel, or if The Hookup is really as fantastic as I thought it was, but I couldn’t put this book down, couldn’t stop thinking about it when I did, and I never wanted it to end.
The Hookup is an incredibly sexy romance about a one night stand that becomes so much more. But as with all of Kristen Ashley’s stories, The Hookup also sees these characters through their own individual transformations, following them as they discover where life can take them if they allow themselves to let go of what they thought they were supposed to want and open their eyes to what they deserve. It’s beautiful and moving and heartwarming and deliciously romantic while also being sexy and fiery and dramatic and a beautiful testament to family. I loved it. Ever single moment, I loved it.
I know I’m part of a vast fandom of this author’s and we love to toss around the term “old school KA” as if her earlier work is her best, as if nothing compares to the first KA storylines that made us fans in the first place. I just said it in this very review. Old school KA is supposed to mean the very best of KA. But The Hookup makes me want to stop using that term. The Hookup confirms that KA only gets better, her writing and her storytelling grows and changes, remaining familiar but always feeling fresh, and she can make you fall in love again and again with characters that are strangers at first but quickly become favorites. And The Hookup is definitely a new favorite.
“Izzy?” she answered.
“Hey, I’m home,” I told her.
“Okay, well…how are you?”
How was I?
Johnny’s behavior explained by the sad fact it was the anniversary of his father’s death, but still explained, and he was coming over for dinner the next night, not to mention, after not being affectionate (at all, unless you counted sitting me on the countertop, which I kind of did) after the last time we’d had sex, he made out with me at the door of my car for a good, long, happy while—I was great.
“I’m great,” I told her, opening Serengeti’s stall and moving in, lifting a hand to pat her jaw while she moved her nose to snuffle my neck and blow at my hair.
“Damn,” Deanna muttered.
My hand arrested on Serengeti and I focused on Deanna.
“What?” I asked.
“Damn,” she repeated.
“Damn what?” I asked.
“Well, just to say Johnny Gamble is Johnny Gamble.”
A specific area in my chest squeezed at the way she imparted that obvious but still confusing information.
“What’s that mean?” I asked.
“He’s Johnny Gamble of Gamble Garages. Did he tell you that?”
No he didn’t tell me that.
And suddenly I was embarrassed about something that I hadn’t liked all along.
But it was worse since Deanna knew more about a man I’d slept with than I did.
Serengeti was getting fidgety, so I used my hand on her to lead her out of her stall, and once in the corridor, she trotted out the open bay at the back, directly into her pasture.
I moved to Amaretto as I shared with Deanna, “No, he didn’t tell me that. I mean, we talked but we were also doing other things.” I let that lie. It did, weighty between us on the phone, before I went on, “I don’t know what that means.”
Even though it seemed like I did. Something seemed familiar about that.
“You haven’t lived here long enough,” she murmured while I opened Amaretto’s stall and moved in for some quick pats before I let him loose. Louder, Deanna said, “You know the gas station in town?”
That was where I’d seen it.
“He owns that?”
“That and seven more of them across three counties. None in the city, just in the counties. Some of them are like mini-mart stores. All of them sell gas and do work on cars.”
That was impressive.