Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review: Her Heart's Secret Wish by Juliana Haygert

       Title: Her Heart’s Secret Wish
       Author: Juliana Haygert
       Release Date: December 10, 2012
       Publisher: Decadent Publishing
       Category: New Adult Contemporary Romance
       Type: Kindle

With a renowned reputation as a player, she had everything figured out...

Twenty-year-old college student, Natasha is the life of every party and the reason behind many celebrations. The easiest girl on campus has all guys at her feet and more than a few in her bed.

…until he came into the game…

Having entered the academic world by chance, Professor Jason Stone is surprised to find one of his young students a huge temptation. The infamous Natasha has caught his attention. But is there more to her than meets the eye?

…and changed the rules.

As their unexpected friendship grows, so does their attraction to each other. When Jason’s Christmas plans are canceled and he ends up at the same party as Natasha, sparks flare, destroying the safe zone around them. Will they figure out how to break through their self-imposed barriers to be together, or lose one another forever?

“Are you playing hostess?”
“I’m helping.”
“Then a Coke, please.”
One of her brows cocked up.
“Seriously. I don’t drink.”
Shaking her head, she disappeared into the kitchen.
To his surprise, he found Aidan had moved three steps away and was talking to another group. Taking advantage of the sudden solitude, he walked to a corner with a small bookcase filled with used college books, mostly about math and physics. Boring stuff.
Natasha returned and handed him a glass with his beverage. “Here you go.”
She had another glass of soda for herself.
He eyed the drink. “Coke?”
“I think it’s better if I don’t drink tonight.”
Why, so she didn’t throw herself at some guy, or was there another reason? He fought the urge but ended up glancing to the other side of the room, where Cohen still ogled her.
The conversation around them was loud, but even so, he lowered his tone and asked, “Doesn’t it bother you?”
“Being at a party where there’s a guy ready to…I don’t know, attack you or something.”        
She glanced to the floor. “I try not thinking about it.”
“Why not?”
 She seemed unsure about answering him. Finally, she stared into his eyes. “Because everywhere I go, there’s a guy who looks at me as if I was some sort of prey. If I let myself think about it, I would never leave my room.” She turned to the bookcase and fingered the books’ spines. “Sometimes I wish I wasn’t me.”
“I shouldn’t have said anything.” Jesus, he had to blow everything. He raised his hand to comfort her in some way, pat her back or maybe touch her skin, but he stopped himself before the situation became more awkward. “I had no idea you felt that way. You never gave me that impression.”
She smiled, and though it was weak, it didn’t stop his heart from doing a somersault. She was too damn beautiful.
“Sorry, I’m the one who shouldn’t be this honest.”
“I like you honest—”
Her finger stopped midair from one book to another, and he realized what he had said.
“I mean, I like it when you’re honest.” He cleared his throat. “I thought you were always honest when we talked.”
She leaned against the bookcase. “I am, but maybe I omit some parts. I know you know about my reputation and how people seem to think I’m some kind of love goddess around here, but I didn’t really want you to think that badly of me.”
They stared intently at each other. His heartbeat slowed for two seconds before going into overdrive.
He was losing the battle.

Dialogue Highlight:
Unable to hold everything in any longer, she squeezed her eyes closed and told her roommate what had happened the previous night.
“You have to tell him,” Fallon said.
“Tell him what?”
“That you haven’t slept with anyone for the last seven months because of him.”
A steel ball dropped into her stomach. When she recovered her voice, she asked, “H-how do you know that?”
Fallon snorted. “I’m not stupid, and I’m your roommate. I know when you get home early or late, or when there’s a guy in your room or not.”
And she thought her roomie hadn’t paid attention to any of her affairs.
“You have to tell him, and not just the sex part, but everything. About you and your past and your fears. I’m sorry to break this to you, but you’re in love with him. You’ve been in love with him for quite some time, and he needs to know.”
“He’s older,” she muttered.
“You’re twenty-one today. The difference will seem smaller from now on,” Fallon countered, ready for battle. “Next.”
“He’s a professor, my professor. I even have an illustration class with him next semester.”
“And I’m sure you signed up for it to spend more time with him.” Her roommate chuckled. “Then you two should hide it. Come on, won’t you be able to hide it for the next year and a half until you graduate?”
Could she hide it? Yes. Did she want to hide it? No. Though he would want to. Not only for his career but also for himself, for his reputation. Being beside her would taint all aspects of his life, especially his academic career. She didn’t want to do that to him.
“He deserves someone better,” she said.
“There’s no one better than you, Nat. You’re my best friend, the best friend. You’re gorgeous and hot. And when you drop the player act, you’re charming and caring and honest.”
Heat took over her cheeks. “But he doesn’t like me.”
“You don’t know that. Remember last night?”
Her mind flooded with the memory of his powerful hold on her, his hungry lips, his greedy hands, his charged breathing. All too good to be true. So good, it had crumbled to dust under her hands. “I’m trying not to.”
“How did it feel being with him?”
She halted mid-step. It had been glorious and painful at the same time. “Okay, this isn’t helping.”
“See, you miss him. And I bet he misses you, too. You have to set things right. Talk and explain.”
“You make it sound so easy.”
“Because it is.”
Snickering, Natasha leaned against the wall. “I bet if you were in my situation, you wouldn’t think it’s easy.”
“No, I probably wouldn’t. But I’m not in your situation, am I? Anyway, you know I’m right. I’m always right.”
“Damn you.”

So I decided to read this book knowing absolutely nothing about it or the author. I made my decision based entirely on the fact that it is published by Decadent. Says a lot, yes? Anyway, I have been reading some pretty descriptive stories lately so I was a bit taken back by this book because I guess I was expecting a little more in the way of intimacy. That said, I still very much enjoyed the story and ended up really liking the break from the descriptive sex I generally read about. As far as the senses, it is nice to step outside of your usual genres ever-so-often to keep from becoming over sensitized.
Natasha is a bit of a player. Shuffled in and out of the foster care system as a child, she ends up feeling alone all of the time. Even surrounded by people, she still craves the connection to another person that she has been missing all of her life. Unsure how to meet the need, she turns to a life of parties and one night stands. But life in the fast lane at college back fires on her and before too long her reputation becomes widely known. To make matters worse, het heart is now linked to a man who is strictly off limits.
Jason is a professor and a bit of a gaming nerd. He connected with a student not too long ago and now is contemplating his next move. The lure of Natasha is becoming more than he can bear and at this point he faces getting fired if he does make a move, or just getting the hell away from the situation before something irreversible happens. Consequently he is now looking at quitting teaching to work full time for the gaming company he now moonlights with. But a chance change of holiday plans throws Jason and Natasha together and the idea of walking away from her seems impossible. If only he could get past her bad girl, sleep around reputation.
Funny thing. I generally have a problem with reading any story that has a teacher/student connection within a romantic relationship simply because it seems wrong to me. But this time around, I didn’t have that problem. I think possibly part of that is attributed to the description of the characters; most especially Jason. He is only 30 and is a bit of a nerd, but a heavy and knowledgeable gamer. Both characters seem young and vibrant and don’t give off the professor/pupil vibe that generally turns me off. Also, while expecting more in the way of a sexual encounter, I found myself pleasantly surprised that there wasn’t an actual intimate act that took place within the few pages of this novella. That too helped facilitate my further enjoyment of this book. In the end, sex wasn’t necessary and may have compromised Natasha’s character given her “changes” made in light of her love for Jason. Secondary character is a nice addition to the mix as one who knows Natasha possibly better than she knows herself.
I would classify this book as a sweet contemporary romance, but I noticed that is classified as a new adult contemporary romance. To be honest, I have not an inkling of what this genre entails. I have seen it before, but having never read one before, I just looked past it. I now have a reason to find out more about this genre. While I generally prefer more smutty reads, when I need a break from such reads, I will definitely be seeking Ms. Haygert out again. For those of you who love your HEA’s, but have more of a delicate sensibility, this book is definitely for you. The characters are likeable and at around 40 pages, you can read it quickly for a nice escape. And those of you that aren’t quite so delicate, this story could be a nice change of pace for you. Overall an enjoyable read!
(eBook copy provided by author/tour company in exchange for an honest review.)

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