Before Hadley is an amazing new adult romance. It has the precise blend of witty and flirty banter, sweet and oh so swoony moments that had me melting in a big puddle of goo, incredibly hot sexiness, and a beautiful story about finding oneself, hope, forgiveness and love.
“You are the only person who has ever given me hope. The only person who has ever shown me love. The only person who has ever given me all of herself and made me want to do the same.”
Hadley knows what she wants, she’s going to collage to follow her passion for art. She definitely knows she doesn’t want anything to do with the gorgeous new exchange student who can hit a baseball like a pro and has his pick of girls who are lining up to get a piece of him. Hadley can sense killer doses of player charm ooze out his every pore, she knows she should steer clear of him, but can she?
“I knew with every fiber of my being that Caynan Abbott would ruin me for all others. And when he finally kissed me, not only would it be explosive, but it would be something no one else would ever live up to. I was so screwed.”
Caynan is used to keeping things light and simple, without forming attachments because he knows he won’t stay in the same place for long, he knows he can never reveal his secrets. Then he literally runs into a girl who doesn’t want him, whose feistiness is an irresistible challenge that has arrested his mind. He knows it’s the worst possible idea to start a relationship he knows won’t last, but the way she sees to the heart of him without even knowing him makes him feel alive, happy and with something he hasn’t felt in a really long time, hope. But can there be hope is the truth ever came out?
“This girl was the real deal. Sweet yet sassy. Confident yet vulnerable. If I wasn’t careful, she had the ability to make me feel things. Things a guy like me had no business feeling. Then I’d be fucked.”
I really enjoy reading J. Nathan’s stories. Not only are they full of sweet angst but she has a writing style that makes me want to savor every single word, comma and period, and she doesn’t shy away from taking the story through its natural sad, raw realness and then giving us a wonderfully happy success story.
“There was no future for us. And Hadley was the type of girl who deserved an amazing future. Hell, she was the type of girl I’d see a future with if I actually had one of my own.”
I appreciate the strong heroines J. gives us and Hadley is definitely one of them. I loved her honesty and wit. I liked that she stood by her principals but also allowed Caynan to chip away her walls because with her, his true self shone even when he wasn’t being totally forthcoming.
“Being honest with someone was completely foreign to me. I’d never been able to be fully open with anyone before. Never been able to let anyone in. I wondered if Hadley was the one. The one I could actually be myself with. Because I really needed someone to confide in. Someone who could know my demons and still care about me.”
I loved the cocky arrogant hero and Hadley’s take no lip attitude. It was an interesting, slow burning mix of frenemies to lovers and second chances.
“So what should I call you?” he asked.
“Honest.” He cocked his head.
“Yeah. Sort of figured that.”
“Did you now?”
He nodded. “And bloody adorable.”
I absolutely loved all the time they spent together it was pure joy with an agonizing twinge of angst because of the heartbreak I sensed was coming. It was sweet torture and I struggled not to jump straight to the end.
“Before you, Hadley, I didn’t see a future… but to someone like me, someone who had no shot at a future, seeing one was monumental.”
There were times I felt so sad for him. For having to grow up so fast or simply not having a childhood at all. That he had been so thoroughly manipulated by his father that he couldn’t see how to get out of a situation that that grated and wore on him continually because he just wanted to be normal. But was happy that he found Hadley and I especially liked how he conveys the fact that she helped change his life for the better.
“I need to be someone’s everything, too…. Just because I made mistakes in the past, doesn’t mean I don’t deserve a future with someone who wants me for me. I deserve to be wanted, too.”
Hadley and Caynan’s romance was wonderfully charming and addicting. I have highlights in every other page that would make swoony teasers and there are plenty of sweet moments with which you could make an awesome pinterest board. Oh wait, the author already did that!
This story has secrets I won’t reveal because I hope they grip you just as they did me along with its emotional rollercoaster ride that includes fun fiestyness in this very original new adult plot.
“I can’t believe I made it through life without you.”
Before Hadley is a standalone, New Adult Romance. Told from both points of view with a happy ending.
* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via NetGalley. The excerpts are from that copy. *