Wednesday, June 10, 2015

review || FALLING FAST { blog tour }

Falling Fast by Tina Wainscott

Publisher: Loveswept (6/16/2015)
Series: Falling Fast , book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Tasty Book Tours/NetGalley
Purchase links || amazon | bn | itunes | kobo || add to goodreads

Rating: ★★★1/2

Fans of Jasinda Wilder and Colleen Hoover will adore this emotional new small-town romance—a smoldering tale of first love and long-awaited redemption from USA Today bestselling author Tina Wainscott.

Raleigh West works in an auto shop day and night, trying to put his broken past out of mind. It’s been seven years since the fiery crash that landed his teenage sweetheart in the hospital . . . and him in jail. In an instant, he lost everything: his passion for racing, his hope of escaping his father’s shameful legacy, and the only girl he ever loved. Raleigh hasn’t seen her since that awful night. Never got a chance to apologize. And never forgave himself, either.

When brave, beautiful Mia Wentworth returns to the Florida coast for the first time in what seems like forever, it’s not to see Raleigh. Even so, the moment she arrives she can feel his presence like a gust of wind that gives her goose bumps. Opening her heart to him again seems impossible. But staying away? That might be harder still. Lucky for them both, Mia’s never been the kind of woman to take the easy way out.

about Tina || USA Today bestselling author Tina Wainscott has always loved the combination of romance and suspense, because nothing complements falling in love better than being hunted down. The author of more than thirty novels and novellas, Wainscott creates characters with baggage, past hurts, and vulnerabilities. They go through hell, find love, and, at the end, find peace in who they are and everything they’ve gone through. And isn’t that what everyone wants?

{ excerpt } .
Raleigh looked up, and his eyes softened in a way she knew, and felt, right down to her bones. He didn’t smile, but he stood, his body tensing as he took in her approach. Friendly or hostile? He was no doubt trying to figure it out. She tried to smile, to let him know that she wasn’t here to yell at him, but her face felt frozen. Paralyzed. Hell, was she going to freeze up again?

She tried to utter a greeting, but her dry throat prevented the words from emerging. She waved instead.

Raleigh stepped out from behind the stone, coming toward her. His eyes hungrily roamed over her, skipping from her face down her body, then quickly back again. Not lustily but as if sating a deep thirst. And there, beneath the question in his eyes, lay a hint of a smile. 
Suddenly she was transported back to that first time she’d gone into the garage just to see him. To ask him more about the races. He’d looked both pleased and surprised.

“Mia,” he said, her name loaded with more than she could interpret.

For a moment, she forgot about the scars that would be visible in the bright sunlight. She forgot to breathe. “Raleigh,” she said. She thought she was smiling, but it might look more like a grimace. Gawd, get hold of yourself. You’re just here to let him know you don’t hate him. “I—”

“Mia! We have to go!” Her mother’s voice pounded harshly from behind her.

Mia turned, spotting her mother duck-walking over in spiked heels that kept sinking into the earth, hands fisted at her sides. She turned back to Raleigh. “I just wanted to say . . . I don’t —”

“Mia,” her mother ground out.

“Blame you,” Mia managed, and quickly walked toward her mother, not wanting her anywhere near Raleigh. He would probably think she was still that timid seventeen-year-old who was afraid her parents would find out that she was sneaking out at night. But she wanted to protect him from all the angry, imprudent things that would gush from her mother’s mouth.

“What are you doing?” she hissed as Mia hooked her arm through hers and spun her back toward the casket.

“It’s called closure, Mother. The last time we spoke, he’d called to see how I was doing, and I hung up on him.”

“Well, he deserved it,” she shot back, flicking a glance backward.

Mia fought not to do the same. She didn’t want to see what expression he might have. 
Disgust. Sympathy. Regret. Or, even worse, just dismissal. “No, he didn’t.”

“She was talking to him,” her mother said when they reached her father. “She went to him.”

Mia met her father’s curious and disconcerted expression. “I just wanted him to know I wasn’t angry at him.” Though, dammit, she hadn’t gotten that part out.

“Why do you care what he thinks?” her father asked in his low, emotionless voice.

“Or do you care?” her mother asked. “You’re not still—”

“Of course not.” Even uttering the words in love was preposterous. Mia couldn’t help herself, glancing toward Raleigh. He was kneeling in front of the stone again, but his eyes were on her. “It was just a summer romance. Teenage hormones.”

They seemed gratified by that last declaration, even though it sounded hollow to her ears. 
“We should go,” her father said, nodding toward the people now milling by the limousine.

Once they reached it, she shot one more look toward Raleigh. She wanted to believe her recent declaration, but she felt exactly like that girl who had fallen fast and hard for the boy who’d made her a woman.

{ review } .
This story opens up seven years ago, when Mia first met Raleigh -- a car mechanic who fought hard to lose his 'southern'. While we don't get to see it, we learn that after the first meeting, the seventeen and nineteen year olds, respectively, fell into a whirlwind romance. One day, one that Raleigh feels was a mistake but Mia swears it was her doing... one day changes everything and their worlds are thrown apart.

Now Mia's grandmother has passed and she's coming back to town for the funeral; she's afraid to see Raleigh again, for fear of what he'll think when he sees her, but equally a part of her is excited because he was her teenage love.

Raleigh knows that Mia will be back in town and as much as he wants to, needs to, see her, he has an unhealthy dose of guilt riding his conscience. Add that to the fact that Mia's parents never thought very highly of him... He doesn't feel they'll accept him at twenty-six any more than they did at nineteen.

But like moths to a flame, two magnets drawn to one another, Raleigh and Mia will learn that what was considered teenaged, puppy love, may have been the real deal. Mia's family doesn't accept Raleigh, but her grandmother did -- and I do love my meddling grandparent stories, even if this one was slightly different in the fact that she had now passed away and was still pushing these two together.

I loved both Mia and Raleigh. I loved that Raleigh had his insecurities, but he was still a man's-man. Most of his insecurities circled around Mia, as well as what others thought about him. As he thinks to the readers, his best friend's southern accent doesn't get two looks simply because the man comes from money; but the same southern accent on Raleigh showcases him to be a southern fool, so he works hard to keep it covered.

I loved that Mia had her obvious, very legitimate, insecurities... but they didn't stop her from wanting to see Raleigh again. She didn't necessarily want to hide from him. She didn't want him to feel guilty or to look at her and see his mistakes, either, but she doesn't blame him for anything.

While the lust and want returned as quickly as seeing the other, I liked that these two took the time to get to know the adult version of their teenage love -- makes things more believable because we all know people change over the years. Young love can change to be nothing, or it can change to be great, and what these two had, and have, is certainly great.

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