I am a huge fan of Penelope Douglas and her books are perfection to me. I was absolutely enthralled by Madoc and Fallon, I had always LOVED Madoc and was thrilled he was getting his own story. In Rival, the author deals with lots of emotion, heavy subjects and the pain of tragedy but she always throws in a little humor to lighten things up a bit. Madoc and Fallon have a forbidden love but the way the author tells their story, you fell nothing but empathy and love for them.
I absolutely love these characters, and how the author never disappoints with the steam and chemistry factor. Her writing is honest, elegant and blunt, and never filters out the harsh reality of life with hearts-and-butterflies. Madoc and Fallon have had some terrible things happen in their lives but they still turn out to be honest and good young adults. This series is one of my favorites and I highly recommend that you start with Bully, which is one of my all-time favorite books.
Tate and Jared do get an appearance here, as well as Jax, who is getting his own book soon (yay!). But Madoc and Fallon are the focus and they are fantastic characters. I love Madoc’s hot, tough-guy exterior and Fallon’s off-beat personality. Of course, they are are hiding their pain and they must work through lots of miscommunication before we get to their very satisfying conclusion.
I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait for Jax’s story!
(*ARC provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.)
“Fallon” I call quietly, inching into her room.
She’s sitting on her bed, leaning back against the headboard and knees pulled up. The room is dark, except for the small light that glows from the nightstand. I can see her eyes pop up from the book she’s reading.
“I…I um…” I stutter, feeling like a complete idiot Why the hell did I come here? She’s ignored me completely since we had sex last week. I haven’t stopped thinking about it, though.
“What do you want, Madoc?” Her sharp tone cuts my confidence, and I almost turn and dive out of the room.
But I can’t. I’ve been driving myself nuts all week trying to not stare at her, trying not to look for her in the halls at school, trying not to think about how much I want her.
I need to know.
“You.” I swallow and hold my head up. “I want you.”
She drops her knees and folds her legs cross-legged. “So you think I’m a slut, then? Just like my mother, Madoc?” She reminds me of my horrible words to her.
“Jesus, no.” I walk towards the end of the bed. “I didn’t mean that. I know you were a virgin…like me.”
I see her eyebrows rise in surprise.
“I just…,” I continue. “I just can’t stop thinking about it. I can’t stop thinking about you.”
She looks down and slowly slides the book off of her lap and onto the bed.
She’s thinking. With Fallon, that can be bad. But she hasn’t kicked me out, either. I round the end of her bed to stand at her side.
“Did you like it?” I ask.
She peers up at me, her voice softer. “I thought you were just drunk or pissed off. I didn’t think you meant to…” she trails off, shaking her head.
Whipping off the covers, she swings her legs over the edge of the bed and looks up at me. “You’ve always insulted me, Madoc,” she accuses.
I kneel down, my jeans rubbing between her legs.
“I’m an idiot. You’re beautiful, and I don’t know how I didn’t see it.”
Her pursed lips are angry. “You just want me, because I’m here. You think because we did it once, I won’t say no.”
“You can say no.” I plant both of my hands on the bed on either side of her, and she stared at my bare chest. “You can lock the door, and I’ll never come in again. I just can’t stop thinking about you. I love the piercings. They turn me on. I love that you don’t dress like a girlie girl. I like that no one else gets to see what I saw. Tell me you liked it, Fallon.” I search her eyes.
Please don’t say no. Please tell me I can touch you, I want to scream. The room is quiet except for the light hum of the AC coming through the vents. She breathes and searches her lap for answers she already has. She wants me, too.
If she didn’t, she’d have kicked me out already.
Her tight green tank top and sleep shorts are within my touch. I can barely breath, knowing that in a moment she’ll either tell me to get out or she’ll let me feel her again.
After a moment, she tugs at the hem of my gray T-shirt. “This doesn’t mean we have to hang out, does it? Because I still hate your music and your friends.”
Joy grips my chest, spreading like a forest fire throughout my body. I lean into her neck and kiss.
“Just at night,” I whisper.