Stay by Hilary Wynne, released 2013 by iUniverse
Set against the steamy and sultry world of South Beach, Florida, a modern romance unfolds in Stay.
Alexa is beautiful, independent and hard to resist for serially unattached Julian. Neither one is looking for a relationship, but their palpable chemistry and instant emotional connection is too strong to ignore. For the first time in years, Julian is interested in more than just sex. He wants a relationship with intoxicating Alexa, but it’s not that simple. Not only are Julian and Alexa struggling with the intensity of this new relationship, but they also have to contend with Luke, Alexa’s best friend, whose own love for her leaves him willing to do anything to convince her that Julian is not the man for her. Luke’s determination and Alexa’s secret past threaten to tear Julian and Alexa apart as she struggles to open her heart to love. Julian and Alexa embark upon a roller-coaster ride of emotional and physical passion that both pulls them apart and holds them together. Despite their affinity for each other, Alexa fears that Julian will leave when he learns about her past and Julian is unsure he can love a woman who in so many ways remains a mystery, a woman who keeps threatening to run, a woman who can’t decide if she is going to STAY
So, I’m not gonna deny it, this isn’t my usual choice of book. But I’ve been feeling pretty burnt out between the Post Colonial reading list for university, and the stack of SF and Horror titles I’ve been working through.
Put simple: I needed this book. I just didn’t know it.
I do not jest when I say I settled down to read this book mid-morning and finished it, without doing much else, by bedtime. And that says something to me, because I am so easily distracted.
Here we go then. What did I like about Stay?
- Julian – I have to start here because as much as Julian might have changed Alexa’s life, he certainly wormed his way into mine. ‘Drool-worthy’ doesn’t even come close to describing him. He’s brilliantly perfect as much as he is brilliantly flawed.
- Alexa – Similarly to Julian, there is an admirable amount of balance to her character. She has issues. But she’s not magically cured by this new super-hot-amazing guy. Sure, he helps. But he isn’t necessarily the answer. I also really respect the fact that Wynne has made a character that has realistic priorities, and motives. She doesn’t just blow everything off to be with her new beau, Lexie makes a great role model in that respect because like most of us, she realises that you still have to work and live and push on through your insecurities and MEGA FEELS.
- That leads me on to the MEGA FEELS – I fell so hard for the developing romance between the two. There were moments where my stomach was in knots as certain moments unfolded.
- The S.E.X. – Bravo Ms Wynne. Bravo. I love the variation in the sexy-time. Also, I was pleased to see as much ‘give’ as Lexie ‘got’.
- It’s all about the story – And the story gripped me. Nothing too flashy. Not too much sex, just enough awkward-angry moments, and plenty of scope for a sequel.
- Shoes – My gosh! If you love shoes as much as I do, then this is the right book for you. It’s not overbearing, but those cute/sexy shoes are peppered through the story and it gave me so much pleasure imaging them on my own feeties.
What didn’t work for me?
- I’ll be honest. Not a lot.
- The opening – Ok, so I wasn’t entirely sure I was going to be on board with this book in the beginning. There is a lot of ‘telling’ as Lexie gives you a sort of backstory and explanation of the current circumstances and I was a little worried it would be like this throughout. It wasn’t. Yay!
- Luke – but I’ll tell you exactly why. He made me uncomfortable because it felt like a mirror to a certain part of my life that I wish never had to happen. The whole ‘this guy is my best friend until I get a boyfriend’ situation was far too familiar. Even the circumstances and wording of their final argument hit too close to home. Do not let this deter you! I can’t blame a book for my own personal hang-ups. And I admire how the whole scenario was handled. It made the emotional weight that much heavier; a necessity even.
I still can’t believe how fast I read this book, and it’s not exactly short! The characters are still floating around my head, and I’m happy for them to stay there.
I cannot wait for the sequel!
Because I’m currently reviewing my rating system, I’m using the time tested ‘stars out of five’ method.
Stay gets a very solid and sincere 4.5/5. An intelligently written, self-aware, page-turner. A great surprise for me as I stepped out of my comfort zone with this book.
It receives the BehindonBooks seal of approval. And I would recommend it to anyone looking for a rip-roaring, super sexy, hella cool romance! 😀