Against the Wall
Author: Jill Sorenson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pub Date: February 2, 2016
Alright so this is going to be a short review as I am at work and I’m quite busy. Anyway what can I say about this book. In my eyes it was okay but it did not make me fall head over heels in love. Now this is the first novel that I read by Jill Sorenson and I’m sorry but I expected more. This book only got a 2.5 star/heart rating in my eyes which I’m rounding up till 3 stars/hearts. Why am I doing that?? You’ll see…..
First off all I saw this book on Netgalley and when I read the blurb I was excited to read it but it just fell flat to me even though this book already has some high praises on Goodreads. The story itself was okay but what I hated was the two main characters. I love guys with tats but Eric not so much. I mean he is trying too hard to play the tough ex-con but he just wasn’t tough enough for that. He was just way too soft and just downright vulnerable at times. And then we come to Meghan…. *Sigh* I don’t know what to say….. She is just so naïve and she annoyed me most of the time. Normally a person should love the main characters but they just didn’t do it for me.
Now why would I round up my 2.5 stars instead of going lower? Now that is an easy answer. It was the minor characters that saved the story for me. I loved Tank and Matthew and I really wanted more of them! Especially my man Tank! It was the minor/ secondary characters and their stories that saved the book for me. And like I said before the story line of the book was okay but I could have done without the main characters or they could have gotten some improvement for me. I wanted more of the secondary characters, I mean they are the ones that fascinate me and they are the ones who felt real. THEY are the ones I want to read more about!
Anyway this book was okay enough BUT I think this is one of those books that you will either hate or love. I would have loved more of the secondary characters and less of the main but I can’t change that. Anyway it was a quick and easy read for me but the main characters just fell flat in my eyes.
I didn’t want a party.
I’ve been out three months, living in the court-mandated halfway house in Chino Hills. I did thirty months of hard time and I’ll be on parole for another thirteen—if I stay out of trouble.
Easier said than done.
Today is my first day back in Chula Vista, the border town where I was born. It’s the only place I’ve ever called home. The only place I’ve ever been, besides Mexico. And prison. I’m still down for my barrio, Castle Park. I can hold my head high on these streets. I’ll probably die on these streets.
I told April not to make a big deal out of my homecoming, but I can see the decorations as soon as Jenny opens the door. Pink fucking balloons, like my prison release is a baby shower. I gave birth to a violent criminal record. Congrats!
Jenny is my niece, the daughter of my dead brother, Raul. She’s eight years old and cute as hell. I’ve only seen her a few times since I got locked up. April brought her to visit on my twenty-third birthday, about nine months ago. My eyes feel funny when I look at her.
She doesn’t hug me or say a word. She just smiles shyly, revealing a gummy gap between her front teeth. It reminds me of Chucho, one of my cellmates. He had missing teeth and a goofy smile that lit up his tattooed face.
“I’m looking for a little girl named Jenny,” I say. “She’s about this tall.” I hold my palm at my side, indicating a shorter kid.
“I’m Jenny,” she says, giggling.
“You can’t be! You’re too big.”
She steps aside to let me in. I set my backpack by the door. I took the bus from Chino Hills to the Chula Vista transit station and walked the last six blocks to the house. April is standing a few feet away next to her husband. She’s already crying.
How am I supposed to hold it together when she’s falling apart? I clear my throat and focus on Jenny again. She’s wearing a green dress. Her dark, shiny hair has pink ribbons in it. She’s the spitting image of her mother. Pretty and sweet, untainted by my brother’s bad blood.
I crouch down and remove a hastily wrapped present from my backpack. “I’m sorry I missed your birthday.”
Birthdays, plural. I’d missed three of them.
It’s just one of those balero cup toys, the kind with the ball on a string, but Jenny acts like it’s the best gift ever. Her delighted expression makes my eyes burn again. I have to take a deep breath to recover.
“What do you say?” April prompts.
“Thank you,” Jenny says, a dimple appearing in her cheek.
I straighten to greet April next. Her face is rounder, her body lush in a new way. She’s wearing a flowery top that clings to her breasts but hangs like a drape over her middle. When she steps forward to embrace me, her stomach bumps into mine.
“You’ve gained some weight,” I say in Spanish, a kinder language for pointing out such things.
She releases me with a laugh, wiping the tears from her eyes. Then she rests a hand on the gentle slope of her belly. She’s always been beautiful. Her pregnancy accentuates her best qualities, giving her softer features and fuller breasts.
Noah steps forward and slides his arm around her. His big hand covers hers, protective. He’s noticed my appraisal of his wife’s new curves, but he’s too pleased with the proof of his virility to glare at me.
He’s okay, for a cop.
Officer Young spoke on my behalf at the sentencing hearing. If he hadn’t, the judge might have slapped me with ten years, the maximum for manslaughter. Instead I got the minimum, minus six months.
I’m lucky to be out. Lucky to be alive.
“Looks like you’ve been busy,” I say to Noah. I shake his hand and pat him on the back, as if he’s accomplished this feat on his own. He laughs and April rolls her eyes at us. I’m grinning from ear to ear, happy for them both.
“We’re due in August,” April says.
“Boy or a girl?”
“We don’t know. We want it to be a surprise.”
A surprise. Like this party. In addition to pink balloons, the living room is decorated with pale blue streamers and a handmade sign that says welcome home, eric. But this isn’t my home, and it never will be. It’s Noah’s home, and April’s and Jenny’s.
And . . . Meghan’s.
I realize that I’m searching the background for her. My smile slips and my chest tightens with unease.
Meghan won’t be happy to see me. The last time I saw her, when she’d visited the jail where I was processed, I said a lot of nasty things to her. I said she was an easy lay, that I’d had better, that I didn’t care about her.
Noah doesn’t seem mad at me for disrespecting his little sister, so I’m assuming she didn’t share the details of our breakup. Or maybe he’s so high on baby-making with his hot wife that he can’t be brought down. They look great together, like a perfect family from a TV show. Except that April and Jenny are of Mexican heritage, same as me.
I feel a mild sort of resentment over the situation: Tall, handsome white guy—a gang unit cop, no less—swoops in and snaps up one of the nicest, most beautiful girls from the hood. Then I remember that I fucked his sister. And probably broke her heart, if only for a few brief weeks during an already tumultuous time.
“Meghan’s not here yet,” April says, as if she can read my thoughts.
I shrug it off. “I said I didn’t want a party.”
“This isn’t a party. It’s just us.”
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