Annie Clark is an introvert with anxiety, who’d much rather hide in her dorm room fixing other people’s technology than be out in the world. She’s recently realized she’s bisexual and is crushing hard on softball pitcher, Eve Fredrick. Annie never expects the beautiful and athletic Eve to even look her way. But when her brother sends Eve to her dorm in a fit of panic, Annie is quick to fix Eve’s laptop problem. And she gets tongue tied when Eve invites her out for dinner as a thank you.
The two women hit it off and casual dating ensues. Annie is shy and awkward, and she’s never done this before. But Eve is a dynamic person and Annie gets sucked right in. Over several weeks, they get to know each other and spend as much time together as their schedules allow. But not long after things get physical, Eve seems to disappear. Annie is left with a broken heart and certainly doesn’t want to hear Eve’s apologies. Especially not when Eve goes to extreme measures to try and get Annie to listen.
But eventually, they are able to have a conversation and start over again as friends. As they really get to know each other, true feelings develop. Except someone is plotting to out them further, and it’s up to the two women to figure out who and why.
This is the second book in Shae Connor’s University of Atlanta series, but it can be read as a standalone. Annie is Grant’s sister, and Grant and Darryn get their love story in Rough and Tumble. Though some of the events of that book are brought up here, it’s not necessary to have read it to enjoy this story. I like Connor’s characters and this book is no exception, but I did have a few issues with the pacing.
Annie is the narrator of this tale, and it’s told in first person present. This is really her journey in a lot of ways. I like how the author handled Annie’s anxiety, and it wasn’t something that needed to be “fixed” in order for Annie to have happiness. She is who she is, and she doesn’t need to change. Eve, on the other hand, is living the life she thinks she should, instead of being true to herself. Eventually, and with Annie’s help, she’s able to become who she’s meant to be.
The MCs have chemistry from their first meeting, and it gets even better as Eve embraces her true self toward the end. It has the right amount of heat balanced with storyline, and it’s easy to root for these two women to find their HEA. Although I will say this book ends with more of an HFN, as they’re both young and just beginning their adult lives. Both the MCs are about 20, and it shows in their actions and thoughts, but they aren’t immature, even if they don’t always make the best decisions.
But as I mentioned, the pacing is a bit off for me. It begins with a bit of a slow burn, which is not the problem, and I liked them getting to know each other before really diving in. But there are a lot of time jumps here that didn’t work as well for me. Many of the scenes and chapters begin with a recitation of what day it is and a few sentences of what Annie was doing in the meantime without really showing much. This goes on for about two-thirds of the book, and then things really begin to pick up. For me, it was a bit too late, and I felt like the last quarter to third of the book seemed rushed. Eve is finally letting her true self out, and the MCs are barreling toward love declarations. It didn’t work as well for me, because I would have liked to see them together and exploring their relationship with Eve not hiding behind a mask.
There’s also the whole storyline toward the end with sort-of blackmail, and to me it felt shoehorned in. It was clear to me who was behind it, which wasn’t the problem, but the reasoning for it as well, as the resolution, was a bit lackluster. I would have liked to see it be a bigger part of the story, or absent all together. As it was written, it didn’t work well for me.
But all in all, this was a decent story. I really did like the characters, and that carried the book for me. If you’re a fan of this author, or NA books with athletes and college, I would say give this book a try.