Rating: 5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Jonah Scott is on his way to law school in New York for a shot at shedding his midwestern bumpkin identity. But because he just barely passed the LSAT and had every lucky break and was given the benefit of every last doubt, Jonah is determined to make his parents proud. Then he’ll go back to rural Iowa, get married, and have the standard three corn-fed kids. Life should be coming up roses. Except Jonah’s been crushing hard on his male roommate and having wildly vivid dreams about sex with men. Coupled with his inability to turn down any bet, any dare just to prove missing a limb does not hold him back, and having a lack of brain-to-mouth filter, Jonah acts on the impulse to ask his seat neighbor on the flight to New York about being bisexual. What happens next is the hottest thing Jonah never imagined and it makes him happy that he’ll never see that man again.

Gray Freeman never imagined his former client was abusing his own child. But in retrospect, he can’t understand how he failed to pick up on any of the details. Now, Gray is determined to never let another client down. Study and ceaselessly preparing for cases is his life. If that makes Gray a control freak, then maybe he’s a control freak…with a small soft spot for trying to make things better. Which explains how, on a cross country flight back to New York, he ends up having a stilted conversation about sexuality with his younger seat mate. The conversation jumps to a live demonstration and induction into the mile-high club, and leaves Gray feeling all sorts of discombobulated…all for a sweet, innocent kid from Iowa.

Months later, Jonah’s and Gray’s paths cross again. Instead of falling into bed, they form a close bond. Despite their many differences, Jonah and Gray see through each other’s idiosyncrasies. They accept each other, challenge each other, and support each other. The one thing they cannot do is believe there is a chance at being together. When Gray’s professional life takes a big hit and a former lover coincidentally saunters in with the offer of a lifetime, the cocoon of comfort Gray and Jonah have built threatens to unravel. 

Make Me Fall is the second book in the Water, Air, Earth, Fire series by Riley Nash. It’s a follow up to Hold Me Under and features a few cameos by Victor and Ethan from that book. That said, I think you can absolutely read this as a standalone. Nash did a superb job of incorporating the MCs from book 1 into book 2 in a way that helped me understand some of what drives Gray to be the lawyer that he is. In the interest of full disclosure, I completely finished Make Me Fall before I realized it is in the same universe as Hold Me Under. Personally, I think that’s a testament to how good the writing is, how strong the plot and characters are, and how seamlessly the book 1 MCs fit into book 2 as supporting characters.

This story is absolutely all about Gray and Jonah. I loved how these two opposites attract. On the surface, Gray is very much a classic workaholic, high-powered lawyer. But we get very familiar with what drives him and how it affects him professionally and personally. I really loved that we learned about Gray’s history beyond how it related to Victor from the first book. He has a soft spot for children despite his no-fun, all-business facade. He struggles to feel worthy of love because of his childhood bouncing from foster home to foster home, and a failed marriage. Then we have Jonah. On page, it’s credibly suggested that he copes with undiagnosed dyslexia, which is heartbreaking because the man made it into law school with zero accommodations. Jonah is constantly on the move and has high levels of energy. He can’t always filter what he says, which is what led to his joining the mile-high club early in the book. Some of this may also be driven by a trauma response: when he was younger, Jonah got into an accident that led to his left arm being partially amputated. Ever since, he’s tried to prove that he is just as able bodied as anyone else. Part of that manifests by taking on the wildest dares…which was also a contributing factor in his initial connection with Gray.

I really enjoyed the pacing of the plot. Overall, I think I can argue that this is a slow burn. Both Gray and Jonah struggle with feeling worthy of another’s love — Gray because he’s been passed over/dumped before and Jonah because he feels Gray is out of his league. But their paths don’t follow a traditional slow burn. We start off with a chance meeting and irrefutable proof for Jonah that he is bisexual. Then, the two go off to their separate worlds before being drawn back together in an educational capacity where Jonah’s teacher invites Gray to have mock interviews with everyone in the class. This pivots into a last-ditch effort to save Jonah’s academic career where he serves as Gray’s intern. During this time, they agree to keep things strictly professional. But the narration flips between Gray’s and Jonah’s point of view, so we get confirmation they both harbor feelings for one another. And when they finally cross the line to actual lovers, both men are half convinced (and vocal) about how temporary their relationship may be. Not as a threat, but as if it’s a foregone conclusion. Maddeningly, they both seem just to accept it…at least until the specter of actually breaking things off arises.

Overall, I just adored reading about Jonah and Gray. If you’re a fan of opposites attract, then you’re in for a supreme treat with this book. I really loved how these characters came together and how well they fit with each other. The whole book felt like it was showing me how such two different people could be so perfectly matched for one another. If you enjoyed Hold Me Under, I think you’ll be swept away with Make Me Fall.

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