Also by this author: The Closer You Come (The Original Heartbreakers, #1), The Hotter You Burn (The Original Heartbreakers, #2)
Also in this series: The Closer You Come (The Original Heartbreakers, #1), The Hotter You Burn (The Original Heartbreakers, #2)
Published by HQN Books on November 24th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance, Romance
From New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter comes another scorching Original Heartbreakers tale featuring an aloof bad boy and the rowdy Southern belle who rocks his world…
Millionaire video-game creator Lincoln West has a dark and tragic past. The sought-after bachelor lives by a rigid schedule and a single rule—one relationship per year, lasting no more than two months. No exceptions. He moved to small town Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma, with his brothers-by-circumstance hoping to escape the worst of his memories—until a brash beauty dredges up long-buried emotions.
A reformed party girl, Jessie Kay Dillon is determined to walk the straight and narrow. But her love-hate sizzle with West is just too irresistible. They can't be near each other without tearing off their clothes, but the last thing she needs is to be his next two-month dump. Can she be the one exception? Because as any former girl-gone-wild knows: rules are made to be broken.
The Harder You Fall is the final book in The Original Heartbreakers trilogy by Gena Showalter and honestly was the one I was waiting for the whole time. Previously there had been hints at the possibility of a relationship between Lincoln West and Jessi Kay Dillon but it wasn’t obvious exactly how this would happen. As I mentioned in my previous review, The Closer You Come, these two characters can’t stand each other. From the moment they met they have gotten under each other’s skin. There is a tension between them which is combustible and they’re not the only ones who can see it. Their friends and family members (Jason, Brook Lynn, Harlow, and Beck) are not oblivious to what is going on right in front of them, and in fact are very encouraging of the two characters to give in and get together. Of course, the only two who can ultimately do that are West and Jessi Kay, and they have to do it in their own sweet time.
West is probably my favorite out of the three original heartbreakers. He’s damaged and he’s put a lot of the blame for the events in his life on himself. In fact for the past 10 years he has worked to deny him any true happiness. He blames himself for the fact that Jason went to prison for something that he also had a part in. He’s also angry with himself for getting so addicted to drugs and alcohol that he lost sight of his girlfriend Tessa and her accomplishments. He feels so much guilt for the car accident that took Tessa away from him – which he doesn’t believe was an accident but suicide – and he has been in repentance ever since. Basically, West has a lot of baggage, and he works himself to the bone as a graphic designer/video game designer to avoid all of it. He believes he deserves to feel miserable and he does whatever he can to push away any chance of happiness and that includes Jessi Kay. I just wanted to hug him sometimes.
If West was my favorite heartbreaker then I have to say that Jessi Kay is my favorite of the female protagonists. I really enjoyed watching her journey from party girl who got drunk and had sex to forget to a stronger woman waiting for someone worth her time. This is not to criticize her past in anyway as it was her past that made her the strong independent woman that she became. It was just over time that she realized she wanted to do more than just party. Yes, she is still fragile, and like West blames herself for things that were out of her control but, she also refuses to give into impulse and return to her old self. Jessi Kay does not like the former version of herself and she does not to become that person ever again. Even if it meant a chance of happiness with West for two months as that is all he allows himself – a two month reprieve before returning to his internal punishment. Everyone around him thinks it is a crazy rule but he is determined to stick with it … until the temptation to break it is just too much.
The Harder You Fall is different from the other books in the trilogy because there is not a lot of time spent on the “getting to know you” phase. By this point West and Jessi Kay know each other on the surface level, they always know what makes each other tick – what they don’t know is necessarily why. When they find themselves in the dynamic of a possible friendship, it creates several interesting situations for them. The attraction is very much there and so is the question is what should they do about it? The push-pull dynamic is very strong throughout and it had me holding crossing my fingers that these two stubborn characters would figure it out and get together. And I know I wasn’t the only one as their friends offered both requested and not requested but necessary advice throughout the book. It was good to see them again and to see what was going on with all of their respective relationships.
I think the thing that kept me coming back to The Original Heartbreakers trilogy is that while the three main characters are “bad boys”, the women were not trying to change them. There was an attraction but none of the women necessarily waiting for the men. In fact, most of the time the men had to prove themselves and figure things out for themselves before a true relationship could begin. I liked the dynamic that was created by Gena Showalter in all three books. The Closer You Come, The Hotter You Burn, and The Harder You Fall were not always the easiest books to get through. There were both dark and light moments and if I’m honest I will say that the trilogy is not for everyone. As for me, I’m glad I gave it a chance.