* * * 1/2
A STANDALONE New Adult Sports Romance in the For You series. Each book follows a new couple.
I’ve loved Jordan Grady since I was eight.
Since he became my protector.
Since he became my safe haven each night.
But I was younger.
Until high school when he finally kissed me.
And for a few fleeting moments, everything was right in the world.
Then I was forced to do the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do...
Disappear from his life without a trace.
I’m Alabama’s star right tackle—and a real prick.
I live my life by a few solid truths.
Life isn’t fair.
Don’t let anyone get too close.
And those who claim to care about you can up and leave.
But you know what they say about things that disappear...
But Emery Pruitt had never been mine.
Even if she had returned after four years.
And more beautiful than the night she vanished.
But it didn’t erase the fact that she’d left me.
So, why find me now?
Source: advance e-galley provided in exchange for an honest review
Whenever I've read one of J. Nathan's books I've always enjoyed it. I see her as including just enough angst without being too overwhelming which is just the right combination for me.
For Emery is a story about the ultimate kind of friendship that's forged from the earliest and most influential years in a young child's life. Grady first meets Emery when her family moves in next door. Unfortunately, Emery's family life is a mess and she finds solace in hanging out in Grady's bedroom. He makes her feel safe and protected, and maybe it's hero worship that makes her declare that they'll be boyfriend and girlfriend, and even marry one day. Grady doesn't take her too seriously as far as that's concerned since she's a few years younger than him, but it doesn't change how deeply he cares about her and wishes he could fix everything for her. She disappears from his life abruptly and doesn't hear from her again until she shows up at as a freshman at college where he's a star on the football team. Seeing her again is a complete shock and brings up many years worth of pent up bitterness. Still, he's not letting her out of his sight. Now they just have to learn how to become friends all over again.
Be warned that this story involves domestic violence and Grady has some anger issues as well. Grady's behaviour feels a bit off to me only because the Grady in the younger years is extremely kind and protective, whereas the college-age Grady can be a jerk. It is inferred that Emery's disappearance is the cause of the shift in his attitude but I felt still felt as if I was missing something there.
This was an engaging but tough read because of the subject matter, and it's hard not to be overcome by some of the details. They're not terribly graphic, it's more the fear that Emery has lived with for so long and how she must be careful to protect herself. The upside is that two people who thought they'd lost the most meaningful connection to another person they've ever had, find each other again. And it's no an exaggeration to say that their friendship is a lifesaver. J. Nathan tells a good story and I recommend this one if you're up for it.