Welcome to Story Diary! On today’s stop on the Promise Me This blog tour, hosted by Penguin Random House, I’ve got a story diary and review for Promise Me This by Christina Lee! Thanks for stopping by, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway below!
Promise Me This by Christina Lee
Contemporary Romance, New Adult
A new love will test the boundaries of passion between a privileged boy next door and the tattooed, blue-haired girl who helps him embrace his wild side…
Nate has developed quite a playboy reputation around campus. It’s not that he doesn’t respect or trust women; he doesn’t trust himself. The men in Nate’s family are prone to abusive behavior—a dirty secret that Nate’s been running from his entire life—so Nate doesn’t do relationships. But he can’t help himself around one girl…
Jessie is strong, independent, and works at a tattoo parlor. Nate can’t resist getting close to her, even if it’s strictly a friendship. But it doesn’t take long for Nate to admit that what he wants with Jessie is more than just friendly.
With Jessie, he can be himself and explore what he’s always felt was a terrifying darkness inside him. Even when Nate begins to crave her in a way that both shocks and horrifies him, Jessie still wants to know every part of him. Testing their boundaries together will take a trust that could render them inseparable… or tear them apart.
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana
The book I’ve been waiting for is finally here! It’s time to get to know the man behind his partying and flirty ways. This is the very first full-length New Adult I created a story diary for on the blog and I couldn’t think of a better choice to pop my NA story diary cherry than with Nate– I mean Promise Me This! We briefly met Nate in the first book All of You as Bennett’s best friend, the life of the party and major flirt with the nice dress shirts; and Jessie, Bennett’s co-worker at the tattoo shop in Whisper to Me. In Promise Me This, we dig deeper to who Nate really is, how he has lived and where he came from. Underneath that flirty dress-shirt-wearing party boy lies a misunderstood, troubled yet compassionate boy with a less than stellar home and family. And Jessie, the girl underneath the blue hair and tattoos and behind the camera lens.
Nate and Jessie have had a steady friendship going for them for some time by the start of the book. Diving into their POVs, first, we notice Nate’s ways that he’s notoriously known for around campus and we see him in action. In that comes the differences between the two that somehow makes it work for them. They make the best of friends without the fear of hooking up or any awkwardness because they know they’re not each others type. Their friendship is solid and fun, fully equip with nicknames, and the banter between them is hilarious. The things they dish out had me laughing several times. And the innuendos had me giggling like a 12 year old boy. Anyway… Soon enough, little things start to shift in their friendship and feelings they didn’t understand festers. They quickly dismiss it and they go about their days as per usual. Then as the more they hang out, or open up, the things that lead them to need each other and spend even more time together, those feelings take notice again and intensify as the story progresses.
Meanwhile, not only are they trying to fight their attraction to each other, they have struggles of their own. Especially Nate. He grew up in a facade of big houses and white picket fences when behind closed doors, his family is anything but polished. All I can say is that his father does not deserve the best dad award. His mom still sticks around that man for reasons he doesn’t understand. I have to give Nate’s mom all the kudos and credit for sticking with a husband like that for the sake of her children. Such a selfless and headstrong thing on her part. As Nate was growing up, he noticed his brother start acting like their father or seem to take his side over their moms, and worried for his mom even more. He constantly worries about his brother turning into their father, and leaving his mom with them to fend for herself while he’s out in college.
Then there’s Jessie, who may have tattoos and blue hair, but has a great relationship with her mom, and struggles with the loss of her dad with whom she had a close relationship with. Something Nate envies for. She’s different than those tattoo-working/wearing, blue-haired girl. She’s honest, down-to-earth, strong, intelligent and perceptive, has passion for photography like her father, and not explicitly over-active/talkative. She lives by this inspiring saying from her father everyday that turns out to help balm Nate and his inner demons. We also get to see some of our favorite couples from the previous books again! I almost forgot that Nate and Kai (from Whisper To Me) are cousins. So we get to see a bit more of that hunk. He becomes the voice of reason, the one who stands by his side once he knows the truth about Nate’s father.
Nate constantly struggles with himself due to his father, and his sexual deviancy that went sour with an old girlfriend sometime ago. Since then, he tries to keep his true inner sexual desires to himself when he hooks up. He sees his sexual deviance as a darkness within himself and he’s afraid of going there with Jessie in fear of hurting her and pushing her out of his life. He fears of turning into his father and believes that indulging in his sexual desires the way he wants, that he would turn out to be just like him. What he slowly learns is that we have to tap into our dark side of our nature and face our demons before we can embrace our future. Pepople, like Nate, are afraid of that because it holds a piece of us that we’re too busy denying. But Jessie, sticking by his side, opens up to him and shows him that he’s not as bad as he thinks and she’s not going anywhere. It’s a work in progress (hey, Rome wasn’t built overnight), and Jessie is just what he needs to see that.
I want to address the sex in this book a bit. Nate turns up the heat to an all-time high! I’d blame it on Christina Lee, but we know by now that it’s all Nate’s doing. Teehee. No complaints, though. The previous books in the series were mild and limited to one sex scene or two, equip with plenty of steamy encounters that leads up to it, and I liked that there wasn’t sexual overkill. However, we get more in quantity and a bit kinky in Promise Me This. The sex was hot, intense and erotic though, even if a little risky (don’t worry, no one gets hurt). Public sex–what? Le gasp! Leave it up to Nate, wink wink. The scene at the bar was so sensual and erotic, it’s one of my favorite scenes. And don’t even get me started on what happens on that bridge! And the hotel? Who knew ice-play can be downright HOT? Excuse me while I fan myself. I’m taking him on the Sydney bridge climb with me, no not for THAT reason, but because he has a love for bridges and I’d think his adventurist side would like it.
In pretty much every book of this series, I had a knack for underestimating the characters. The same thing happened in this one too. I just thought that Nate was a carefree guy who likes to have fun and looks out for his friends, all the while sporting a devil-may-care smile and getting his flirt on. Although it was mentioned a time or two that he comes from a rich family and always dresses to kill who drives a nice car and is perpetually flirty, he didn’t throw an arrogant asshole vibe to me. I’ve mentioned in my review for All of You that I didn’t think much of him at first, it wasn’t until we saw how good of a friend he is and how he helped Avery and his buddy Bennett see sense that I found myself wanting to get to know him and wished he was more present. You can ask Christina, I’ve let it known of my crush–to put it mildly–on Nate. He can hold my hand for always. 🙂
Promise Me This kicks it up a notch in the Between Breaths series in many ways. Plenty of laughs, hungry stolen kisses, steam, friendship and family values, hard truths and hard lessons, adventure, innuendos and sexytimes. I’m so glad Nate got to tell his story. He knows how to deliver on all fronts. Seeing all the sides and depths of Nate made me love him even more. It was a long time coming, but oh so worth the wait! And I must admit that I am little curious about his brother, especially the way he surprised Nate (and me) by standing up to their father.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, however it does not influence my review nor was I compensated. Head warning of sexual content and tough subject matter of domestic abuse that may not be appropriate for young readers.
It’s important to spend time alone and get to know the whole of yourself.
Explore all the different sides of you. We all have darkness and brightness inside of us. You won’t know exactly what you’re made of until you embrace all of it, feel it, live it. Only then will you be able to face all that life has to offer, head-on.
“Everyone. . .has a hidden part of themselves. . .they don’t allow anyone to see.”
“I need to hear you say it baby.”
“You are a caveman. Of course I belong to you, Square. Like the sun belongs to the moon. You can’t get rid of me it you tried.”
“You make me want to stay here like this forever. Watching you, feeling you, tasting you. I am so goddamn in love with you.”
**Quotes are from an ARC and are subject to change in final copy**
Songs for Nate and Jessie
As I was reading, there was a few songs that reminded me of Nate and Jessie’s relationship throughout the book that I could not get out of my head. Here they are.
“Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran
“Sunshine” by Matisyahu
“Desire” by Meg Myers
“Talking Body” by Tove Lo
“New Flame” by Chris Brown ft. Usher & Rick Ross
Meet Christina Lee
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