PJV Quickie: In Foreplay, Sophie Jordan has taken the bad-boy/good girl trope and given it a nice little twist. It was a quick read and I stayed interested in the story – normally I read by switching between two books at a time but I didn’t touch my 2nd book the entire time I was reading Foreplay.
Pepper is a 19-year-old college student who has been pining for her best friend’s older brother, Hunter, since she was 12 years old. We’re talking serious longing, as in – she chose her college because Hunter goes there. When her BFF calls to tell her Hunter has broken up with his girlfriend of two years, Pepper is ecstatic…then petrified: she has absolutely no experience with dating and the other physical aspects that go along with dating. How is she going to catch Hunter’s attention and make him see her as a love-interest, and not her kid sister’s best friend, if she has no idea what she’s doing? Her roommate, who knows about Pepper’s obsession with Hunter, has decided they need to get Pepper some experience, so they pick a local bartender with a reputation as a man-whore to give Pepper some experience with the opposite sex.
Reese works at the local college bar, Mulvaney’s, and is attracted to the cute co-ed who’s been flirting with him. When he finds out she’s looking for dating experience, he’s more than happy to help. What he doesn’ t count on is that he genuinely likes her, which makes it that much more difficult to give her “lessons” that she plans to use on another man.
Where to start? I am a fan of Ms. Jordan’s Young Adult Firelight series, and when I saw she was doing a New Adult series I was thrilled. I was right to be excited; I really, really enjoyed reading Foreplay.
I immediately liked Pepper, you get the impression she’s book-smart, and maybe street-smart (not by choice), but in spite of, or maybe because of, those things, she’s not very experienced in the ways of dating and sex. Because of her bleak childhood, she is trying to ensure a happy, secure future, and she knows that future involves being part of her best friend’s ‘perfect’ family. She’s loved Hunter for 7 years, and all she wants is to make him fall in love with her. I was a little bit frustrated on this point, that she wanted Hunter to ‘save’ her from her past, instead of saving herself, and yes, the author works around it, but still…it bothered me a bit.
And Reese, oh Reese! What a great, swoon-worthy hero. He’s not your typical (what I feel is typical, anyhow) promiscuous NA hero, he’s a genuinely good guy in unfortunate circumstances, trying to do right by his younger brother and a difficult father. (I know I describe him as a man-whore in my recap above; there’s a funny thing about that…)
I loved reading the relationship between these two – it was backwards, if you will: they started out with the physical stuff and as they got to know each other it got more emotional and complicated. The story had no outside conflict, it was all character driven, and although I found myself frustrated with Pepper at times, her choices were understandable given her history and her idealization of Hunter’s family. Even when she started to think maybe Reese could be the right choice for her, once she knew his history she knew he wouldn’t be able to give her the ‘perfect’ life that Hunter could. The scenes between Pepper and Reese later in the book just tore at my heartstrings.
There is a big scene near the end that was a little over-dramatic, but the ending left this reader sighing (in a good way!). I did not realize this is a series when I started reading Foreplay, and I am happy to say there is no cliffhanger here. All in all, Foreplay was a engaging read with likable characters and an interesting premise. I’ve already added the second book in the series, Tease, to my wishlist.
Recommended for fans of New Adult, swoony bad-boy heroes, moderate angst, and happy endings.
Other books you might like, similar to ‘Foreplay’: