FOREPLAY – Sophie Jordan
The Ivy Chronicles , Book 1
Wm. Morrow
ISBN: 978-0-09-227987-3
November 2013
New Adult Romance

Dartford College, New Jersey – Present Day

Nineteen year-old Pepper had a tough childhood, but has managed to make it into college despite having to work and watch pennies. This includes babysitting for a family, and one night while returning home from the job, her car breaks down. A stranger stops, and while Pepper is concerned that he might mug her (or worse) the tattooed man turns out to be a knight in shining armor—and handsome. She is so flustered by her reaction to him that they don't exchange names. Pepper figures she'll never see him again.

Pepper is currently interested in her best friend Lila's brother, Hunter, who happens to attend the same college. Pepper has had a huge crush on him but he never gives her the time of day. Now she discovers he's single again, but how can she get his attention? Pepper rooms in a dorm with Emerson and Georgia, who convince her one night to go out with them to a bar where they flash their fake ID's to get in. Their plan is to help Pepper get some “foreplay” experience to help lure Hunter by making out with the bartender who is rumored to be a womanizer. To Pepper's surprise, the object of their attention is the man who helped her that night. Reece seems nice, but he barely looks at Pepper. Or does he…?

Young and anxious to land the man of her dreams, Pepper has little experience to draw on when it comes to kissing and making out. Urged by her friends to find a man who only wants some action and not a girlfriend, she reluctantly agrees to hit a local bar, where she discovers Reece working behind the bar. Reece's good looks and easy charm might be someone Pepper would be interested in, but her sights are set on Hunter. Her fixation on Hunter is soon replaced with thoughts of Reece, but he seems like a man far removed from her world…or one that she should be interested in. Her friends push her towards Reece, encouraging her to come on to him. He is lukewarm at first, but then they develop an uneven friendship. While Pepper and Reece's relationship boomerangs back and forth, Hunter begins to notice her. If things are going so well in that area, why can't Pepper forget Reece?

This is my first foray into reading New Adult and I must say that FOREPLAY is a good start. Pepper may be nineteen, but she has had to learn maturity early, until her irresponsible and drug addicted mother finally dropped her off at Pepper's grandmother's home. All Pepper wants to do is get her college degree and marry a nice man who will provide her with a good life. Hunter fits that mold, but it's Reece, a man who works in a bar and comes from a lower class lifestyle, who attracts her. Pepper is a virgin, but after heated kisses with Reece, does she want to “go all the way” with Reece? Will she decide which man she wants—safe Hunter or bad boy Reece?

FOREPLAY is told from Pepper's first person point of view, so we don't know what Reece is thinking, but the chemistry between them is a sizzling slow burn. She aches when they are together or apart and is torn between whatever her decision will be. Can Reece and Pepper find any happiness together? Find out in the intriguing FOREPLAY.

Patti Fischer