THE HARDER YOU FALL - Gena Showalter
The Original Heartbreakers , Book 3
Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma - Present Day
After years of wild and often reckless behavior, Jessie Kay Dillon is turning over a new leaf. Her younger sister, Brook Lynn, is about to marry the man of her dreams, and Jessie Kay knows it's time for her to grow up so Brook Lynn can have the life she deserves: not a life of cleaning up after Jessie Kay. It would be easier for Jessie Kay to put all the baggage she carries aside if she wasn't constantly faced with past mistakes – and the disapproval of one man in particular. Lincoln West is best friends with the man about to become Jessie Kay's brother-in-law, and he's made it very clear that he's not interested in her in any way. So why can't she stop thinking about him?
West's past is a mess of bad decisions and tragedy, and he has no intention of forgiving himself for the mistakes he's made. From the moment he meets Jessie Kay, something about her calls to him, but West already lost the love of his life thanks to his own stupidity, he doesn't deserve another chance. He's thrilled that the two men he considers his brothers have found happiness with their women, yet living with two happy, about-to-be-married couples can be a little difficult to listen to after a while, and he soon finds himself at Jessie Kay's door.
THE HARDER YOU FALL is the third book in the Original Heartbreakers series, and it finally brings West and Jessie Kay together. West, Jase, and Beck met in foster care and became brothers, and since then, they've always lived by the code that what one wants, the others agree to, unquestioningly. When West's girlfriend, Tessa, was raped, the three men took their revenge, which ended up with Jase serving a ten year prison sentence and insisting that Beck and West not admit to their connection. Upon his release, he asked his brothers to relocate to a small town, so they moved not just themselves, but also the successful company West and Beck started in Strawberry Valley. While Jase and Beck have both fallen in love, West has no intention of doing so, even though Jessie Kay tempts him. West lives with the guilt of Tessa's rape, Jase's prison term, and later, Tessa's death. He won't allow himself to be happy and limits his relationships to two months out of the year.
Jessie Kay lives with guilt of her own. She fought with her father the day he died, and her mother died after saving Jessie Kay from drowning. She lives not just with the guilt of their deaths, but also because she deprived her younger sister of their mother. Jessie Kay turned to alcohol and men for comfort, not ever really getting what she was looking for, and putting Brook Lynn through hell in the process. She was attracted to West the first time she saw him, but he made it plain he wasn't interested, so she moved on. When he starts being nice to her, Jessie Kay finds herself in trouble. She knows very well that he's only interested in a two month affair, but for the first time in her life, Jessie Kay believes she deserves more.
These two battered souls are in for a pretty wild ride. In spite of the heavy emotional baggage they are both dealing with, Jessie Kay lightens the mood. She's irreverent and sassy…won't let herself become depressed about the bad times in her past. She's also determined to get West past his. While THE HARDER YOU FALL concludes the trilogy about the three brothers, there are still a lot of interesting characters in Strawberry Valley, so maybe we'll be lucky enough to visit again in the future.