Claire Nixon is a twenty-year-old college dropout with a secret. To Claire, Adam Parker is just another flirty customer at the cafe, until a chance encounter and seemingly innocent comment spurs a bet between them. The bet is simple: If Adam can get Claire to reveal the secret that made her drop out of college, she has to re-enroll. If he doesn’t succeed, she gets to keep her secret and he has to stop stalking her at the cafe. Claire thinks she has this one in the bag. She’s perfected the art of forgetting her past. But she isn’t prepared for Adam’s relentless pursuit or for him to share his own secrets. And she’s definitely not prepared for her rock star ex, and her secret, to come banging down her door one year later.
Release Date: February 22, 2013
Publisher: ORLY Press
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Purchase at: Amazon or Barnes & Noble
This is the first book I have read penned by Cassia Leo, and if it's any indication of what I can expect in her other books, then I have found a new author to stalk. This book pulled me in and it refused to be put down. I finished it in less than 24 hours.
Relentless is about a very damaged 20-year-old college drop out. Claire has had an extremely difficult life. She witnessed the aftermath of her mother's death when she was 7-years-old, staying with her deceased mother for more than a day, waiting for her to wake up. Between the ages of 7 and 16, Claire was passed around from foster home to foster home. At 16, she was taken in by a very loving lady who also had a son named Chris. Chris and Claire had an intense and deep four year romance that was ended by Claire when Chris' career took off. At the time, Claire was a student at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. Something happens to Claire that makes her drop out of school and move far away from her life at UNC.
He squeezes my hand tighter. Between this and the look Jo gave me when she offered to take my shift, I'm beginning to understand that we all must be walking around with secrets that eat away at us, driving us to do foolish things in the name of keeping those secrets buried.
A year after leaving school, Claire works in a coffee shop. One day, Adam walks into her store and her life. Adam oozes sex appeal. He's tall and built from years of surfing. He has a chiseled face and messy, just-got-out-of-bed hair. And he just happens to be renting the apartment upstairs from Claire. Adam is the perfect hero for me. He's sweet and patient, charming and funny, yet relentless in his pursuit of Claire. He is also very flawed and has his own dark secrets, not to mention a temper. Who wants a squeaky clean hero? Not me. As Claire and Adam fell in love, I fell in love with this book.
"Yeah of course. I'll walk you to work and I'll check on her when I get back." "Walk me to work? I don't need you to do that. I walk to work every day. It's literally four hundred feet away from here.""I know, but I have to take this stalker gig seriously."
Claire is very secretive about her past, and reluctant to start a relationship with Adam. Adam makes a deal with Claire - if he can get her to divulge her secrets, then she has to promise to re-enroll in college. The relationship between Claire and Adam feels real and organic. There is some angst, but it's no over-the-top. Their relationship progresses as time goes by. There are many dates and sweet moments between these two, and scenes that shed light on both of their inner demons.
We learn that Claire's ex-boyfriend, Chris, is a rock star. He's all over the radio and MTV. We don't actually see a lot of Chris in this book, but Leo doesn't take the easy way out. Chris is not villified in the least, and actually becomes a sort of victim. As much as I adore Adam, I want to learn more about Chris. I like him at this point, and I can understand why he is suffering, even being a famous musician. I want more of him!!!
Yesenia, aka Senia, is Claire's best friend. They met in college and Senia is spending the summer with Claire. I love Senia. This is an example of a best friend that every girl should have. She is fiercely protective of Claire and is one of the only people who know all of Claire's secrets. She pushes Claire to do things that Claire wouldn't otherwise do, such as give Adam a chance, as well as provide solid advice. When Claire's arch enemy tried to hurt Claire, Senia was there to stick up for her. Senia also provides some lighter moments in this book that had me laughing.
"It doesn't matter. The guy is either in love or jonesin' for you hoo-hah. Just do me a favor and trust me when I say you need, need, need to let yourself experience this. Even if it's just a fling. He's the kind of guy who can help you put that other shit behind you."
This book doesn't end on a cliff hanger, and there's really no love triangle at this point. This book is Claire's book all the way - we see her deal with her past and what she feels are her sins. Claire has a lot of baggage to carry around, yet she hasn't become jaded. By the conclusion of this book, Claire believes that she cannot become a mess again, like she was after her experience with Claire. She realizes that her life has moved on, and is happy to fight back those demons she carries around. I love the growth we see in her and I cannot wait to read the next book in this series!
If you are a fan of New Adult books, or contemporary romance, please give this book a try. It is well-paced and the writing is excellent. The emotions that Claire feels seem so real - they jump off the page, and this can only be attributed to the talent of the author. With the New Adult genre exploding right now, it can sometimes be difficult to find a book that you really feel and that is realistic. I assure you that this book is a gem!