Title: Never Been Ready (Ready Series, #2)
Author: J. L. Berg
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 4 2014
Leah Morgan was done with men. After barely surviving a horrendous childhood, and a boyfriend who bailed when things got rough, Leah had given up on love. Then she met him, Hollywood’s new golden boy who suddenly had eyes only for her. She tried to convince herself that one night couldn’t hurt, but after six months, the memories of his mesmerizing gaze and searing touch still invaded her every thought.
Declan James had just one rule when it came to women. Keep it simple, and never linger. That all changed the moment he met Leah. Even across a crowded bar, he could tell she was different. Sweet, with just the right amount of sass, she made him break his golden rule and now he couldn’t walk away.
When casual becomes anything but, and emotions run deep, will Leah and Declan fight their fears, or let old insecurities tear them apart? When Declan’s past comes roaring back in a way neither of them could have expected, will they stand united or be torn apart by the challenges that lie ahead?
It was only supposed to be one night, but only forever will do.
Never Been Ready is book two in JL Berg’s Ready series and Leah and Declan do in fact meet in the first book but this one works perfectly well as a standalone. There’s enough gaps filled in during the earliest part of the book to bring you completely up to speed so if you haven’t read When You’re Ready, you’re still good to go with this one.
Well, this was just a wonderful, feel-good romance. Declan, the main male protagonist performs a perfect Darcyesque style transformation from arrogant arse to worthy hero all brought about by his love for a woman he doesn’t realise is his very reason for breathing.
Declan and Leah met six months ago through their mutual friend, Logan. Declan is a hotshot movie actor who only really wants to direct and, due to past experiences, he goes through women like a hot knife through butter, never making any promises and rapidly moving on to the next one. BUT, he’ can’t get Leah Morgan out of his mind after their one night of passion and, as he now finds himself back in town, he decides they need one more night together so he can get her out of his system. Leah is in no way prepared to be his booty call and lays down her own terms and conditions and they agree on an exclusive friends with benefits arrangement for the time Declan is back in town.
Declan James wasn't some pussy who waited around for a woman. Women waited around for me, and it was time I got back in the game. This addiction or infatuation I had would cure itself over time. Screw this. I was done waiting.
As you can probably see, Declan is a bit of an arse at the beginning of the book but it’s a very sexy arse and I quickly forgave him! He’s had a troubled childhood, a failed relationship that deeply hurt him and his movie star status has got him behaving like a total manwhore. He and Leah share an incredible attraction but Declan knows he’s in trouble when he finds himself spending more and more time with Leah willingly instead of just enjoying her for sex and it actually scares him a little.
Lines had blurred, and I'd felt myself growing closer to her. Although I still felt every ounce of fiery passion for her, I also felt something deeper brewing. I'd put the brakes on and only made our usual house calls, never lingering too long even though my gut had told me to stay.
Leah, as we know from reading book one, is an incredibly giving person – she gives her whole heart into everything she does and is incredibly selfless. When people need her, she drops everything to help them and this includes her good-for-nothing feckless alcoholic father. She’s also not been able to get that one night with Declan James out of her head and very much wants a repeat performance but this time it will be on her terms and, oh boy, how hot is it when these two get together? Talk about your super-nova hot up-against-the-wall schmexin!!
This was a perfect read for a lazy Sunday when the weather outside is awful – I completely devoured the book in just one sitting and I am a sucker for a apparent bad boy hero brought to his knees by his forever girl and Declan, despite his manwhore status at the beginning of the book, really was a hero to fall in love with as he slowly realises and accepts that no man is an island and he really can’t live without Leah. There’s plenty of challenges for these two to face as issues from both their pasts come back to haunt them but, all in all, this is fairly low on angst and really high on goofy-grin loveliness. We also get to catch up with Logan, Claire and Maddie and meet a couple of potential future book boyfriends.
It’s the perfect combination of emotional romance and super sexy bedroom scenes with a hero and heroine you can’t help but adore and really root for – just great contemporary romance and I think this would appeal to fans of Ella Frank’s Exquisite series.
4.5 feel good stars
Series Reading Order
- When You’re Ready
- Never Been Ready
- Untitled and tbc
"So, when exactly do I get my striptease?" I asked.
"Well, that's up to you, Hotshot."
"Yep. Cocky attitude, arrogant disposition, and sexy as fuck--it's a good nickname."
"All right, so what are your terms, Leah?"
I fought back the urge to touch her. Stuffing my hands into my pockets, I paced the room in a vain attempt at keeping myself from just saying, Fuck it, and pinning her against the wall before she could lay down any terms or requirements. Because whatever she was about to say, I was going to agree. She didn't know it, but she had my balls in her perfect little hands, and I was at her fucking mercy. I both hated and wanted her at the same time. She made me feel out of control and weak with need. I couldn't stop the pursuit, and I couldn't walk away.
"I will not be an easy fuck whenever you get too lazy to find a new bimbo for the evening. I will not allow you in my bed, wondering where you've been and what kind of sloppy seconds I'm getting," she declared.
Then, she said the one thing I never wanted to hear.
"I want to be exclusive with you--for however long we decide to do this. I don't care about labels or dates. You don't have to take me out to dinner, bring me flowers, or buy me anniversary presents. The only thing I ask is that, for the time we are together, you are mine."
"Yes," I answered immediately, surprising us both.
"Yes? That's it? No counteroffer? No freak-out or temper tantrum, Declan?"
"No, Leah, no temper tantrum. Just one request.”
I joined her on the sofa. My thigh brushed hers, and I heard her breath falter.
"And what's that, Hotshot?"
"Make it two," I amended. "First, the same rules apply to you. While we're together, for however long, you're mine, Leah," I purred against her ear.
Her eyes widened, and her breath became ragged, giving me a quick sense of satisfaction because I'd broken through her calm and collected exterior.
"And second?" she asked timidly.
"Don't fucking call me Hotshot."
She visibly relaxed and snorted out a laugh before saying, "So not happening, Hotshot."
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