by Jamie McGuire
Published August 14, 2012 by Atria Books
Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.
My Thoughts: After reading some of the reviews on this book, it seemed to be one of those books, as my friend Nereyda put it, people either love it or hate it, no in between. Well, I absolutely loved it. Abby Abernathy has come to Eastern University in the hopes of leaving her tainted past behind. She just wants a new beginning where no one knows her and no one knows her father. Travis Maddox, hotness personified, is the bad boy every woman wants to get their hands on. He's a fighter, and a very good one, fighting in an underground ring where he is known as the undefeated champion, Travis "Mad Dog Maddox." He uses the money he makes to support himself while in college. He's charming, sexy, tattooed, possessive, he has a temper, and he's not used to women brushing him off.
Abby's best friend from home, America, has come to the college with her. America dates Shepley, Travis' roommate and cousin. Shepley takes America and Abby to one of Travis' fights, which usually occur in abandoned basements, moving locations each time so they won't be busted. The fighters are in the middle of a circle, while the rough crowd makes bets, cheers, etc. all around them. Fascinated by what is going on, Abby makes her way to the front of the crowd while Travis is fighting, needing to see what was going. She gets splattered in blood, the next thing she knows the fight is over and Travis is standing in front of her telling her, "Sorry about that, Pigeon. It's a damn shame about the sweater. It looks good on you." That is how Abby and Travis first meet. They end up at the same table at the school cafeteria, and Travis ends makes his way down to where Abby, Shepley, and America are. Abby is determined that she is not going to be one of his "groupies" that fall all over him. Determined that she is not going to fall for his BS, she develops an attitude of indifference. One things lead to another, she goes over to Travis' apartment with America, dressed like a homeless person thinking this will dissuade him, and much to her surprise he isn't fazed. Not only does he not put the moves on her, he acts like a friend. She also finds out that he is somewhat of a genius and has A's in all his classes, so not what she expected. They become friends, Travis tutors her, and she gets to know a side of Travis that few people have ever seen.
After the boilers go out in their dorm, Abby and America go to stay with Shelpley and Travis and Travis' apartment. Then after Abby loses a bet, she stays an additional 30 days. The closer they become, the blurrier the lines get, yet Abby isn't ready to admit they have feelings for each other that are more than platonic. They have some major fights, and they have some really good times. She sleeps in his bed, without sex. They have the whole Dawson's Creek thing going on, while battling the undeniable chemistry between them and the feelings they have for each other. Both are from dysfunctional families and have major issues. Travis is desperate to have Abby with him and will do anything to keep her there. He's let her into a place that he has not let anyone in before. He has a dark side, but Abby is the only one who can truly see the light within him. Abby has plenty of her own hangups, regarding herself, what she thinks about herself, and who she thinks she should and shouldn't be with. Despite all this, they do fall in love, and they fall hard. When things are good, these two are great together, and when things are bad, not only them, but everyone around them is miserable. They face issue after issue. Abby's past comes back to haunt her, Travis screws up, they don't speak for months, then they can't stay away from each other. It sounds really messed up, I know, but in reality, who can really say that they aren't screwed up in some way or another.
I can't even begin to cover all they go through in a review, but trust me, you will never have a dull moment. At times, I would have liked to slap them both, and at other times, I wanted to ball my eyes out over their hurt and pain. I really like both Travis and Abby's characters. They were flawed, but they were real. The romance sizzles to. I loved the secondary characters in the book also, especially Finch, Abby's friend. He was a hoot. This story made me laugh, cry, get angry, and feel heartbroken. My emotions went from one end of the scale to the other as I experienced along with these characters the things that they were going through. Though it was heart wrenching at times, I am so happy that I read this book and was able to see these two characters work through their problems and their pain. Though they don't come out perfect and unscathed, they come out together, and it is truly beautiful. I loved this book, and I think everyone should give it a chance. You may love it or you may hate it, but you'll never know till you give it a try, and it's so worth the experience.
The quote below from the book I think sums up this Travis and Abby's story better than anything, and it's my favorite quote from the whole book.
“It's dangerous to need someone that much. You're trying to save him and he's hoping you can.
You two are a disaster." I smiled at the ceiling. "It doesn't matter what or why it is.
When it's good, Kara... it's beautiful.”
Jamie McGuire was born in Tulsa, OK. She was raised by her mother Brenda in Blackwell, OK, where she graduated high school in 1997. Jamie attended the Northern Oklahoma College, the University of Central Oklahoma, and Autry Technology Center where she graduated with a degree in Radiography.
Jamie now lives in Enid, OK with her three children and husband Jeff, who is a real, live cowboy. They share their 30 acres with four horses, four dogs, and Rooster the cat.