Clara McKinley has made the fact that she doesn’t have time for a relationship abundantly clear. She has set up a serious of rules to insure her Friday night flings with Jax Hensley don’t become anything more than a friends with benefits arrangement. That works fine until Jax receives a call from his crack-whore mom saying she fears for her life and he needs someone to go with him back to Wyoming to check on her. Clara agrees under the assumption that nothing will change between them on this trip. But even as she makes the stipulation, she knows it’s useless. Things with Jax grow more intense at every encounter and pretty soon she’s be breaking all her rules for him.
I was half in love with Jax from the previous novel. Jax does a lot to help his sister Avery in Wreck Me and he’d already won me over there. He’s smart and loyal and sweet and just right level of cocky to have me swooning. It had me wondering how Clara managed to resist him at all, much less for how long she does. It was just a bit weird for me to switch Jax from brother role to lover in my head. I don’t know why exactly as I have read series’ that feature different siblings before, but this time switching gears just took a moment. The first time him and Clara get it on, I was still wearing my Avery goggles and that gave the scene a very different vibe than I expect was intended. It is probably only because I jumped directly into this after finishing Wreck Me. I mean I literally finished Wreck Me and then flipped through my kindle for this one and started it. So, you know, don’t do that. Wait a few hours or a day before starting this to let your brain settle Jax out of the brother role. Once I got out of that, though, I was immediately swooning over him.
Clara was a character I didn’t love as much as I expected to. I think it was because I felt like she was putting too much emphasis on her mom and her responsibilities. She shies away from guys because her high school boyfriend dumped her over the responsibilities she was left with when her dad died and her mom became mentally handicapped. She’s scared all guys will run away because he did. I get that Jax is young, but she knows enough about him to know that he has his fair share of responsibility and would never walk away for such a reason. It really bugged me that it took her so long to let him in. The boy has had a hard life and he deserves some happiness. I don’t like anyone who stands in the way of that.
My only issue with this was that I didn’t love Clara as much as I normally love Sorensen’s heroines and it felt too short. With Clara, I just felt like she was making more out of taking care of her mom than she needed to. I’m not saying her situation isn’t sad, just that it isn’t as bad as she makes it out to be in her head. The shortness thing is probably just because when I really enjoy things I don’t want them to end. Besides, I’m used to 300-400 pages from Sorensen and this doesn’t even hit 200. So naturally I wanted more. Even with not loving Clara, I was ready to see more scenes between her and Jax. Or maybe a few more snippets of Jax and Avery interacting because I like seeing the novels connect. At the same time, I can see why it’s short. Jax’s has been through enough and is more than ready to start his happily ever after. After this one adventure tracking down his mom, his life should be turmoil free for a good long time and there is no need to draw out his torture unnecessarily.
The story and writing here is just what I’ve come to expect from Sorensen, amazing. She never fails to deliver a story that keeps me enthralled and begging for me. She’s also pretty known for her cliffhangers, but that is blessedly absent here. Ruin me is written with her signature level of smut and snark and heart. Even as you smile at the humorous dialogue, your heart hurts for these characters and their lives.
I know I’ve said it in several reviews before, but it bears repeating. Jessica Sorensen knows how to write a perfectly flawed character. She knows exactly how to give me the characters I didn’t know I needed to read about and this is no exception to that. Though it doesn’t quite live up to the epic-ness that is Wreck Me, it’s an amazing story in it’s own right and one that kept me thoroughly entertained. She is already one of my favorite authors and each book I read by her just bumps her higher up the list! Though I think this could be read as a stand-alone, I recommend reading Wreck Me before diving into this so you have a bit more background on Jax.
****Thank you to Jessica Sorensen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****