The Hookup by Kristen Ashley
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Series: Moonlight and Motor Oil series #1 (standalone)
Published on: December 19, 2017
POV: Dual First Point of View
Rating: 5 STARS
Buy on Amazon
For someone who has read almost all of Kristen Ashley’s books thoroughly, I can proudly and honestly say this is one of the best she has ever written. I have enjoyed some of her books, liked some, loved some, and was head-over-heels in love with some, and The Hookup was undoubtedly one of the ones I fell in love with. It is a standalone, full of the awesomeness we’ve loved from Kristen Ashley, which is definitely far from disappointing.
The Hookup follows the story of a thirty-one-year-old, independent woman named Eliza ‘Izzy’ Forrester who was a new resident in a small town in order to avoid her psycho ex-boyfriend who has still hunted her due to her decision for parting ways with him. As a new member in a small town, she decided, one evening, to go to a local bar and start getting to know the community. Instead of mingling with other bar-goers, she, however, ends up spending her time with a man who is the most handsome man she has ever met and found herself later that night having an intimate time with him.
Johnny Gamble is a gentleman, a permanent resident of the town since he was born, respected by the community, successful, responsible, and protective to his core. Along with his brother, he was raised right by his father as a single parent and has always been sure of what his future would be before his ex-girlfriend, the love of his life, left him broken three years prior. Now, still unable to move on with his life, he met a new girl in the bar who sparked something inside him he thought had died. Knowing his current state of mind at the moment, as a responsible and gentleman he is, he refused to lead her on when he knew things would probably never be perfect for them.
“Izzy, this guy is not a normal guy. This guy is a guy ruined for all other women by a knockout of a redhead with long legs and big boobs who was almost as sweet as your sugar… A redhead who he’ll be hung up on forever, even when nature calls and forces him to settle down in order to procreate. The next one will be numero dos. Runner up. Second best.”
Finding herself swept off her feet with the way Johnny has treated her and how her body and heart reacted to it, she knew it was easy to fall for him and had her heart broken especially after finding out his ex-girlfriend is back in town. Since hurting herself by falling in love with the man who will never give her back as much as she does and forever becoming a second best are not the future she wanted for herself, she decided to let him go although it killed her on the inside.
I hated it that I totally could fall in love with this man…but I couldn’t. I hated it that he was all mine and I was all his…but only when we were having sex. I hated that I knew when it was over that I’d miss this and miss it badly…but I’d rather have it while I could than not have it at all.
Kristen Ashley’s extraordinary writing style is one that not only touches but leaves its mark in every mind and heart of romance readers years after we finish reading. It is distinctively unique, one would automatically feel it was hers without knowing the author’s name behind the book. I was blown away and wished the story would have been longer despite it being a relatively lengthy book. Her magic could be felt in each of the characters as well as the emotions behind the dialogs. Like all of her previous books, she delivers an unforgettable love story about loss and hope of two broken souls who finally have their second chance in love.
Please, don’t be disappointed with the title and quickly assume that it is an angsty story with a strong tendency towards love triangle. It had zero love triangle drama despite it having a great amount of angst. The drama revolves around the main characters’ journey on their learning to love again, intimately and emotionally getting to know each other, and working on their happily ever after. The hero had zero intention nor desire to get back to his ex whatsoever, which I loved.
I’m with you because I wanna be with you and I’m not with her because of history. I’m not with her because I wanna be with you.”
The romance was perfectly paced, which outstandingly showed not only the stages of their blossomed, new love but also their characters, both beautiful and painful pasts, and secret dreams. It helped me fully understand the decisions behind their actions and connect with them as a couple. They might not have had a smooth, free of bumps start but the development of their love story was fascinating, addictive, and beautiful. I loved every minute I spent with them and enjoyed each of the emotions their story managed to pull out of me.
“If it takes every dime I have, I’ll do everything I can so you die knowing just how fucking amazing you are and that’s worth anything and everything.”
Kristen Ashley always delivers an amazing alpha and Johnny was one of my top favorites. He was pure alpha, protective in nature, yet an amazing man every woman could ever ask for. The fact that he was not perfect, which he was humble enough to admit and apologized, made him relatable and easy to connect with. I loved experiencing the process of him redeeming himself and becoming an incredible lover throughout the story. He knew he owed her more than whatever was left of him and did his best to show her how deep his feelings for her and how special and worth to die for she was. I lost counts of how many times he managed to sweep me off my feet.
“The going will get tough, and you’ll stick. We’ll fight, and you’ll stick. Our world could rock, Eliza, and there’s one thing I’m certain about, you’ll stick.”
Lizzy was one of the heroines everyone would find easy to connect and relate to. She believed in love despite her humble upbringing and fate in love in the past. I loved how open she was about her feelings which made it emotionally heartwarming seeing her genuinely happy whenever she was around him. There was no unnecessary drama when it came to her. She handled heartbreaks like a champion yet was vulnerable enough to admit how broken-hearted she was when they ended any connection they had in the beginning. She was the kind of heroine everyone would root for and fall in love with. Plus, she was an animal lover, which was awesome!
Last but not least, the unique supporting characters, the sense of community, and the suspense added special flavors to the story. The small town gossip could be annoying for some readers, but in this case, Kristen Ashley managed to make it refreshing and entertaining, which worked really well with the main drama of this story. Moreover, although the suspense was not overly dramatic, it did not affect the level of anticipation I had throughout the story. The twists and turns, along with the romance, had me eagerly turning the pages.
Overall, The Hookup is one of the best by Kristen Ashley. Her storytelling was a captivating magic which guarantees an emotionally heart-touching reading experience for romance readers. I highly recommend this awesome, addictive, beautiful, unforgettable, and unputdownable love story for fans of alpha heroes, second-chance, and small-town romance. You have to meet Johnny Gamble and prepare to swoon! ❤️
This was it. This was all he was ever going to have. Izzy… Her belly would swell with the babies he’d plant there. Her skin would wrinkle. Her hair would gray. He would mourn her when she was gone and there wouldn’t be another for him. Or he would leave this earth knowing she’d do the same. That was it. The rest of his life. Simple. And unbelievably fucking beautiful.