Berkley / September 2, 2014 / $14.00 print, $5.99 digital
From the USA Today bestselling author of True, Sweet, and Believe comes a tantalizing New Adult novel about finding love in the most unexpected ways…
Kylie Warner prides herself on being optimistic, but after finding her best friend in bed with her boyfriend and flunking chemistry, her upbeat attitude has taken a dive. Even an impromptu hook-up with her sexy new chemistry tutor only brightens her mood slightly. After all, it’s not like she’ll ever see the tattooed scholar again…
While he’s a whiz at complex equations, Jonathon Kadisch has trouble when it comes to figuring out women. So when Kylie tells him that she’s pregnant after their night of passion, he’s at a complete loss. He’s prepared to be a good father—unlike his own deadbeat dad—but he’s less prepared to fall for the genuine and alluring blonde bearing his child.
With emotions running high, Kylie wonders if Jonathon’s devotion is out of growing love or looming obligation. And when heartbreak threatens to tear them apart, Jonathon will have to fight for the only girl who’s ever made him feel whole…
Erin McCarthy's True Believers series has always been a little set apart from the typical New Adults. The raw, gritty writing and the forthright way everyone just speaks their mind has been notable from the start, but in the course of four books, the topics explored have grown increasingly heavier, forcing an inherently lovable group of underdogs in a series that really shows the underbelly of college life to grow up very fast. And with Shatter, there's one issue at the forefront: unplanned pregnancy.
Good friend, loving girlfriend Kylie has had a rough go of it, when everything changed in a flash after learning that her boyfriend and best friend hooked up then hid it for months. Finding herself still reeling and struggling with school, the one bright spot ends up being an evening of tutoring and chance meeting with a hottie she didn't expect. One thing leads to another, but more than anything, this is moment to start fresh, the first time in ages she's felt something good.
I breathed his name. “Jonathon.”
And I knew after that moment I'd never be able to call him Darwin again.
He was Jonathon.
Jonathon gave one final thrust then came, his teeth gritted.
For at least a minute, we were frozen just like that, our heavy breathing the only sound in the dim room. Then he gripped my hips and rolled me over, on top of him, as he collapsed back onto the bed with a sigh. With him still inside me, I rested my head on his chest and swallowed hard.
“You're a really good tutor.”
The connection here with Kylie and Jonathon is felt immediately, but believing they have nothing in common, they take it for what it is. But as it often the case, nothing goes as planned. Kylie's shocked to find out what was supposed to be a one night stand has had lasting consequences. Her reaction, along with Jonathon's when she tells him, are perfectly understandable. How did this happen after one fluke occurrence, and where do we go from here?
The answer is two young people genuinely trying to figure it out, as McCarthy fully explores every aspect of this issue. First, what's best for the baby, and second, what Kylie and Jonathon want themselves. Yes, the pregnancy is central, but it's the human element that pulls us in. It's an emotional whirlwind, and thanks to the strong attraction that's been there from the start, they're bonded by the baby and soon find themselves thinking maybe they can have it all. Morning sickness, doctor visits, and a pleasing display of protectiveness show how perfect Jonathon can be through anything, while sweet-natured Kylie embraces not only the idea of motherhood but going hand in hand through it with Jonathon. And pregnancy sex definitely takes it up another notch.
She was breathing hard and reaching for me. It did something weird to my gut, to see her like that, so sexy, looking up at me, hand out. I felt connected to her then, in a way I had never had before with another girl. Woman. This was going to be an adult relationship. Not a fantastical high school crush that flared and died. Not a casual companionship or a college, drama-filled disaster. But a real thing, where we shared a life.
I waited for it to be terrifying to shock me into losing my erection, to make me say something stupid and asshole-ish so she wouldn't assume too much.
But it wasn't.
And I didn't.
And she couldn't. Because there wasn't too much.
As I pushed inside her, enjoying the freedom of no protection, I pulled her leg over my hip so we were locked even closer together. “I may be getting addicted to you,” I told her.
Her nails dug in to my back. “You can have me whenever you want.”
For the first time since that life-altering moment when she had sat across the table and told me she was pregnant, I felt at peace. More than at peace. I felt lucky.
It was right.
But as it's been all along for these characters, there's nothing easy about life. In the wake of more life-altering circumstances, will Kylie and Jonathon come together or move apart? One thing done so well here is that while the pregnancy initially brings them together and elevates the relationship quickly, Kylie and Jonathon establish feelings between just the two of them that are believable and steadfast. It all happened very quickly, but even a man of science like Jonathon can't deny that something big was there from the start. It's another deeply romantic story to wrap up a series that's been real and endearing and filled with people who will be tough to leave now that we've come to know and love them.
Learn more or order a copy of Shatter by Erin McCarthy, out September 2, 2014:
Tiffany Tyer is a writer and editor who loves reading and analyzing all things romance. She also works as a vocalist, a tutor, and a non-profit ministry assistant, and she loves it that way. Her book reviews can be found at Happy Endings Reviews, a blog she co-founded.