Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Tempation of Lila and Ethan: Jessica Sorensen

The Temptation of Lila and Ethan
(The Secret #3)
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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Ella and Micha series comes a gripping story of passion, pain, and the courage to love

On the surface, Lila Summers is flawless: good looks, expensive clothes, and a big, beautiful smile. But a dark past and even darker secrets are threatening to bubble over her perfect façade. She'll do anything to keep the emptiness inside hidden-which leads her into situations that always end badly. Whenever she hits bottom, there's only one person who's there to pull her out: Ethan Gregory.

Ethan set the rules a long time ago: he and Lila are just friends. He doesn't do relationships. Although his tattooed, bad boy exterior is a far cry from Lila's pretty princess image, Ethan can't deny they have a deeper connection than he's used to. If he's not careful, he could be in serious danger of becoming attached-and he's learned the hard way that attachment only leads to heartbreak.

When Lila falls farther than she ever has before, can Ethan continue to help as a friend? Or is he also getting close to falling . . . for her?

Other books in The Secret Series:
Book 1: The Secret of Ella and Micha: Goodreads/Amazon/B&N
Book 2: The Forever of Ella of MichaGoodreads /Amazon/B&N
Book 4: The Ever After of Ella and Micha: Goodreads expected 12/3/13
“Why do you think it’s so hard to be alone?” Lila asks, struggling to keep her eyes open as she gazes out at the night sky through the cab window.
I’m turned sideways in the seat, with my knee up, so I’m facing her, even though she won’t look at me. I lost count of how many shots we had hours ago and I can barely comprehend
how we got to a cab—stumbling, laughing, as she rubbed her hand up the front of my jeans. No, that can’t be right, can it?
“I think being alone is fan-fucking-tastic. . . well, maybe . . .sometimes . . .” I mumble, draping my arm on the back of the seat. I stare at her for a moment, taking in her bare skin in the
moonlight. I want to touch it. Lick it. Even bite it.
I’m bursting with sexual energy and I channel it to my foot on the floor, bouncing my knee. There’s something different about tonight, something out of the ordinary, this strange need
to keep getting closer to Lila. It could be the alcohol. Or it could be something else, but there’s no way my tequila-soaked mind is going to reach any sort of answer.
Lila turns her head toward me, her pupils wide and shiny. “Why are you staring at me like that?”
I keep tapping my foot on the floor, trying to think of a better answer than the first one that pops into my head, but I can’t find one. “Because I’m thinking about you.”
She glances at the cab driver, a thirtyish guy wearing a baseball cap, and then her gaze lands back on me. She sucks her lip into her teeth and I have to bounce my knee faster or I swear I’m going to fucking lose it. “Thinking what about me?” she asks, looking wary, interested, and exhausted.
Don’t say it . . . “I was thinking about what it would be like to lick you . . . or bite you . . . either one really.” It seems like I should regret it as soon as I say it, but regret is nowhere in my
reach at the moment.
Her breathing quickens and her voice comes out shockingly unsteady for someone who has sex so much. “Then do it.”
I blink, wondering if I heard her right through the massive amount of alcohol consuming my thoughts. “What?”
She holds my gaze steadily, even though she seems really nervous, her voice trembling. “Then bite me. Or lick me…whatever you want.”

"Everyone's messed up...In their very own f***ed up way, a lot of people just won't admit it aloud and then try to change it."

We met Lila and Ethan in The Secret of Ella and Micha. She is Ella's former college room mate and friend and he is Micha's long time best friend. They seemed so opposite: The perfect spoiled rich girl and the blue collar bad boy. But we saw them become friendly as they helped their friends with their issues.
Now we see deep into their family dynamics, troubled pasts, confusion, guilt, loss, and hopelessness. They are both lost, broken, and are each other's friendly anchor. But Ethan has a no touching, no relationships rule...and he has it for a reason. They are kind of coasting through life, coping poorly, and unable to come to terms with their past, present, or future plans. 

But these two have had a connection since they first met. They have continued to be friends and tried to avoid complications. But it is about to get really complicated.  

It's kind of our thing; we share out stories and never judge each other, despite how bad and ugly the stories are. He knows things about me that no one does...and I know things about him, too...

Their pasts are slowly revealed throughout the book adding mystery. In the other books, I knew there were hidden secrets with these two, but never would have imagined what they were. I really loved Ethan and getting to see deeper into his past and layers. He suffered a loss and troubled upbringing that shaped his choices. He was not proud of his past, was plagued by guilt and loss, and had trouble letting go. He had made poor choices in the past, but really was a good guy and was trying to be a good friend. Although I have to admit that his continued resistance, though honorable, got a little frustrating at times. 

"God, half the time you drive me crazy. You challenge my patience. Piss me off. Make me feel things....That's the thing, Lila. You make me feel things for you, even when I'm fighting it. No one has ever done that to me."

Lila had been through a horrible experience and never really felt love or good enough for her parents. She coped in unhealthy ways, but put on the facade of being happy and perfect to the world.  I enjoyed seeing the changes in Lila as she started to work on her life with Ethan's support. Together they had a witty rapport, deep bond, and feelings that were not easily resolved. Their sexual tension was off the charts. But it was grounded by a bond of friendship that came first. So there was some back and forth, hiding, confused feelings, and misunderstandings.

"I'm f***ed up, Ethan. I never feel loved, yet I always keep looking for it, hoping that somehow it really  exists."

As Lila's life crashes around her will Ethan always be there to save her? And can Ethan let go of his own past and move on?

This couple was much more complex than I expected after meeting them in the other books. There was a lot of  damage lurking under the surface. I am so glad we got to see both of their points of view since they had so many feelings that were difficult for them to express. It is a story of two people struggling to find their way and learning what a real true connection can be like. But it is difficult, frightening, and stressful...but also emotional, tender, and passionate. It is about knowing when to let go and when to hold on. And about trying to become a  person that feels comfortable in their own skin and learn to find meaning in life. 

We got to seem more of Ella and Micha and the ending transitions us right into their next book The Ever After of Ella and Micha. I liked getting to see how their story continues to progress. 

Thanks to Jessica Sorensen, Forever Grand Central Publishing, and Netgalley for providing me with an arc copy in exchange for an honest review. Quotes are from arc copy and subject to change in the final draft. 

Lila is so so damaged, and not just due to her past. Looking back on their story, I think she has to be the most broken down character I have read in a while. There were moments I loved her and other moments I could feel the eye roll coming on, but to be honest if I had parents like hers who knows how I would react to life. I mean they sure as hell aren't ever going to win parents of the year. Her mentality and esteem has taken a beaten between her past and present upbringing. In turn, Lila lives her life centered around the only means of survival she knows, which is to shut down completely. I know a lot of people hated her and were annoyed by her, but I saw her as a flawed crippled woman who hid behind materialistic stuff to replace the lack of affection and love she never once received.

Ethan, now Ethan I loved everything about his character. He was wicked delicious, even if he did frustrate me a time or two. LOVED him to death. I adored the fact that even when he was struggling with his own insecurities and issues, he never once let Lila dangle in the wind. No matter how broken and lost Ethan may have seemed, he always managed to look beyond his past and learn from those lessons to become a more worthy human being; someone others could trust and depend on even if all he really seeked in life was solitude.

Together they are the definition of opposite; Lila is pure rich girl while Ethan is the boy from the other side of the tracks, yet inside they both struggled to overcome some very similar and intense inner demons. Neither held any form of self-worth, nor did they feel deserving of love, hell neither felt worthy of anything that resembled good. Their friendship worked because it was based on a rule of no judgment, in fact, I think this is what actually saved them. When you looked past their outer appearances to the layers and vulnerability they kept hidden underneath you will find they were exactly what the other needed in order to heal properly.

My relationship with these characters felt a little like a teeter-totter. I bounced between liking them and thinking all right already, enough is enough. I struggled with the pacing of this book, in more ways than one. I am definitely not an insta love chick, and I really love stories that are built on a growing friendship (I tend to eat them right up); however, this relationship took forever to build. And when I say forever, I mean FOREVER, as in it never really went anywhere til' around 70%. Don't get me wrong they had their "moments", but they were just that, "moments". There was so much built up sexual tension between Lila and Ethan, that even I felt as though I was going to explode.

It's not that I didn't like Ethan and Lila because I loved them together; part of my issue was the heaviness to their relationship. They both lived in their heads so much they couldn't seem to get out of their own way. It felt as though they would take two steps forward and three steps back. The flight and fight syndrome mixed with their past and present obstacles sometimes allowed for the story to become overwhelming, as there just wasn't enough humor or romance to balance it all out.

I'm not sure, if it's me, the mood I am in, or if I am just outgrowing the NA genre. I am a huge fan of Jessica Sorensen; Callie & Kayden is one of my favorite books ever, and that couple literally broke me. So much so, I am too scared to read the second book in their series. Anyway, when I compare Ethan and Lila to them, it unfortunately comes up a bit short.

I guess the big question is would I recommend this book to others. Yes, I actually would. It wasn’t a bad book by any means, it just wasn’t one that worked perfectly for me, especially coming off of her other series, which was a 6 star read for me.

Thanks to Jessica Sorensen, Forever Grand Central Publishing, and Netgalley for providing me with an arc copy in exchange for an honest review. Quotes are from arc copy and subject to change in the final draft. 

Jessica Sorensen Website/Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter
The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Jessica Sorensen, lives in the snowy mountains of Wyoming. When she's not writing, she spends her time reading and hanging out with her family.

Jessica is giving away:
 5 ebooks


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