If you can't get enough of E. L. James, Sylvia Day and Samantha Young, you'll love this passionate romance.
It's the beginning of a new term at Wyckham College, Oxford, and a fresh start for Lauren Cusack.
Her fingers were badly burnt when a whirlwind romance with gorgeous English aristocrat, Alexander Hunt, became too hot to handle - and now she's determined to keep her distance.
But her resolve is shaken when Alexander appears on her doorstep, completely torn apart after hearing devastating news.
Lauren knows that she should stay away, but their chemistry is undeniable and she soon finds herself back in Alexander's arms.
Can Lauren handle the drama that comes with Alexander Hunt? Or will she have to sacrifice the most exhilarating passion she's ever known . . .
You won't be able to put down the sizzling second novel in Pippa Croft's Oxford Blue romance series.
'This series has me hooked' 5***** reader review
'Seriously addictive!' 5***** reader review
'An exciting, sexy read' 5***** reader review
'Absolutely gripping romance with plenty of heat' 5***** reader review
The second in Croft's new adult Oxford Blues contemporary trilogy (after The First Time We Met) is as sexy and fast-paced as the first. American Lauren Cusack has had a tempestuous relationship with sexy, brooding Brit Alexander Hunt ever since they met at Wyckham College, in England. After a massive row, Lauren decides she's done with the aristocrat a resolution that lasts about five minutes. After Alexander's father unexpectedly dies, Lauren and Alexander renew their relationship even as Alexander is thrust into a new world. One of his responsibilities is chaperoning his headstrong 17-year-old sister, Emma, who is secretly seeing a sworn enemy of Alexander's. Can Alexander handle both his lover and his sister, or is he doomed to lose it all? As with the first title, Croft ends on a tantalizing life-and-death cliff-hanger that will frustrate readers but make them eagerly await the next tale. The chemistry between Lauren and Alexander is off the charts, with steamy and well-paced love scenes, and an excellent supporting cast of friends and villains adds enjoyable texture to this strongly plotted, character-driven and enjoyable romp.
The kind of darkness you can scoop up in your hands or pull over your skin like a velvet cloth.
"It’s dark. The kind of darkness you can scoop up in your hands or pull over your skin like a velvet cloth."
Lauren has left the States for her second term at Oxford after six weeks of holiday. This story begins with Lauren succumbing to sleep upon the flight to Oxford.
"Outside, the chapel clock chimes the first stroke of midnight, and after it, the other bells of Oxford join in, near and far, out of synch with each other. The chilly night air kisses my skin and the room smells of books and instant coffee and dusty radiators. I can’t move but I’m not dreaming, I just choose not to. I choose to lie here, naked on top of the duvet on my single bed, knowing Alexander is somewhere in the room."
“The mattress dips, the bed creaks, and his weight is next to me, over me, on me. His mouth comes down on mine in the darkness. I could stop him, any time I wanted to; I could end this thing between us but I choose not to.”
When she is suddenly awoken on her flight shortly before landing at Heathrow Airport. She is unaware of the tragedy fallen upon Alexander and his family.
"I sure hope I haven’t been acting out my fantasy as I dozed in the flat bed because that would take a lot of explaining. As for my dreams, I already consigned those to where they belong: to the boxes marked ‘Big Mistake’ and ‘Don’t Go There’ and ‘How the Hell Did I Ever Let That Happen?’ And yet … And yet nothing, Lauren."
Alexander and Lauren did not depart on good terms before the holiday.
“I did, however, fall for the most unsuitable man in Oxford, but that’s something they’re never going to know about. The six weeks I’ve been away from Alexander Hunt have been the Christmas gift I didn’t ask for – but needed so much more than clothes or candy.”
“Has it really been two months since we floated back downstream, him lost in some dark and distant place again, me wrapped in his coat, thinking that was the only way I’d ever get inside his skin?
“I’ve learned not to waste my time on battles that can’t be won.”
Lauren is adamant on hardening her heart when it comes to Alexander and placing him behind her. Of course, her neatly premeditated alternative scheme never comes to fruit. Upon her return to her living quarters at the Lodge. When she reaches her room an unfamiliar silhouette, the haughty man she had come to love, is only a fragment of whom he used to be. Alexander is waiting for her in the doorway appearing ill defined and sorrowful. She comes to learn a horrendous tragedy as fallen upon the Hunt family. Alexander seeks Lauren for comfort, support, and assistance as well to emotionally sustain him. Lauren and Alexander's relationship matures; by the same token, there own individual life experiences throughout the story.
“It troubles me, too, that I’ve become embroiled in Alexander’s life again against all my better judgement and that all our old issues are still there, lying like rocks beneath the surface.”
“Somewhere in between?”
“It is the calm after the storm,”
No matter the ill attempts of certain people to separate Lauren and Alexander, the conflicts that may arise, the Universe always leads them back together.They both are each other’s weakness and strength and have finally found each other. Soul-mates
The author’s writing is avant-garde. This narrative contains an increasing extensiveness and develops into several sequences of events that will challenge their volatile relationship. Pippa Croft appears to prepare us for what is to yet to come.
“I get back into bed and lie down. I’m going to carry you off somewhere and lock the door on the rest of the world.”
“How do you think this letter got into your bag? I reach for the rocker switch on the lamp and the room is plunged into darkness. Total blackness at first, but gradually my eyes adjust. I hold my hand in front of my face, turning my fingers this way and that. I think I can see the outline of my hand, or maybe my brain is filling in what my eyes can’t see.”
“The darkness absolute now because I have my eyes closed.”
“I’m going to make good on all the things I’ve lain awake promising myself I’d do.”
“The bed dips as the fantasy Alexander climbs astride me.”
“It’s half a minute before I open my eyes to find the room still dark, and the same workaday noises intrude again. There’s no Alexander standing by the bed, of course. It was pure fantasy, on his part and mine.”
“Almost immediately, it starts again and my eyelids flutter open. It is my phone, not a dream or a fantasy but real. It’s right next to me on the nightstand, throbbing angrily, accusing me of ignoring it.”
‘Ms Cusack? Ms Lauren Cusack?’ An English voice, crisp, female,
unfamiliar, speaks. It’s barely eight a.m. Who would call at this hour on a Sunday? How does this woman know who I am? I answer slowly, reluctant to own up to my name. ‘Yes, that’s me.’ ‘I believe you know Captain Alexander Hunt, of Falconbury House, Oxfordshire?’ ‘Yes, I know Alexander, but who is this?’
I found this extremely ironic. In the beginning of the narrative Lauren has a dream on her journey back to Oxford, which we later discover tragedy has fallen upon Alexander and his family. In closing, Lauren discovers a letter in her case from Alexander. She once again falls into a deep slumber and dreams of Alexander and is awoken by the buzzing of her phone. Upon answering the call she soon discovers tragedy has struck once again. Lauren by means of her dreams is experiencing at the same time when something ill-fated involving Alexander is occurring.
I have to say it once again excellent writing Pippa Croft.
A definite 5 stars... Brilliantly written. Great-character development. A marvelous passion filled, tragic, enthralling and breath-taking read.
ARC provided by Netgalley.
The Second Time I Saw You is the second book in The Oxford Blue Series