FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours.
August 27, 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (NA)
Jack Daniels is the cure to all evils.
Sex should be casual and, preferably, anonymous.
Giving a damn is for nurses, philanthropists and suicide hotlines.
Those are the values Mathew Rogers built his adult life on and plans to spend the rest of his days honoring. In his pursuit of happiness, he embarks on a one year journey where he’ll have to prove he can live by his values and rely only on himself.
Four months and thirteen days later, due to a series of unfortunate events, he finds himself in the rickety town of Jolene, Alabama. There, he meets Lexie, a waitress with some serious attitude and values of her own.
Never underestimate the healing power of chocolate chips.
If it walks and talks like a jerk, it’s definitely a jerk. Stay the hell away.
When in doubt, go with a smile and kindness. It goes a long way.
Taken by her beauty and personality, Mathew questions all he’s ever known and, much to his surprise, begins to give a damn about someone else for once in his life. The problem, however, is that Lexie seems to despise him.
Desperate to get his life back but unable to get in his car and drive to the next unplanned destination, Matt stays in Jolene. In the midst of arguments, unlikely friendships, new values and heartbreak, they’ll both try to find a reason to stay.
Young attorney Matthew Rogers had made a mess of his life, and it’s bad enough that he’s not really allowed home for a while, at least until his last screw-up fades into yesterday’s news. But roaming town to town with no real purpose is getting old, and there seems to be no end to his wandering in sight. But when a couple of random songs on the radio place him in Jolene, Alabama on nothing more than a whim, he runs into someone who just might be able to turn him around.
Waitress Lexington Blake’s life certainly didn’t turn out like she planned. But life in Jolene isn’t too bad — unless you count the complete jerk of a customer who treats her like desperate trash. Never one to hold her tongue or conform to what everyone else thinks she should be, she doesn’t hesitate to put him in his place, but the whole thing still manages to ruin her day long after he’s blown out of town. But then the surly, conceited customer from hell keeps coming back, and his attempts to earn her forgiveness open the door to something much bigger.
It’s incredibly easy to hate Matt in the beginning. He’s completely self-absorbed, selfish, downright cruel to anyone he deems beneath him (which is pretty much everyone), and incapable of taking any responsibility for his own enormous mistakes. But that’s what makes the book so interesting because, by the end, he’s grown into someone you can’t help but love.
Lexie is in many ways very much your small town girl — the real kind, not the typical book kind. She’s kind and funny, loves her makeshift family beyond measure, and works a dead end job for pitiful pay. But she’s also independent, wearing her heart in the form of a tattoo sleeve, and makes no apology for who she is. When Matt initially writes her off as some weak-kneed damsel in distress expecting him to carry her away from her nowhere town, she’s quick to set him straight — and get him thinking.
It seems that the biggest reason Matt is such an ass is simply because he’s been allowed to be anything or nothing — no one cared enough either way. Sure, he has a pretty awful relationship with his father, and losing his mother did a real number on him, but at heart he’s not a bad guy at all, just a very alone guy. He’s just always gotten what he wanted a little too easily, to the point that he feels entitled, and the last thing he expects is the words of some small town waitress to upend his whole view of himself. But she does exactly that, making him appreciate and wish for the simpler but fuller life she leads, and before long, they cross into a tentative friendship.
The story could have probably rushed these two into a hot and heavy romance, but instead, it takes its time. They hate each other, learn to tolerate each other, become decent to each other, and then grow the ensuing friendship into a solid relationship. Unfortunately, Matt’s lack of true relationship experience leads to a pretty big secret, and when his past comes back to give him a good kick, it throws everything with Lexie up in the air. The way they both handle it, though realistic in anger and reaction, is ultimately good, and it actually seems to be the thing that forces Matt to face his past and embrace an entirely different future than he ever expected he’d want.
The Reason I Stay celebrates oddball families and genuine friendships, second chances and new beginnings, and romance at its best. It’s not the good girls saves bad boy story one might expect — it’s more. The character growth and development alone is worth reading, but the romance is what makes it great.