Attraction by Penny Reid
Elements of Chemistry: ATTRACTION is the first part in a three part series; it is 45k words; and it ends with a cliffhanger. Part 1 (ATTRACTION) will be released April 9, 2015 Part 2 (HEAT) will be released April 30, 2015. Part 3 (CAPTURE) will be released May 16, 2015.
What’s the worst that could happen?
Kaitlyn Parker has no problem being the invisible girl, which is why she finds herself hiding in various cabinets and closets all over her college campus. Despite her best efforts, she can’t escape the notice of Martin Sandeke—bad boy, jerkface bully, and the universe’s hottest, wealthiest, and most unobtainable bachelor—who also happens to be Kaitlyn’s chemistry lab partner.
Kaitlyn might be the only girl who isn’t interested in exploiting his stunning rower’s build, chiseled features, and family's billionaire fortune. Kaitlyn wants Martin for his brain, specifically to tabulate findings of trace elements in surface water.
When Kaitlyn saves Martin from a nefarious plot, Martin uses the opportunity to push Kaitlyn out of her comfort zone: spring break, one week, house parties, bathing suits, and suntan lotion. Can she overcome her aversion to being noticed? Will he be able grow beyond his self-centered nature? Or, despite their obvious chemistry, will Martin be the one to drive Kaitlyn into the science cabinet of obscurity for good?
But did I like Attraction, Part 1 of the Elements of Chemistry series? No. I loved it! Yes, I am a long-time Penny Reid fan. But when your author-crush delves into new territory, you never know what you're going to get. Would this live up to the pedestal I've placed Penny on? Well, yes it did. Huzzah!
Kaitlyn and Martin are quite a pair. Are they a good pair? Jury is still out. I need the rest of the story. But what I love about this book is the fascinating and deliberate exploration of character. Kaitlyn is my kind of girl. Awkward, honest, naive, smart, kind, and an unapologetic nerd. I love being in her head. I love the way she speaks her mind. I just love her. Then there's Martin, who is this mysterious player-type, but I know there are a ton of layers beneath that surly, sexy surface. So very many depths to this boy, and I love the way we see Kaitlyn trying to see past the surface. Now some things Martin does, I'm like "Um, what do you think you're doing there, buddy?" Because we may not know all about the depths of Martin, but I don't think he knows himself very well either, and that is what is both fascinating and frustrating about him.
But together, I definitely felt the "chemistry" between Kaitlyn and Martin. There's no denying the attraction and bond going on there. And not just with the sexual tension. Though let me assure you, the sexual tension is through the roof. But there is also this potential friendship and potential for kindred spirits that is there, but how will all that potential play out? Can these two opposites attract? Or will their differences repel them? Can't wait to find out what happens next!!
Note about the trilogy: This series can be read in 3-parts with cliffhanger breaks, or the 3-parts can be read continuously once they have all been published. I'm not generally a fan of the cliffhanger, particularly when it can be a year between books and some cliffhangers can be particularly cruel. But with this series, and considering how short the time between each part's proposed release date is, the cliffhangers in this case really work. Each book feels like it's own entitiy, its own personality, its own purpose, and has a structure all of its own. The titles alone give you a clue to what you're getting. I had different feelings throughout each one of them, felt differently about the main characters in each book, and loved how the cliffhanger from the previous book led into the next, giving me those great feelings of anticipation.
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I jumped at the sound of my name coming from Martin’s lips and turned to face him. I also, for reasons known only to my subconscious, balled my hands into fists and lifted them between us, like I was prepared for a fist fight or a boxing match.
He studied my defensive posturing and smirked, taking the seat Sam had vacated without asking permission. Meanwhile I glared at him, my mental wall up and prepped, though my hands fell back to my lap. I had to do this because… super-hot boy alert level ten thousand.
“Sandeke,” I said. I knew I sounded ridiculous, like I was greeting a sworn enemy, but I had to be on guard.
His gaze skated over my face then flickered to my hands, still fists, on my lap. Then he gave my hands a smile. Apparently they amused him.
“Are you going to hit me?”
“I don’t know,” I answered honestly. “It depends on if you take your pants off again.”
“You’ll hit me if I take my pants off?”
“Yeah… I might give you a junk-punch.”
He laughed, very loudly and very suddenly, and with the complete abandon that comes from being surprised. But his laugh was a radioactive seduction and had a half-life of infinity. I wanted him to stop laughing never. It made his eyes crinkle and his mouth curve in a sinful smile, showcasing his excellent dental hygiene regimen.
He also looked so different. He usually wore an expression of perpetual unimpressed boredom. Perpetual unimpressed boredom was a good look for him, a very good look. As were all the other expressions I’d seen, like distrust, mischievous amusement, thunderous anger, unveiled interest, etc.
But laughter… he almost looked happy. Happiness on Martin was a revelation of beauty and physical perfection married to excellent and infectious good-mood-vibes. I let my fists drop. Less than a minute into our first interaction on this trip and my carefully constructed defenses had been virtually blown to bits.
I might as well wave the white panties of surrender.
“Oh, well. Barnacles.” I said to nothing and no one.
His laugh gradually receded and his eyes flickered over me. “No more fists.”
“Nope. There’s no use,” I’m sure I sounded despondent.
“So you think I could take you in a fist fight?”
“I think you could take me whenever…” I shrugged. “If you wanted to, and I really only have myself to blame.”
Martin narrowed his eyes, and they sharpened, surveying me. “You don’t look happy about this.”
I stared at him for a beat then freely admitted the truth. “Here is the problem Martin. I feel like I like you.”
The sharpness in his gaze softened and his mouth curved into a lazy, satisfied smile. “That doesn’t sound like a problem to me.”
“But it is,” I pressed. “Because the feeling originates entirely in my pants.
SEX! It all started with sex, between my parents. Personally I don’t like thinking about it, but whatever works for you is a-ok with me. No judgment. The sex happened in California and much of my life also occurred in that state until I moved from the land of nuts (almonds), wine, silicon… boobs, and heavy traffic to the southeast US. Like most writers I like to write, but let’s get back to sex. Eventually I married and gave birth to 2 small people-children (boy-6, girl-4 as of this writing).
By day I’m a biomedical researcher with focus on rare diseases. By night I’m a knitter, sewer, lino block carver, fabric printer, soap maker, and general crafter. By the wee hours of the morning or when I’m intoxicated I love to listen to the voices in my head and let them tell me stories. I hope you enjoy their stories.