** 3.5 out of 5 Stars **
**WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD**
Jude has spent the whole twenty one years of his life running. From what, he wasn't quite sure. His mother tried to keep him safe; a low profile, a constant move on the horizon, a week's pay always stashed away. She tried to install in him that he was special somehow, though would never elaborate. He never felt different. He was so completely normal and vanilla that he wondered if it had all been in her head. But then she was murdered and all he saw was a running silhouette of a man as his mother said three final words to him. Three words that changed his whole being.
Never stop running...
Now he's semi-settled into a big town. The college is huge and easy to blend into. It's been three months since he had to move because 'Biloxi', as he calls the man who killed his mother, found him once more.
Then Marley, an eighteen year old girl who is as infuriating as she is blissfully ignorant of her gorgeousness, smashed into his car with hers. Then smashes into his life as he realizes that whatever it is he has that Biloxi wants, she has it, too. And now, they're after them both.
Smash Into You was a good book. It's somewhere in the middle between ok and great. I enjoyed the characters and their banter. In the beginning, the book was sweet and funny. I loved the times they continued running into each other all over town. When something happens and they are forced to run...well that's when the book took a weird turn. I think it may be possible that it is listed in the wrong genre. I still enjoyed the story but it just became unbelievable. The hero, Jude, was especially tortured and I wanted him to have his HEA. I loved the heroine, no matter what she'd been through she was still emotionally strong. I thought I was getting an intense contemporary read but that's not what this is at all. It's short (I read it in an afternoon) and had enough suspense to keep me interested.
Marley is 18 and attending college. She's blonde with blue eyes. She has scars and she's just as scarred on the inside. She's trying to make a life for herself. She's been bounced from foster home to foster home until she was taken from the system. She's doesn't want a man, doesn't need a man, and has no intention of getting one. She's strong and doesn't fall under pressure.
Jude is 21 and has been running his entire life. He's dark blonde, built from hard labor, and has a scar on his face. He seems like a jerk on the outside. He's slept with a high number of women and lets you know that he's just using them. He pushes the girls that could be more away to keep them safe. He's been running from a man he calls Biloxi his entire life though he doesn't know why. He's been in this college town for 3 months, always looking over his shoulder, finding work and being paid under the table, just trying to survive.
Smash Into You begins with Jude in high school, he embarrasses a girl at his locker. He makes it seem that she wants him and he realizes he could like her so in "Jerk" mode he tells her he's not interested and she walks away humiliated.
3 years later Jude is attending one class in college to pass as a college student, lives in a crappy one bedroom apartment, and works at a feed store. He hates his life and the way things are turning out. He's tried of the endless girls, endless parties, and endless schools. He meets Marley when she hits his car with hers. It's pouring down rain and it's dark plus he's in a horrible mood. He realizes he could like this girl so he pushes her away (not nicely) and drives away. She's not one to be pushed around so she gives him quite a bit of sass before he sends her on her way.
He can't stop thinking about her and something is pulling him toward her. It doesn't help matters that they keep running into each other everywhere. He ends up in the bar where she works with his boss. A truck smashes through the wall and he has to run to get her out of the way. On his way down with her, he ends up with a really bad cut on his shoulder (can't go to the hospital...to many questions) but other than that they are fine. The guy who was in the truck is Biloxi so they have to run. Now he's seen them together so she's no longer safe. They end up running together with his plan being to drop her off at a safe distance. She's bound and determined to stay with him. We find out that she's been living in her car just so she could pay her way through school. With her being homeless he can't just drop her so he's taking her out of town with him.
They begin to run out of money pretty fast, they have the clothes on their back and that's it. He's still trying to get her to leave him, to hate him but she's not doing it. He gets drunk in the hotel bar one night and intentionally brings a girl to the room he's sharing with her. He decides against it at the last minute but Marley sees the girl anyway and she's hurt. He's so convinced he's bad for her that he won't think about what's happening between them.
His shoulder is getting worse but they are having to work odd jobs just to eat so he keeps pushing through. He doesn't complain and she keeps doctoring it but it's not helping. A few days later she can't get him to wake up and leaves him in the bed and runs for help. The guy next door helps get him to the hospital. He wakes up 12 hours later hooked up to antibiotics. The infection was spreading to his heart and he almost died. He realizes once they sneak back to the hotel that he wants her to stay away from him but he also wants to keep her. He ends up telling her he doesn't want to leave her behind.
"You make this life bearable. You're changing me, in all the ways I thought were dead and long gone. I thought I could never be more than I used to be, but you showed me that I can. That I want to be."
Their first kiss is in a dressing room while shopping for clothes. It's hot and could have led to more except 'Biloxi' shows up and starts shooting the place up. They manage to get away barely. Things between them progress. They end up almost sleeping together but when he realizes she's a virgin he puts the brakes on.
This is where things start to get just...WEIRD!
Jude decides that to have her he is going to have to go after 'Biloxi' and put a stop to the running. They get information on the guy. Jude has a scar on his stomach where he had a port as a baby. Marley has the same scar. Coincidence...I think not. 'Biloxi' works for a company where they did experiments on babies. They were both part of this. His mother was killed trying to save his life when he was 14. Marley's mother abandoned her when she was 3 but we quickly learn that she did it to save her life. When 'Biloxi' realizes that she is also one he has been searching for he goes after both of them. It's too late to split up and she'll never be safe now. They end up taking a truck a farmer they worked for gave them and heading to New Mexico where the facility is.
While driving, he realizes that he doesn't know when it happened but she's his now. He wants a future with her. He wants to protect her and he'll do anything he has to, to make sure she's safe. She tells him that they have met before. It turns out she was the girl at the beginning he humiliated. She was just trying to get to her locker. When he realizes who she is and how he treated her he about looses it.
They bunk down in a hotel room for the night. He's sitting on the ledge of the bathtub washing her hair when the guy who helped her get him to the hospital barges in the bathroom. He tells them he's there to help them. While Jude is in the bathroom with her while she dresses 'Biloxi' shows up and kills the other guy. They manage to get out the window in the bathroom. They drive straight to the facility. It's this huge underground operation. There are rooms with kids and patient files by the 1000's. They've killed woman after woman. It's all very weird. They find out info on their mother's, when they died, stuff like that.
They are caught and 'Biloxi' tells Marley she did a great job luring him back to the facility. She tells Jude that he's lying and then Jude is hit over the head and she's taken. When he comes to, he eventually finds her and then kills 'Biloxi'. They almost escape when someone sets the building on fire and they have no way out. They end up trying to get out of the vents in the walls. It looks like a way out but it isn't. He gives up. He has a serious head injury and he's doing all he can just to stay on his feet. I bawled right here by the way. He lays his head in her lap and she tells him to go to sleep and when he wakes up he will be with his mom. At the last minute he hears a siren and he realizes they have to be close to a way out. He finds it and manages to get everyone out including Marley. He's gone as far as he can and he's the last one in the building. The head injury causes him to loose consciencenous.
He wakes up in the hospital to find out that Marley threatened bodily harm if he wasn't saved from the building. He finally tells her that he's in love with her and has been for awhile. She admits she's in love with him too. In the end, they end up going back home so she can finish school. He ends up with a management job where he worked before and they are living together in his apartment. He gets a promotion and they are moving to Georgia.
In the epilogue they have been living in Georgia for 3 months. He's ring shopping while she's at school. He proposes to her at the park after he picks her up from school and she says yes. They end up getting married in the spot he proposed to her.
"My heart sighed at being home...in her. I found the only place I ever wanted to live again in this girl, right here in my arms.
I'm giving this one 3.5 Stars. It's a good book and I enjoyed it. So why only 3.5 stars? Well for me it was the plot. It was just so out there it wasn't believable to me. It wasn't enough to make me not want to read it but it was definitely out there. If you're looking for a book about a sweet romance and a different plot line then give this book a try.
My Jude / Marley
"Why didn't you ask that pretty thing out? She obviously wanted you to."
"That's why I had to let her go."
I didn't know what happened, but she was mine. However it happened...she was mine now.
No longer a boy who lost it all, I was a man that realized how much I had to lose.