Today is my stop during the blog tour for She Runs Away (Sheridan Hall #2) by Jessica Calla! I review this book today and keep reading because there is a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!
After tragedy strikes New Jersey University’s Sheridan Hall, freshman quarterback Ben Riley’s stable, normal life is turned upside down. Sidelined from playing the game he loves and on the verge of losing his scholarship, Ben wants nothing more than to escape the chaos of college and return home to rural Pennsylvania and his family.
Yet, there’s something that keeps him from running. Or someone. A cute blonde he had a chance with but blew off for all the wrong reasons.
Megan Smith has secrets. Secrets that have burned her in the past. Secrets she’s unwilling to share with anyone at Sheridan Hall—especially Ben, her sexy, rough-around-the-edges floormate who broke her heart in a matter of days after moving into Sheridan. Meg decided early on that it’s easier to live life on her own than to share her secrets and let people in.
Meg runs, and Ben follows. But sooner or later, the clock on their chance at love will expire. With inner demons dragging them both down, they must find a way to stop running and trust one another or risk losing their perfectly matched love forever.
Charming, romantic and full of heart, She Runs Away is a great second installment in the captivating Sheridan Hall series by Jessica Calla.
We were first introduced to Ben (and indeed Megan) in She Laughs in Pink. Something very traumatic happened in Sheridan Hall at the end of that book and as we start into this one it is clear that everyone is struggling to cope in the aftermath of the tragedy. Ben was injured and that injury now threatens his future football career. But it’s more than that. He is actually suffering from PTSD and running away from his problems instead of tackling them head-on.
Megan has a habit of doing the same, but it’s more of a defensive mechanism for her. While she grew up in a loving environment, it was less than traditional and her self-esteem suffers as a result. Ben blew her off back in September and she still feels the shadow of Juliet hovering in the wings, so she’s reluctant to start anything with him again.
But they have a really strong attraction to one another and soon they are agreeing to a sex contract in a feeble attempt to protect their hearts.
I adored Ben in this book, more so than the first one (even with that beard – not a beard lover!) He was such a nice guy and he genuinely cared for Megan but she has so many barriers up that it was difficult for him to break through. Megan grated on my nerves a little, even if I was sympathetic. Her actions in relation to that “person” who showed up irritated me no end. How she could doubt her father was beyond me. For an intelligent girl, she acted like a right idiot at times.
There was no doubt in my mind that Ben would grow tired of trying so hard, and he did, but Megan stepped up to the plate in spectacular fashion and I loved the end of the book. It gave me such a warm and cozy feeling, aww!!
The main reason I’ve rated this book four-star rather than five-star rating is because I felt it dragged a lot in the middle and my mind started wandering. The sub-plot involving that mystery person that showed up (being vague to avoid spoilers) lacked depth and I never felt any real tension or conflict as a result. I think this could’ve been fleshed out to add more to the story.
The writing was superb, as I’ve come to expect from Jessica, and all the characters are well-developed. I enjoyed the setting especially the sojourn to Miami! I love how much care and attention Jessica pays to her secondary characters and it was great to see Juliet and Chase again and to get to know Maggie (I’m guessing the next book is about her and Dave.)
While I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as the first book, it was still an excellent read and I’m very much invested in this series. Can’t wait to read book three!
Thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.
About the Author:
Jessica Calla is a contemporary romance and women’s fiction author who moonlights during the day as an attorney. If she’s not writing, lawyering, or parenting, you’ll most likely find her at the movies, scrolling through her Twitter feed, or gulping down various forms of caffeine (sometimes all three at once).
Jessica is a member of Romance Writers of America, involved in the Contemporary, Young Adult, and New Jersey Chapters, and is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She recently became the oldest marketing intern ever at BookFish Books, and was named a Young Adult mentor for the FicFest writing contest. A Jersey girl through and through, she resides in the central part of the state with her husband, two sons, and dog.
Find Jessica on Twitter (@jess_calla) or at her website (www.jessicacalla.com). She loves to make reader and writer friends.