“That girl isn’t just trouble of the not-a-team-player, not-a-reliable-runner variety. She’s trouble of the devious, manipulative, too-f***ing-hot-for-her-own good variety. She’s the kind of girl who causes trouble merely by existing, and then makes sure to cause more.
And the last thing I need right now is more trouble.”
A failing farm.
His father’s debt.
And a struggling college track team.
Will Langstrom has too many responsibilities, and the last thing he needs is Olivia Finnegan, a beautiful but troubled new transfer student.
A smart mouth.
A strong right hook.
And a secret that could destroy her.
Olivia is her own worst enemy, with a past she can’t seem to escape, and the last person she wants help from is a cocky track coach she can never seem to please.
Refusing to be pushed away, Will is determined to save her.
And determined to resist an attraction that could destroy them both.
I have had this ARC sitting on my Netgalley shelf FOREVER, but that shouldn’t have happened with this book because it was SO GOOD! I haven’t read Elizabeth O’Roark before, but that will definitely change after Waking Olivia.
The Story. Olivia “Finn” Finnegan transfers to ECU after a shocking incident with a teammate at her D1 university. Olivia knows she has to stay in line in order to keep her scholarship and her second chance, but her asshole coach is going to make that difficult. Will doesn’t think Olivia belongs here after almost killing a teammate with a bat, but he doesn’t have a choice, but to coach her. Will thinks Olivia is impulsive, violent, defies every rule, and unwilling to listen to anyone, especially him. What he doesn’t understand is that no matter how hard Olivia tries, some things are beyond her control. The longer Will gets to know Olivia the more he sees behind her hard shell she surrounds herself in until things come to a head, and Olivia has to let Will in on some of her secrets. However, Will isn’t prepared for these secrets to flip his world upside down.
I really really loved this story. It is heartbreaking and sad and forbidden, but it is also the sweetest and full of hope. The things in Olivia’s past are enough to make even the most invincible person in the world to crack, and yet she is still standing. Will has his own hard story that was full of regrets and a catty girlfriend who had absolutely no sympathy for anyone but herself. I loved the writing and the plot. The secondary characters were exactly what this book needed to give a little bit of levity in a heavy book. This was a slow burn romance in the best way because two people who were forbidden to fall in love just couldn’t help themselves. It was a beautiful book that had a beautiful ending. I really want more of these characters because it was just that good!
Olivia. This beautiful, brave, strong woman. I wanted to cry when her whole story was revealed. No wonder she runs and some things are out of her control. On the outside, Olivia is brash, impulsive, and does whatever she wants, but that is a hard front she puts on for the world. Olivia is sweet and believes every bad thing about her is who she is. She doesn’t expect people to invite her in and love on her without expectations. Olivia was a fantastic heroine who just wanted to please everyone in her own way.
Will. This strong, protective, sweet man. I really loved Will’s character as well. He was sucked into the life he thought his dad wanted him to live, despite the joy he feels when climbing the highest peaks the world has to offer. He is running a failing farm, dating a fake girlfriend, and staying in the same town…all because he is full of regrets and wanting to take responsibility. When Olivia runs into his life, he finds himself alive for the first time in years. He believes this girl with heartbreaking secrets could be the one saving him, despite everything that is standing in their way.
I highly highly recommend this book to those who love: forbidden romance, sports romance, contemporary, heartbreaking pasts, brave heroines, and protective heroes.
Overall Rating: ★★★★★/★★★★★