Aflame by Penelope Douglas

AflameFall Away, 4Penelope DouglasNA Contemporary RomancePenguin Publishing GroupApril 21, 2015eBook262

The tables have turned. Now I have the power—and it’s his turn to beg…

Everyone wants to be me.

Maybe it’s the sway of my skirt or the way I flip my hair, but I don’t care. Even though their attention is the last thing I crave, I just can’t stop. I dominate the track, the speed rattles my bones, and the wind and the crowd screams my name.

I’m her. The girl driver. The queen of the race. And I’m surviving—something he thought I’d never do.

They all still talk about him. Did you see Jared Trent on T.V? What did you think of his last race, Tate? When is he coming back to town, Tate?

But I refuse to care too much. Because when Jared does come home, I won’t be here.

Tatum Brandt is gone. I’m someone new.

This is what I wanted at the end of Bully and Until You. I think I now realize my biggest issue with Tate and Jared’s relationship is that he never really changed. She just agreed to date him, almost rewarding him for all his bad behavior. Whereas here, she really makes him work for it.

​I also loved that his mom calls him out on being a bully—finally!

“You’ve always bullied her” … “But she was a girl then, Jared, and she’s a woman now,” she stated matter-of-factly, her tone growing harder. “A man who stands in front of a woman does nothing more than block her view. She needs a man standing next to her, so grow up.”

And Jared acknowledges when he’s being a little shithead, too:

No matter how much I liked to think that I had grown up, being around Tate brought out the bully all over again.

I will admit that while I enjoyed this book a lot more, and was glad to see Jared’s POV as well as Tate’s, I do feel the book description is a bit misleading. It sounded like she was leaving him in the dust, and then the cover implies they get back together. But this novel was a lot more about how he saw her moving on, and then how he reacts (and how she reacts to him reacting).

But at least it’s well-matched, the guys (Jared, Madoc, and Jaxon) have a group, and Tate has their wife and girlfriend (Fallon and Juliet—read Falling Away to understand the new name, respectively). There’s a certain race in the story that pits the two sexes against each other, and it’s great.

So, while I initially thought myself weak for caving in and reading this (pretty late, but whatever), I’m glad I did because it made me happy to be able to justify Tate and Jared in my mind like I can Madoc and Fallon, and Jaxon and Juliet—even though they’re all a little messed up if we’re telling the honest truth.

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