Crave (Clark Family Book 1) by Evelyn Sola
Contemporary romance published by Evelyn Sola on March 2, 2020
Before THAT night, the over the top party and the cake incident, I spent Saturday nights with girlfriends, lamenting my life over margaritas.
I wasn’t ready for Jacob Clark. He was sin and dark edges, wrapped in regret. He was my Kryptonite. His words oozed over me like warm honey. His dark eyes pricked my soul, and his touch….those fingers set my skin on fire.
Of course he was too good to be true. And before I could wipe the icing off my greedy lips, I was walking away.
So, why was he invading her dreams?
She was the remedy to everything. Until my family, my past, provoked me.
I made one little scene, and Sandra walked away without a word, despite our mind-blowing connection.
When I finally barged in on her life again, she told me she didn’t want me. I told her in her pretty face she did. She more than wanted me.
Remember the ache? When I’m with her, it goes away.
If she wants a chase, I’ll give her one.
Who knows? When I catch her, I might never let go.
[So … late is better than never, right? 😅] The way I think about this book is: what if you met your perfect match on the worst night of their life? While it wasn’t the worst night of Jace’s life … he’s reacting to it still. I actually listened to the audiobook – it’s narrated by Mari and Troy Duran. I’ve listened to other books Mari narrated before, but Troy was new to me, and *fans self* his voice, y’all. Anyway. This book! I’m glad I stuck with it because at first glance, the hero is not very “hero material.” … But we quickly find out why – and it’s such a great, sexy contemporary. I’m also a major sucker for a smitten hero. Another bonus is – the dogs! Zeus (a bull mastiff!) and Lady (a poodle). Low key the detail and attention to the dogs is what kept me initially reading/listening when I might’ve DNF’d otherwise. So many authors write a dog into their books and just never mention them again. Not the case here. And also, once we got into the actual story with Jake and Sandy, I was hooked.
Sandra Etienne is a delight. She’s a pediatric nurse, who is very family centric. She also isn’t here for your shit. I liked that she didn’t cave to Jace – but also she wasn’t a bitch just for the sake of it. Her mother and sister are fabulous too. I loved how when her mom first met Jake she just straight up shuts him down – calls him trouble, tells him “no” and orders him to stay away from her daughter. It was wonderful to see such a loving relationship between a mother and daughter. And sister! Sandy literally lives next door to her older sister (Tash) and her family. Hell, her brother-in-law Chris is great too! Sandy isn’t willing to let anyone devalue her or make her feel lesser. The situation(s) with Jake though? She also understands shit happens, life happens, and we’re all imperfect humans. He fucks up. A lot when he first meets her, and after some work on his part, she’s willing to hear him out, to decide if she’s willing to forgive him or not. (And believe me – he more than makes up for his initially idiocy.)
Jacob Clark has lived a pretty easy, privileged life… and he knows his life is good. He has … an excellent family but for this seriously major thing. I’m trying to decide/debate whether or not discussing it would be a spoiler. I love his parents. They’re so effusive. They’re loving, generous, kind, the boys are well adjusted. The toxicity though – there was a major event five years ago, that’s caused a rift in the family. Aside from that one big issue, Jake is charming, fun, playful, and stupid gorgeous. Unfortunately, that “one thing” is … constantly in his face – and anything that stems from or about it sets him off like a bomb. Other than that … You know that guy that can get away with things ~nobody else can? That’s Jake. He’s loving, has a great sense of humor, is very loyal, and takes his responsibilities seriously. (And adopting his elderly neighbor’s poodle after she passed away? Come on. <3)
I have to admit that the fact that I’ve read all 3 books in 4 days has kind of blurred them together. (I just re-started Crave both to write this review, and because it was my favorite of the three.) Less than half an hour into the book I was already chuckling. The banter is excellent, but also how realistic the characters were. Of course you know everyone will end up together in a romance novel, but in this case you know it. You believe it – and you see it. Especially because in this case, basically “all” the worst shit happens early on. First, the intro – Jake has a bad night (with good reason). Then … the first month after Jake meets Sandra, he fucks up. Over and over (One example of a fuck up? Yes, Jake does in fact set Sandy up with JD on an ambush date… because he’s being an idiot – and I loved that she got to throw it in his face over and over. Mostly playfully … but seriously – he deserves it.) But the thing is, Jake makes up for it. He owns up to his mistakes, apologizes, and explains his actions, while also promising to do better.
And the thing is he does. While Sandra isn’t perfect or a saint of course, she’s definitely allowed to get into her feelings based on things that occur. I also liked that the book didn’t shy away from “the race thing.” We all know race is and can be a fraught issue – and Sandra is right to have been concerned it was an issue. While it isn’t with Jake’s family, issues crop up at [his] work. Then also with the reason Sandy is first invited to the party to stay – Mrs. Clark wants to introduce her to JD, the doctor (who is Black), not her own son Jake. The reason being because at the time, nobody thinks Jake is emotionally available. Not because his family is bigoted. (Sandra is Black, Jake is white … and his family is rich. Like rich rich. And of course being racist isn’t exclusive to old rich white money … but …) Anyway. Not the issue with the Clarks. While it’s never a big thing like with Jake’s family – and honestly probably is only a few paragraphs of the book total – there are a few instances, and I appreciated both that it was addressed, and how.
Honestly, I kind of thought the biggest issue was Troy and Tracy … and Luke. The fact that they make Jake the bad guy. I get that he does not react well to seeing Troy and Tracy – but honestly I think he has good reason. I liked that Jake’s mom has his back throughout. It’s obviously an incredibly difficult position for anyone in the family to be in and this ~secondary story arc takes 2 books to resolve. What’s addressed here though is Jake’s immediate reaction to them – his ability to forgive, move on, and focus on his relationship with Sandra. I thought it was important that she underlines he has to decide to forgive and move on for himself, not because of her. (While of course she’s the catalyst, Jake realizes how poisoned and bitter he’s become – and that’s not who he was or wants to be.)
Like I said – I’ve actually already listened to all three books in the series – and am wondering if there will be more. I’m definitely interested in reading more books by Evelyn Sola. If you like sexy contemporary romances with smitten heroes, you should definitely read this book. Obviously there’s a lot going on – it’s complex family dynamics written in a realistic but entertaining way. Excellent secondary characters, a lot of humor and love too. Crave is my favorite of the three – but I enjoyed Cherish and Crash as well. I’ve already recommended this author and series to other readers, and hope you’ll give it a try too.
You can buy a copy here.