“Grip is my ultimate…If I was forced, gun-to-the head, to make one book boyfriend real to be mine, it would be him. No questions asked.”
— Adriana Locke, USA Today Bestselling Author
STILL, the sexy, emotional final installment of the GRIP series,
is available NOW!
I’ll be there.
Through thick and thin.
Ride or die.
You can count on me.
The promises people make. The vows we take.
Assumptions of the heart.
Emotion tells us how we feel, but life…life has a way of plunging us in boiling water, burning away our illusions, testing our faith, trying our convictions.
Love floating is a butterfly, but love tested is an anchor.
For Grip and Bristol,
Love started at the top of the world
On a Ferris wheel under the stars
But when that love is tested, will they fly or fall?
PSA: Remember you need to read FLOW & GRIP before reading this book! Go check out my GRIP review here.
I can’t. I can’t. I can’t with this book.
When I saw the “STILL recovery room” Facebook group I thought “why would I need to join a recovery group after reading this? I’m sure I’ll just be a cute read” and rolled my eyes. MAN, was I wrong. I can’t believe I thought for a second that this wouldn’t be an emotional rollercoaster. I mean we’re talking about Kennedy freaking Ryan. I should know better already. You don’t have to shake your head at me, I’m already shaking it at myself.
Let’s do a little recap, shall we?
FLOW (the prequel) basically tells the story of how Grip and Bristol met. She flew from New York to Los Angeles to visit her brother. But unlike Bristol, her brother wasn’t very happy to see her again after so many years apart. Fortunately, Grip was there to keep her company and show her around during her week in Los Angeles. And… they felt a connection. They shared a kiss on the ferris wheel and went semi skinny-dipping in cold water and then it was time for Bristol to go back to college in New York.
GRIP starts eight years after FLOW ends. Bristol now lives in Los Angeles and she’s Grips manager. Grip is now a successful rapper. He climbed the charts like it was nobody’s business. They’ve somehow managed to keep their relationship strictly platonic until one night on Grip’s roof where they shared empanadas and a kiss. But now more than ever, Bristol knows there’s not a chance in hell she’s falling into his arms again. There’s no way she’s going to end up like her mom. No. Way.
STILL is what happens after the boy gets the girl and the girl gets the boy. We are able to see what happens after the “happily ever after” we usually get in romance books. We get a shot of real life and it is beautiful and sad and everything that real life is. Life puts Bristol and Grip’s love to the test and we are able to witness either them drifting apart or their love getting stronger.
I love that this series is not like most contemporary romance series/books. We not only get the beautiful, angsty story of how the characters meet and how they get together, we get the story of what happens AFTER they get together. Because of course, it’s not all perfect even after you find the love of your life. Life’s not fair and it throws crap at you whether you’re the best rapper in the world or a normal human being. And the way Bristol and Grip handle all of the crap thrown their way is just… what TRUE LOVE looks like. What true love IS. They are able to go through pain and heartache together and still love each other as much as they did years ago.
I’ve read many amazing books in the past few years but not a single one has every touched subjects as important and (unfortunately) actual and raw as this book/series does. None has taken me on an emotional rollercoaster like this one.
I felt frustrated and angry when people just refused to accept Bristol and Grip being together because of their race. I wanted to punch someone in the face when the police pulled over Grip even though he did absolutely nothing wrong. I swooned like I’ve probable never swooned before when Grip said the sweetest things to Bristol. I bawled my eyes out when heartache reached their relationship and it felt like everything was crumbling down.
I am in awe of Kennedy Ryan’s beautiful writing. This book/series has it all. The romance, the angst, the laughter, the steamy moments, the sweet moments, the incredibly heartbreaking moments. All wrapped up in a pretty bow of poetry. She uses poetry like a champion. The woman knows what the heck she’s writing about.
And can we just talk for a moment about the epilogue where she used my favorite poem ever and put back together the pieces of my broken heart with gold like they do in Japan? I cried. It is probably the most beautiful epilogue I’ve read in a while and I needed it on my life after everything that happened in this book.
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –That perches in the soul –And sings the tune without the words –And never stops – at all –— “Hope” is the thing with feathers, Emily Dickinson
If you have yet to download the free prequel of this series, FLOW, then what. are. you. still. doing. here. Links are below. You need to go download that book and buy the next two like the devil’s chasing you. It is THAT amazing. And I recommend it to the entire freaking world.
Like I said in my previous review, please do yourself a favor and pick up this series.
“Mmmmm, that looks good.”
The comment grabs my attention, and I find myself smiling for the first time since I left Bristol. As she walks toward me, the approaching sunset paints the roof in shadows, but I see her clearly. Dark hair, burnished in places, falls around her shoulders. She has already discarded the dress she wore at lunch today in favor of a T-shirt and nothing else; it’s the one I just tossed into the hamper.
She tugs at my HABITUAL LINE STEPPER T-shirt, the hem landing at the top of her thighs. Where the T-shirt stops, my eyes keep going, past the lean muscles of her legs and the cut of her calves, the delicate bones of her ankles and to her bare feet. I love this girl, head to toe. Beyond this gorgeous packaging, it’s everything beneath that makes me beyond grateful she’s mine. The loyalty, the bottomless pit that is her heart, her sense of humor. The toughest girl I know is also the most tender, and I’m so honored I get to see both sides, all her sides.
“You out of clean clothes?” I nod to my T-shirt. “You gotta wear my dirty stuff now?”
An impish smile tugs at her bare lips. She’s washed away her makeup, and with it, all the sophistication she wraps around herself for her job. Up on this roof in my T-shirt, she’s just my girl. I love her in every iteration, but this is the one only I get to see, so it’s probably my favorite.
“I have clean clothes.” She steps close enough for me to smell her scent and mine mingling in the fabric. “I like the way this shirt smells.”
I drop a look over her, my eyes resting on the curves of her breasts in the soft cotton, where her nipples have gone taut under my stare.
“How does the shirt smell?” I ask, my voice as smoky as the steaks I should be paying attention to.
“Like you.” She leans forward until her breasts press into my chest. “It smells like you.”
My hands are twitching to touch her, and I finally surrender, slipping under the shirt to grasp her waist, pulling her up the few inches until our lips meet. I’ve been thinking about these steaks all day, and before Bristol arrived, I thought I was starving—but this, what I feel having her in my arms after hours apart, this is starving. It starts in my balls and tunnels up through my chest, infiltrates my heart, and presses its way to my mouth, which is open and devouring in a lips-searching, tongues-dueling kiss. I grip her by the ass, grinding our bodies together until the texture of her skin and mine, the scents of her skin and mine meld into this one panting, voracious thing that never seems to get enough.
“You better not burn my steak,” Bristol pants in between kisses.
I angle my head to send my tongue deeper into her mouth, holding her still, teasing her until she’s straining up, open and begging when I pull back.
“Grip.” My name is a whimpering complaint. She cups my neck and tugs my head back down.
“Oh, no.” I resist, laugh, and turn to the grill. “You were so concerned about me burning these steaks, Ms. Medium Rare.”
“I am.” She slides her arms around me from behind and I feel a sweet sting, her teeth gently biting my shoulder through my T-shirt. I love it when she bites me, but I’m not giving her that satisfaction yet. “But that doesn’t mean you get to stop kissing me. You have to multitask.”
One slim hand slides over my abs and past my belt to cup me through my jeans.
Damn. Not sure how long I can keep up this charade that I don’t want to screw her into the wall on the roof where anyone with half a telescope could see.
“Wow,” I say, keeping my tone unaffected, though she’s gotta feel me getting longer and harder in her hand. “Somebody’s horny as hell.”
She makes a sound that’s half outraged laughter, half indignant grunt before stepping around to stand in front of me by the grill.
“I will not be slut-shamed by my own boyfriend.” Amusement lights her eyes, turning them to quicksilver.
“Shamed?” I put down the grilling fork I’m using for the steaks and reach for her again. “No shame in being horny for me, baby. I wanna give you a gold star.”
Her eyes slide down to the erection poking her in the stomach. “Is that what we’re calling it now? Should we name it?”
“Guys who have to name their dicks probably aren’t using ’em right.”
“So I ask again . . . should we name it?”
I cock a brow and press our hips together.
“Are you implying that I don’t know how to use mine? Because that’s not the impression I got this morning when you came so hard you were singing like a bird.”
She tilts her head, her eyes wide and considering. “Did you say like a bird?” A small smile plays around her lips. “What made you say that?”
“I don’t know.” I give a careless shrug. “Why?”
“It’s silly,” she says, rolling her eyes in self-derision. “I was thinking today when I laughed it sounded like . . .”
Bristol blushes about once every Halley’s Comet, so the color washing across her cheeks makes me wonder.
“What?” I probe. “Your laugh sounded like what?”
“Like a happy bird,” she mumbles, peering up at me like I’m going to laugh in her face.
Which I do.
“Stop laughing at me.” She narrows her eyes in mock warning.
“Right.” I dip my head to catch her eyes and tease her. “Because when you tell me you laugh like a happy bird I’m just supposed let you get away with that.”
“I’m not telling you things anymore.” She narrows her eyes and folds her arms over her chest.
“Yeah, right. I’m your best friend.” I pull her back into me. “You’ll tell me everything like you always do.”
“You are, you know.” Her voice softens. “My best friend, I mean.”
When she looks at me like this, her eyes stripped of every defense, no guard in sight, completely honest and open and vulnerable, I feel slightly invincible. It’s a trick of the heart, I know, but I can’t help but think that as long as she looks at me like this, there isn’t anything I couldn’t survive, that our love is the stuff of legends, rolled in Teflon, disaster-proof. I’m as fanciful as Bristol, my laughing bird.
“You’re mine, too,” I echo her sentiment. “My best friend.”
“I won’t tell Rhyson,” she promises with a grin.
“I’m pretty sure he spits the same line to Kai.” I keep a straight face. “We have to say that shit to get laid.”
“I hate you.”
“Orrrrrrrrr do you love me and want to blow me after dinner?” I shrug and lift my hands, my palms up. “Just saying. Listen to your heart, Bristol. Listen to your heart.”
“I’m listening to my belly right now, smartass, and it’s growling. Feed me.”
“Like my mama used to say, ain’t no freeloaders in this house. What’ll you give me for feeding you?”
“Um . . .”
“I do have a suggestion, if you’re searching.”
“Let me guess—you have a ‘Will fuck for food’ sign up here somewhere?”
“I used bubble letters.” I laugh and give her ass a light smack. “You can barter that booty.”
It’s so damn easy with Bristol—our banter, the chemistry, the perfect rhythm of our conversation. It was one of the first things I noticed when we met all those years ago. We didn’t read each other’s minds or finish each other’s sentences. It wasn’t cosmic, but it was a connection that seized me by the brain and grabbed me by the balls. She was as smart as she was sexy, as curious as she was forthcoming. There were years in between when we made things complicated, when things were strained, but now with our hearts settled on each other for good, it’s simple.
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Kennedy Ryan is a Southern girl gone Southern California. A Top 100 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy writes roma
nce about remarkable women who find a way to thrive even in tough times, the love they find, and the men who cherish them.
She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Georgia families living with Autism, Kennedy has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other outlets as a voice for families living with autism.
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