Review copy received through Itching for Books for review
Ash Jensen is a rule-abiding pre-med sophomore from Tennessee. Together with her best friend Gina, she spends a summer interning at a Canada conservation reserve. There, she meets Kade, a tattoed, bad-boy member of the staff with a heart of gold. It's attraction at first sight, but they both repress it; Kade because staff isn't supposed to sleep with the interns; and Ash because her fiancé died eighteen months before, and she's afraid to love again.
When Ash and Kade are stranded together in the woods during a field trip gone wrong, things change between them.
First of all, I found this book very compelling and raced to find out the ending. It was very readable, in spite of some flaws. The biggest issue I had with it was insta-love. I can understand instant lust, but insta-love? Kade practically falls in love with Ash after seeing her picture from the intern application. Who falls in love with a picture? (He wonders about that himself.) Especially since it was a work-related picture, not a photograph of her in a skimpy bikini.
Ash has always followed all the rules. Her parents are somewhat controlling, and pushed her into a premed program while her dream was to become a veterinarian. She still feels guilty about her fiancé's death in a drunk-driver accident and is punishing herself by staying well away from other men. At first, Kade is almost rude to her, but then she understand it's because he's actually attracted to her.
The core of the novel is about Ash and Kade going on a field trip, and finding themselves alone against a thunderstorm, an almost-flood, the wild animals, and a couple injuries. They get close pretty quickly, but it might be just the adrenaline and the situation talking. As a matter of fact, when they're rescued, Kade acts very distant from Ash and she's heartbroken.
I liked this book, and the field trip provided original among the sea of new adult novels. It abided to all the other tropes of the genre, though. Can we have a guy in a new adult novel who isn't a tattoed bad boy? What's with tattoos anyway? I don't find them sexy in the slightest.