Review: Next to Me by Jodi Watters

next to meTitle: Next to Me

Author: Jodi Watters

Year of publication: 2014

The heroine: Writer Ali Ross

The hero: Ex-military/Scorpio Securities owner Sam Gleeson

The blurb: A woman on the run.
A man afraid of no one.
A plan as old as time.

Hiding from her violent ex, Ali Ross knows the law can’t help her. She also knows someone like Sam can. Fearing for her life, she’s willing to do whatever it takes to ensure her safety, and that includes seducing the sexy soldier next door.
It’s the perfect plan. Until…

A woman falling in love.
A man already there.
A past that won’t be ignored.

Standalone or series: Book one in the Love Happens series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: Ali Ross has moved to California to get away from her abusive husband, lawyer Danny. She’s filed for divorce and is in hiding until it is finalised. Fearing for her life, she’s moved to a state she has no ties to and, thanks to an unexpected inheritance, can afford to buy a beautiful house on the beach.

She notices the name of a realtor on a bus stop seat, and when she finds out that Donna has a younger brother who’s ex military and runs a security company, she agrees to buy the house next door to him. Her plan is simple: seduce him so that he’ll keep her safe when the ex finally hunts her down. Ali is terrified he’ll find her after living with his physical, emotional and mental abuse for six years. He’s been able to sweep the abuse under the carpet because of his job, and because he has friends in high places who have aided him.

Ali contacts Sam’s company and tries to speak with him directly, but he fobs her off onto other employees. Grady comes to install a new security system for her and they become friends, but Sam doesn’t realise who she is. They meet on the beach when she’s sitting outside, crying. They talk for a bit, and the next morning Ali invites Sam to join her for coffee. He declines, but then asks if she wants to have a beer with him that night after work.

He turns up at her place, and the attraction they both felt bursts into flames and they end up in her bed, having hot, uninhibited sex. Ali’s plan is working perfectly, but it all starts to fall apart when she realises she’s falling in love with Sam. It’s different to her relationship with her ex, because she comes to realise she was never in love with him. Sam is everything she wants, but she knows he’s going to walk away from her when he finds out about her plan and the fact that she’s lied to him about pretty much everything. When he finds out she purposely bought the house next door to him in order to seduce him and have him keep her safe.

Her worst nightmare occurs on both fronts and Ali finds herself in a terrible position. Will Sam come to her rescue?

This book is a wonderful start to what is an amazing series.

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