Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Prior to receiving Bad Influence, I had seen Charleigh Rose’s name bantered about on Facebook. Given my ridiculous Kindle library, I simply hadn’t read a book of hers. Until Bad Influence. And now, I’ve got Bad Habit and Bad Intentions sitting in my Kindle library to read on an extended family vacation. Why you might ask? Because she made me love a “bad boy” and an “emo girl” in the space of a day. I could NOT put this book down.
The story follows Jesse (“Jesse F-in Shepherd” to readers of this book) and Allie (“Allie Girl”). Two people from very different lives. Jesse is your typical fornicator, living on the edge, lacrosse player, while Allie is an emo, music-loving loner. A tragedy occurs in Allie’s life, bringing about big changes. Moving to the city where she spent summers as a child, she decides to go to college and work to afford her expenses. Unfortunately, the tragedy hovers over her.
Jesse is living the life that his sister, Lo, earned for him, but he’s hiding a secret life from her. He doesn’t feel a part of the life gifted to him, so he does everything he can to sabotage it. One day, Allie walks into his sister’s bar and grill, and she begins to change his life. These two shouldn’t work together, but they do. With Jesse’s secret and Allie’s past, can they find happiness together?
Rose’s book has everything I love in a romance: a playboy bad boy who seemingly cares for nothing in life (well, except his sister), a loner heroine who, on the surface, doesn’t seem the most heroic, some of the sexiest moments in the bedroom, and lots of angst. The beauty of this story comes from the brokenness of its characters, made whole in each other.
Sometimes, it’s hard to love a character who does everything to make people dislike him. On the surface, he cares only for women, weed, and making himself numb from the travails of life. What I love about Jesse’s character is that it is all a mask. He actually cares so deeply that your heart breaks for him over and over in this story. Thankfully, Allie sees beyond Jesse’s mask of indifference. She intuits his internal need throughout the story that the reader recognizes quickly she is his soulmate. Unfortunately, the angst of this story is created in Jesse’s fight against that knowledge.
Allie is my favorite type of heroine. She is broken. She endures a horrific tragedy at the outset of the book, and it creates a dark shadow over her life. Additionally, her relationship with her mother cannot provide her a place to heal, so she shoulders her pain, keeping a distance from others. With this type of set-up, you know there will be gut-wrenching moments when Allie will need someone to save her from herself. She is incredibly strong and stalwart, but she simply cannot go through life carrying her heavy burden alone.
Together, these two have a chemistry that is undeniable. Each needs the other to overcome his/her past. With that comes moments so heavy with angst that you’ll need your tissue box to get you through it. My heart was heavy with, specifically, Allie’s pain, especially in the latter part of the book. That is how I know I’m reading an incredible romance: when the tears are dripping down my face. And that was the case with Bad Influence. Extreme emotions mark the gravity of this story.
Even more, Charleigh Rose writes one of the sexiest moments in a bedroom scene that I’ve read in a while. Hint: it involves a strawberry Dum-Dum. That alone is a reason to read this book if you LOVE steam.
I fell in love with Charleigh Rose’s characters through this story. I began this book in the morning and finished it in the early afternoon because I simply could not put it down. As I stated at the beginning of this, I quickly one-clicked the other two books in this series because I know Rose will continue to pull me into her stories.
If you love her, you will LOVE Bad Influence. Jesse and Allie are everything right about angsty romance. If you have never read Charleigh Rose, then you will want to one-click this book today.
In love and romance,