This is unusual for me, but I sat here staring at the blank Word document for far longer than I care to admit while trying to figure out how to begin a review on Wanted. Truth be known… I didn’t just read this story. I didn’t finish it today, yesterday, last week, or even last month. It has been a while since I finished my initial read of Wanted. Yes, I said initial read. I have since read all of it at least two more times and certain chunks… let’s just leave it at more than twice.
One really good place to start is by saying this is a New Adult story. You know the murmurings about New Adult being dead? Yeah I sincerely beg to differ. It is one of my favorite categories. So I’ll admit I started with a bit of a bias.
And then there was Gunner.
Holy smokes Gunner Mathews redefines hot. But then we add in thoughtful and romantic as he begins wooing his best friend’s sister Ellie Johnson, something he struggles with because of his fierce allegiance to Jeff. Sprinkle a dash of loyalty when we learn he intends on using his degree to return to his grandfather’s ranch and make that his life. Throw on a dollop of integrity as he wars with his desire to take his relationship with Ellie to the next level while guarding her damaged heart. The easiest thing in the world is to fall for Gunner.
Sadly, poor Ellie has heard a narrative from her alcoholic mother throughout her life that she just can’t shake. One that tells her she isn’t good enough. That she doesn’t deserve love. That no man will ever truly want her. And despite all the love Gunner showers on her, the numerous times he has proven himself, and his constant respect for her, she can’t silence the negative voice that plays on repeat in her brain.
Thankfully for me, Ms. Elliott is as big of a fan of the HEA as I am. And Wanted ends with a tear filled one. By tear filled I mean MY tears which began right around Christmas and ended about two pages from the end. Those who are familiar with the stories I create know I believe every HEA needs three things (which I will not name to avoid spoilers) and Wanted had every. single. one.
I have not read Jeff and Ari’s story YET, but I have to say I was not a huge fan of the path Ellie’s big brother Jeff went down during the course of Wanted. Nor was I Ari’s biggest cheerleader. I adored her unyielding love and support of her very best bestie Ellie (healthy female friendships for the win!), but not so much where Jeff was concerned. I found myself screaming at both of them and cringing at some decisions they made. They both may redeem themselves in Saved, but they each have an uphill battle in my mind/heart.
An extra special treat? Ms. Elliott includes her story playlist, including a few scene correlations, at the end of the book. THAT was a little surprise that I loved