The blurb for All of You immediately jumped out and grabbed my interest…. I mean come on, the hero is an irresistible, tattooed VIRGIN and since I’m all for having irresistible, tattooed virgins in my reading material I requested it for review and had high hopes when I started reading. Bennett and Avery are our two main characters. Bennett is a handsome, swoon worthy art major who works at a tattoo parlor, sells his art at shows and, because of his hot mess mother, is used to being the caregiver of his family. He’s learned lessons from his mother’s mistakes and is bound and determined that he won’t give away his virginity to just anyone. He wants real love. Then there’s Avery who is in college taking classes to get her RN, works in a nursing home and deals with the pain of her traumatic childhood by basically being a man-eater who only lets men in enough to give her an orgasm. Whenever they get too close she runs in the other direction in order to keep from giving them the wrong idea, because she just doesn’t have any interest in a relationship.
Our story opens with the heroine Avery is at a frat party looking to hook up for the night. The man she has set her sights on across the room is gorgeous, sexy and doesn’t seem to have any interest in her. She flirts, she gives him some come hither glances, but he never takes the bait so she decides to head home to sulk (I mean come ON, she doesn’t normally have to hit on men, they hit on HER). Since there wasn’t anyone else at the party that interested her in the same way, she goes home alone. Even turning down getting lucky with her fuck buddy Rob. Amazingly enough the very next morning she sees the pretty boy from the night before is in the process of moving into her building. From there they start a complicated back and forth, push and pull relationship that about drove me nuts.
I think what problems I had with this story start and end with Avery. First let me say I’m all for women owning their sexuality and love it when I get a heroine who is empowered enough to go after and get what she wants. That being said, if Avery were a guy I’d be calling her a douche. She grated on my nerves from the very beginning. I understood where the author was coming from when creating her back story and giving her a way to deal with it, and I so wanted to feel some kind of compassion for her. I just couldn’t get over my feelings of dislike enough to get to there. Then there’s the way she deals with Bennett…
Bennett is the hottie who moves in her building and immediately strikes up a friendship with her. I say friendship, but their relationship is laced with sexual tension from the very beginning. Their friendship takes a deeper turn when Bennett chases away a prowler trying to break into Avery’s window one evening. This brings them closer and Bennett’s protectiveness gets to him so he asks her to stay over so he can watch over her. He’s such a sweet, giving man and really is the saving grace of this story. As Avery pushes him over and over to move onto a sexual level he resists (although, it seemed to be a very difficult thing for him to do) until he finally has to admit that he wants her, but is a virgin. A sexy virgin who didn’t do much fumbling around in the bedroom, but a virgin nonetheless.
To be honest, I understood both Bennett’s reasonings for staying a virgin and Avery’s for sleeping around and staying away from commitment. They were two sides of the same coin. Both having to deal with similar backgrounds, but handling their feelings of the past in opposite ways. Avery had an added traumatic experience that pushed her into her extreme dislike of relationships, but the further I read the more I had the impression that she and Bennett had more in common than either realized. I think I would have enjoyed this story a little more if I had been able to connect to Avery, but for some reason I just was never able to. She was abrasive and didn’t become remotely likable until the very end. She pushed for sex and then stepped back from Bennett so many times I felt like she was playing him after a while. She held back from telling him things he aught to have known, things like having once had a one night stand with his boss, then gets upset when he is pissed. What? When they finally do the deed I still wasn’t sure if I believed their commitment to each other. The dialogue between her and her two best friends is another thing that turned me off. I understand banter and have two bffs myself, but the constant use of name calling toward each other became old after a while. There is just so much asshat, bitch, dillweed, dickhead and asshead one can take in a conversation. And these people supposedly like each other.
My feelings over the heroine aside, this story did show some promise and I enjoyed Bennett and the grandmotherly figure, Mrs. Jackson, enough that I was able to keep reading to see where this relationship ended up. Final Grade- D
“I want something real, ” he whispered. “And I’m willing to wait for it.”
My throat closed up at his words.
“Are you … waiting for marriage?”
“No.” He looked me dead in the eye. “I’m just waiting for love.”