One of January’s Top Reads. To read an interview with Lindsey, please see Issue 6, January 2017 Uncaged Book Reviews.
What’s a Soulmate?
Libby Carmichael has just met her Soulmate. It’s just too bad he’s behind bars.
When you only see the world in black and white until you meet yours, it’s pretty easy to figure out when you’ve found your Soulmate. What Libby can’t figure out is why fate,destiny, or the powers that be have decided that Andrew McCormack is her one, true match. Libby is smart, organized, and always has a plan for what’s coming next. So when she sees Andrew for the first time and her world is instantly filled with color, she’s thrown for a loop.
Namely because he’s in a dingy grey jumpsuit.
And being booked into a juvenile detention facility.
Surely a boy who’s been convicted of a headline-making, violent crime isn’t who she’s meant to be with. There’s no way she belongs with someone like that…right?
Andrew looks surprised to see me. After the way things ended with our last visit, I’m not surprised, but staying away was never a viable option. I bite the inside of my lip and wait, deciding at the last minute to let him have the first words. He stares at me for almost a full minute before he opens his mouth.
Simple. Not quite what I expected, but at the same time, I’m not really surprised.
“It would appear so, yes.”
He doesn’t look upset, and it makes me wonder if he really wanted me to stay away at all. It’s hard to tell with him. Everything is hard to tell with him. Well, aside from how I’m sure he’ll react to my next question. Pretty sure I’ve prepared myself for that.
“So why is it I can’t find any information on what happened? On the incident or on the officer it happened to?”
His response is instant. Like a shutter goes down over his face and he’s suddenly a blank slate and impossible to read all over again. And my reaction to his is pretty sudden as well. I’m gritting my back teeth so hard I’m afraid my jaw will actually start to shake.
“You’ve been looking into me more?”
I fail to stop my eyes from rolling. It might be partially true, but give me a break.
“Not you. It.” I tilt my head to one side and could almost cry from the relief I feel when my neck pops. “And how else am I going to figure anything out? It’s not like you’re going to volunteer any of the information yourself.”
“Why should I?”
His voice is still calm. He hasn’t raised it once, but he doesn’t need to. He knows he has my full attention, and probably that he’s had it since the beginning. It unnerves me just enough to say exactly what I’m thinking.
“Because I deserve to know exactly what fate, or destiny, or whatever the hell it is that makes all of these important decisions for us was thinking. I deserve to know why the person who I’m apparently supposed to be with is behind bars.”
He leans back and crosses his free arm over his chest. I’m breathing heavily and would love to slap the smirk off his stupid face.
“You have an awfully high opinion of yourself, princess.”
“Is there a reason why I shouldn’t?”
I nearly spit the words back at him, and then we’re locked into some sort of staring match that quickly evolves into something very … different. Is it possible for my chest to still heave even as my breathing slows? Because it’s happening. And even though I feel flush, it’s not the prickling, uncomfortable sensation of embarrassment or discomfort. Well, maybe there’s a little discomfort. Especially as I go to wet my lips and see Andrew’s eyes follow along with the tip of my tongue. I thought that was something I only read about in romance novels? Isn’t it something that’s only in romance novels?
He looks away first, and the wave of relief that runs through me somehow feels tinged with something more. I’m going to adamantly deny it’s disappointment.
“Maybe if we even the playing field,” he mutters. Well, I say he mutters, but his voice is so deep it sounds more like a rumble than anything else.
I haven’t fully recovered or regained the ability to speak yet, so I make a face I hope asks for an explanation.
“Question for a question?” He shrugs and then lays a hand out flat in front of him. I study his long fingers, and the veins on the back of it, as I try to regain my composure. “You want to know more about what happened, and I barely know anything about you. I don’t even know your last na—”
“Carmichael,” I cut him off without thinking.
He stops and seems to mull it over in his head for a moment.
“Okay, Libby Carmichael, fake youth leader with blue eyes and red hair, and parents who love each other, but are not ‘true’ Soulmates,” he says, using his fingers to make quotation marks in the air. “Tell me about yourself.”
I don’t know how he does it. Maybe he’s always been good at avoiding the subject and throwing people off track, or maybe I’m currently under some sort of spell that allows him complete control over my disposition. No matter the case, I practically feel the tension drain from my body and have a sudden, strong urge to move past whatever the moment we just had was.
“What do you want to know?”
He looks at me for a second, and I can tell he didn’t think I was going to give in so easily.
“What?” I grin. “You don’t have a list already prepared?”
That smile. The one that makes something inside my chest ache? Yeah, he’s doing it again.
Uncaged Review: A very interesting take on a soulmate. In this world, everyone sees in black and white, and shades of gray, until they meet their soulmate. Then the world is splashed into color – and our heroine is a 17 yr old girl, visiting her father who works at the juvenile center, and new arrivals are being booked in, and when Libby takes one look at Andrew, her world fills with color and knocks her for a loop. Libby, a good girl who never causes trouble, is matched with bad-boy Andrew – who’s committed a very serious crime? Doesn’t seem like the destiny thing got it right.
Intent on finding out all about Andrew, she starts visiting him on visitation days. They get fifteen minutes at a time, and the mystery of why and how Andrew came to be where he is, begins to unravel.
The cast of characters is fun, Libby’s best friend, Beth and even Libby’s parents. This is more a character and dialog driven story, but the world and character building works well and I found myself reading this one straight through. Some of it is a bit predictable, and someone needs to shake Libby out of her overly teenage moments at times– but it’s a good read, and recommended. Reviewed by Cyrene
4 1/2 Stars