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I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, that there was a path we were all supposed to be on and the choices we made led us to those paths. My path led me to work on the Johnson farm in Texas, where I met Landon, the owner’s son. He worked there during the day and raced cars for fun at night. He was a bad boy with a reputation that exceeded my own. The guy all the girls wanted to change, the one that hooked up with random girls because he didn’t do relationships. He was exactly the kind of guy I wanted to stay away from, but there was something about him. It wasn’t just his looks, although they didn’t go unnoticed. There were layers I wanted to peel back and reveal. I wanted to know the real Landon Johnson. All the choices I made led me to him and he would change my life forever.
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Let’s face it, there are a lot of books that recycle the same story line over and over again.  Good girl meets bad boy, he opens up to her and they fall in love.  It can get tiresome.  But, once in a while you read a book that even with a familiar story line manages to separate itself from the herd.  This book manages to do just that.
Sadie is a college sophomore.  She’s drifting a bit in her life, but makes no bones about the reasons why.  She takes responsibility for her choices and doesn’t make excuses…she’s just trying to find her place.  She doesn’t hold back normally, but is afraid of getting involved with men because of her past.  She meets Lisa and college registration, and Lisa soon helps her to secure a job at the Johnson Family Farm.  She doesn’t realize at the time that this will put her directly in the path of Landon Johnson, notorious bad boy.  Sadie wants to stear clear of him, but something about him intrigues her.  She wants to peel back his layers to find what really lurks beneath his carefully crafted exterior.  What will happen once she discovers not only his secrets, but has to confront some of her own?
First of all, I think Sadie may be one of my favorite heroines ever.  She’s spunky and just has such a no nonsense approach to life that I admire.  She doesn’t make excuses; she tries to be optimistic in her search for where she belongs.  And Landon…rawr.  He is, once you get down to it, a great book boyfriend.  He’s a lot deeper than you first imagine that he could be, and his reasons for being how he is are so heartbreaking, you just want to take him and wrap him up in your arms. He opens up like a flower in this book. LOVED Landon.
I also really appreciated the slow burn of the relationship between Sadie and Landon.  They annoy and cajole each other, but quickly turn into friends…and then that friendship blooms into more.  Holy sexual tension, Batman…it was
awesome.  Probably one of my favorite things about these kinds of books is the transition from friends to more.  You know the attraction is bubbling under the surface for both and it keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering how, when and if they will finally open their eyes and get together.  It was delicious.The writing of this story is also spectacular.  I literally could not put it down.  I even cried I got so wrapped up in the story and its characters.  There’s angst, love, friendship, adversity, tragedy…this book will definitely put you through the wringer.  And the ending…killer.  It’s been a while since I couldn’t stop crying after I finished a book.  I cried for at least a half hour after I finished this.  It is definitely a story that will stick with me for a while.  4.5 stars.
I LOVED this book. Ms. LaRocca has created a cast of characters who I connected with almost immediately, I was invested in, and could not pull myself away from as I devoured Drifting into Darkness. The fact that they weren’t perfect nor were they completely damaged made this such a refreshing read for me.
Sadie and Landon have both suffered from heartbreak. While they each bear the emotional baggage from their respective situations and they have both done things in the past because of it that they are not proud of, they are willing to take a chance again and see where their attraction takes them. The author does an excellent job of infusing their relationship development with realism. Sadie and Landon work at Landon’s family’s farm, yet they’re not constantly in one another’s space at work. They both have familial obligations that they keep. They continue to hang out with their friends; they don’t become so obsessed with one another that they ignore everyone around them. And the most novel aspect that is lacking in so many new adult and contemporary romance books these days, they  communicate with one another; when Sadie had concerns regarding something someone told her about Landon, she asked him about it.
Ms. LaRocca has crafted a wonderfully written novel that I found so very refreshing. But make sure you have your tissues ready, because with the level of realism that she adopts, you will shed some tears. But it is so worth the read and the puffy eyes. This is an author I will definitely be checking out.
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I pushed the door open and got out of the truck, happy to finally be home. I turned to say goodbye and thank him for the ride, but he had gotten out of the truck as well and was waiting for me in the front of it. I frowned and closed the door, walking slowly toward him so I wouldn’t trip over my own feet. It was hard enough trying to keep my head upright. I didn’t need to trip and fall on my face. “What are you doing?”
He smirked at me. “I’m walking you to your door. I’d hate to get you home safe, only to have to fall down the steps when you got here.”
He had a point, I thought as I snorted and slapped him in the chest. “Well, I guess ya didn’t fail charm school after all,” I drawled in a horrible southern accent, which caused him to laugh. Oh, God, I really need to go inside and away from him before I embarrass myself even more.
I walked toward the stairs with Landon following behind me. As soon as I took the first step, I stumbled and fell forward, but quickly grabbed onto the railing before I sustained any real damage. Jesus, I don’t think I’ve ever been this drunk before. Note to self: never drink Lisa’s drink concoctions again. Landon’s hands were on me as soon as I fell and he hauled me up, wrapping his arm around my waist.
“See, now aren’t you glad I was here?” he stated sarcastically.
I looked up at him and rolled my eyes. “Yes, Landon, you are now my knight in shining armor,” I giggled.
He chuckled and held me close, helping me up the rest of the stairs. I couldn’t help but notice how nice he smelled being nestled against his side either. Somewhere in my drunken haze, I knew that under normal circumstances I wouldn’t smell him up, but since this wasn’t normal circumstances, I smelled him without shame. I was sure he noticed too since I literally stuck my nose on his shirt and took a big whiff, causing him to laugh softly.
As we got to the last step, I pulled away from his hold and dug my keys out of my small satchel. “Thanks for giving me a ride and helping me up the stairs,” I said as I opened up my door. I stepped inside and turned to face him, giving him a drunken smile that I’m sure looked anything but. “I’ll see you on Monday,” I blurted before I closed the door and locked it.
I took my satchel off and tossed it on the couch before heading to the kitchen for a bottle of water and some aspirin. Then I dove head first into my bed, knowing tomorrow I’d have one hell of a hangover.
J.M. LaRocca Pic
J.M. La Rocca was born in Chicago, IL. At an early age, her family relocated to lower Alabama where she began her love for writing. She currently resides in Pensacola, FL with her husband and twin sons. As a stay at home mom, La Rocca was able to pursue her love for writing. It was always an unrealized dream to write her own book. With the encouragement of her mother, La Rocca began to set to paper her ideas for her first book.
 
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