Only for You (For You #1) by Genna Rulon ★★★★

 

★★★★

“In its purest form love is self-sacrificing, eternal, selfless, enduring, truthful, forgiving and indulgent. It also feels an awful lot like a kick to the stomach when you try to fight it!” 

All Everleigh Carsen wanted to do was complete her final semester at Hensley University and begin the life she carefully planned. 

When a wave of violent crime seizes campus, Everleigh is persuaded to attend a school sponsored self-defense seminar by her best friend, where she meets volunteer instructor, Hunter Charles. After Everleigh’s biting sarcasm induces Hunter to eject her from class, a tempestuous relationship is born. 

Everleigh is determined to forget the striking man, but fate—that fickle shrew—continuously intervenes. Unable to escape him, she declares Hunter an enemy combatant. The only complication…Hunter is resolutely pursuing vindication…by any means necessary. Verbal warfare ensues, and despite Everleigh’s ingenious efforts, in Hunter, she has finally found her equal.

Only For You is a compelling tale of friendship, desire, and redemption—brimming with intelligent characters, witty dialogue, unexpected twists, profound sorrow, unfettered hope, and love’s unassailable perseverance.

• This story is appropriate for readers 18+
• Only For You is the first book in the For You series by Genna Rulon. Each book in the series can be read as a stand alone novel.

My Casting

4 STARS FOR EVERLEIGH & HUNTER!

 

Only For You is the story of two young girls, fearing for their lives and their safety as their university is plagued by a series of mystery attacks on female students, which later escalate to murders.
The first week of the new semester, Everleigh Carsen and her best friend, Sam, decide to take self defence classes to equip themselves as best as possible against the unknown attacker. Of course, the instructor, Hunter Charles, happens to be drop-dead-gorgeous, fluent in four languages, a martial arts master, muscle bound and annoyingly, irresistibly perfect. 

After an embarrassing first encounter Everleigh plans to steer clear of the sexy, but irritating Hunter, but fate has other plans when he turns up in most of her classes. However, as the semester progresses, Hunter and Everleigh form an unlikely friendship. 

 “What man can quote a scene from the 1939 film classic? That does not happen in real life, hell, it doesn’t even happen in books. I halted hastily in the middle of the parking lot. Of course—it was obvious as a hooker at a debutant ball — Hunter. Was. Gay.”

Their friendship is funny and delightful to witness. They form a close bond and soon become inseparable and an integral part in each other’s lives, despite Everleigh’s misguided assumptions, which couldn’t be more off base. Which, I have to say, I found very comical.

 

 “There would be benefits to finally having a gay bestie. Think of the pointers and insight he could provide on blowjob techniques alone.”

But as the attacks on the female members of Hensley University student body increase in numbers and brutality, Hunter tries his hardest to protect Everleigh and before long they can no longer deny their connection, as their feelings rapidly develop into more than just friendship.

This is a great debut from Genna Rulon. I really enjoyed the plot and the characters. I have two main bug bears, that prevented me from doling out a full five stars, but didn’t detract too much from my overall enjoyment of the book. 

The first was the wordy writing style. It was so formal and at times, convoluted, whereas I tend to prefer a more colloquial, easy narrative and dialogue. I felt that it often made the book feel too stilted, the conversations too proper. I felt that I wanted the characters to relax and not sound like they were throwing up a thesaurus every time they engaged in conversation. I don’t know all that many men, in their twenties, with the vocabulary of an Oxford Dictionary.

My second niggle was the lack of romance. Hmm… but that doesn’t seem like quite the right explanation, because there is a huge romantic element to this story. The relationship between Everleigh and Hunter started off well. There was the obligatory, humorous annoyance in their first few encounters. Then there was the bantering, the flirting, the thawing of the hard, icy, outer façade, the evolution of friendship, and so on and so forth. And they do get their happy ever after.

 “I already knew, for me there is only you. No matter what happened between us in the future, it would only ever be you. I was made for you – only for you.”


But there was a section of the book where either Everleigh or Hunter were busy and couldn’t see one another, they were grasping at the occasional hour together here and there, at lunch or in class, and I found it really frustrating! I was craving a sexually charged dance scene at the club they frequented, or a tension filled night in front of the television, as they denied the depths of their feeling for one another and flirted with that fine line between friendship and something more. But it never came.

 “Some people believe the strongest will cling through the storm with steadfast determination never wavering, but sometimes the strength is in letting go.”

Having said that, the banter between Hunter and Everleigh was great. I really enjoyed their little verbal battle to win the upper hand over the other. I enjoyed seeing their personalities being drawn out by one another and the natural progression from annoyance, to friendship, to more. Watching two intelligent, witty, confident individuals trying to get the better of one another was very amusing. 

 You can’t discuss your third leg with a person, then pretend they are a stranger.

But then, when they did get together, it was kind of quick and ‘fade to black’, which, after having been so frustrated with them before hand, was exasperating.

 

So, I did feel that the main focus of this story was on the mystery element of the plot and also the theme of friendship. I loved the friendship between Everleigh and Sam. They really are the sisters that each of them never had. Everleigh has no other family, so Sam is everything she has. And while Sam has family, a very wealthy family, they are there physically, but not so much emotionally. So both of the girls find what they are missing, in one another. This book really delves into the value of a close companionship, a sisterhood and the support, emotionally, physically and in every other way possible, that such a friendship can offer.

 “You better enjoy new boyfriend sex because it is soon to be replaces by new fiancé sex quickly followed by new husband sex; mark my words. I may be crazy now, but I’m not clueless.”

So let’s talk about the main characters. I really liked Everleigh. I wasn’t sure I was going to at first. Again, I think it might have been the formal narrative. But I definitely warmed to her as our protagonist. She’s sassy, confident and down-to-earth. I liked that she didn’t take any BS and that whilst she wasn’t in denial about her feelings for Hunter, she was realistic and remained independent, too.

 “That’s the complication. We are both insanely attracted to each other. We have chemistry that is off the charts. We are best friends, we understand and trust each other, and we are both single.”

 

Hunter is great too. It’s clear from the beginning that there is more to Hunter Charles than meets the eye, but he is a strong, protective, reliable hero that is easy to fall in love with. And the mystery around him makes him all the more intriguing. I do feel like with the way the culmination of Everleigh and Hunter’s relationship felt a little glossed over, the author missed out on allowing us to get to know Hunter a little more. That air of mystery and secrecy I felt he adopted throughout most of the book, I kind of never really felt that he shed that. I feel like I still don’t really know Hunter Charles as well as I’d have liked.

 I had found what most spent their lives searching for in countless partners and endless relationships. He was the missing piece, complementing and completing me. My love for him was boundless and infinite – eternal. And I wanted him forever.

I have to say, for me, I thought the outcome of the mystery thread of this book was a little bit predictable, but perhaps it was just a case of once you’ve guessed it, you pick up on all the clues and can’t ignore it. I don’t know. See what you think. I still really enjoyed the build up, the twists and turns, the surprises and the drama. And I think that everything that happened in book #1 is a great foundation for the second book. I really look forward to reading Pieces for You (For You, #2). I’m definitely excited to read more of Griffin and I’m hoping we get some more Hunter, too.

Whilst there are some dark issues dealt with in this book, I have to say that it didn’t rip my heart out or leave me in tears. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, because I really did. But it just didn’t move me, emotionally. It was a nice, fairly well paced, read, with likeable characters, a nice dose of thriller/drama and a good premise for the second book in the series. I certainly look forward to more.

Have you read it? Comment below and tell us what you thought?

‘Only For You’ Statistics
• Steam Rating (out of 5): ♥♥
• Ending: Happy ending
• Length: 390 pages
• POV: Everleigh’s POV
• Narrative: First person. Past tense.
• Series: Yes 
• Reading Order: 
– Book #1 – Only for You (For You, #1) 
– Book #1.5 – Ever for You (For You, #1.5) 
– Book #2 – Pieces for You (For You, #2) 
– Book #3 – Temper for You (For You #3) 
• Can this be read as a standalone? Yes
• WARNING. This book includes… 
Rape. Violence. Murder.
• Writing: Good

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This entry was posted in College Romance, For You, Four Stars, Friends to Lovers, Genna Rulon, Series. Bookmark the permalink.

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