Autumn Dorey had no problem leaving her hometown of Newpine and the friends there who’d betrayed her. Everyone thought they knew what happened the spring night Autumn’s world fell apart. Vicious rumors about the incident circulated, and she had to be homeschooled the last year of high school to escape her tormentors. All she wants now is to get away from it all and start over at Cook University. She leaves everything but the memory behind—something she swore she’d never forget—and sets off to rebuild what was broken.
Blake Preston is precisely the type of guy Autumn wants to avoid. He’s gorgeous, arrogant and the college’s beloved football star. As much as she believes he’s someone she should steer clear of, avoiding him proves to be impossible. He shows up everywhere around campus, offering her a no-strings attached friendship.
Autumn can’t deny Blake stirs up emotions she thought fled years ago. But things he’s been hiding begin to emerge and collide with her past, leaving her heart ravaged in their wake.
This is the second novel by Heather Topham Wood that I’ve read, the first being The Disappearing Girl, a well-written novel about the effects of eating disorders. I really enjoyed that one, so I was excited to read this even though the synopsis sounded very generic. However, the novel wasn't generic at all.
Rating: 4 stars!
Falling for Autumn is told in only one POV: Autumn Dorey. I really loved her voice and how she told the story. Autumn was a very genuine character who has been through so much in her short years. She came to college to start over, a place where no one knows her or her past. It’s hard for Autumn to let people in after what she’s been through, but she’s trying. She’s very insecure and quiet, but she’s also sassy and brutally honest with people. Because she knows that if she lets people in, she’ll only get hurt.
But one person wants to change all of that. Blake Preston pursues her for a friendship that she doesn’t know if she truly wants. But in the midst of it all is an attraction that burns brightly. Autumn’s past is keeping her from opening up her heart, but Blake won’t let her hide behind that concrete wall. Instead, he wants to get to know the real her, the one she’s kept buried under years of pain. He’s adamant that they be friends, even when he finds himself wanting more. I really liked Blake; he was funny, charming, a little bit arrogant. Autumn thinks she has him pegged, but he’s nothing like the gossips say.
The relationship that developed between them was sweet and passionate, a bond that’s formed through shared secrets and times spent talking about everything and anything. I loved how Blake brought out the real Autumn and how he got her to open up. And I loved how Autumn was able to forgive him and not hold anything against him.
I loved the dialogue in this story. It was so refreshing to read such honest communication between the characters. Autumn wasn’t afraid to call Blake out when he was being a jerk, and Blake wasn’t afraid to delve deep into her past. Even when things happen, they still communicated with each other. They were honest. I feel like you don’t see that often in stories. Most of the time, the characters circle around each other, go back and forth on whether or not to be truthful. Even when Blake kept a secret from her, it didn’t create any unnecessary drama because they talked it out. There was a lot of honest communication with the other characters too, and I was glad to see that Autumn had such an awesome relationship with her parents.
The secondary characters were all great, especially Lexi, Cassie, and Darien. They were there for the two main characters, and I loved it when all of the friends were together.
I also thought the author handled the subject of sexual assault with such care that you could tell she wanted to do the story justice. That she wanted to capture the courage and fear of a character who lost her trust and her faith in people. I thought that aspect was very well-done, and I loved how Autumn found her way through it and was able to accept love into her heart.
Falling for Autumn was a wonderful tale about finding the courage to face your demons and finding the strength to forgive. It was about one girl’s fight to not let her past affect her future and about one guy’s struggles to overcome his family problems.
The back door opened and slammed shut loudly behind me. Startled, I spun around. My beer sloshed over the side of my cup and wet the brown boots of the guy standing before me. The motion lights switched on and I was faced with a now familiar pair of green eyes.
I clutched at my heart. “Damn! You scared me!” Actually, I’d been primed to kick him in the nuts. I didn’t take well to being startled, especially by hulking men.
“I could see that. I have a pair of drenched feet to prove your point,” he said.
I almost rolled my eyes when I heard him speak. Of course, his voice would be as sexy as the rest of him. His tone was husky and there was underlying sensuality in the way his mouth moved as he talked. He pronounced each syllable slowly, giving me plenty of time to watch his full lips move seductively.
I pushed down any lusty stirrings and allowed my annoyance to take its place. “Maybe that will serve as a reminder to not creep up on someone.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” he said softly.
I expected him to leave, but he stood in place next to me. I cast him a sidelong glance, trying to go unnoticed as I checked him out further. He was much taller than my five foot six and I guessed he weighed almost twice as much as I did. He wasn’t husky; instead, he was broad and muscular. He wore a long-sleeved white T-shirt and his biceps were drool-worthy as they strained against the fabric. The T-shirt was fitted and I could make out the rigid planes of his chest and abs. It was the off-season and I wondered how he could get any more cut during the regular football season.
Something about Blake was making me anxious and I gave in to my urge to flee. Without another word, I turned to go. His voice stopped me. “Why are you here?”
It was such an odd question. I laughed nervously. “What do you mean? In the physical or metaphysical sense? Like why I’m at this party or why was I ever born?”
He chuckled, but when I caught his eye, I didn’t see humor there. His eyes were too bright, too probing. “Why are you at this party? I’ve never seen you at the house before.” He spoke like it was an accusation.
What was he, the party police? His questions rankled me. It was borderline offensive and I couldn’t get a read on his motives. It didn’t feel like he was hitting on me. Instead, he genuinely wanted me to justify what brought me to the party and into his presence.
“I’m going. Nice meeting you, I guess,” I said, taking another step toward the door. “I know you didn’t bother asking me my name, but it’s Autumn, by the way.”
His fingers slipped around my wrist to stop me from going. I expected to hate the sensation, to despise the feel of a man’s hand on my skin. I inwardly cringed because I enjoyed it. His palm was soft and warm and his grip wasn’t rough. It was a gentle caress I missed once his hand pulled away. “Sorry…I’m being an ass. I’m Blake.”
Meet the Author:
Heather Topham Wood’s obsession with novels began in childhood while growing up in a shore town in New Jersey. Writing since her teens, she recently returned to penning novels after a successful career as a freelance writer. She’s the author of the paranormal romance Second Sight series and the New Adult standalone novels The Disappearing Girl and Falling for Autumn.
Heather graduated from the College of New Jersey in 2005 and holds a bachelor's degree in English. Her freelance work has appeared in publications such as USA Today, Livestrong.com, Outlook by the Bay and Step in Style magazine. She resides in Trenton, New Jersey with her husband and two sons. Besides writing, Heather is a pop culture fanatic and has an obsession with supernatural novels and TV shows.