Jasmine Santos - the name rings a bell? If you've read "Dear Aaron" - that's it! Jasmine is Ruby's younger sister, the one she have been loving and dreading and also sawing beautiful costumes for her ice skating competitions. We've already met this tenacious young woman who sees mostly one thing - her passion for Ice Skating. It's what she have been doing since she was 3 years old and if it's up to her she would never stop even if at 26 she has little to no victories to show her name and for the last year - no partner to work with. But if there is one thing to know about Jasmine is - she NEVER quits! The other is beware of annoying her - you will get KICKED! and if not - then PUNCHED in the face. Jasmine doesn't take bullshit from anyone!
Ivan Lukov seems to have it all. He is a world renowned Ice Skater, skating in the ice rink his family owns so yeah he is also rich. He is cocky but not without reason, he is also determined and works HARD for being the best at what he does. What both Ice Skaters know - there is a steep price to pay for being athletes - there is little to no time or energy left for anything else.
While for Jasmine her family is the number one priority, truth being told, she did put them on the second place most of her life. The last year have been an wakening one in that sense. She barely had any relationships, nothing to write home about.. and she has one singular friend - her best friend from when she started skating - Karina Lukov - Ivan's little sister (who is far away studying to be a doctor). But the years by Karina's side didn't make her like Ivan, on the contrary, they keep bumping into each other only to say the meanest things. But the offer Ivan has in mind for Jasmine is going to put both of them on their best behavior, or at least - they could TRY.
When Ivan Lukov and his trainer offers Jasmine to skate with him for a solid year (until his partner comes back from a year off) she if forced to think not only about what she feels about Ivan but what she wants to achieve and HOW she can make it happen. With Ivan on her side, if they can manage to NOT kill each other, it's possible. It's more than possible! Dangling the ONE thing she have always wanted in front of her eyes makes her take this offer and promise to make the best she can so they can win together. A year isn't a lot, but if it's going to give her her heart's desire than it's worth it, isn't it? Though it's going to be VERY difficult to be in the same room with this guy and keep her comments to herself..
Ivan and Jasmine might bicker, complain, curse and generally be rude to one another when they are NOT training, WHILE training there is no room for error, not room for NOT trusting one another fully. When Ivan need to hold Jasmine over his head , throw and catch her - trust is EVERYTHING. Yet it's tricky for Jasmine. She isn't sure how to make it happen. Trust was never something she was good at, and with what happened in her life before (mostly with her previous partner) she is struggling. Yet as time goes by Ivan starts to offer her little by little kindness and even a friendship she didn't expect (I SWOONED over every little thing he did for her). Seeing him outside of the rink is also a shock when she realizes he is NOT who she thought he was. While he was paying close attention to her for YEARS she did it only concerning his career. Granted he has his own inside information through Karina. But he is also very attentive and he KNOWS what he wants.
My issue with the beginning of the book was how childish Jasmine felt. I could see from the start Ivan wasn't truly cruel, he was just "fucking around" with her. The same way kids will pull a girl's ponytail because they like her. Ivan enjoyed their banter even if it seemed mostly OTT and at times truly mean. But once the masks are off and Jasmine has enough time to SEE Ivan for who he truly is, the road to love is very short. I think, mostly, Ivan had a secret crush on Jasmine for YEARS. His actions might have been mostly hidden, but they were there. It was sweet really. I think he was finally frustrated enough with Jasmine (and himself) to make her this offer and see where things were going.
There's A LOT of back and forth between these two in this book, as it takes them time to learn to be able to be civil to one another when not practicing but in the end, I think they both learn sooner rather than later they've got each other. No one can understand them better. No one knows what this life means, the sacrifices needed to be made and the inner strength needed to not only "make it work" but to shine. It's all about the win, right? Well, no exactly.
I REALLY enjoyed this one. It was fun and engaging and once I got used to Jasmine I couldn't put this book down. I'm not a fan of slow burn or at least I'm not by other authors.. For me it's not the slow burn that keeps me on the tip of my chair, it's Mariana's beautiful writing, her unique character and stories I can't have enough of.
Bring on the next one!
3-5 October 2018