STILL by Kennedy Ryan
Series: Grip #2
on September 24th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Blog Tour Host
**STILL is the conclusion of Grip & Bristol's emotional journey. You must read FLOW, the free prequel, and GRIP, book 1 before beginning STILL**
I'll be there.
Through thick and thin.
Ride or die.
You can count on me.
The promises people make.
The vows we take.
Assumptions of the heart.
Emotion tells us how we feel, but life...life has a way of plunging us in boiling water, burning away our illusions, testing our faith, trying our convictions.
Love floating is a butterfly, but love tested is an anchor.
For Grip and Bristol,
Love started at the top of the world
On a Ferris wheel under the stars
But when that love is tested, will they fly or fall?
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
My heart speeds up every time I think of Bristol and Grip, the poems, their love, and of STILL. This book made me shed so much tears—joy, pain, sadness, you name it. But it also made me smile so much. I don’t think words will ever be enough to convey my love for this series.
STILL shows us what life is like for Grip and Bristol after GRIP. Despite their busy schedules—with Grip going on tour and venturing in new projects in music and his advocacies and Bristol managing her talents into success and fame—their love continues to grow stronger than ever. While they’ve gained acceptance and support from their loved ones, there are people who still believe they don’t belong together.
This fuels their desire to make a change and use their voice to speak out even more, and Bristol supports Grip in his quest to know more and do more for his community. Insecurities, jealousy, prejudice, bias, and pain test their relationship as they continue to fight the good fight and find their happily ever after.
I love Grip and Bristol. Plain and simple. Their strength, will, and love never failed to amaze me, and I never stopped rooting for them from FLOW to STILL. Marlon “Grip” James is a man I only dream to be with. He is kind, passionate, sexy, and loyal to the core. I thought I couldn’t love him even more than I did when I read GRIP, but then I read STILL and that’s that.
I believe Bristol is the character that grew the most in this series. From a slightly ignorant, stereotypical woman raised in a life of privilege and wealth, she turned into a woman determined to learn about the injustices in society and color. She’s always been kind and strong, but as the story progressed, I saw her strength grow tenfold as she opened up and let Grip in. My admiration for her grew even more when she fought her demons—her self-doubt, jealousy, the people who are against their relationship—and came out a better woman.
I give five stars to books that leave my heart feeling full. This series managed to do that and so much more. It sneaked its way into my heart, my mind, my soul. But STILL? STILL is now a part of me. The poetry, the pain, the love. I surrender wholeheartedly. For me, STILL deserves all the stars in the sky.
I won’t get into the story too much because I want you to go in as blindly as I did. All I will say is it lifted my heart, broke it, and mended it again in the span of five hours.
Like Grip and Bristol, Ms. Ryan used her platform to speak out about prejudice and racism but still managed to tell an unforgettable love story. Thank you for fighting the good fight and for sharing Grip and Bristol’s story with us.
“Mmmmm, that looks good.”
The comment grabs my attention, and I find myself smiling for the first time since I left Bristol. As she walks toward me, the approaching sunset paints the roof in shadows, but I see her clearly. Dark hair, burnished in places, falls around her shoulders. She has already discarded the dress she wore at lunch today in favor of a T-shirt and nothing else; it’s the one I just tossed into the hamper.
She tugs at my HABITUAL LINE STEPPER T-shirt, the hem landing at the top of her thighs. Where the T-shirt stops, my eyes keep going, past the lean muscles of her legs and the cut of her calves, the delicate bones of her ankles and to her bare feet. I love this girl, head to toe. Beyond this gorgeous packaging, it’s everything beneath that makes me beyond grateful she’s mine. The loyalty, the bottomless pit that is her heart, her sense of humor. The toughest girl I know is also the most tender, and I’m so honored I get to see both sides, all her sides.
“You out of clean clothes?” I nod to my T-shirt. “You gotta wear my dirty stuff now?”
An impish smile tugs at her bare lips. She’s washed away her makeup, and with it, all the sophistication she wraps around herself for her job. Up on this roof in my T-shirt, she’s just my girl. I love her in every iteration, but this is the one only I get to see, so it’s probably my favorite.
“I have clean clothes.” She steps close enough for me to smell her scent and mine mingling in the fabric. “I like the way this shirt smells.”
I drop a look over her, my eyes resting on the curves of her breasts in the soft cotton, where her nipples have gone taut under my stare.
“How does the shirt smell?” I ask, my voice as smoky as the steaks I should be paying attention to.
“Like you.” She leans forward until her breasts press into my chest. “It smells like you.”
My hands are twitching to touch her, and I finally surrender, slipping under the shirt to grasp her waist, pulling her up the few inches until our lips meet. I’ve been thinking about these steaks all day, and before Bristol arrived, I thought I was starving—but this, what I feel having her in my arms after hours apart, this is starving. It starts in my balls and tunnels up through my chest, infiltrates my heart, and presses its way to my mouth, which is open and devouring in a lips-searching, tongues-dueling kiss. I grip her by the ass, grinding our bodies together until the texture of her skin and mine, the scents of her skin and mine meld into this one panting, voracious thing that never seems to get enough.
“You better not burn my steak,” Bristol pants in between kisses.
I angle my head to send my tongue deeper into her mouth, holding her still, teasing her until she’s straining up, open and begging when I pull back.
“Grip.” My name is a whimpering complaint. She cups my neck and tugs my head back down.
“Oh, no.” I resist, laugh, and turn to the grill. “You were so concerned about me burning these steaks, Ms. Medium Rare.”
“I am.” She slides her arms around me from behind and I feel a sweet sting, her teeth gently biting my shoulder through my T-shirt. I love it when she bites me, but I’m not giving her that satisfaction yet. “But that doesn’t mean you get to stop kissing me. You have to multitask.”
One slim hand slides over my abs and past my belt to cup me through my jeans.
Damn. Not sure how long I can keep up this charade that I don’t want to screw her into the wall on the roof where anyone with half a telescope could see.
“Wow,” I say, keeping my tone unaffected, though she’s gotta feel me getting longer and harder in her hand. “Somebody’s horny as hell.”
She makes a sound that’s half outraged laughter, half indignant grunt before stepping around to stand in front of me by the grill.
“I will not be slut-shamed by my own boyfriend.” Amusement lights her eyes, turning them to quicksilver.
“Shamed?” I put down the grilling fork I’m using for the steaks and reach for her again. “No shame in being horny for me, baby. I wanna give you a gold star.”
Her eyes slide down to the erection poking her in the stomach. “Is that what we’re calling it now? Should we name it?”
“Guys who have to name their dicks probably aren’t using ’em right.”
“So I ask again . . . should we name it?”
I cock a brow and press our hips together.
“Are you implying that I don’t know how to use mine? Because that’s not the impression I got this morning when you came so hard you were singing like a bird.”
She tilts her head, her eyes wide and considering. “Did you say like a bird?” A small smile plays around her lips. “What made you say that?”
“I don’t know.” I give a careless shrug. “Why?”
“It’s silly,” she says, rolling her eyes in self-derision. “I was thinking today when I laughed it sounded like . . .”
Bristol blushes about once every Halley’s Comet, so the color washing across her cheeks makes me wonder.
“What?” I probe. “Your laugh sounded like what?”
“Like a happy bird,” she mumbles, peering up at me like I’m going to laugh in her face.
Which I do.
“Stop laughing at me.” She narrows her eyes in mock warning.
“Right.” I dip my head to catch her eyes and tease her. “Because when you tell me you laugh like a happy bird I’m just supposed let you get away with that.”
“I’m not telling you things anymore.” She narrows her eyes and folds her arms over her chest.
“Yeah, right. I’m your best friend.” I pull her back into me. “You’ll tell me everything like you always do.”
“You are, you know.” Her voice softens. “My best friend, I mean.”
When she looks at me like this, her eyes stripped of every defense, no guard in sight, completely honest and open and vulnerable, I feel slightly invincible. It’s a trick of the heart, I know, but I can’t help but think that as long as she looks at me like this, there isn’t anything I couldn’t survive, that our love is the stuff of legends, rolled in Teflon, disaster-proof. I’m as fanciful as Bristol, my laughing bird.
“You’re mine, too,” I echo her sentiment. “My best friend.”
“I won’t tell Rhyson,” she promises with a grin.
“I’m pretty sure he spits the same line to Kai.” I keep a straight face. “We have to say that shit to get laid.”
“I hate you.”
“Orrrrrrrrr do you love me and want to blow me after dinner?” I shrug and lift my hands, my palms up. “Just saying. Listen to your heart, Bristol. Listen to your heart.”
“I’m listening to my belly right now, smartass, and it’s growling. Feed me.”
“Like my mama used to say, ain’t no freeloaders in this house. What’ll you give me for feeding you?”
“Um . . .”
“I do have a suggestion, if you’re searching.”
“Let me guess—you have a ‘Will fuck for food’ sign up here somewhere?”
“I used bubble letters.” I laugh and give her ass a light smack. “You can barter that booty.”
It’s so damn easy with Bristol—our banter, the chemistry, the perfect rhythm of our conversation. It was one of the first things I noticed when we met all those years ago. We didn’t read each other’s minds or finish each other’s sentences. It wasn’t cosmic, but it was a connection that seized me by the brain and grabbed me by the balls. She was as smart as she was sexy, as curious as she was forthcoming. There were years in between when we made things complicated, when things were strained, but now with our hearts settled on each other for good, it’s simple.
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