Title: The Hierarchy of Needs
Series: Portland Rebels #2
Author: Rebecca Grace Allen
Format: eBook, 163 pages
Published: July 7, 2015 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Jamie Matthews is stuck in a rut. After hitting a wall with her dream career, she’s back in her hometown, living a life as monotonous as swimming laps in the neighborhood pool.
Being surrounded by her perfect brothers is a painful reminder of her failure to launch. The last bonfire of the summer is an ideal way to let off steam, especially when she runs into Dean Trescott, the playboy friend she had one hot-as-hell night with back in high school.
Since the day Dean met Jamie, he’s loved her beauty, talent, and smile that lit up the whole damn block. But dating isn’t an option. She has a bright future ahead of her, and he refuses to chain her to his—helping run the family business that’s barely staying afloat.
A “what-happens-in-Vegas” weekend was supposed to get their craving for each other out of their systems. But neither counted on the past repeating itself, drawing them together in even hotter and dirtier ways and dangling the possibility they might both be able to get exactly what they need…
Warning: A friends-to-lovers twice over story that contains some hot ’n’ heavy kissing in the waves, hair pulling, and a man who knows how to use his hands. It may also feature a few practical jokes—only the fun kind, of course.
“When I look at you, I see that girl I knew as a kid. Someone who was always smiling, always happy, and has stayed like that, no matter what. You’re like this one single bright fucking spot of sunshine I have in a life that pretty much sucks otherwise, so don’t you dare wish you were anyone else, or think you can’t have what you want. You should have everything you want, Jamie. Everything.”
Jamie and Dean have been friends ever since their meeting in detention in high school. When one night led them to pushing the boundaries of friendship and Dean shying away, they have now stuck to the platonic side of things. The more they hang out though, the more flirtations and buried emotions start to creep up. Jamie and Dean are both feeling lost as more grown up decisions come their way; can they be each other's rock?
The Hierarchy of Needs is second in the Portland Rebels series and while you could get away with starting with this book, I would recommend reading the first, The Duality Principle. Jamie and Dean's tension filled flirty relationship is discussed somewhat in that book and I think would help the reader get into the flow of this story quicker if they had that background. I thought this one started off a little slow and if you haven't read the first, you will probably feel somewhat lost as to why you should care about these two as a couple. For most of the book, we don't really get to see Jamie and Dean fall in love so much as fight to repress those feelings. It is later on when they decide to give in a little do we see their bonding connection.
Jamie and Dean were great New Adult characters with their doubt, inexperience, and trying to find themselves. Jamie feels like the unsuccessful black sheep in her family while Dean feels trapped by his; both are trying to grow into who they think they should be while secretly wanting something very different. These internal battles gave a fuller and more authentic feel to our characters just starting to hit adulthood. Dean pushing Jamie away because he didn't feel good enough for her was sweet if not a bit of an overused plot. Jamie was great in her final refusal to put up with Dean's back and forth and demand they settle their feelings one way or another and ooh boy when they do! As with the first book, this one was punctuated by some subtly sexy scenes and then some not so subtle ones. Due to the fact that our couple had pretty much already fallen in love, the story relied more heavily on the sexy times. Their sexual chemistry was great (if you like hair pulling, you're in for a treat) but I found myself missing the emotional initial sparks of newly discovered attraction.
This is a shorter read, one you can read in one sitting and will want to as you'll be anxiously anticipating Jamie and Dean finally releasing all that sexual tension. We also get a small mention of the first book's couple and two possible stars for a third book in the series. I love how this author writes believable NA characters and stays away from making her guys abusive (Dean is a sexy tattooed teddy bear); I enjoy being carried away in her stories for a couple hours. If the friends-to-lovers’ trope is your candy, like playful flirting, struggling to find yourself, and the aforementioned hair pulling, you really need to pick up a copy of this.