Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Take Me On by Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits book 4)

SPOILER ALERT! The story between Haley and West takes place after the climatic event involving West's sister in Crash Into You. To fully understand the story, you definitely need to read that book first! Take Me On takes place between chapters 76 & 77 in Crash Into Me. Reader be warned.
Haley Williams left her grandfather's gym a year ago to train at her now ex-boyfriend's instead. That arrangement only lasted six months. A former national championship kick boxer, she has gone to her grandfather to ask him to write her a recommendation letter for a much needed scholarship for college. At first, her grandfather isn't angry with her. She tells him that she just cannot take home another stack of bills to her parents. With her family down on their luck since her father lost his job, she is desperate to leave her situation behind. It's not been a good day for her since she also received a rejection letter from Notre Dame. Her grandfather will take care of the payment notices. Haley hands him the scholarship application. When her grandfather sees that the scholarship is for someone majoring in kinesiology, he flat out refuses.

West Young is reeling from the tragic events in his family and he places most of the blame on himself. It's only February and he just received a rejection letter for the University of Louisville on top of the fact that he was just expelled from Worthington Preparatory for fighting. It didn't matter that he was defending his sister's honor, it was the last straw. He is standing on the sidelines watching his family fall apart and he feels responsible. Avoiding the hospital and his father's wrath, he watches from the shadows as his mother leaves a seedy bar. He promised her that he will go visit Rachel.

On her way home from the pharmacy with her father's medication that they have saved for over the past two months, Haley notices trouble. Two guys are standing in the shadows watching her. She doesn't need the trouble because if she is late for curfew, her nasty uncle won't let her in the house. She shouts at them that she has no money and they let her know that they are interested in the medicine. Desperate to keep it to help her father, Haley knows that six months out of the gym has caused her to be out of shape. She steps off of the curb in an attempt to make a run for it when a car slams on its brakes. Haley just stepped out in front of West and he just stopped barely in time. West is taking in aloof Haley's details as she is trying to formulate a plan. He offers her a ride home but with his fancy car in a bad part of town, she thinks she will take her chances. She tells West to act as if he is still talking to her and she slips off. Not wanting her to leave, he blows her cover. The two guys take off running after her and West follows.

Haley has a slim chance of escaping. The two guys are gaining on her but she is shocked to see West come to help her. He gets beat up pretty badly and Haley knows that she will never make curfew if she stops to help him. When West gains some of his senses back, he discovers that Haley has called someone. Actually she called Rachel on his phone. Since her accident, Isaiah has rarely left her bedside and he answered. He in turn calls Abby to go get West. Abby and Haley go to school together and West is confused. Abby, his sister's best friend goes to Worthington with her, not Eastwick High School. Haley heads home and Abby takes West with her. The next morning, West questions why Isaiah and Abby would help him and Abby answers that they would do anything for Rachel. He wonders why his sister would be friends with the two of them. Abby tells him to never trust anything that she tells him except that she knows why his mother has a standing date every month at the bar.

Haley's brother and cousin have covered for her with her uncle about curfew and help her sneak into the house. Her brother Kaden sees that their father's medicine is gone. She realizes that the two guys stole it and that is why they left. Devastated, cousin Jax sends Kaden out of the room. Jax looks at Haley and realizes the truth about what happened. She beats herself up over her promise to herself about never fighting again. The next morning, she finds her father the kitchen looking at the newspaper. The job hunt isn't going well and Haley tells her father that Kaden has entered a fight in a few months. Her father says that he will probably meet up with Matt in the ring. It's a shame that she taught Matt how to defeat her own brother. She had hoped the knowledge would inspire him to get back into the gym to train Kaden. He asks her about college and scholarships but she lies and says that things are going good. He tells her that he hopes that they can stay in Kentucky until she and her brother graduate but they are thinking about going to California to live with an elderly aunt. Haley is devastated at how things are turning out. Matt's little brother, Conner, was one of the two guys who jumped her the night before and they will be out looking for blood.

West shows up at the hospital to find his mother crying. The specialist has informed them that the damage to Rachel's legs is severe. West continues to beat himself up over his sister's situation. When he runs into his father, he informs West that he has enrolled him at Eastwick to finish his senior year. The delicate dam of emotions between the two of them erupts when West goads him over his hand in the accident by inadvertently guessing the truth. Furious, his father kicks him out of the house. At first, West thinks he isn't serious but his father gives him two hours to get his stuff before he calls the police. He follows his father down the hall and ends up at the last place he wants to be, Rachel's room. He hates seeing her laid up in bed and Isaiah hovering by her side. Ethan tells him that their parents aren't going to pick the fight over Isaiah now since he is the only person Rachel listens to. West leaves.

At school on Monday, Jax is relentless in trying to get the truth about Friday night from Haley, but she is tight lipped. He wants to know why she is still protecting Matt but in reality she is protecting her family from Matt and his brother Conner. Standing in the hall after Jax walks away, West comes up next to her. Horrified that he will be seen by Matt, she tells him that he needs to leave. Nope, he goes to Eastwick now since he was kicked out of Worthington for fighting. Knowing that he is trouble, she attempts to stay away from him for his own protection. Karma isn't on Haley's side when it turns out that they share first period together. Haley got under West's skin the first time he laid eyes on her. Taking a good look at West, he has affected Haley in the same way. He is unable to keep his eyes off of Haley as he walks by her seat. Her heart is beating erratically as he passes and she looks up at the doorway. Matt is standing there and she is sure that he saw at least the last part where West touched her as he walked by. She realizes that she will be lucky if she makes it to lunch without a fight.

In the cafeteria, all heck breaks loose. Jax, Kaden and their group sit in one corner while Matt and his boys are in another. Haley is sitting at a table with some girls and the topic of conversation turns towards West, who has just walked in. Haley is speechless when West comes over. She gets up to leave and sees Conner, who she wants to avoid at all costs. Before she can turn around, Matt comes up to her and demands that they talk. She knows if she doesn't, her family will get involved. Matt wants to know who beat up his brother and why. He doesn't believe that she did and Conner won't admit a girl got the best of him. Jax and Kaden join the fray and the discussion on how to settle the situation heats up. Haley is mortified when West walks up. Conner throws a few barbs and West gets his first close look at Haley and realizes that the rumor of her being a former fighter is true; she has a black eye underneath her makeup and her knuckles are busted. West doesn't believe anyone should hit a girl and at that moment confesses to beating Conner. Knowing that they cannot fight in school, Conner says that he will meet West in the ring in a couple of months when his wrist is healed. Everything Haley has worked to avoid for the past year comes crashing down.

What occurred between Haley and Matt that she feels that she needs to protect her family from him? Why did she step away from kickboxing? Can her family get back on its feet again? Will West be able to fight his demons and make peace not only with his family but himself? Why does his mother make a visit to the bar every month? Does the Young family finally begin to heal their deepest wounds? What happens between Haley and West when she decides to train him as a kick boxer? 

Visit Katie McGarry's website.

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