Jessie Boone is a self proclaimed bad boy and doesn’t march to the beat of anyone’s drum, but his own. Growing up in less than desirable circumstances has made him no stranger to the hard knock life and his determination to leave it behind is fierce. When he finds himself transferred to East Franklin High School, he sees his opportunity to use his athletic ability to snag a college football scholarship, but Forbes Henderson, the player Jessie means to replace isn’t giving up his spot willingly. In fact, Forbes is willing to go to extreme measures to retain his place as first string quarterback. When Forbes’ malicious plan to injure his replacement fails, Jessie is furious and determined to show him he messed with the wrong person; not only is he going to take the position of first string quarterback, he’s going to take his girl, too.

Claire Deveraux is perfection at it’s best. She is beautiful, intelligent and unaware she just became Jessie Boone’s conquest as revenge against her boyfriend, Forbes Henderson. Like her flawless performance as the perfect daughter and student, Claire’s production of being the perfect girlfriend has everyone fooled, except Jessie Boone, and she fears this tattooed bad boy will see her secret desire to explore his crude threats and promises to rock her perfect world. If she decides to give in to one uninhibited moment with Jessie, will she learn too late that it was all an act of vengeance or will Jessie learn the taste of first love is sweeter than that of revenge?

Accepting a self-published title for review is almost always a bit stressful for any blogger. What if we dislike it? When I signed up for the Going Under tour, I knew it SOUNDED good and has a gorgeous cover, but it’s always intimidating. Then I began actually reading it, Going Under is one of those few books I’m recommending before I was even 30 pages into it.

Going Under has a pretty predictable theme. Bad boy and perfect good girl toy with each other to prove a point and end up falling for each other. That time-told story has filled the contemporary genre for so long, but Cates has managed to do it oh-so-well. She has successfully made one it fresh and intense. The chemistry between Jessie and Claire is stunning. I couldn’t help but want to find a love that real.

In true fashion, Jessie is from the wrong side of the tracks and has lived a very rough life up to this point. His atheletic ability has given him a bit of hope in sight. But the former first string quarterback, Forbes, has started making Jessie’s life a bit complicated. Now Jessie’s decided he wants Claire, Forbes’ girlfriend, as payback. Claire is the usual good girl, she does well in school and does what is expected of her. When Jessie starts giving her attention, she knows it’s merely to bug Forbes, so she strives to show Jessie a thing or two.

I’ve already said I loved the chemistry – it’s HOT! I love contemporary, but to be honest I’m not always a big romance reader. I love some romantic contemporaries, but there has to be a balance of something “else”. In Going Under the tension of Jessie’s life and Claire’s exploring her own nature gives that.

There were times when the story had me a bit flustered, some situations (especially with Jessie’s past) didn’t feel very formed. Almost as if facts were missing, but in the end things filled out nicely. I’d also to have seen a bit more of the characters’ thoughts as to why they wanted each other, their attraction happened gradually but when it did there wasn’t nearly enough explanation for me. If you’ve read Going Under before Cates added in the “new” chapter, she’s added an explanation per her fans’ requests. This addition gives the story a bit more clarity, when I first read Going Under it wasn’t there, and I had found myself wondering if something was missing. Now the story feels complete.

Looking for a cute contemporary? Check out Going Under.

I received my copy of Going Under from the author/tour group in exchange for my honest opinion.