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I Know
Morgan Jones, author
As Jake and Liz are coping with a shared tragic loss, they find comfort in how much relief spending time in each other’s company brings. When Jake asks Liz to join him for some ink therapy, she accepts, honored at the thought of the memory of someone special to them being a permanent piece of art on Jake. Meanwhile Jake finds solace in spending time at Liz’s sisters house with the family he considers to be an extension of his own. He’s always had a bit of a thing for Liz if he's honest with himself, and is wondering if now is finally the right time, or if they are just two old friends who have a newfound perspective on how short and precious life really is. Late night talks domino into more in person time together, and soon neither one of them can deny the spark that has progressed between them.
The second entry in author Morgan Jones’s Collins trilogy of “interlocking standalone” romances spotlights Lizzy, the sister of Adam from You’re Mine, the first book, finding her way toward Adam’s brother’s childhood friend and bandmate, Jake. As the two cope with a tragic loss, they come together in grief and consolation—she seems to hate both love and Disney, he discovers—and before they know it, this heartbroken duo are feeling something fresh for each other. As the seasons change, will they be able to get over their grief, pasts, and mutual hangups to make it work?

As Jones warns in a disclaimer, I Know, while quite squarely a romance, touches on complex, upsetting themes, including issues of mental health, anxiety, and childhood emotional abuse. The characters feel like grown-ups, struggling through their lives, with the realistically low-key plot featuring much day-to-day living: getting tattoos, grinding through band practice, celebrating holidays, wondering about the provenance of stains, and—thrillingly—getting caught up in the kinds of long, self-revealing conversations that mark the beginnings of a promising romance. Jones is adept at these, as she is at telling the story through the perspectives of both leads. The sex is steamy, occasionally graphic, but also warm, the detailed descriptions rooted in character and connection.

This volume stands alone, though some readers may feel like they’re missing some context if they haven’t read the first book in the trilogy, especially as the characters are, in ways, dealing with their pasts. While the dialogue is sharp, and the big moments (like a doozy of a Halloween kiss) dramatized with power and feeling, some incidental storytelling is hampered by editing and punctuation errors. But the book, like its lovers, pulses with heart, heat, and passion, offering a romance as touching as it is rousing.

Takeaway: This grown-up romance finds its lovers facing real grief but finding each other.

Great for fans of: Mia Sheridan’s Archer’s Voice, Jewel E. Ann.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B-
Marketing copy: A-