Lost in Us is the story of Serena and James. Serena is an intelligent woman with a plan and a tight hold on the reins of her life. James is a brilliant and wealthy entrepreneur playboy who sets his eyes on Serena.
Serena has known for some time what she would do with her life, While Serena struggles to hold tightly to the path she has set for herself, but when her boyfriend of 6 years leaves her (and her plans) in the dust, James tempts her with both his body and his wild ways.
“It’s not the behavior itself that scares me. The fact that I chose to act this way scares me. I wanted to be reckless. And as I look into his eyes, and feel his hot breath on my lips, every inch of my body tells me that I don’t want to stop being reckless.”
And THIS. Right here. This is what I loved about Lost in Us. James helps Serena discover how to let go and feel, and Serena pushes James to allow himself to really hold on to something. And together, they heal old wounds and forge new paths.
In Found in Us, Serena’s best friend and roommate Jessica finds herself repeatedly thrust into social situations with James’ cousin, Parker, to whom she is undeniably attracted. However, Parker has already turned her down once, and Jessica has trust issues with men, so her defenses are up, despite the advances Parker has begun making.
“I’d learned long ago not to trust men, and most of all, not to hope they’d care.”
Determined to revise her party girl image and prove to everyone, herself included, that she can make it on her own, Jess bristles against Parker’s dominant personality, which only makes Parker want to claim her more.
I loved that the theme of salvation and self-realization was continued from the first installment in the series, and, in particular, I was impressed by the way Hagen incorporated London’s geography (old city and new city) and the London Eye into the developing relationship between Jessica and Parker.
“When we are apart, we are on our best behavior, fitting in. But when we are together, we carve our own bubble of freedom, in which nothing can touch us—where we can let loose.”
What I did NOT love, and found incredibly odd given the efficacy and proficiency of the author’s writing in the first book, was the love scenes. Don’t get me wrong—they’re definitely steamy. But they’re also oftentimes very awkward. My first issue is the vocabulary. In the same scene, we see references to “tingles all the way down there”, followed by mention of the heroine’s “pulsating core”, “clit” and “nub”. “Nub” especially bothered me. I don’t know a single woman who refers to her clitoris as her “nub”. Especially if she also refers to her pelvic area as “down there”. On the male side of the scene, Parker has an “erect member”. This particular instance made me stop reading and think, “Hmm. The author needed another word for penis.”
With the third installment, Caught in Us, Hagen returned to the quality of writing seen in the first book, Lost in Us, and I was once again captured by the story. In fact, this may have been my favorite of all three.
Caught in Us, begins during the senior year of high school for James’s little sister, Dani. A self-proclaimed nerd who has been granted early acceptance to Oxford, contingent on upkeep of her grades, Dani is also lonely and inexperienced. Her parents barely pay attention to her, she’s never been kissed, and she has no date to the prom. Overall, things look pretty bleak, and Dani isn’t quite sure how to turn them around. Until Damon walks into her English class—and her life.
On the surface, Damon is a bad-boy who doesn’t care about anyone or anything. But Dani sees beyond that from the beginning, and she and Damon begin a beautiful relationship that also causes a downward spiral in Dani’s good girl image.
I loved everything about Damon from the moment he stepped into the story. He is the whole package—depth, sweetness, danger—and he treasures Dani, which I think is something most women want to feel. And to hear the words he speaks to her? Now that is panty-melting in its own special way.
“I’m not interested in being special to everyone. I want to be special to someone. That’d be enough for me.”
Although their journey is by no means an easy one, and it is definitely rife with pain and sorrow, the end product? Well, it’s just about the most amazing thing a person can ask for.
“A liberating sensation spreads inside me, dissolving the pain I kept hidden, leaving place for hope, bliss, and the conviction that together we will bloom into something beautiful.”
My overall recommendation? Buy it, read it—you’ll love it!