Review: The Lessons We Learn
The Lessons We Learn is the second book in the FWB series by Alexandra Warren, and I honestly think I liked it even a little bit more than the first. This was a medium heat read with a really cute couple, low angst, and a man who was head over heels for his woman while being completely respectful of her boundaries and desire to take things slowly. In fact, I think this is a great book to pick up if you liked Our Desires by Ivy Laika.
The Lessons We Learn picks up with a slight overlap of The Games We Play, while Khalid is on a last-minute ice cream run before his best friend's birthday party. He's been getting his life together and really settling into the new security job that Londyn helped set him up with, so when he sees the recently divorced, gorgeous, smart woman from the office, he finally tries to make his move.
Jayla is still reeling from her divorce and, more importantly, from the repeated betrayals of her ex-husband's constant affairs. She's changed jobs, moved to a small-town, and on top of all that, she's trying to figure out who she is without all of her mother's rules and influence. The same rules that pushed her toward a marriage that looked better on paper than in reality and criticized her for leaving. She knows Khalid is gorgeous, but she can't help seeing him as exactly the type of man who all the ladies would be throwing themselves at, so she tries to keep him at a distance.
But when her younger sister shows her Khalid's Instagram, she knows she has to at least take him on as a client. With his good lucks and charm, he's a born influencer, and she is the perfect person to help him secure those opportunities. He jumps at the chance, more to work with her than for the money, and the attempts to keep things professional, to just sex, to love pipeline is activated.
What I appreciated most about Jayla and Khalid was their ability to communicate. As much as I had enjoyed the previous book, Londyn and Chance constantly playing games instead of coming out and saying what they wanted--while not unrealistic to life--always felt like a bit of a more immature love. What Jayla and Khalid have may be less full of lust, but it's no less passionate, and feels more adult. With Jayla's relationship history, she's long past the game-playing stage in her life, and she has no space for a man who would ever want to make her jealous.
And Khalid. He makes it clear from the start that he is interested in her. He doesn't beat around the bush, and he never shies away from an opportunity to tell her she's beautiful, to admire her intelligence and business acumen, to appreciate her humor and personality. He is the sort of genuine, openly caring hero that I can never get enough of. And best of all? He meets her where she is. When she needs to take things slow because of her relationship baggage? He doesn't pressure her for more. When she wants to let him blow her mind in the bedroom and have some semblance of exclusivity without all of the commitment? He never tries to make her guilty. And when he does trigger her particular insecurities without meaning to, he goes to her to apologize and make things right.
I love both of them, and I think they're great together. I also think the performance--despite having the exact same narrators--was even better than the previous book. I was looking forward to listening to more from their catalogues, but now I'm truly as excited to find the rest of their work as I am to read the rest of Alexandra Warren's backlist.
I also really want one last book in this series. Jayla's little sister and Khalid's cousin were hilarious side characters, and I need to see them as MC's. The scene where Khalid's cousin ends up high as hell on the roof of Khalid's new place, begging Black Jesus to come save him from "white Jesus" before the housewarming party made me laugh out loud.
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
I highly recommend this one, and I've already picked the next Alexandra Warren series I'm going to read. It's time for some sports romance! I'm going to pick up the first Houston Skyhawks book, but I'm equally as excited to get to her basketball romances.
Romance Rating: 3.75 Stars
The more I think about this book, the more I consider bumping this up to a solid 4 stars. I loved this couple, and their romantic arc was great. If you like the way the men in Technical by Alexandria House or Our Desires by Ivy Laika are completely sweet on the MC's, this is a book to add to your TBR asap.
Heat Rating: 3 Stars
A little slow burn compared to The Games We Play, but this one still had plenty of sexy scenes.
Kink Rating: 0* Stars
None by design
Dark / Taboo Rating: 0* Stars
1 ... barely. Less than 1 but not quite none? They have a little bit of a boss / client relationship due to the whole influencer gig, but it's never in a way that really creates an unprofessional power dynamic for the sake of this story.
Let me know if you've read or plan to read The Lessons We Learn by Alexandra Warren!