Review: “I Promise You” by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Book Title: I Promise You

Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills 

Rating: 4.5⭐

Release Date: October 12th, 2020

Goodreads | (Available on KU)

Synopsis: Serena and Dillon shared a kiss one night many years ago. A kiss that was filled with promise and want and everything in between. And then they never saw each other again. Till one night at a Piggly Wiggly, where their paths cross and suddenly everything changes. The only question is: how far will you go to get what you want when the other person is making you really work for it?

Review: I’ve read a few Ilsa Madden-Mills books, but I gotta say after reading I Promise You, I am a huge fan. For lots of people who read this book, it’s a return to Waylon University and the football players that dominate campus, as well as the legend about love and romance. Every campus has one, right? With beautifully written characters and hilarious banter, this book will hook you from the word go. And if you’ve never read Ilsa Madden-Mills before, this is definitely a good place to start, because it will take you on a ride that you never want to get off.

“The night of the bonfire my heart picked you, and I’d do it again, a million times.”

Dillon McQueen is an athlete, plain and simple. He’s also a stud and a charmer. Dillon’s struggling to prove his worth and be the starting quarterback for the football team, while trying not to completely lose his mind at the same time. Unlike a lot of football players, Dillon’s pretty down to earth, while being funny, smart and insanely sexy. He’s got it all and he knows it, but that doesn’t make him a bad person, it just makes him very self-aware and that is crazy attractive too.

Serena Jensen keeps a low profile and works hard to provide for her family. With her elderly (but feisty) grandmother, older brother and younger sister sort of relying on her, she doesn’t have time for anything but making ends meet. She’s had her heart broken and she doesn’t want to deal with hot jocks or their need to be around her all the time. Serena wants more out of her journalism job and now that she has her big break, can she do it?

“I’d wish for someone in my life who’s real, you know, not just some hanger-on, but someone who gets me.”

The chemistry between Serena and Dillon is delicious. Their first meeting is set three years ago, a meeting that was cemented with a hotter than fire kiss that could have been more if they were in a place at the time. But in the present day, Serena has no time for Dillon’s antics and all he wants is time with her. He’s her story and she’s his only focus. The lengths to which Dillon goes to be around Serena makes you warm all over, because while the legend is definitely leading him down this path, it’s also so much more than that. It’s this unwavering need to be with the only woman who has ever rocked him to his core this way. And Dillon doesn’t know how to win her over without basically begging on his knees.

I Promise You takes the sports romance genre to a whole new level and quite honestly, it totally blew my mind. I was so captivated from the beginning and every single character has your attention. The characters have so much depth and who are not just the smart girl and the jock, they’re incredibly bruised and damaged, but also so perfectly matched. One of my favourite scenes in the book is when they see each other again after three years in the Piggly Wiggly and they just go out of their way to piss each other off. Because that just kick starts everything else that happens and to watch Dillon and Serena discover who the other is and to relive their first ever meeting and to open up to each other….it was absolutely beautiful.

“He’s getting it right. He’s part smooth charmer, part uncertain college boy, and it ticks all my boxes. Help.”

Also, this book is hella steamy! It’s a slow burn with a big bang and every time the characters are around each other, you wish you could erase everyone else from that scene so they could just have each other the way you know they want to be.

I absolutely loved Serena. She has the most randomly interesting facts ready for any situation and she keeps Dillon on his toes. She’s been through a lot – with losing her parents and marrying (and divorcing) an absolute douchenozzle – but Serena is so strong and so incredible. Dillon is brilliant. Like I said before, he doesn’t fit the stereotypical jock mold that we’ve read about in countless books. Dillon has so much more to offer. He’s so soft and kind and his heart is so big! Ugh, guys like that don’t exist in real life, which is what makes Dillon even more perfect. I love just how much he paid attention to the little things in Serena’s life, and how he always made sure that she came first in every situation they were in. And boy, the dates he took her on. My heart was so full with how brilliantly matched these two were. 

With this book, I’m going to go through all of the Waylon University books and meet the rest of the characters. I can’t wait to see what else happens and if we get more of these boys and their forever girls, because gah, I’d love to just immerse myself in that world forever!

Thanks to Ilsa Madden-Mills and Social Butterfly PR for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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