Series: Marked Men #6
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on April 21st, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Starting over in Denver with a whole new circle of friends and family, Asa Cross struggles with being the man he knows everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he really is. A leopard doesnÔÇÖt it change its spots and Asa has always been a predator. He doesnÔÇÖt want to hurt those who love and rely on him, especially one luscious arresting cop who suddenly seems to be interested in him for far more than his penchant for breaking the law. But letting go of old habits is hard, and itÔÇÖs easy to hit bottom when itÔÇÖs the place you know best.
Royal Hastings is quickly learning what the bottom looks like after a tragic situation at work threatens not only her career but her partnerÔÇÖs life. As a woman who has only ever had a few real friends sheÔÇÖs trying to muddle through her confusion and devastation all alone. Except she canÔÇÖt stop thinking about the sexy southern bartender she locked up. Crushing on Asa is the last thing she needs but his allure is too strong to resist. His long criminal record can only hurt her already shaky career and chasing after a guy who has no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak.
A longtime criminal and a cop together just seems so wrong . . . but for Asa and Royal, being wrong together is the only right choice to make.
I’m totally shell-shocked and speechless. Asa by Jay Crownover managed what no other Marked Man achieved beforeÔÇöhe gave Rule a run for his money. Though he didn’t know him of the pedestal, he’s right there with him.
Jay Crownover created a character with Asa that made both my heart and my lady parts tingle. His innate brooding and the way he was damaged and broken, coupled with his smooth Southern charm, made me swoon something fierce, but there was so much more to his character than just sexiness.
There was depth to last for a thousand pages, layers upon layers that made up a complex and complicated man who had an army of demons from the past haunting him and yet managed to be beautiful inside and out.
Born on the wrong side of the tracks with a mom who didn’t care and a dad who wasn’t there, he learned early on that if he wants something, it’s up to him to get it – be it through trickery, charm or a good con.
No sins go unpunished though and when his life caught up to him, he had to decide if he wants to continue on the path he was on or if he’s finally going to do the right thing.
But being the good guy isn’t always easy, especially not when you have a sexy redhead throwing herself at you any chance she gets.
Royal tests his self-control over and over, until it finally breaks. But letting go can be so much fun and so rewarding, if you do it right.
Royal is a young, ambitious woman who loves her work as a cop. But circumstances have thrown her for a loop, making it hard for her to claw her way out of the pit of guilt, doubt and regret. The only light she sees in the darkness is the twinkle in the eye of the Southern charmer, Asa. Despite his warnings about getting burned, she can’t ignore the pull feels towards him like a moth to the flame. A pull stronger than all reason or logic. And sometimes the person, who seems so wrong, might be the perfect match.
Both characters have an insurmountable amount of strength. Asa has managed to leave a difficult past behind and become a better person. He’s fighting his demons and beats himself up for the things he has done, not allowing himself to have anything real or good in his life. His internal battle, his self-sabotage broke my heart. They were realistic and poignant, squeezing my heart into oblivion.
All the time I wanted to hug him, hold him and tell him how awesome he is. I wanted for him to see the man he is now. A good man.
But it wasn’t just his struggles that made me choke up. The burden Royal was carrying wasn’t that much lighter. Feeling responsible and guilty for the pain her best friend is going through, she questions everything she is and everything she does.
Jay Crownover showed perfectly, how guilt and regret can take control of your life, leading into a world full of self-hate and darkness.
It was beautiful to see how Royal and Asa started to heal; spurred on by the acceptance they received from one another. Having someone who sees the darkness, yet also recognizes the light, the good things, was enough to give them the nudge in the right direction. It was what they needed to start letting go of the things that were holding them back. It was enough, to make them fall in love.
I’m not sure how Jay Crownover does it, but there is just no way not to love her characters, to hurt with them and to feel their joy. Her characters aren’t flawless and they make mistakes. But I think it’s this fact that makes them so easy to fall for. They seem real.
As always, she delivers a perfect story with imperfect characters. A story that doesn’t need big amounts of drama. It’s a story that touched me with its subtlety.
Add to that the rest of the Marked gang, some new hot characters and a healthy amount of swearing and sinfully hot sex, and you have a book you won’t be able to put down. I definitely couldn’t.
5+ southern-charm stars.
~Review by Paula
(Previously posted on TBE)