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Stand by for major swooning…. Ready…. Here it comes….
Another amazing book from Kristen Ashley that firmly plants The ‘Burg series right next to the Rock Chicks as my favourite KA series. Absolutely freaking gorgeous!
As the younger sister of his high school girlfriend, Mike Haines has always had a special bond with Dusty Holliday. She, in return, has loved him for as long as she can remember. Dusty left town years ago, but when a tragedy brings her back to town, Mike makes it his business to get in her face about her life choices. It is then that Dusty is unleashed in all of her sassy, in-your-face awesomeness, sparks fly and the two of them hook up in what has to be one of the quickest, most no-nonsense, straight-up relationships in KA history!
I normally start a KA review by swooning over the hotness of the hero, however this time, full love goes straight to Dusty. She is SO FREAKING AWESOME!!! She’s confident, sassy and funny as all hell. She also completely has her shit together, knows what wants and goes straight for it. She’s honest and open, and talks exactly like the KA boys – straight out, with no apologies, no games, and no bullshit. I absolutely ADORE her, in fact, I think I have a full on girl-crush!!!
One of my favourite moments in this book was Dusty going all kickass on Mike. The usual KA formula is that the girl freaks out, and the guy has to bring her around. This time, though Mike has a freak-out moment and Dusty absolutely lets him have it! She had me fist-pumping and screaming HELL YEAH! She’s the kind of girl that makes me glad to be female, I wish I was more like her. Definitely my favourite KA heroine to date!
And then there is Mike Haines. OMG, this man is INCREDIBLE!!! I fell for him when I first met him in At Peace, and now I am completely in love! Definitely belonging in the KA Alpha-male club, he is at the gentler end of the spectrum, not so demanding and intimidating, and completely, beautifully romantic. At one point I even swooned out loud. Yes, out loud! Seriously, I closed my eyes, clutched my heart and swooned ‘oh my God!’ out loud and with a massive grin on my face. His love and devotion to his kids was also an incredible thing to see, and had me tearing up on a couple of occasions.
“I’m falling in love with you, Mike Haines.” As I spoke, with every word his arms got tighter and tighter and his face, already close, became a breath away.
“Angel, you’re already gone.”
I blinked and asked, “Sorry?”
“I read your diaries. I caught your pass in that hotel room. I listened to your offer to stay. I saw you wave good-bye at the airport and got your call before I’d pulled out of the parking lot. You fell with a kiss. I know, honey, because I was right there with you.”
And not only do we get the swoony romance between Dusty and Mike, we also get to watch Dusty’s nephew, Fin, and Mike’s daughter, Rees, fall in mad, crazy love. God these two were gorgeous! Their secondary storyline was so beautifully written, it could have easily carried a book on its own. Fin is very much a junior KA Alpha and very swoon-worthy in his own right, and Rees is the shy, innocent little-girl-lost who really comes into her own throughout the story. It’s gorgeous to watch.
Like the last book in the ‘Burg series, this is very much a character-driven story with a lot going on in the lives of Dusty, Mike and their families as they deal with the aftermath of the death of Dusty’s brother, her family falling apart, battles to keep their family legacy, a stalker, violent teenage bullies, and don’t forget Mike’s crazy ex-wife. With all of this going on, it’s refreshing to see Mike and Dusty come together naturally and easily, without any pretences or game playing. Once they commit to their relationship (which, thankfully happens pretty early on), it’s full steam ahead as they stand strong and deal with everything that gets thrown at them.
Don’t get me wrong, there is still ‘the big 90% event’, and leading up to it there is very much a sense of anticipation that something bad is going to happen, but you don’t know what, or from which direction it’s going to come until it’s right upon you and then… HOLY SHIT!!! A very intense bit of reading before the HEA and the oh-so-swoony Epilogue that had my sighing with bliss.
I could rant on and on about all of the things I loved about this book, but just want to share a few highlights…
- Mike and Rivera – actually Rivera anytime! He’s freaking hilarious!
“I haven’t bought Jerra flowers since I pissed her off when we were datin’ and fell asleep durin’ some crappy-ass movie she forced me to take her to sayin’ that movie was Hollywood’s version of us. How could I fall asleep watching the story of us, she asks. And, bro, if that was us, we are borin’ as shit.” – Hunter Rivera
- Mike and Fin together
- Rees standing up for Fin
- Mike’s kids discussing Dusty moving in
- The night out at J&Js with the extended cast of characters – again, hilarious!
- The numerous “Cake” discussions – Ryker always cracks me up
- All the boys together – on multiple swoony and hilarious occasions
- Fin and Kirby laying down their against their Mom
- Colt and Joe’s POVs (even if they’re only brief)
BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT!
The ‘Burg series
Fore more KA awesomeness, check out our Kristen Ashley Author Spotlight