Buy: Kindle Ebook | Paperback
5 “Minute by minute, baby” stars
The ‘Burg series is one of my favourite KA series, and I have been desperately waiting on this book! We first met Frankie and Benny in At Peace (which you NEED to read before reading this one!), where we got a hint of their backstory which had me instantly intrigued and strangely attached to them. Frankie was involved with Benny’s older brother, Vinnie Bianchi, when Vinnie got involved with the mob and got himself killed, Frankie was left broken, and this wasn’t helped by the Bianchi the family blaming her for his demise, and she was ostracised from the people that she adored as her own.
Frankie and Benny had always been close, but his anger over Vinnie’s death, and events immediately following it, put a wedge between them. In the 7 years since Vinnie’s death, Frankie lived a solitary life paying a penance she didn’t deserve, and right when she decided to move on with her life, move to Indianapolis and forget about the Bianchis, the terrifying but exciting climax of At Peace brings her and Benny together in a way that neither of them were expecting, and it changes everything.
So this book takes us back in time in the series, picking up immediately after the end of At Peace. Frankie has been injured while helping to save the life of Violet – significant other of Joe Callahan (*swoon*), Benny’s cousin. Benny has finally gotten his head out of his ass, realised what he feels for Frankie and in grand KA-alpha style, isn’t about to let her go.
“You know what this is. That’s why you’re freakin’ and hidin’. I know what this is. That’s why I’m not lettin’ this shit go.”
And here begins the back and forth that KA does so well.
“This is insane,” I snapped, because it fucking well was!
He got even closer. “This is real and you fuckin’ know it.”
Knowing what had happened in the past, and the way that Frankie had been treated by Benny and his family, I could totally understand her freaking out about being dragged back in their fold. And although I wasn’t happy with how easily they were let off after treating her so badly for so long, once it comes down to it, she handles it with style and class. And Benny is absolutely incredible! The way he cares for Frankie, opens up to her, and makes it his mission to win her, is absolutely beautiful!
“You were mine, even when you were his.”
“Been waitin’ years for this, baby. Thanks for makin’ it worth the wait.”
But Frankie has some serious demons that she’s fighting, and it’s going to take more than a few weeks of Benny Bianchi’s sweetness to overcome that. Before Benny came back into her life, Frankie had a plan for her new life, and she’s still intent on claiming it. And that brings her to the ‘Burg. But Benny is one determined alpha, and he’s not about to let her go… not that Frankie really wants him to.
I love Frankie and Benny individually, and I love their relationship to bits! Benny is everything you would expect him to be as a KA-man (with most of them being pretty much interchangable at this point), and Frankie is a bit of a drama queen, but she totally owns it. The banter between them is sensational, and when Frankie’s high-maintenance sass is combined with Benny’s alpha ways, the dynamic is fantastic.
“You own a dress that won’t make my dick get hard?”
Her eyes got squinty, but her mouth stayed closed.
“Can I take that as a no?” he pushed.
“FYI, women don’t like it when men talk like that, Benny Bianchi.”
“Bullshit, Francesca Concetti. They fuckin’ love that shit.”
Both of them are hotheaded, and there is so much passion between them! They bicker and argue constantly, and they totally get off on it. And then there is the hotness… SO much hotness! Benny’s a bit of a dirty talker and these two are, eventually, very open with each other, so anything goes – and that translates into the bedroom. Phew!
“I think I’ve made it relatively clear you bein’ bossy isn’t my favorite thing,” I told him.
“It is when you’re wet for me,” he returned.
It sucked, but he had a point.
But beyond that, their connection is deep, and Benny makes it his mission to be there for his girl. Frankie’s past is not a happy one, and her battles to overcome her past are heartbreaking, but Benny is there to help her sort through her issues and deal with her craptastic family, and he is absolutely awesome every step of the way.
“What makes you happy? What do you want outta life?”
“I…” I started, then changed what I was going to say. “Why do you ask?”
“’Cause I wanna know if it’s in me to give it to you.”
And it’s full of those beautifully special little moments that KA does so well. Tender, intimate encounters that bring the feels and drag you right into the story, and make you feel exactly what is happening between her characters. She’s the master.
“Stick with me?” he whispered, his lips still against mine.
I felt his mouth smile.
I closed my eyes.
Then I felt his mouth touch my forehead.
So. Much. Swoooooooooooon!!!!
There is a secondary mystery storyline which starts late in the book and ties in with other things happening in the story, but which I actually felt wasn’t necessary. Even if it did allow for some moments of awesome, to me, it dragged a little bit, and took attention away from where I wanted it – right on the romance! But it wasn’t enough to detract from my overall love of the book.
And in yet another surprising but awesome addition to this book, there is lots and lots of time with Joe and Vi and their family. And not just little moments, but the big, significant ones! Benny and Joe are cousins, and Frankie and Vi have bonded over their shared experience, so there is a lot of interaction between them all, and I absolutely LOVED the opportunity to check in with them, it was absolute gold!
The book also features a couple of cameo from my other favourite KA series – Rock Chick – with not one, but two of the Hot Bunch (and a couple of extras) appearing. I won’t say who or how, but it is full of awesome, and had me grinning like an idiot!
I loved this book! I was completely absorbed in Frankie and Benny’s story, and even though it was another long, marathon read, it was full of everything that I love about KA – including the kickass epilogue. I am so excited for Merry’s story coming up next, and finishing off the series. I’m a bit surprised by his love interest, but am really excited to see how KA is going to make it all happen.
Another win for me! 5 huge, quote-whorey stars.
The ‘Burg series
Fore more KA awesomeness, check out our Kristen Ashley Author Spotlight