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“He’d been her one. It took him years to realize she was his.”
AND KRISTEN ASHLEY DOES IT AGAIN! 5 stars!
This book has been getting mixed reviews, and honestly, I’ve been a little scared to read it. I should have known better, and now I am kicking myself for waiting so long, I should have had faith! Yes, it’s shorter than a usual KA book, and yes the characters and storyline stick to the same formula. But hey, it’s KA’s formula, and it totally works for me. There’s something about the way this woman writes that always hits me deeply, and this book was no different. Zara and Ham’s story is absolutely beautiful, and I’ve gone a little gushy and quote-whorey, so you’re just going to have to deal.
Ham… OK, I know this has been talked to death, but I need to add in my little bit and just say, WTF? His name is Graham Reece, and when he appeared in For You, he went by ‘Reece’, which I thought was all kinds of sexy hot. Zara calls him ‘Ham’. There are no words for how stupid ‘Ham’ is as a nickname, especially when she’s all breathy and saying it in bed. It just sounds wrong. Thankfully I did manage to switch my brain off to it, probably because Zara says it so freaking much it loses all sense of meaning anyway – seriously, every single time the woman speaks to him, she says his name! But enough about that – rant over, I’m referring to him as Reece from here. Moving on.
Reece is a rolling stone. He drifts from town to town, never putting down roots, and travelling whether the mood strikes him. After a brief relationship years ago, he and Zara continued to hook up whenever he was in town, and over the course of five years, they had an on / off situation which they both appreciated because it was easy, with no strings, and it made them both happy. They were always there for each other, but it never went any further. But the whole time, Zara had always been in love with him, and when she decided that Reece couldn’t give her what she needed, she ended it so that she could find somebody to settle down with. Their parting scenes show just how functional things are between them, as well as the depth of emotion that they have for each other, and it’s beautifully written.
“I’d walked away from the love of my life.
And he let me.”
Years later, the events of For you bring them back into contact with each other, and when Zara finds herself divorced, bankrupt, and struggling to get by, Reece comes back into town and swoops in to rescue her.
“Told you, you matter to me. For fuck’s sake, baby, let me help you out.”
In true KA-alpha style, he promptly moves her into his house – as roomies of course *snort* – and as they rediscover how good things are between them, it’s not long before the sexual tension starts to cause problems.
Ham was standing at the counter in the kitchen with his head turned, glowering at me.
“New rule. You don’t do that shit when I’m in the house,” he growled and I blinked.
“You use your toy to get off when I’m not fuckin’ here.”
Oh my God. He heard me.
How humiliating was this?
“Heard the toy. Heard you. Don’t do that again.”
“Hear it again, make no mistake, babe, I’ll join you.”
And then before too long, it’s all on. And holy hotness!! KA writes awesome love scenes. Not only are they sizzling hot, but you can always feel the emotion – whether it be angry sex, slow and romantic sex, or hot, up-against-the-wall sex, there is always so much feeling mixed in with the passion, and it brings so much to the story.
Zara and Reece have always had a strong sexual connection, and of course Zara is madly in love with him, but watching that connection deepen even further as Reece finally lays out his feelings for Zara had me squeeing like an idiot.
“His hand came up to cup my cheek and he whispered, “Cookie, pay attention. I’m gonna give you everything.”
They have a few bumps along the way, of course, and Reece has a lot to prove to Zara, but they find their way forward, and when their brand-new reunion is interrupted by huge family drama, they are there for each other – supportive, functional, open and honest, and I love how they stand strong and face everything together.
“You promise to hold on to me, I’ll promise to hold on to you and we’ll make it through.”
Reece is on the extreme end of the KA-alpha scale – gorgeous of course, he is tall, built and uber-manly with his ‘protect and defend’ caveman tendencies. He talks the talk, with lots of short sentences, lots of g’s dropped, and yeah, there’s even a “Babe.” But he’s also beautifully sweet, deeply caring and has a huge heart. Oh, and he vaults a bar for her. That’s just hot!
And Zara is sensational. She has been through hell in her life, but she is incredibly strong, and has a positive outlook, doing her best to make a life for herself. She also speaks like a KA alpha, although at the opposite end of the scale to Reece, but she’s no-nonsense, she’s low-drama and, as Reece likes to say, “easy”.
“I don’t intend to use beer as a crutch and drink until I pass out. So advice, keep an eye on that so you can get in there and get yourself drunk sex before it turns unpretty and drunk sex ends with me puking and / or passing out during the act.”
Being set back in Gnaw Bone, Nina and Max make a few appearances, and as one of my fave KA couples ever, I loved checking in with them! The scene where they were all at dinner together had me laughing out loud. Such a classic KA moment…
As with any KA heroine, Zara has a great circle of girls around her, and Nina, Maybelle, Kami and Arlene provide some fantastic commentary on the unfolding relationship and had me laughing a number of times.
“Seriously, I don’t care if feminists hunt me down and burn me at the stake, that man crooked his finger at me, I’d follow him into a bank and rob it at his side.”
The story has a touch more realism to it, with no serial killers, no kidnappings, no bombs, and no commandos required. There is no big ‘90% event’, but there is definitely enough drama to go along with the romance to keep me madly flipping pages (although the romance would have been enough to do that!), as well as an epic bad guy that provides Reece with the opportunity to go all macho alpha – not that he necessarily needed an opportunity, but still, I loved seeing him be all protective over his girl.
With a blissfully happy ending, and an epilogue that had me in tears, I finished this book with a massive smile on my face and hugging my kindle. I squeed and swooned like an idiot through most of it, and I absolutely loved it.
5 huge stars.
The Colorado Mountain Series
Untitled (#8) (Wood & Maggie)
To be released
Fore more KA awesomeness, check out our Kristen Ashley Author Spotlight