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“Love don’t mean nothing
Unless there’s something worth fighting for.
It’s a beautiful war”
– Kings of Leon
5 KA lovin’ stars
OMG, I love this book! And there’s absolutely nothing I can say that I haven’t said before. Kristen Ashley has delivered another superbly addictive book featuring characters that I quickly adored and a story that had me totally hooked and in love from the very start. So yeah, this review is long and gushy and totally quote whorey, but it’s KA, so it’s to be expected!
Cassidy has dreamed big her whole life, and she has made that dream a reality by moving to the Colorado mountains and buying a group of holiday cottages that she plans to rent to holiday makers. When she purchases her property, both the 11 cabins and her house are in need of a lot of some big renovations, but she’s not afraid of hard work and she buckles down and works her ass off to make her dream a reality.
There’s a bit of time spent setting up Cassidy’s story and her life in the mountains, and OMG, I love her! She’s smart, confident and sassy but she’s an absolute sweetheart and still a goofball in the best way that KA heroines can be. She’s an amazing heroine, and I absolutely loved her!
And when a deeply sexy but scary-looking badass comes to rent a cabin, she is immediately intrigued.
I knew in a glance he was gone.
There was nothing there. He was standing. His blood was coursing through his veins. He was breathing.
But that was it.
He did not live. He did not feel. He did not smile. He did not laugh.
He comes, he pays cash, he keeps to himself for the few days that he stays, gives nothing away, and then he disappears. Only to repeat the process a few months later. She repeatedly tries to engage him, and very occasionally gets some sort of minimal reaction, but the man is cold and gruff. But she doesn’t give up her efforts, and over the course of six years she starts to chip away at his walls, until she finally breaks through and one unforgettably hot night changes things for them forever.
“After last night, we changed,” he responded immediately. “And that change can go two ways. Either I drive away and we never see each other again or I don’t and we find out what that change is gonna mean. Read down to your bones, woman, and do it now. Which way do you want that change to be?”
Deacon is a mystery. Cold, closed off and emotionally broken, there is something about Cassidy that affects him, makes him feel something for the first time in years and keeps pulling him back to her. And from the moment he gives in to his desire for her, he makes it clear that she means something to him, and he wants something meaningful with her. But his work is the ‘other’ part of him, and it is dark. Understandably, he doesn’t want Cassidy exposed to it, so while he keeps a big part of himself locked away to keep her safe from it all, he gives her what he can, and she is happy to take it.
“I don’t know what I can ask,” I blurted. “What to say. What to do.”
He bunched my hair at the back of my neck. “Do you know what to feel?”
“Yes,” I whispered.
“Go with that, Cassie.”
I adored every little moment of them finding their way with each other. The story is full of all of those little moments that KA does so well – the things that are important, and those that maybe don’t seem so significant, but are absolutely meaningful all the same. They get to know each other, they are open with their feelings for each other, they make each other happy and there are a lot of beautifully sweet and heart-clenching moments.
“Anything. You want it, I got it in me to give it to you, you got anything from me.”
Yeah, they argue, but they are upfront about their issues, and they deal with things in sensational style, and OMG, their banter is fantastic! Cassidy is stubborn, outspoken and argumentative, and Deacon is a KA Alpha, so when these two go at it – even over the stupidest thing (such as buying a ladder, or shopping at a fruit stand), it’s absolutely hilarious!
“Don’t be playful when I’m feeling emotional,” I ordered.
To this, he strangely replied, “You get I’m a badass.”
“Hard to miss, Deacon,” I returned.
“Then don’t tell me when to be playful. Badasses don’t like that shit.”
“Fuckin’ beautiful, but a pain in my goddamned ass,” he muttered.
“Same here, Supreme Leader of the Badasses.”
“If we have daughters I’m starting How to Deal with Badasses when they’re five.”
His eyes were lit but his expression was full-on tender when he returned, “We have boys , they get How to Deal with Stubborn Bitches Who Argue About Meaningless Shit starting at three.”
And holy hell, this book is hot. Absolutely freaking HOT! Cassie and Deacon are dynamite together, and their bedroom time is descriptive and plentiful, emotionally passionate and includes lots of dirty talk and a healthy dose of kink. When these two “play”… DAMN!! Although I thought some of the vanilla sessions were even hotter, so the bottom line is – whatever your preference, have a fan or a squirty bottle ready or something available because you’re gonna need it!
“In this bed, out of it. Naked or not. No boundaries. All in. Nothin’ held back.” He pressed his hips between my legs and I drew in a sharp breath. “You’re all mine, Cassidy, every fuckin’ inch. And I’m all yours, just the same.”
But Deacon’s secrets and the pain from his past can only be held at bay for so long, and when it all comes out, it’s absolutely and utterly heartbreaking – for them, and for me! We get the odd little scene here and there from Deacon’s POV, seeing him falling hard for Cassidy while he battles to overcome his past and find a way out of the dark and dangerous world that he has been living in. He is a deeply tormented soul, and as painful as it was, I loved the opportunity to get inside of his head to see what he was dealing with (and a big shout out to Raid for being there for his boy!). I will admit there was one moment where I had my eyebrows raised wondering what the hell was going on…… but the scenes following are pure perfection, and tie everything together beautifully. And then KA goes and adds music into those big, pivotal moments and OMG, my heart! Do yourself a favour, and when you see what songs she puts into her story – listen to them! So many feels!
“You’re a vulnerability,” he ground out. “My vulnerability. I have no vulnerabilities. I spent years shavin’ every last one away from me so there was nothin’ left. Now I got one, a big one, and I do not give one fuck.”
The book focuses completely on the love story between Cassie and Deacon. There are issues that need to be dealt with, and all is revealed in time, but there are no crimes to investigate, no bad guys and no other plotline taking time away from these characters’ beautiful journey. And of course, this is part of a series and there are some minor cameos from Knight and Anya, Creed and Sylvie and Raid and Hanna – plus a couple of unexpected but very welcome tie-ins to some of KA’s other series!
And then there’s the epilogue. I loved all of the extras little moments we saw in the epilogue, some of which had me tearing up, but for the first time, it left me wanting more!!! I wanted to see more dammit!!!
This is an absolutely gorgeous story. The word “beauty” gets overused a little bit in this book, but it’s the perfect description for all that is going on between Cassie and Deacon. It’s what they give each other, and it’s what they have together, and it kept me swooning madly, and my heart pounding the whole way through.
“It’s a beautiful war, baby.” He dipped so close, the tips of our noses brushed but his eyes never left mine. “And I…just…won.”
The Unfinished Hero Series
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