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Source: Received ARC from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The New York Times and USA Today bestselling Marked Men series continues with this sizzling, sexy story of love, heartbreak, fate, and second chances.
After the only girl he ever loved told him that he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and set out to live up to his nickname. A good ol’ boy looking for good times and good friends, Rowdy refuses to take anything too seriously, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. Burned by love once, he isn’t going to let himself trust a woman again. But that’s before his new co-worker arrives, a ghost from the past who’s suddenly making him question every lesson he ever learned.
Salem Cruz grew up in house with too many rules and too little fun—a world of unhappiness she couldn’t wait to forget. But one nice thing from childhood has stayed with her; the memory of the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been head over heels in love with her little sister.
Now, fate and an old friend have brought her and Rowdy together, and Salem is determined to show him that once upon a time he picked the wrong sister. A mission that is working perfectly—until the one person that ties them together appears, threatening to tear them apart for good.
And don’t miss the previous books in The Marked Men Series!
I was winding down for bed, watching TV and working on a few sketches for work the next day when there was a knock on my door. I was surprised at the sound but not at all surprised to see the raven haired beauty on the other side when I pulled it open. I propped a shoulder on the door jamb and lifted an eyebrow at her as Jimbo shot past me and headed right for his favorite spot on the couch.
“Thought you were gonna call.” I had told her to call me later.
She tilted her head back to look at me and slowly blinked those midnight eyes. “I didn’t really know what to say.”
“Why are you here then?” Eventually we were going to have to have it out-down and dirty over this whole Poppy situation but I knew it was still too raw and still too fresh to do it tonight. She had been just as surprised to see her sister as I was and I was sure she was worried out of her mind at the condition Poppy had shown up in.
She flipped some of her hair back like she liked to do and blinked up at me. It went right to my gut when she batted those long, feathery lashes at me. She told me in a quiet tone, “I don’t want to go to bed without you.”
Talk about a first that really held some water. She was the first and only girl I didn’t want to go to bed without as well.
She brushed past me and trailed her hand along my chest as she went. “I do have a request though.”
I shut the door and watched her walk towards my bedroom like she had been doing it forever and it was the only place she wanted to be.
She looked at me over her shoulder and her smile was sex, surprise, and everything I ever wanted without knowing it. It also sent bolts of desire shooting hot and fast through my bloodstream.
“Put the cowboy hat back on.”
Well hot damn. Time to saddle up.
Review...I have really loved this series. Something that rings loud and clear is the theme of acceptance. Accept who you are and don't let anyone tell you not to live your dream. It's a positive and supportive group of characters that some people think of as misfits. But they are normal. We all are misfits to someone. And I love that this group has found each other and accepts the quirks, treasures them really. So refreshing.
As for Rowdy and Salem, I love them. Both are strong characters that come alive for me. My heart aces for Rowdy and all he had to go through growing up. His lose of his mother so young and the way everyone else let him down and made him feel like he wasn't good enough was heartbreaking. But he's found his family of friends and is doing okay. Salem didn't exactly have a cake walk growing up. When Salem walks back in Rowdy's life, the past must be dealt with. It's a battle really. And these two are battling with the past and with each other. Trying to make sense of it. See it as it really was and not just the bit they lived. Funny how getting some missing pieces changes your understanding of what really happened. That was their story. If they can make sense of it, accept it, there may be a second chance for them.
Besides great characters, I really enjoyed the story. Seeing all the characters from the first four books and getting to catch up with what they were up do is so fun. Woven between all that is various battles that Rowdy and Salem wage. When all the pieces fell together, there were a few surprises and some new characters to join the group.
Of course the heat is high in this story. You can't have a Marked Men book without some sexy times that include tats and piercings. Covered here. Rowdy is one sexy boy and he sure does bring the happy.
If you've read the first four books in this series, you will want this one too. I'm excited to see the stories will go on with the new shop and the new characters that have joined the story. Don't miss this sexy battle.
About Jay Crownover:
Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men series. She will also be introducing the dark and sexy world of The Point in a new series this summer starting with Better When He’s Bad. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.