Author: Jay Crownover
Series: Marked Men #5
Publisher: William Morrow Impulse
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Genre: New Adult Romance
More Info: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon US
Purchase: Barnes & Noble
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.
When I put the key he had given me in the door to his apartment it felt like the end of a long journey. Really it was only a little over twelve hours and I had stopped to nap once along the way, but it still felt like too long since I had seen his face or been able to touch all that toned and tattooed skin. Jimbo greeted me at the door when I pushed it open. His tongue lolled out of his mouth and he jumped up and put his paws on my legs. He was going to be huge when he finally grew into his fuzzy body and I was overwhelmed at how happy I was to see him. I dropped to my knees and rubbed my face in his neck as he licked me all over my face. I was obviously missed and I had to say it was just one more reason I knew I was finally where I was supposed to be. It was late, so the apartment was dark.
I checked the dog’s food and water, trying to be quiet in case Rowdy was already asleep. I was winding my way toward his bedroom when a haphazardly discarded sketch pad lying on the couch caught my eye in the dim light. I paused for a minute to pick it up and felt my heart stop and then start to race as I flipped through the first few pages. There were a couple of drawings that were obviously for clients, tattoos that hadn’t made it from paper to skin yet, but most of the pristine white pages were covered with images wearing my face. There was mermaid me, and naughty- sailor- girl me. There was sassy Indian girl me with long Pocahontas braids and there was sexy devil me standing next to angelic me. There were dozens of them all in different shapes and sizes, but every single image was undoubtedly modeled after my distinct look. I wasn’t sure if he had drawn them all over this last week while I had been gone or over the months we had been chasing each other in circles.
Either way it made my heart swell and the full certainty that I was it for him settle deep inside my bones. I set the pad down and tiptoed through the hall. Jimbo took one look at where I was going and huffed out a disgusted- sounding snort. The poor guy had learned early on that he wanted no part of what happened between his humans when they were together in the bedroom. The light was off and Rowdy was sprawled on his stomach across the covers. His blond hair was sticking up every- where and he hand one arm bent up under his head. The only thing that could have made the sight better would have been if he hadn’t bothered with the black boxers before crashing out.
Even with them obscuring the view, I couldn’t complain. I let out a breathless sigh and crept closer so that I could lean over and touch my lips to that anchor on the side of his neck. I felt his pulse leap and tasted the salt on his skin as he murmured sleepily and rolled over onto his back. Those infinitely blue eyes glowed at me in the dark as a grin pulled up the corner of his mouth.
R is for the raw emotion and real characters.
My heart literally bled with this book, and it never felt so good! There is nothing sexier than vulnerability in a man, and the harder he tried to hide it, the juicier the outcome. Though he fought the inevitable, even Rowdy wasn’t strong enough to not wear his heart on his sleeve. The man was the best kind of open book and I found his transparency refreshing. The harder he fought, the more I fell in love with him. Jay writes characters that no matter their walks in life, you can’t help but relate to them. She has proven this time and time again, and it became glaringly real with Rowdy. I could live in these books forever and be eternally sated.
O is for the orgasms, because DAMN, they were off the charts!
The sexual chemistry between Rowdy and Salem was explosive! I love the way Jay writes the male characters and how they love their women’s bodies. They don’t just love them; they worship them! No matter their size, no matter their insecurities (because let’s be honest, we all have them), they bow down to the altar that is the woman they love. Rowdy is the king of this! It’s so refreshing to read about a couple just enjoying each other and everything they have to offer. It instills not only confidence in the characters, but in the readers as well.
W is for the wicked ways that Salem rocks!
Did I mention that this chick rocks, because she does! There are very few other female characters that I love as much as I do Salem. She has a confidence that comes from a life of not being enough yet being strong enough to live her own life. She was a force to be reckoned with and damn anyone who got in her way. This was a one woman wrecking ball, but instead of destruction, she left the place better than before she arrived. There was a light in her that shone through the darkest of nights and you couldn’t help but gravitate towards her. Even just meeting her for the first time, you instantly could tell she was someone special and you just knew you had to get to know her better.
D is for the drama, because this book was FULL of it!
I won’t go into specifics because you really need to experience them yourself, but these two have a painful history. They say there are three sides to a story; his, hers, and what actually happened. This rings true for Rowdy and Salem, and while heart-wrenching, I thoroughly enjoyed discovering the truth as the pieces fell together. The biggest obstacle facing them was each other, and it fed my little angst monster immensely throughout the struggle! My heart burst wide open with emotion at every twist and turn and I simply couldn’t get enough! The love between these two was clear as day for everyone to see; hell, it had always been there! There was something so beautiful about that.
Y is for the yearning I’ll be doing waiting for the next one!
Next up, and possibly last (?), is Asa and Royal’s book. There is another character that has been mentioned in passing through the past few books, so I am eager to see if or how that works out. I’m waiting on pins and needles here Jay. Must have more! You’ve turned me into a Marked Men addict, and the only cure is more of your boys <3
Opposites in every way . . . except the one that matters
Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight–A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn’t want–and the only person she’s never tried to please. She isn’t afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won’t listen.
To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess-and his dead twin brother’s girl. She lives by other people’s rules; he makes his own. He doesn’t have time for a good girl like Shaw-even if she’s the only one who can see the person he truly is.
But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails, and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love . . . or each other.
With his tight leather pants and a sharp edge that makes him dangerous, Jet Keller is every girl’s rock and roll fantasy. But Ayden Cross is done walking on the wild side with bad boys. She doesn’t want to give in to the heat she sees in Jet’s dark, haunted eyes. She’s afraid of getting burned from the sparks of their spontaneous combustion, even as his touch sets her on fire.
Jet can’t resist the Southern Belle with mile-long legs in cowboy boots who defies his every expectation. Yet the closer he feels to Ayden, the less he seems to know her. While he’s tempted to get under her skin and undo her in every way, he knows firsthand what happens to two people with very different ideas about relationships.
Will the blaze burn into an enduring love. . . or will it consume their dreams and turn them to ashes?
Sometimes the wrong choice can be just right . . .
Fun and fearless, Cora Lewis knows how to keep her tattooed “bad boy” friends at the Marked in line. But beneath all that flash and sass is a broken heart. Cora won’t let herself get burned again. She’s waiting to fall in love with the perfect man—a baggage-free, drama-free guy ready for commitment. Then she meets Rome Archer.
Rome Archer is as far from perfect as a man can be. He’s stubborn, rigid, and bossy. And he’s returned from his final tour of duty more than a little broken. Rome’s used to filling many roles: big brother, doting son, supersoldier—but none of those fit anymore. Now he’s just a man trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life while keeping the dark demons of war and loss at bay. He would have been glad to suffer through it alone, until Cora comes sweeping into his life and becomes a blinding flash of color in a sea of gray.Perfect may not be in the cards, but perfectly imperfect could just last forever . . .
Will their past determine their future?
Saint Ford has worked hard to achieve her childhood dream of becoming of nurse. Focused on her work and devoted to her patients, there’s no room for love. She doesn’t need a guy making waves in her calm, serene life—especially when he’s the unforgettable hottie who nearly destroyed her in high school. Dark, brooding Nash Donovan might not remember her or the terrible pain he caused. But he turned her world upside down… and now he’s trying to do it again.
Saint has no idea that Nash isn’t the cocky player he once was. Uncovering a devastating family secret has rocked his world, and now he’s struggling to figure out his future. He can’t be distracted by the pretty nurse he seems to meet everywhere. Still, he can’t ignore the sparks that fly between them —or how she seems so desperate to get away from him. But the funny, sweet, and drop-dead gorgeous Saint is far too amazing to give up on—especially since she’s the only thing in his life that seems to make sense.
When Nash discovers the truth about their past, he realizes he may have lost her heart before he could even fight for it. Now, Saint has to decide: is Nash worth risking herself for all over again?