Author: Kristen Ashley
Series: Unfinished Hero #4
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Genre: Erotic Romance
More Info: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon US
Purchase: Barnes & Noble
Deacon has an ugly history, a history that broke him, leaving him a ghost of a man. Out of necessity, he left the normal world to descend into the criminal world and found he fit. So he stayed. Cold as ice and living off the grid, Deacon has no intention to connect, not with anyone.
Then he returns to some remote cabins in the Colorado Mountains and finds they have new owners. One of them is Cassidy Swallow, a young woman willing to work hard to live her quiet dream in a house by a river surrounded by aspen and pine.
Suddenly, Deacon finds he’s at war. Cassidy’s pull for him to connect is strong. He fights it, but he loses, always coming back for more. But when he does, he gives her nothing.
From the first time she sees him, Cassidy knows Deacon is dead inside. She knows he’s the kind of man who could destroy a woman. But one night when Deacon’s control slips, Cassidy takes a chance.
He might break her. He also might be her dream come true.
Further, 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.
Even though it’s like picking your favorite kid, and should be darn near impossible, I’ve discovered without a shadow of a doubt, that I have a favorite author. Let me explain. I was no stranger to her name; many people had been raving and shouting from the rooftops for years. But I’m a binge reader and I knew if I loved her writing, I wouldn’t stop until I’d read them all. And this woman has an almost endless plethora of books. So I had to carve out time. August 2014 will hereforth be known as Kristen Ashley month. I started with the Dream Man series, then Chaos, then Unfinished Hero,then Rock Chicks, then Colorado Mountain Men, and lastly The ‘Burg. In ONE MONTH. Such was my obsession and love of these books that I then turned around and did something unheard of for me. I immediately re-read the Dream Man, Chaos, and Rock Chick books (re-reads of the others will follow soon). I simply couldn’t get enough. KA has this inane ability to create worlds that contain people you genuinely care about. From the character that has one line to the star of the show and everyone in between. She weaves tales and characters that are simply irreplaceable. She builds lives and sets tables. These aren’t quick stories; they are a slow build. More than anything, I really appreciated that. They aren’t rushed and you legitimately are invested in all the happenings. You feel their hope, their love, their devastation, their joy, their heartbreak. You feel it from the tips of your fingers into the marrow of your bones. She leaves you reeling…every.single.time. There wasn’t one book of hers I read over the last 6 weeks that I couldn’t still tell you intimate details about. You find yourself using words like cottoned and whacked and even answering the phone with “Yo!”. She’s not simply a writer; she’s a life transformer.
I’d been right all those year ago. His eyes had the power to make you feel what he was feeling. Cold to your soul. Or warm in a way you’d never again feel a chill.
So even though I had just read the other books in the series (Knight, Creed, and Raid), I did a quick re-read before starting Deacon. I believe he was briefly mentioned in Creed and a little more in Deacon, but all we know going into this is that he’s a broken man, a ghost. I think it made the story that much better that we didn’t know anything about him. I was able to discover his little nuances as the story went along. I fell in love with these characters, but like their relationship, it was a slow, tortuous, and often mind-numbing build. Imagine if you will, the incline of a roller coaster, but it takes four years. When you reach the peak, your anticipation is at an unreachable level, not knowing what’s coming but knowing it will be life-changing. That’s how Deacon was for me. The fear was ever present and for once, it wasn’t from outside sources. Because when these two finally do connect, bombs implode. Not literal ones mind you, but their chemistry was off the charts sexy. KA crossed lines in this book that haven’t been present in any others, and they were some of the most delicious words I never knew I needed in my life. Trust me when I say you will be deliciously squirming in your seat, crossing your legs relentlessly. The crescendo of emotions played out beautifully, and I never wanted the ride to end.
“It’s a beautiful war, baby. And I…just…won.”
One of the many things that I’ve always appreciated in KA books, besides the fact that they are in their 30’s and 40’s and have normal jobs, are the equal partnerships her characters have. Though they may be broken, they aren’t weak. And she equally makes the men and woman broken. Broken characters are my downfall because the inevitable road to recovery makes it all worth it. I’m a broken character junkie; I fully admit it. But I loved that in Deacon, he was the truly broken one and she was the stronger (in the beginning) of the two. She was a women with a dream, no, not just a dream, she was a woman who was LIVING her dream. She knew what she wanted from a young age and went for it. He is a man, not searching for redemption, but truly believing he doesn’t deserve it. Though their torture spans years, the pull between these two is relentless. KA’s writing is so engaging that you find you don’t mind the wait, not one little bit. The final crescendo is worth it. I eagerly await Nick’s book and a searching for something to staunch the gaping wound that Deacon has left in my chest.
The Unfinished Hero Series is very new (first book published in April 2012) and as yet, I have not quite decided how many books will make up this series. At the very least, it will be three. Perhaps five. However, these stories will be interweaving.
They are also not my usual steamy romances, they are erotic romances. Not erotica, as such, but the sex in these books, starting with Knight is quite explicit and explores the intricacies of love and trust in a relationship including sexually. As the tales unfold, I don’t know how this will continue. However, as it stands in my head, this series will continue to explore these themes however they come about for my characters.
That said, these are love stories. It isn’t about sex, it is about happily ever after. As always.
And last, one final warning, the heroes of these books are anti-heroes. They are good men who do bad things. They have their reasons. They have their own codes. They may seek (and find) redemption. Or they may not. They simply are who they are, do what they do and find love along the way.
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Anya Gage has learned that to get anything good in life, you have to work for it. She has no expectations, no dreams.
Then she finds herself at a party where she doesn’t want to be and she meets Knight.
Knight Sebring knows who he is, what he wants and what he likes. And he gets it. But he never expected something as sweet as Anya Gage to wander into his bedroom during a party he did not expect to be having to borrow his phone.
Knight tries to leave Anya to the life she deserves of white picket fences and a man who watches football on Sundays – good, normal and clean. But when Anya comes to his nightclub and finds herself in a situation, he knows someone has to look after her, he can’t fight it anymore and he decides that man will be him.
Knight teaches Anya that, just as with the bad, in life you should also expect the good. And he teaches her this by giving it to her.
But Knight has a dark past and just as he desires Anya for exactly who she is, he fears when she finds out exactly the man he has become and always intends to be, she’ll leave him for good, normal and clean.
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Way too young, eleven year old Tucker Creed and his six year old neighbor, Sylvie Bissenette, find they have something awful in common. Creed then decides he’s going to do everything in his limited power to shield his Sylvie from her ordeal. So he does and Creed and Sylvie form a bond that grows and blossoms with their ages.
They plot to leave their lives behind, the town they live in that will hold them down and the histories they share that, unless they break free, will bury them. Sylvie goes to their special place, Creed never shows and she doesn’t see him again until it’s too late.
With Creed gone, Sylvie is forced to endure a nightmare and do the unspeakable to end it. To deal, she develops a hard shell with sharp edges that very few can break through. So when Creed again finds his Sylvie, he discovers the girl he loved is locked away and he has to find his way back into her heart without getting shredded in the process.
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Hanna Boudreaux has lived in the small town of Willow, Colorado all her life. The great-granddaughter of the town matriarch, she’s sweet, cute and quiet.
Hanna has a moment of epiphany when she realizes her crush for forever, Raiden Ulysses Miller, is not ever going to be hers. She sees her life as narrow and decides to do something about it.
Raiden Miller is the town of Willow’s local hero. An ex-marine with the medal to prove his hero status, he comes home, shrouded in mystery. It takes a while but, eventually, Hanna catches his eye.
But after all these years of Raid and Hanna living in the same town, the question is, why? Is Raid interested in Hanna because she’s sweet and cute? Or does Raid have something else going on?