Author: Kristen Ashley
Series: Unfinished Hero #5
Release Date: January 11, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense
More Info: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon US
Purchase: Barnes & Noble
Purchase: Amazon UK
Purchase: Amazon Print
Nick Sebring has issues. Born feeling like an outsider in his own family, growing up under the shadow of a brother who could do anything, Nick isn’t that great of a guy. But when this culminates with Nick lashing out to hurt his brother through the woman he loves, Nick turns inward and makes some decisions about the man he intends to be.
And as he does this, he falls in love and truly learns the man that he’s grown to be.
When his love is murdered right before Nick’s eyes, Nick knows he has to avenge her. He knows how he’s going to avenge her. And he has no qualms using Olivia Shade to exact that vengeance.
Olivia Shade has grown up on the outside of her family too. Her problem is that they don’t want her outside. They want her all the way in, right under their thumbs. She pays the price for seeking escape and learns her lesson—she’ll never see a dawn where she wakes up free.
Then she meets Nick Sebring, and even as she fights it, the hope that died years ago starts to blossom. She can find love. She can have a man of her own. She can be happy. She can be free.
Olivia hopes while Nick schemes.
However, as Nick peels back the layers of all that is Olivia Shade, he finds something surprising. He understands its fragility. He falls in love with its beauty. He seeks to protect it.
But he forgets to protect his Livvie from one thing: Nick Sebring.
In the hotel room, Nick heard the knock at the door.
He moved to it, looked out the peephole and felt the corners of his mouth hitch up when he saw her.
Fuck, those big green eyes, perfectly arched dark brows, the olive tint to her skin, the expert way she shaded under her cheekbones…
She was a cold hearted criminal but she was one that was very easy to look at.
And even easier to fuck.
He opened the door.
He was going to say something but he didn’t get the chance when her hand darted out and she caught him under his jaw, using it to push him in and around until his back hit wall.
She stared up at him, her hand wrapped around his jaw, her expression holding an emptiness that was so extreme it was almost like a void he could fall into and get lost forever.
He heard the door swish closed and latch.
Then she was up on her toes, her head moving toward his, those green eyes dropping to his mouth.
She didn’t get her lips to his before his tongue was out, as was hers, both of them colliding and tangling before her mouth slammed to his just as her body pushed in, pressing hard, forcing him tighter to the wall.
He shoved out. Gripping her wrist at his jaw, he yanked it down, twisting and slamming her against the wall, slanting his head to deepen an already deep kiss. Their tongues again clashing before he actually took her mouth.
But he took her mouth.
And like she’d done to his, he consumed it.
His fingers still around her wrist, he yanked it around his back, using his body to shove her tight to the wall, pressing his hardening cock against her stomach.
She arched, and moving quickly, whipped him around so his back was to the wall and she took over the kiss. Tearing her wrist from his hold, she curled her fingers around his throat just as she cupped his hardening crotch with her other hand.
Fucking hell, this woman was hot.
But he was done playing.
And he was done kissing.
Her mouth, that was.
He pushed her away. She struggled to regain control.
She lost this struggle when he caught her hand and dragged her down the short hall into the room.
She lost her footing when he gave her hand a strong tug and she fell into him with a soft gasp.
He let her hand go, caught her hips and threw her four feet onto the bed.
That got him another soft gasp which took his cock from hardening to rock-solid and throbbing.
He bent over her, holding her now intense green gaze, spanning her hips with his hands. Shoving backwards, he found the hook of her skirt, released it and pulled down the zipper.
He moved his fingers to curl them into the sides of her skirt’s waistband. With a vicious tug that took her hips and panties with it, he yanked off the skirt.
Chest to the bed, eyes to her cunt, the black curls neatly groomed with a precision that meant her wax technician was a master with possible OCD issues, they were also glistening with wet.
Having the tussle at the door, seeing the utter perfection of her pussy, smelling her, watching her legs part in invitation, her knees shifting up, Nick couldn’t have gone gentle if he’d wanted to.
Luckily he didn’t want to.
He bent his neck and devoured her.
Fuck, she tasted just as perfect as she looked.
As he fed, he felt her excitement ramp. Tasted it. Ate it. Gave her more. Consumed the result. Drove her to the edge.
And when he had her there, he stopped and moved over her.
Not surprisingly, she used both the pump she already had planted into the bed and the calf she had wrapped around him to flip him and then she was straddling him, pushing up, her hands already to his fly.
Normally, he would not allow this.
Her face flushed with need, her manner urgent, even desperate, all that surged through his blood, his gut, straight to his cock.
So he allowed this.
She tugged his pants down, grabbed his dick, guided it to her and took him home.
At the beauty of her sheathing him, he gritted his teeth against the urge to let go and release way too fucking early. Bucking his hips, he watched how much she liked taking him, her head thrown back, her shining, straight mass of silken black hair swaying.
Then she dropped forward into a hand in the bed by his side, locked eyes with him and rode him violently as he watched until she gave it to herself and she kept doing it until she forced it from him.
He came down buried inside her, his eyes opening to see her still resting in her hand in the bed, her body moving gently with her still-labored-but-evening breathing, her dark hair framing her oval face, her straight bangs brushing her lashes, her green eyes locked to his trying to brand him, make him hers.
No way in fuck that was happening.
But he’d take more of this.
A lot more.
That said, the woman was going to learn how to give up control.
Not surprisingly, without a word, she swung off his cock, moving immediately toward the side of the mattress.
Nick focused on pulling up his trousers, doing the fly and angling off the bed. By the time he was up and had turned his attention back to her, she was on her feet, facing him, arms twisted behind her to do up the skirt she’d put on.
He held her gaze.
“We got all night, Olivia,” he informed her.
Not even a hint of a response to him calling her the name she hadn’t given him.
Then again, he knew she knew him; she’d make it her business.
She also knew he’d do the same with her, even before he sat next to her the night before.
Her expression might not have changed but his words spurred her to action, this being walking his way.
She stopped. Her eyes still on his, she lifted a hand and touched his chest lightly with just the pad of her middle finger.
It lasted half a second.
Then she dropped her hand, turned and walked away.
He heard the door close behind her and he couldn’t stop his smile.
Fuck yes, a seriously cool customer.
And the hottest fuck he’d had in his life.
In all my imaginations, and when it comes to KA there are many, I could have never dreamed a more perfect ending to this series! I think one of the things that made it such perfection was that it was so different from any of her other books, in ALL her series. But even in its vast differences, it was still classic KA magnificence in all its glory. I really enjoyed all the references and crossovers, even if just mentioned in context, from her other series. If you haven’t read them yet you won’t notice them, and you certainly don’t have to read them to fully appreciate this story, but I seriously recommend getting on that! Off the top of my head, there were characters from Colorado Mountain, Chaos and Rock Chick, not to mention the men and women we have fallen in love with through the other Unfinished Hero books. Not only is her prose heartfelt and down to earth, it’s like curling up next to a fire on a cold snowy day, her book being the blanket you wrap around yourself. Like the blanket, it totally consumes your every fiber, turning even the coldest heart into a puddle of goo by the time the story is done. And even though all the storylines were wrapped up, you still long for more because you simply cannot imagine a world where they don’t exist. Luckily I’m still in that happy little bubble, but I suspect over the coming days that will pass and I will start to tumble into a KA depression that can only come from finishing one of her books. It’s a catch 22 truly and the only cure is to read more of her books and dive into another equally fulfilling world.
I went into this book not knowing a whole lot about Nick, even though he had a big part of Knight’s book and was mentioned in the other three in the series. So I had my assumptions about him, my judgements had been somewhat drawn, but I could have never forseen just how deeply I would fall for this character. I understood what drove him to do the things he did and the man he became. But even he could have never prepared himself for Olivia Shade. That was even more unexpected. I was telling a friend that in certain ways their story reminded me a lot of Sadie and Hector but on crack. I won’t go into the similarities or parallels as you truly should discover them yourself, but I strongly feel that I won’t be the only one who has this fleeting thought. As Sadie and Hector’s book was my favorite RC of the series, it will come as no surprise how much I fell in love with Nick and Olivia. It’s difficult to talk about them without giving away too much the bare bones of their story, just know that it was filled with so much heart, fight, scorching sex, despair, and eventually, redemption. Because this truly was a story of acceptance, forgiveness, and redemption, and not just between our two main characters.
While talking with a friend last night about all things Unfinished Heroes, I mentioned how even though I liked Knight, I didn’t truly fall in love with him until I read the rest of the series. And if I thought it was love before, those feelings have only intensified tenfold after finishing Sebring. First in Creed, we got to witness his unexpected heartwarming soul-connecting friendship with Sylvie (Bottom of my soul. Bottom of mine!) But then to be a witness to the transformation between him and Nick. After reading Knight’s book I would have thought that could never happen. As the majority of his book was in Anya’s POV, it was impossible to know what was going through his mind past what he told her. But to hear their story from Nick’s POV in Sebring really brought it all home. The guilt Nick felt for all his actions and his reasoning behind it. There was a conversation between the two brothers in this book that really brought it all home for me. It came from Knight and went something along the lines of Knight having such a hard upbringing that it was a pure miracle his relationship with Anya came so easily. And he was glad that since Nick had it so easy growing up he was now having to fight for his relationship with Olivia. It was pure Yin ad Yang for me and so unbelieveable poetic. This was just one of the many ways I fell in love with Knight and Nick during Sebring. You hear the title of the book and you think it’s all about Nick, but in a lot of ways it was about both the brothers and only intensified the story that much more.
But back to our main couple. Reading Olivia was painful, but not in the way you may be thinking. The despair, utter hopelessness and resignation that emanated from her will shake you to your core. She was trapped from every angle in her world and here comes one more person to add to that crapstorm that was her life. The daughter of a failing gangster who had been struggling for years to keep a stronghold on every aspect of his life. With the exception of Sadie, I don’t think I’ve read a character of hers that portrayed such believeable despair. No choices were her own, having learned the hard way years ago the hard way to tow the family line. Be it her father, mother, and even sister, she was never truly free. But the benefit of a dual POV book is we got to see thing from her perspective. So even though she was essentially a prisoner in her own life, her inner light couldn’t be denied or staunched, you just had to dig deep for it. But when it radiated, whew, it was so bright it would blind you. The capacity of this heart to love knew no bounds, it just rarely had a chance to exist. And that in itself was a seriously disheartening thing. Even though there were nefarious happenings going on in the outside world, when it was just Nick and Olivia in their secret cocoon the world ceased to exist. It was truly a joy to watch them grow not only as a couple but as individuals. They both went into their arrangement for very different reasons, but we all know that can only last for so long before feeling become involved.
Even though this series is now over, I felt like the theme was represented thoroughly throughout and with perfection, especially in the title of it all. In many ways these men were heroes, especially for the women in their lives, but they were in no way men who lived on the right side of the law. If you looked at criminals and law enforcement, these men equally rode somewhere in the middle. They existed to keep a very much needed balance in a world where it was essential to have those services. They made it a better place to be. But they still had their morals and lines they wouldn’t cross. They still possessed their humanity; their ability and capacity to love with all their hearts. In the words of Olivia, “You’re good at what you do. Taking care of us, the women you love, making us free in all the ways we can be.”
The Unfinished Hero Series are 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.