When old friends become new lovers...anything can happen.
Sexy, gifted, and loyal, PI Jacob Decker is a tall, cool drink of perfection who had Emmanuelle Holmes at "hello." His relationship with Emme's best friend kept them apart for years, but things have changed. Now that a case has brought him to Gnaw Bone, Colorado, the road is wide open for Emme and Deck to explore something hotter and deeper than Emme dreamed possible. So why is she sabotaging the best thing that's ever happened to her?
It isn't easy to catch Deck off guard, but Emme does just that when she walks back into his life after nine long years. The curvy brunette had her charms back in the day, but now she's a bona fide knockout . . . and she wants to rekindle their friendship. Deck, however, wants more. Emme's always been the one; she excites Deck's body and mind like no other woman can. But a dark chapter from Emme's past overshadows their future together. Now only Deck can help her turn the page-if she'll let him . . .
ebook, 416 pages
Expected publication: February 4th 2014 by Forever
Source: received from publisher via Netgalley in exchange for honest review
I went in to this particular Kristen Ashley book with a little sadness because I know that if we get another book in this series it probably won't come any time soon and I've really come to love these characters. This isn't a new phenomenon; I love ALL of the fictional worlds that Kristen Ashley creates and in my ultimate fantasy Courtney and I become badasses and open a badass coffee shop/bookstore in Colorado and recruit badass men to come in and inhabit the space. A girl can sure dream. That would be an epic life. Maybe if we win the lottery? Yeah. That is what we are doing.
Once I got over my sadness, I settled in and read the hell out of this book. I was soooooooooo exxxcccciiiiittttteeeeeddddd for Deck. He could've stood on his head for no reason for the entire thing and I would not care. Okay, that is not true. But you get the idea.
As with Jagged I felt that this novel was less about the mystery to be solved or a heart-stopping action sequence, instead it was about the emotional connection between Deck (aka Jacob) and Emme. It was about how to get behind the 'veil' that people sometimes hide behind even when they don't know how to do it. I mean, how do you even break through those kinds of barriers when someone doesn't even realize they are doing it? Kristen Ashley explores all of that with these characters.
Right? I think people will be surprised by this one. It was a very emotional journey for me. Very emotional. Yes, I cried...because I do crazy things like that on a quite frequent basis. Shel can now tell me parts that she knows I will cry at before I read them; that is how often I cry. But even without that, Emme (though I have not experienced the trauma she has...just prefacing it with that) is the character that I have connected the most with out of them all. I love her. I am her (see parentheses) about many other things.
Usually I rave about how strong Kristen Ashley writes her female characters. I love their snap and sass and backbone. Emme definitely has all of that but in Emme I also found more vulnerability than I've seen in some of the other female protagonists.
She has a long way to go. She wasn't always the girl that was picked first by the hot macho guy. Which is a shame, because looks aren't everything (as we have seen by all of the bitchy beautiful women that fall by the wayside when they show said bitchiness). Emme is making her own way in some ways, but just "stuck" in others. And until Deck brings it to light, I didn't realize what was happening.
Deck was so patient and honest and strong in all of the ways that Emme needed and deserved. He was intuitive and thoughtful (and alpha but not overpoweringly so). He provided the perfect balance to Emme. He knew when to push and when to give space.
I think this is the parts I am most relatable to her. When you think you have your one side of the conversation figured out and assume things about your S/O that may not be accurate and go off...that's totally me. It is a miracle that my dearest is so patient. Oh well, that's for another time. But what is awesome is if you can find a guy like Deck that puts up with whatever you throw him: keep him. Life lessons, y'all. lol. And I had a major book hangover after this one, because like we said the emotional bounds that she makes in this novel are beautiful. We talk a lot about feelings in books and being shown what is happening instead of being told. KA has this storytelling ability that is unrivaled in a lot of what we read, so that is really beautiful as well.
In my heart of hearts I feel that series isn't over yet; I just know there are more characters in Gnaw Bone and Carnal who need their stories told. Until then, I will move on to the next series and keep an eye on my Kristen Ashley updates. Yeah. I can't wait. In the meantime we will hold onto the books we haven't read yet (that number is low...) and re-read some of our favorites!
Shelley: 5 Stars (as usual!)
Courtney: 5 Stars
Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.
Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake.
Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up.
And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.
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