Locke by Harper Sloan
I have read and wept as the guys from Corps Security have each made their way across the screen of my kindle and nestled their way into my heart. From the very beginning with Axel to this the last in the series I have loved these guys and the women that complete them.
They have all fought hard for their happy ever afters and together suffered their biggest loss when they said goodbye to Coop but I have waited with baited breathe for the day when we finally got to see underneath the shell that guards the heart of the enigmatic Maddox Locke, because unlike any of the others, this mysteriously detached man has intrigued me from the very beginning but up until now we have only had miniscule snippets of the man himself and the life not only leads but has already endured.
I loved the fact that Locke was completely different to all the other books, it was a final goodbye from all of the guys but it was a chance to complete the circle and clear the mystery of Maddox.
Much of his drama was already known, we were perfectly well aware that Emmy had left town following Coop’s death and that Maddox had gone to get her. What we didn’t know was, Emmy’s back story and as damaged as Maddox was, holy shit – that girl had been through the mill.
Maddox was slow to open up,his issues were so deep rooted that even though he knew that his feelings for Emmy made it impossible for him to turn away from her, voicing the things that were in milling around in his head was a step that Locke had never had to take before and it was painful not only to read but to imagine.
But Harper Sloan did him the courtesy of letting him tell us in his own time, he laid bare everything that he needed to get out and the story was all the better for the fact that this was our chance to hear from the man himself about his life, his woes and the love he felt he didn’t deserve.
My heart suffered every step of the way with Maddox but I am happy to say that I adored every single tear-laden minute.
As a lover of the series, this was by no means a gentle snivel of a book – this one will turn your tear ducts on like a tap and leave them running from almost the entire read.
It will gently stroke your heart as it breaks it in two and yet you will not care because it is the best way to get to know the pain that Maddox Locke has been living with.
Maddox's story is told with such compassion and empathy that had he been real, I would want to track him down, hold him tight and tell him that he is my hero!
The years had held his heart hostage, not allowing him to love and not letting his pain escape, his soul was truly tortured and the worst thing was that he felt like he deserved it.
My heart wept for him when the reasoning behind his unhappy childhood was explained – His mother was beyond reprehension, I had everything crossed that she would be would fall foul of some befitting demise, bloody witch!
Running from the disaster of Coop’s death, was all Emmy could have possibly done. Could she have know Maddox would come after her, no probably not because as much as she had been attracted to him, he had never shown her one single scrap of reciprocated interest.
But Emmy has her own demons to deal with, namely her parents and I use that term loosely because they certainly are not entitled to respect that most of us would have for the people that bring us into the world.
Where Locke’s mum was reprehensible, Emmy’s parents and yes I mean both of them were the human equivalent of pond scum!!
But with nowhere else to go, Emmy enters the lion’s den that is her hometown, back to the arms of the very people that destroyed her emotionally and saw her as no more than a commodity.
Feeling like she has run out of options, she tries her hardest to forget Maddox Locke, but the man holds the key to her heart and by letting him go, she has to accept that what she has now with her folks is all she can expect, that is a depressing thought !
She wanted more than that, she wanted the life she knew she could have had with Maddox, but dreams are just that,dreams and they don't pay the bills, so she hitched up her pride and made a living, the only way she had open to her.
I was saddened that this strong woman felt she had to settle for a life she did not want.
All she had wanted was the love of one man, a good man, but she was left knowing that her good man didn’t want her… or did he?
Well, of course he did, it just took her walking away for him to realise it.
Locke tracks her down and in his own inimitable style this man goes to get his woman!
"She doesn't want to be found. I know that, but damn if I'm going to let her run off and get away for good. I've pushed and pushed her away. Every bone in my body has screamed at me to take what she's been offering for years. I've seen her, I know what she wants, but I won't let my demons hurt her. Not my Emmy"
The trip back to the rest of the guys for the pair of them is one of discover and enlightenment, one that ever so slowly unfolds before us.
They take tentative steps towards a relationship but the whole reason for them both being the way they are means that this story was never going to be focused on the here and now but was always going to take its lead from the past.
Demons and dead weight to be dealt with before the two of them could begin to work towards what they so richly deserved – each other.
I loved Emmy, the fact that she got Maddox in a way that was just primal, she wanted the man with every fibre of her being and that meant all of him. She understood why he hide certain aspects of himself from her but she wanted to make sure that he knew that she wouldn’t push him but that he didn’t have to hide, she wanted him to let her in.
She needed him to know that she wouldn’t break, he was hers and she was prepared to fight for him, even if that meant fighting Maddox himself to get him!
“Let. Me. In," she pleads. "Please let me in.
"God, Em. You've always been in."
"I see you," she whispers. "All of you."
I could harp on endlessly about this series and the men that Harper Sloan has introduced to us all but I don’t think I have too because the quality of the work speaks for itself but I have to say that I have waited a long time to read Locke’s story and I am staggered at how absolutely perfect the book was.
It gave me the ending that I needed for the most amazing man in the most breath taking of series… Thank You Harper
One final word- My favourite quote from the book is one that I felt was an epiphany of what it takes to make a relationship work.
"We all have baggage, Maddox. I wish that you could understand that I'm not asking for perfection. What you fail to realize is that I have two arms just begging for you to let me help you carry that baggage."