by Jay Crownover
So the Marked Men series has reached the end of the road and I am sorry to be saying goodbye to this glorious bunch of misfits.
With the formidable Archer brothers Rule and Rome at the helm, they have introduced us to men that we have truly taken to our hearts. Rowdy, Jet and Nash have paved the way to this, their conclusion and as they have all gathered their happy ever afters along the way and found the women that complete them, the one man that was left on the side-lines so to speak was Asa.
Asa is Ayden’s brother and on more than one occasion he has been the thorn in her side but she loves him without question and when he needed her, she stepped up and opened her life surrounded by the marked men to him.
The group was reticent at first when Asa was around, his treatment of Ayden and their love for her meant that he had a lot of ground to make up and a bucket load of people to convince that he could be trusted but when Rome, saw past the façade and gave him a break and a job at his bar, it was the start of him being able to piece his life together. But the process wouldn’t be a smooth ride.
For the first time, Asa had the chance to earn an honest crust and to try to right some of the wrongs of the past, especially with Ayden.
I had always had a bit of a soft spot for Asa, I suppose it is the loving the bad guy vibe but I also had a feeling that under all that bravado and bulls**t was a really good guy who just needed the love of a good woman to make sure that when the good Asa came out to play – he came out to stay too.
Asa was his own worst enemy but what he did have was plenty of remorse, nobody could possibly hate him anymore than he hated himself for the cruel and hurtful things that he had done in the past but his brush with death has awoken his desire to atone for his indiscretions.
I have to say that at times, I thought he was hard on himself, he wore his past like a badge of shame around his neck, it really was the weight that held him back.
Royal on the other hand was the polar opposite to Asa, the wrong side of the law was a place that held no desire for her – she upheld the law on a daily basis as a local police office and no matter how much she may want him, Asa should be off limits, but her body, mind and soul are not getting the message – because every single part of her wants him.
Sick with unwarranted regret, Royal is drowning just like Asa in internal conflict, she blames herself for the fact that her partner was injured while they were on duty and that leads to her being off her game, reckless!
Asa could easily take advantage of her when she drunkenly throws herself at him and had he been the man he was many months ago he would have but he likes Royal and refuses to take advantage – he wants her to be more than a drunken fumble and a forgotten one night stand.
But can he continue his resolve when Royal’s advances continue towards him? Or will Royal see that this sexy southerner is more than willing to take her up on her offer but he is looking for an ongoing commitment.
She was quick on the uptake I have to say and in a way the two of them provided the much needed emotional support that they not only needed but that they deserved.
They both had things that were holding them back but ones that they needed to dispose of in order to move forward and to embrace a future. They both had to accept that you cannot change the things that you have already done, you can only use that experience to insure that you are a better human being in the future and while they both fought the demons of the past, they also accepted that no-one could forgive them until they forgave themselves.
So the two of them together were a delightful combination, one sexy, naughty man with that drawl- oh my! And one kickass woman that not only fought the bad guys every day but fought for her own bad guy every single minute.
She was prepared to fight for her Asa, even if it meant having to fight the man himself!
The romance between the two of them was off the charts, they were sensual, loving and beyond sexy but most of all they were made for each other, they knew what made each other tick.
As a final novel, I have to say that Jay Crownover pitched this book to absolute perfection because she not only gave a lonely, complicated man a future that I had been hanging out for but she brought the who gang back together, she rounded up all the Marked Men and dished up one last hurrah, she put together the final pieces of each of their puzzles and left us content in the knowledge that they were, each and every one of them, happy.
I am sorry to see the end of this series, as it really has been one of my very favourites but I commend the author on a book that was truly a fitting way to say goodbye!