Sexy, suspenseful and incredibly heartfelt.
I absolutely LOVED this gripping story about second chances.
One of my favorite Kristen Ashley books!
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Violet Winters once had it all but lost it when her husband was murdered by a criminal madman. During a cold winter night Violet has to leave her warm bed to tell her neighbor to turn the music down. And that’s when she meets sinister, scarred, scarily attractive security specialist, Joe Callahan.
She wants to deny it, but Violet can’t beat back the hunger she feels for Joe so she gives in again and again. Feeling it himself, Joe feeds Vi’s hunger, breaking his own rules to keep her in his bed.
Even though Violet had only one man in her life, she’s sure Joe is giving her the signals and Vi decides she’s ready to take a second chance at life and, maybe, love. But Violet doesn’t know the dark secrets in Joe’s past, secrets so soul-wrenching, they’ve drained him dry. With nothing left to give, Joe’s determined to live his life alone and he breaks Violet’s heart.
Crushed by Joe’s betrayal, Violet comes to terms with the fact that, no matter what signals he gave, Joe was not theirs to win. But Violet’s husband’s murderer is obsessed with her and heartbreak again haunts the door of the Winters home. When it does Joe is forced to face the knowledge that he can’t fight Violet’s pull, she’s under his skin and filled him full to bursting.
Joe needs to win her back and put his life on the line to keep Violet safe. But, having had it all once, can Violet endure losing Joe?
Joe. Freaking. Callahan. I loved that man the second he appeared on the page. A beautifully broken alpha male with a huge heart and an unrelenting drive to protect those he loved. I devoured this entire book. Loved it beginning to end. Loved the writing. Loved every character. I continue to be in awe of Kristen Ashley’s talent at weaving together stories that fill my heart so full to bursting… and this one… it was sensational. It was hot. It was heartfelt. It had suspense. Angst. Humor. Family. Friends. And everything that makes reading a KA book an unforgettable experience. It’s all about finding a second chance at love when you’re navigating through a sea of hurt. It’s about healing and family, courage and taking chances.
“I’d had everything once, and that was more, my daughters had it. In a way I didn’t think it could begin again, the world had ended when that everything was ripped away, not just from me, but from my daughters. Joe was giving it back, to me and my girls.”
Violet Winters suffered a staggering loss when her husband was murdered. Worst yet, the assailant was now after her. He was obsessed. So Violet got away to keep her girls safe, moving to a new town and doing everything they could to get by. Violet was lonely, working as hard as she could to be engaged in a life bereft of her husband, Tim, who she loved very much. I could feel her grief… how much she loved him and missed him. But she had her girls, Kate and Kiera, and that was her focus. One night, music blaring had Violet pounding on the door of the neighbor she had yet to meet.
Enter Joe Callahan.
Big. Tall. Gorgeous. Rugged. Intense. Scary. Thrilling Joe Callahan. Their first encounter had me turning into girly goo. It was exciting and explosive, charged with immediate desire and curiosity for a man that was thoroughly unsettling. It was clear in a nanosecond that he was all alpha, commanding the room in both presence and words.
Joe Callahan worked security for the stars. Often gone, he was well known for being the kind of guy no one messed with, yet the one most women in town hoped to land. For Violet, Joe incited all kinds of instantaneous feelings, a desire she didn’t expect. For Joe — or Cal as everyone called him — he knew immediately he wanted this woman, this neighbor he knew nothing about. He couldn’t help but stake his claim from the get-go.
“… she was unbelievable and she was his. His. All of her, his. But, most of all, he knew it the first time she smiled at him. He knew this was a mistake.”
Joe isn’t subtle. Joe doesn’t flirt. Or court. Or date. He takes. And he takes Violet… passionately. Their night together initiates a complicated and volatile relationship between the two of them. An alluring push-and-pull I couldn’t get enough of. When Joe knows that what started as a conquest is getting deeper, he’s quick to call it quits despite hurting Violet. However, when he finally uncovers what Violet and her girls have been through and the danger that closely looms, his protective side surges. As what’s happening around them intensifies, what’s happening inside of them deepens and every moment they spend together solidifies their connection. Joe has secrets from the past he keeps. Pain he buries. He’s had a gap in his heart for years that slowly begins to fill with Violet, Kate and Kiera. And for Violet, Joe brings safety, comfort, passion and something more that makes Violet feel alive again.
“You two come with so much baggage, it’s a wonder you don’t get crushed. And that’s the thing, neither of you did. And you found each other. It’s time to unload that burden and find some joy.”
And goodness is their time together HOT. Everything about Joe Callahan screams intensity, and I swear the pages burned with the scorching chemistry between these two.
“Love it when you say my name, baby…The way you say ‘Joe’, every man would wish that was their name.”
We know early on that Violet and Joe are perfect for each other, but the road to their happiness is all roughness and tough lessons. Violet isn’t sure she can trust Joe to stay past the short term and she’s a long-term kinda gal. She’s got girls to protect, love and nurture and she needs a man that’s willing to put in the work. And I LOVED it when Joe goes all alpha and let’s her know in no uncertain terms that there’s no going away. No deciding. No discussion. No other choices for her. They’re his and that’s that.
“You’re mine, the girls are mine. I’m stakin’ my claim with you right now and, you force it, I’ll do it with him too.”
This is a story that packed an incredible amount of emotion. It made me laugh. It made me cry. It had my heart-pounding with some action-packed scenes that involved kidnapping, murder and the mafia (KA style, of course!). Both Violet and Joe had to be completely honest with each other if they were to find happiness. Joe needed to prove he wouldn’t bolt when things got deep and complicated. Violet needed to open herself up fully and accept what Joe had to offer.
“Seventeen years, no longer…I’ve been waiting for you, for those girls. You’re here, I’m letting go of my shit, finally, fucking moving on from all of that, moving on to something good in my life, something to wake up and get outta bed for. I’m not leaving it cause of some hang up you have. You and me, I haven’t made it easy, I’ll admit that, but that’s done. You gotta get over it or you’re never gonna move on.”
This has been one of my favorite KA books to date. It has the badass alpha male with the kind of heart you hope to find in a man. The group of women friends you wish you were a part of. The group of guys that have your back no matter what. Kristen Ashley’s brilliance at infusing so much emotion and heart into her stories never ceases to amaze me. She makes you FEEL every moment. Takes you into the fold through the rhythm of her writing and the relatability of her characters. I loved the two daughters in the story and some of the moments with them made my heart swell and my eyes get blurry with tears. LOVED this book big time. Go pick up the series if you haven’t gotten to know the folks in the ‘Burg!
“Worth the wait,” Joe muttered and my head tipped back.
“Every bit of it. Every day, every week, every year, every fuckin’ second, buddy,” he kept muttering, his eyes intense, his face serious and my breath caught, “this. All of it. Worth the wait.”
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