A chilling second chance romance that packs
as much heart as it does suspense.
- Related Posts: Review of At Peace (#2) | Review of The Promise (#5) | Romantic Suspense | Kristen Ashley Reading Orders
Lieutenant Alexander Colton and February Owens were high school sweethearts. Everyone in their small town knew from the moment they met they were meant for each other. But something happened and Feb broke Colt’s heart then she turned wild and tragedy struck. Colt meted out revenge against the man who brought Feb low but even though Colt risked it all for her, Feb turned her back on him and left town.
Fifteen years later, Feb comes back to help run the family bar. But there’s so much water under the bridge separating her and Colt everyone knows they’ll never get back together.
Until someone starts hacking up people in Feb’s life. Colt is still Colt and Feb is still Feb so the town watches as Colt goes all out to find the murderer while trying to keep Feb safe.
As the bodies pile up, The Feds move in and a twisting, turning story unravels exposing a very sick man who has claimed numerous victims along the way, Feb and Colt battle their enduring attraction and the beautiful but lost history that weaves them together.
This has got to be the most suspenseful Kristen Ashley book I’ve read to date. It was chilling. I loved the mystery and suspense angle so much, particularly when paired with a second chance romance. The edge and emotion balanced each other perfectly. I loved that it showed how something beautiful can sometimes come from something so awful, how lessons can be learned after a long string of misunderstandings. Colt and Feb’s happy ever after in no way came easy and it didn’t come fast. It was over twenty years of loving and letting go, missing and pining, trying to move on and failing at really doing it. Their love was once in a lifetime and there was no one for Colt and Feb, but Feb and Colt.
“Since I was three, there’s never been a day when I wasn’t in love with you.”
February Owens had fallen for Alec Colton when they were kids. Alec had a rough childhood and Feb’s family took him in as one of their own. He was best friends with Feb’s brother, Morrie, and together, they became inseparable. Soon, everyone knew it would be Feb and Alec always… until one fateful night, it simply wasn’t. Alec does something that is unforgivable to Feb, and she runs. Runs from the love of her life. Runs from her family. Leaves it all behind, throwing herself towards a reckless life that would lead her to one of life’s cruelest lessons.
“There’s no words to explain how big it was, what Cold and I had, or how much it hurts when something that big in your life is swept away, or how empty that place is that he once filled, or how impossible it is to find something to fill it.”
Alec is devastated, also leaving that life behind, becoming Colt. Angry, lonely, always-missing-Feb Colt. He was a good man, a good cop, and the town respected him throughly. Years later, he would be there when a beat-up, bloodied February stumbled into his arms and back into his life as his anger exploded to epic proportions. And yet, nothing changed for them both. Feb and Colt remained apart, separated by a truth that stayed buried in the past. It was heartbreaking to see how much they had each suffered without the other. They had both tried to move on, but the feelings between them were super charged and palpable every time they were around each other, despite them having changed so much over the years.
“Lonely’s a different kind of pain, it doesn’t hurt as bad as heartbreak. I preferred it and embraced it ‘cause I reckoned it was one or the other.”
The story opens to a brutal murder, as Feb finds a friend in the bar her family owns. She soon finds out that this murder has everything to do with her, and Colt becomes fiercely protective of February. Before too long, Feb is sharing the same space as Colt, as the past comes barreling at them both, unearthing confessions and emotions that needed to be brought to light.
The story unwinds in both Feb and Colt’s point-of-view, allowing us to experience how they each process their evolving feelings for each other, as well as their reactions to the escalating and super chilling murders. I absolutely love Kristen Ashley’s male POVs and it was fascinating to see Colt try to unravel the mysteries surrounding the crimes. The creepiness consumes, however, as we learn that the secrets of their past as inextricably entwined to the killer’s motivations. Colt, Feb and their loved ones are all targets, and so the race to put the pieces together becomes even more critical. Rage, retribution and fury are driving our serial killer and the future is terrifying for them all.
The book is fantastically KA with themes of family, friendship, forgiveness all explored. The only thing I would say is that even though I absolutely enjoyed the entire book, it could have likely been shortened and tightened to a more concise version, but overall it rocked like always. The second book in the series, At Peace, is one of my favorite books out there, period, and again imparts a story about second chances at love.
Reading Order and Links
This is a series of standalones although recommend reading At Peace before you read The Promise.
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