Review: Golden Trail (#3, The ‘Burg) by Kristen Ashley

Synopsis

Intense, suspenseful and sexy.

4halfstars

Synopsis

GoldenTrail_eBookTanner Layne and Raquel Merrick fell in love young, hard and fast and both of them knew a beautiful life they thought would be forever.

Until Rocky left Layne, no explanation, no going back.

Layne escapes The ‘Burg only to come back years later because his ex-wife has hooked herself to the town jerk and Layne needs to make sure his sons get raised right. Layne manages to avoid Rocky but when Layne gets three bullets drilled into him while investigating a dirty cop, he can’t do that because Rocky stops avoiding Layne. They make a deal to work together to expose the dirty cop but they have no idea the strength of their enduring attraction or the sheer evil at work in The ‘Burg.

As Tanner Layne and Raquel Merrick play their game and dance around the pull that draws them together, Layne has to discover the dark secrets buried so deep in Rocky’s heart she doesn’t even know they’re there at the same time untangle a sinister web of crime so abhorrent it has to be stopped… at all costs.

And to do it, Layne has to enlist everyone, including his ex-CIA mentor, Rocky’s detective brother, the town’s unpredictable informant and Layne’s two teenage sons all the while stopping Rocky from doing something crazy and keeping their game secret so Layne won’t get himself dead.

My Review

Layne and Rocky’s story is filled with heartache, secrets and misunderstanding, but at the same time, always love. Tanner Layne and Raquel Merrick fell in love when they were young. They fell hard and deep and they expected it to last a lifetime. What they had was beautiful, perfect and so when Rocky leaves Layne very suddenly, without explanation, his life is shattered. He’s upset, he feels betrayed and he has no idea what happened from one day to the next. Fast forward eighteen years, and both of them have made their lives, which hadn’t turned out so well. Badass PI Layne is back in town and finds himself involved in a case that lands him with three bullet wounds in the hospital. When he wakes to find Rocky at his bedside, the past comes crashing down on him, as does the anger and hurt feelings that festered in her wake.

“Layne knew he was in love with her. Not only that, he’d never stopped loving her. Not once, not for a second, not for twenty-one years.”

Even when Layne tries to push Rocky away, he feels the familiar, ever-present draw to her. The connection they always had came alive the moment they were together in one room again. But Rocky had left him without word, gotten married to a rich doctor, and forgotten him for so long. The story is told from Layne’s point-of-view, so we really feel the tumult of his emotions as he struggles to process Rocky showing up out of nowhere after she avoided him for years.

Layne has built a life, he’s made mistakes, but is trying to do the best he can with his two teenage sons, Jasper and Tripp. But when the case to out a dirty cop becomes more complicated, Rocky is determined to help and these two past lovers find themselves around each other, dancing around their buried emotions and burning desire.

So much happens in this book. Layne is drowning with issues to tackle, especially as he begins to unearth a very sinister, despicable set of crimes that is affecting the young girls in The ‘Burg.

With Rocky interacting with her sons and them getting attached, the game at play becomes all too real and he finally needs to deal with the why of why she left him, even though that’s a mystery that is buried way deep.

“Until you two came along, she was the best thing that happened to me in my whole goddamned life.”

The love story unwinds amidst a dangerous chaos of activity, as Layne begins to let go of past hurt to let Rocky in again. Still, he’s afraid she’ll leave again and she’s afraid he’ll end up killed. Rocky is an interesting character. She’s suffered a lot of loss in her life that has made her extremely vulnerable. She’s broken, even though that’s not completely apparent to everyone around her. I loved her spark, but honestly began to get frustrated every time Layne bossed her around and she relented. Layne’s alphaness was off the charts, and I wanted to soften some of the moments between them. Yet, it was clear Layne loved her, deeply and always.

“I remember, Rocky. I remember everything. I remember every… fucking … thing.”

This book felt very KA with all the family, friendships, sexiness and suspense, but at the same time felt a bit different from some of her other novels. It was entirely written in a single, male point-of-view and I think that lent itself to the rough and tough feel it had to it. I absolutely loved the interactions between Layne, Rocky and the two boys, as well as with our other badass ‘Burg brothers: Colt, Joe, Dev and Ryker. (Note – I can NEVER get enough of Joe, Vi and the girls!) I devoured the story, as I do every time I pick up a Kristen Ashley book, and it left me with a warm, satisfied feeling delivered by a wonderful, emotional happy-ever-after epilogue. I don’t know how she does it, but Ashley continues to give us stories that I enjoy immensely.

Reading Order and Links

This is a series of standalones although recommend reading At Peace before you read The Promise.

ForYou_eBook

Colt & Feb

AtPeace_eBook

Joe & Violet

GoldenTrail_eBook

Layne & Rocky

GamesHeart_eBook

Mike & Dusty

ThePromise_eBook

Benny & Frankie

My ReviewsFor You | At Peace | The Promise

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