Review: Heaven and Hell by Kristen Ashley

My Thoughts

A sexy, stirring second chance at love with all the feels.
One of Kristen Ashley’s standalone gems.

5stars

Synopsis

heaven and hell coverAfter making a bad decision when she was very young, Kia Clementine finds herself in hell. Then, suddenly, within the time it takes for a shotgun to blast, her hell changes. Completely. Then out-of-the-blue she sees Sampson Cooper, her celebrity crush. A man the whole world knows is decent. A man the world knows is loyal. A man the world knows is good. All of these very unlike her now dead husband.

He’s sitting at a table right next to hers. And she catches his eye.

Terrified of the interest Sam shows in her, Kia finds the courage to go out with him. Not long after, she shares her dark secrets and Sam shares that he’ll stop at nothing to gain her trust.

As Sam leads Kia to heaven, Kia realizes that Sam is living his own hell. But although he gives her beauty and she gives him everything, he withholds his trust.

Even with all the beauty Sam shows her, Kia wants it all. But Sam forces Kia to make a heartbreaking decision and only she can decide. It’s all or nothing.

My Review

Kristen Ashley’s body of work is impressive. She’s a prolific writer that is known for consistently delivering her own unique brand of romance, brimming with sexiness, love, suspense, family and friendships. And while she may best be known for her contemporary romance series like Rock Chick, Dream Man, The Colorado Mountain and others, I’m discovering she’s got some amazing standalone stories that many readers have yet to devour. Heaven and Hell is one of those gems (along with the recently read Three Wishes) and I can’t wait to keep ticking titles off my ‘KA To-Read list.’

“You got one life, never use it just to breathe.”

Heaven and Hell is a second chance at love story (it could easily almost fit into The ‘Burg series) and it packs all the feels with a gripping story of a woman trapped in a brutal marriage. For seven years Kia Clementine had suffered at the hands of a man who had once represented the hope of a good life, the promise of a happily ever after. And when tragedy strikes, it’s a blessing in disguise as she sets off to recover her sense of self after being lost for so long.

“He took something precious from you, your ability to trust… now’s your time to fight and get it back…Just live in the now, Kia, keep livin’ in the now… Fight back and learn to be fearless.”

While sitting down for breakfast, she finds herself next to her longtime celebrity crush, athlete and all-around badass, Sampson Cooper. Fate had given her an unexpected boon, and with the help of a waiter and in the midst of a fury of Italian words she could not comprehend, she is suddenly sitting across from Sampson. It was a wonderful scene—the kind that fill you with glee and anticipation, the kind that makes you giggle and smile and I loved every minute of it. I fell in love with Sampson (Sam) immediately and love the dynamic between these two people. Within minutes of meeting, Kia can’t help but nervously unleash her story to Sam, and something inside of him stirs as well.

“There are very few, very fuckin’ few people, Kia, who get what’s precious in this world. They work their asses off for pure shit and think they’d fight and die to keep it. You don’t fight and die for shit. You fight and die for things that matter. You are the first woman I’ve met outside a life that leads you to understand that shit who gets that. And straight up, baby, you gotta know, I like that a fuckuva lot.”

Kia had been living in hell for so long, that when Sam is able to give her a wonderful, unexpected taste of heaven, she finds herself falling for the man—the real man—behind her crush. He most certainly is a gorgeous, towering, muscled alpha, but one that was kind, irresistible, generous and of course, bossy as heck. Sam helps Kia to heal, slowly, drawing her secrets out, helping her process, showing her that she needs to grasp a good thing when it comes.

“I know you’re freaked, I know you’re scared and I know you can come up with a million reasons that you’re not ready, all of which will be excuses. But now that I know exactly what’s behind those shields you got up… you gotta know that knowin’ that makes me no less into you… In fact, it makes me more into you… And you’ll learn, because I’ll prove it to you, I’ll never hurt you.”

A beautiful romance begins to blossom and Kia falls hopelessly for Sam, but she soon realizes that Sam, who has given her so much, has not given her everything. He harbors secrets of his own. Secrets he has not revealed. Secrets he refuses to unveil. Suddenly the heaven she’s been living begins to darken, realizing the man she loves has been in a hell he’s yet to share. At a crossroads, Kia must make a choice between having a beautiful slice of heaven or having it all. Is having a wonderful part of someone worth holding on to?

“Wherever you are, however you got there, if it’s good, you’re meant to be there either because you earned it or life led you there and you were smart enough to hold on.”

Heaven and Hell is an emotional story of love and loss, as two people grapple with a torturous past and the promise of a future filled with laughs, love, friends and family. And once again, Kristen Ashley delivers an unforgettable story to love and cherish. A definite must-read romance.

“Anywhere is heaven as long as it’s with you.”

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