A perfect, full-circle finale to one of my favorite series.
Merry and Cher’s story is tender and sexy, suspenseful and heart-tugging.
Since she was young, Cher Rivers knew she was not the kind of girl who got what she wanted. A girl who could hope. A girl who could dream. She knew a happily ever after just wasn’t in the cards for her.
In love for years with the last bastion of the ‘burg’s eligible bachelors, Garrett Merrick, Cher worked hard at making him laugh. Being one of the guys. Having him in her life the only way she could. All this knowing he was in love with another woman.
The Merrick Family is known for loving deep. So when Cecelia Merrick was murdered, it marked the Merricks in a way none of them recovered. Both Cecelia’s children found love. Both turned their backs on it. But Garrett “Merry” Merrick knew in his soul the woman he divorced years ago was the one for him.
Until the night when Cher took Garrett’s back and things changed. The Merrick family loves deep. They also protect fiercely. And with his eyes finally open, Garrett sees the woman who truly is for him and he goes after her.
What an perfect finale to a series that gripped us, kept us in suspense, seeped into our hearts and delighted us with laughter, friendships and love stories that indeed conquered it all. Merry and Cher’s story beautifully caps The ‘Burg series, and it did so with class, style and characteristic KA goodness. And yessss, that includes murder and mayhem too! Their story centers on what each have gone through in their pasts, how happiness has eluded them both, and how the only thing that has managed to linger is the pain they’ve each suffered from loss and deception.
For Merry and Cher, it’s about holding on to hope when life throws heartache at you. It’s about accepting the goodness when it finally comes, and holding on to that happy. It’s holding on to their dreams, now within their reach. And holding on to each other, come every challenge, every barrier… come every person who is dead set on tearing them apart, even when it’s one of them that’s doing the pushing.
“You got good, you don’t let it go. It lets you go, you hold on. It slips through your fingers, you pull out all the stops to get it back. You got something’ worth fighting for, you fight for it.”
One of the things I loved about Merry and Cher is that there were friends. Cher was known as the toughest chick in the ‘Burg, especially after what she’d endured with serial killer Denny Lowe, and survived… surpassed. She’d also overcome the heartache of her man leaving when she was pregnant. A junkie who left her, left her baby, took their money and ran. She’s a single mom who has survived.
And every night when she’s working the bar at J&Js, it’s clear she’s tight with all the boys, but especially tight with Garrett Merrick. She makes him laugh, makes him open up. And when Merry comes in one evening, drowning his sorrows for losing his ex-wife for good, it’s Cher that looks him right in the eye and tells him like it is. It’s Cher that’s there for him. She’d always had a thing for Merry, but happy didn’t seem to be in the cards for her.
“God, did he know? Did he know that he was the dream come true a girl like me would never dare to dream?”
Fate plays its mighty hand, however, and Merry realizes Cher is wonderful in every way. And Cher realizes Merry is even better than she’d dreamed. Suddenly, very unexpectedly, Cher finds herself living that dream she never believed was in her reach… giving her son a man he can look up to. In typical, ‘Burg badass alpha style, the moment Merry makes a decision to make them an us, a fierce protectiveness pervades.
“And there being’ an us, Cher, that means you’re mine. Ethan’s mine. Are you followin’ me?”
And again, because it’s the ‘Burg, drama, conflict and danger are inevitable and Merry has his work cut out for him. The past, the present, the insecurities—all threaten what small taste of happy they’ve only just enjoyed.
Both Merry and Cher have ghosts they need to battle. For Merry, it’s the threat of the past repeating itself. It’s his job putting Cher and Ethan in danger, or him not coming home one day. For Cher, it’s getting past her preconceptions of who she thinks she is and what she deserves. To her, her past has marked her, shamed her, but in reality, it’s her past that has made her the strong, exceptional woman she is.
As all these issues surround them, Merry and Cher must hold on to each other fiercely, to get their happily ever after. It’s not easy to weather the storm when ghosts continue to haunt and bullets reign around them. Luckily, their crew has their back. Colt and Feb, Joe and Vi, Layne and Rocky, Mike and Dusty, Benny and Frankie, and the rest of their wild and recklessly loyal friends. Seeing them all come together was a beautiful thing to experience, evoking all the feels, especially at the end.
The epilogue was EPIC… delivering the kind of full-circle happiness I couldn’t even imagine. It was wonderful, emotional and simply, perfect. Fans of the series will smile widely at a great ending to an amazing series.
“It happens… For people like us, baby. It happens, eventually. Just as long as we hold on.”
Through this, my leg hit an end table and I adjusted. We cleared the couch, I shifted again too soon, both my calves hit the coffee table, and my ass went down on it.
I looked up. Cell flat to the table, I braced my hands to push up, but Merry was there, chin in his throat, eyes on me, and when he spoke again, his mind was clearly on my location.
“Tried to get your mouth on me more than once when we tore at each other up last Friday, but I was in the mood to use mine. Lookin’ forward to learnin’ what you can do with yours, but like I said, baby, right now, don’t got the time.”
My only response that he couldn’t twist was to glare at him, which was what I did.
“But got time before I go for a kiss,” Merry informed me.
“Only kiss I’ll give you is tellin’ you to kiss off,” I informed him.
“Who knew warm brown eyes like the ones you got could spark that kind of fire,” he muttered as if he wasn’t even talking to me.
“Step back,” I demanded.
“No,” he denied.
I continued to glare up at him, then I realized I was not the kind of woman who sat on her ass, glaring up at a man towering over her and pinning her in. So I stood, which put me smack in Merry’s space, my breasts brushing against his abs and up his chest on my way.
They kept brushing when he didn’t move back, but I didn’t attempt escape, even to get away from the shafts of electricity this all caused at my nipples, shafts that headed south.
I glared at him from closer.
He stared into my eyes, his gaze moving down to my mouth then back up as one side of his lips curved.
He was getting off on this.
I didn’t get that and I didn’t want to get that.
I wanted this done.
“In the mood to play, Officer?” I whispered.
“Told you, sweetheart, don’t got the time.”
I shook my head but held his gaze. “Not what I mean. Single mom, all alone. Switch out her storms. Offer info to help her out of a jam. Been a while since I was in the know about these things, so tell me, what’s the price for all that? You mentioned a blowjob. You got stamina, but I got talent. Balance that out, I’m thinkin’ it’ll take more than the usual ten, fifteen minutes. We’ll give it twenty. So I can manage my time, is there more?”
I wasn’t even done talking before I learned his eyes could spark fire too.
I also learned he was in the mood to play, that being, playing me at my own game.
And doing it better.
He dipped his face close, his voice low. “Storms get me the blowjob, brown eyes. I get the intel you need, that buys me sinkin’ deep in wet pussy.”
I felt my nipples get harder at the same time something else happened to me that, if he was of a mind to take his payoff right then, he’d get what he wanted.
I hid this reaction and asked, “You want this all in one go, or you wanna spread payback out for a while?”
“Keep plenty of time open, Cher. I intend to earn a fuckuva lot more and draw it out collecting.”
I nodded, still keeping a lock on his eyes. “I get it. Girl like me, only payback expected for me to be able to give.”
That didn’t get me fire.
That got me ice.
“I hear you talk down about yourself one more time, Cher, shit will get extreme.”
That made me ice over.
“Do not hand me that crap, Merry. You come into my home and got no problem talkin’ about wet pussy right to my face tells me the woman you know me to be.”
He dipped his face even closer, to the point it felt like if I blinked, my lashes would sweep his in a butterfly kiss.
“Do not hand me your shit, Cher,” he growled. “That hang-up is yours, not mine. And how I know that is I made you come just finger fuckin’ you and talkin’ dirty in your ear, and it was the talk and not what my fingers were doin’ that took you there. I like that, a woman who can let go and let me give her that without gettin’ uptight and closin’ down on me. You liked it too, a fuckuva lot more than me. So don’t stand there handin’ me your shit when I know you’re wet for me now and I haven’t fuckin’ touched you.”
I refused to reply to that because he was right and I had no intention of confirming that information.
But it was then he hit me with a verbal blow, the intensity of which, not in my whole shitty-ass life I’d ever received.
“Christ, if I didn’t know you were worth it, I’d walk out the door and this would be done—all we got, over.”
I could stand.
I could stare.
But I couldn’t breathe.
He could also speak.
“Hope like fuck no one takes off with those storms while I’m gone. You think they will, move ’em into garage and leave the key under the mat. I’m switchin’ ’em out, Cher. I come back tonight and they’re done, I’ll find you, and I won’t be collectin’. I’ll be dishin’ it out, but you won’t get it until you beg for it and do that shit for a really long time.”
His words were lost on me.
I continued to stand.
I continued to stare.
But my lungs had started burning.
If I didn’t know you were worth it…
“When’s Ethan’s next sleepover?” Merry bit out.
“Friday,” I whispered. “But his friend’s comin’ here.”
“Fuck,” Merry clipped. “Find a time, babe. You don’t, payback’ll stack up and I’ll have to take personal days and hole up in a hotel with you for a week. And there’s not a doubt that stick-up-her-ass church lady your ex tied his shit to won’t appreciate you bein’ gone from your kid for a weeklong fuckathon.”
That was kind of funny as well as hot.
I still said nothing.
Merry fell silent and stared at me.
Then he dealt the second biggest verbal blow I’d ever received in my life.
“Christ, you’re pretty, even standin’ there plotting my murder.”
After that, he lifted a hand, grabbed me gentle but firm at my neck, yanked me up so my mouth hit his hard but brief, then he let me go.
“Later, babe,” he said, strolling to my door. He stopped in it, turned to me, and bid his farewell by saying, “You touch those storms only to put them in the garage.”
He closed the door on that.
I stood where he left me.
If I didn’t know you were worth it…
What was I worth?
What was I worth to Merry?
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