Review: Charged (Saints of Denver) by Jay Crownover

My Thoughts

A searing must-read romance full of feels.

5stars

Synopsis

May-24 ★Avett Walker and Quaid Jackson’s worlds have no reason to collide. Ever. Quaid is a high powered criminal attorney as slick as he is handsome. Avett is a pink-haired troublemaker with a bad attitude and a history of picking the wrong men.

When Avett lands in a sea of hot water because of one terrible mistake, the only person who can get her out of it is the insanely sexy lawyer. The last thing on earth she wants to do is rely on the no-nonsense attorney who thinks of her as nothing more than a nuisance. He literally has her fate in his hands. Yet there is something about him that makes her want to convince him to loosen his tie and have a little fun…with her.

Quaid never takes on clients like the impulsive young woman with a Technicolor dye job. She could stand to learn a hard lesson or two, but something about her guileless hazel eyes intrigues him. Still, he’s determined to keep their relationship strictly business. But doing so is becoming more impossible with each day he spends with her.

As they work side-by-side, they’ll have to figure out a way to get along and keep their hands off each other—because the chemistry between them is beyond charged.

My Review

“… bad decision always make for good stories.”

There are so many things I love about Jay Crownover’s books. They’re always blisteringly sexy and irresistibly addictive with great, unforgettable characters. But perhaps what I love the most is that she paints her stories with a stroke of irreverence, brushing a raw, edgy, gritty texture to the relationship between two usually flawed characters on a journey to find themselves and their happy ever after. Whereas many stories read like a smooth line, hers are messy with colors bleeding past the edges.

I love that.

Charged had a particularly intimate and raw feel to it with Avett Walker in its tormented center. Hers is a story that was on the path to a less than happy ending, but she’d come to realize along the way that the mistakes she’d made didn’t have to define her. And even though love found its way to her, it was she who saved herself. Her choices. Her strength. Her acceptance of the love and support around her. It was a moving takeaway and searing love story overall.

“For a long time now I had been spiraling out of control, whirling, falling deep and deeper into a pit of really awful actions and consequences, each seemingly worse and more painful than the last.”

Brite’s daughter Avett’s life had been a string of bad choices and complicated situations. The latest, however, seemed particularly bad. She’d hurt those she loved, almost gotten people killed, had left her body—and heart—battered and bruised. After her addict, no-good ex-boyfriend had taken her along as he tried to rob the bar, she was in jail with the firm possibility that she’d stay there. Rock bottom felt awful and she was scared.

“I had sunk even lower than rock bottom. This was what a torrent of misery and despair felt like and I was going to drown in it.”

In walks Quaid Jackson, badass attorney all smooth and polished, promising to get her out of this mess, albeit with a cold, steely determination. “Legal Eagle” was good, really good and she hoped his togetherness could get her out of this mess.

“He looked like temptation and ruin, not salvation and redemption.”

Climbing from the bottom wasn’t easy, but she promised herself she’d try. She had amends to make… big time. But even as she tried to climb, life threw her off balance with more bad situations. She found herself needing the help of her irresistible lawyer more and more… and the more time she spent with him, the more the air around them felt charged with something she couldn’t ignore.

“Some of us are born into the storm and some of us are born to chase after it.”

Quaid Jackson hadn’t had the perfect life he seemed to portray. He was indeed successful, but his life was clinical, devoid of the real stuff that made life worth living. He’d been hurt before, but he’d been largely in control since then… until the hurricane that was pink-haired Avett Walker wrecked his calm.

Avett didn’t care for his money, his fancy suits or expensive cars. She hurled him into an everyday that was real, often dangerous and decidedly messy.

“She was everything I wanted and all that I never knew I needed.”

When Avett’s situation escalates and it becomes clear her troubles are far from over, what good thing was brewing between them is threatened when a swirl of guilt, misplaced responsibility and all-too familiar bad decisions begin to consume her once again. And now, it wasn’t only her parents and herself in the crosshairs, but also that blond-haired Legal Eagle she loved.

Suspense, romance, humor and feels—Charged really had all the things to keep me happily, addictively flipping the pages.

“With her, and for her, I could simply… exist. I didn’t have to force anything and life could simply be real.”

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Review: Built (#1, Saints of Denver) by Jay Crownover

My Thoughts

A touching love story with lots of sizzle, lots of sexy and lots of heart. You’ll fall in love with Zeb and Sayer!

4halfstars

Synopsis

Jan-05Sometimes a real hero lets you save yourself . . .

Sayer Cole and Zeb Fuller couldn’t be more different. She’s country club and fine-dining, he’s cell-block and sawdust. Sayer spends her days in litigation while Zeb spends his working with his hands. But none of that has stopped Zeb from wanting the stunning blonde since the moment he laid eyes on her—even if the reserved lawyer seems determinedly oblivious to his interest.

Sayer is certain the rough, hard, hot-as-hell Zeb could never want someone as closed off and restrained as she is, which is a shame because something tells her he might be the guy to finally melt her icy exterior. When he shows up at Sayer’s door needing her professional help, she’s both disappointed and relieved that she won’t get the chance to find out just how good he could be.

But as they team up to right a wrong and save a family, the steam created when fire and ice collide cannot be ignored.

My Review

There are so many things I love about Jay Crownover’s books, but more than anything, it’s the feeling of being sucked in to a story that’s both sexy and tender, heartbreaking and uplifting. Every single time, I devour the books in one sitting. They are so fun and addictive to read and Built is no different. I fell in love-—hard—with Zebulon Fuller. I love the juxtaposition of his toughness and hardness with his softness and vulnerability. He was loyal and loving to a fault.

But for Sayer Cole, despite feeling consumed by her unexpected desire for him, she knew she couldn’t offer an interesting, exciting, colorful man like Zeb anything worthwhile. Sayer had grown up working to live up to her father’s expectations with everything perfect, everything just as he liked it. She was put together, smooth, beautiful, her world colored in whites and beiges and everything as it should be. What could she really give to a guy like Zeb?

“She looked like silk, but if my guess was right about her, it was silk wrapped around steel.”

On the outside, they couldn’t be more different, but somehow, every time they were around each other, desire burned while a connection took root. For Zeb, Sayer smoothed the rough edges, calmed him when his temper flared and his fears got the best of him. For Sayer, Zeb drew out all her color and liveliness. He made life exciting, and for the first time she felt as if her world spun out of control. It was as exciting as it was terrifying.

“It was stupidly simple. I had a crush that I couldn’t shake, and it terrified me.”

As their relationship revved, life threw some more curve balls at Zeb, and that meant he suddenly lost his footing. He needed Sayer more than ever, but every step forward was tiny and tough. Sayer’s armor may have been thin, but it was firmly in place, especially as things began to get real.

“I wanted more. I didn’t want to want more. I didn’t want my heart to rip over itself … I didn’t want to feel scrambled and out of sync every time he called to talk to me or anytime I had to be in the same room with him.”

Theirs is a story with lots of ups and downs, pushes and steps backwards, unexpected twists and impulses you couldn’t help but act on. It’s about learning how to shed the armor and be who you are. What was clear was that Zeb didn’t mess around… for a menacing looking man who towered above the rest, his heart was as open and embracing as it could be. He was determined to help Sayer believe in herself, in them, in a life they could build a future on.

“He destroyed me with openness and stark honesty. I destroyed us by not having any space inside of myself. Even with the emotions I was purging and choking on leaving a hollow and empty space, I still couldn’t find room to hold all of those wonderful things he was trying to give me.”

Built encapsulates everything I love about Jay Crownover. Each page boasts the perfect mix of heart and edge. The story give us some surprises from the beginning that lend itself to even more feels, delivering an even stronger sense of loyalty, love and family. I can’t wait to keep going with the Saints of Denver… Quaid and Echo’s story is up next!

“I’m not going to leave, Zeb. Whatever we build we do it together, and it’s forever.”

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Spotlight + Excerpt: Built (#1, Saints of Denver) by Jay Crownover

Built banner

As soon as I picked up my first Jay Crownover book, I was hooked. I’m such a big fan of her stories, which are the perfect mix of sexy and heart. I always have fun reading about the inked up men (and women) she writes about, each with their own distinctive allure. With Built, Jay is delivering the first full-length novel in the Saints of Denver series, a spinoff of the Marked Men books. I loved it, loved Zeb and Sayer together, and loved the unexpected feels their story evoked. You guys are going to love it too, I’m sure, and today, I’m thrilled to share an excerpt from the novel, which is out tomorrow!

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Synopsis

Jan-05Sometimes a real hero lets you save yourself . . .

Sayer Cole and Zeb Fuller couldn’t be more different. She’s country club and fine-dining, he’s cell-block and sawdust. Sayer spends her days in litigation while Zeb spends his working with his hands. But none of that has stopped Zeb from wanting the stunning blonde since the moment he laid eyes on her—even if the reserved lawyer seems determinedly oblivious to his interest.

Sayer is certain the rough, hard, hot-as-hell Zeb could never want someone as closed off and restrained as she is, which is a shame because something tells her he might be the guy to finally melt her icy exterior. When he shows up at Sayer’s door needing her professional help, she’s both disappointed and relieved that she won’t get the chance to find out just how good he could be.

But as they team up to right a wrong and save a family, the steam created when fire and ice collide cannot be ignored.

Excerpt

I dug my fingers into his wrists and scowled right back at him as his pulse kicked into my touch. “I don’t think you’re an asshole or a player at all, Zeb, but I also have no experience with men like you.”

“Men like me? What does that mean? What kind of man am I?” He was getting angry and frustrated and I couldn’t blame him. It was hard for me to explain why he was everything I wanted but everything I could never have. We were on two different levels when it came to our personalities and I knew there was no way someone as passionate and expressive as he was would ever be interested in someone as reserved and closed off as I was. Where I was the frozen tundra when it came to emotional availability, he was the blazing heat of the desert. I could see the fire of his annoyance in his gaze as he waited for my shaky explanation.

“You’re a man who is sure of himself and confidant. You’re a man who is used to having women fall at his feet. You’re a man who is exiting and interesting.” I lifted an eyebrow at him. “You’re a man who is tattooed and drives a cool vintage truck around, you’re a man who doesn’t mind getting dirty and can create things for a living. All of that is the total opposite of everything I’ve ever known, Zeb.”

His eyebrows went from the deep frown over his nose to shooting up on his forehead and disappeared under the dark fall of hair that rested there. A grin that could only be described as wicked slashed through his beard and his hands tightened where they were still holding on to my face.

“I thought you were going to say a man with a past. A man that has been to jail. I thought you were going to say a man with my history is the kind of man you have no experience with. You surprised me.”

If I was a different type of woman, I might have smacked him for that kind of ignorance. “Where you have been doesn’t define who you are, Zeb. I told you when we first met that I understand that people make mistakes.”

He grunted and moved his face closer to mine. “And here I am on your doorstep with another one. You want me to teach you about a man like me, Sayer? I’m pretty simple to figure out.”

I didn’t believe that for a single second, so I opened my mouth to tell him. There was never anything simple about passion. I didn’t get a chance to utter a sound because before I got a word out I suddenly knew exactly what it felt like to be kissed by a guy with a beard because he dipped his head and devoured my mouth with his.

It felt phenomenal.

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Review + Excerpt: Better When He’s Brave (#3, Welcome to the Point) by Jay Crownover

My Thoughts

Intense, action-packed, thrilling and sexy as hell.
I love this series, and each book gets more exciting!

5stars

Synopsis

In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jay Crownover’s third novel in her sexy, thrilling Welcome to the Point series, a woman’s search for repentance leads her to the one man from her past she can’t forget as they join forces to save their city—and the explosive love neither can live without.

Titus King has always seen his world in black and white. There is a firm right and wrong in his mind, which is why as a teenager he left behind the only family he’d ever known to make a better life for himself. Now a police detective in one of the worst cities in the country, he can’t deny his life has turned into a million different shades of gray.

The new criminal element in The Point has brought vengeance and destruction right to Titus’s front door, and walking the straight and narrow seems far less important now. The difference between right and wrong is nothing compared to keeping those he loves alive. To add to his already strained moral compass, the beautiful and mysterious Reeve Black has made her way back to town. This girl might be as dangerous to Titus as the guy trying to destroy the Point but he can’t walk away because he needs her—in more ways than one.

Reeve knows all about the threat trying to destroy The Point. She knows how ruthless, how vicious, and how cruel this new danger can be… and instead of running away, she wants to help. Reeve knows that she has a lot to repent for and saving the city, plus the hot cop that she hasn’t been able to forget might just be the only way she can finally find some inner peace.

With an entire city poised on the brink of war, Titus and Reeve stand in the crossfire—and it will take two brave souls to fight for the ultimate love.

My Review

Since our first intro into the deadly streets of The Point, when we met Shane Baxter, we also came across Titus King. He’s a cop, a protector… a man whose black and white view of the world was constantly threatened with a criminal brother and ever-escalating situations in his city. You got a sense of how hard he worked to stay on the straight and narrow… to make something of himself. But when The Point viciously comes under attack, rules are thrown asunder as his determination toughens. He’s determined to figure out who is behind the strikes in order to put a final stop to it.

Jumping right in, the prologue is intense, intense, intense. It sets the tone for the consuming tension in the novel. There’s so much intrigue and suspense to keep you entrenched.

“I would die in this shithole at the hands of these murders and miscreants, and no matter how much they threw at me, how much they tried to destroy the vessel it was housed in, my bravery, my calling to keep the world safe from people like this, would never be extinguished. I would never cave, never bow down and never let a guy like [him] win.”

But when Reeve Black and Titus King collide, the heat is turned way up.

The criminal and the cop.

The bad girl and the good guy.

There’s a fiery connection between them both, but Reeve has made many mistakes… mistakes that have affected Titus, Bax and Dovie.

“She was beautiful but she was also deadly. She was just as hard as this place we came from, and I had enough of the city hammering against my foundation, as it was.”

But antagonism burns into a desire that sets the pages ablaze, as Titus begins to understand Reeve and the reasons for what she’s done. Before too long, love finds a way to bind this improbable pair together.

And yes, as much as Reeve and Titus were an unlikely match, they were also, perfect for each other. The Point is their home, they’ve grown up knowing the ins and out of it, and they must work side by side to free themselves of their attacker, but also from their pasts.

“She was going to be my downfall. She was going to be my corruption and my vice. She was going to be my addiction and my compulsion and I was still going to fall headlong into her knowing the landing was going to be rough for both of us.”

I fell in love with The Point series immediately. There’s something about exploring anti-heroes and criminals, and all the shades of grey that color the worlds of these people. Titus is particularly fascinating as he wars with himself, always trying to do the right thing and protect those he loves. Jay Crownover always does an amazing job of mixing it up with sexiness, suspense, emotion and romance. You get a little bit of everything in a story that keeps you captive from beginning to end.

“There is no regret, Reeve, and there is no choice. Right or wrong you are it for me. You get all the parts of me. You make me feel like I can just be me, not a cop, not a big brother, not a hero, not a savior… just a man. A man that has his good and bad parts.”

Next up is Nassir’s book, and you best be ready for the emotional volatility and edge of the baddest of them all.

Excerpt

The car finally skidded to a stop in a shower of gravel and dust. The headlights illuminated the drop-off in front of us. The moon was high in the sky, forcing its way through smog and clouds to shine silver. It was the same color as Titus’s eyes when he was turned on, when he was buried deep inside of me.

“I haven’t had my parents in my life for a long time, so I shouldn’t feel like I lost them. But I do.”

“I felt that way when I locked Bax up. I knew he wouldn’t understand that I had to do my job, and when he got out, the first time I saw him he punched me in the face. He hated me.” He turned off the car and reached out a finger to twist a piece of my long hair around it.

“Don’t let Roark win. Once everything is settled, go back to them and make them understand.”

I turned to look at him. He was fierce in the shadowy light. He was what heroes were supposed to look like no matter the path he had taken to become one.

“I don’t even know if I understand. At the time it felt like my only choice. Now I’m not so sure.” I leaned across the space separating us and brushed my knuckles across his still-bristly cheek. He was almost in full beard mode and it looked so good on him. “Lately the only thing I understand is you, Titus.”

He lifted one of his dark eyebrows at me and asked, “What is it that you understand about me, Reeve?”

“That you make everything better. You make me better, and I might never be good enough for you, but you make me feel like I can get close.”

One of his hands slid down to my wrist and the next thing I knew he was guiding me over the console and the emergency brake so that I was straddled across him with my back to the steering wheel. I hadn’t been in a car like this with a boy since I was a teenager. I kind of liked it. More than kind of.

“You make everything better too, Reeve, and there is no good enough because this with you is the best there has ever been.” And then his mouth was on mine and I didn’t get a chance to tell him we had left this behind and were now firmly venturing into more. Knowing that Titus was flawed, that he had made some questionable choices on his road to becoming the man he was today, made me love him even more. Where he was from was even uglier than where I was from, and that was beautiful to me. So was the way he was pulling on my clothes and kissing me along my throat.

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Make sure to stop by USA Today’s HEA blog,
where I have another exclusive excerpt for you to read!!!

Reading Order and Links
About Jay

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men and The Point series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

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