He was the reason she was here.
In that split second that I laid my eyes on her,
I wanted to be the reason she stayed.
Sweet, swoony, sexy, and downright addictive, this book kept my heart racing from start to finish. I read it in one sitting and absolutely loved the story! There’s just something about an Alpha hero who is willing to go to the ends of the earth to protect his family and to fight for the woman he loves that makes my heart race! I highly recommend BUILT for all fans of romance!
Also, I’m excited to say that this is my first Top Favorite of 2016!! YAY!
So now about the story. It was a bit of an “opposites attract” romance. I’ll start off with the official blurb:
Sometimes 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.
So Zeb was this sexy, tattooed construction worker who built and restored houses for a living. But he also was an ex-con who had done time for assaulting the man who’d beaten his beloved sister. While most people would have judged him for his past, Sayer never did — not even once. She was a lawyer specializing in family law who had a painful past she was still healing from which kept her wary of getting into a relationship. But it didn’t stop her from crushing hard on the gorgeous guy she’d hired to work on her house.
“That kind of understanding from a total stranger was so rare, especially coming from someone in the legal field. I wasn’t accustomed to someone looking at me and seeing me, just me, not the ex-con loser after I explained where I had been. It was wildly refreshing and attractive. I couldn’t quite get a handle on what made the woman tick, but I would welcome any opportunity she gave me to figure it out.”
But OMG!!!!!!!! YOU GUYS!!!! There’s something that the blurb only hints at but that is a huuuuuge part of the book, and which was the element that made me LOVE LOVE LOVE the story. You find it out at 11% in the book and the reason I’m going to tell you what it is here is that I wish I’d known about it first because if I had, it would have made me desperate to read the book even sooner. I don’t view it as a spoiler because it’s such a focal and integral part of the book. So get this: Mr. Gorgeous-Tattooed-Protector-of-Women-Sexy-Construction-Dude has a son!!!! Who he never knew about!!!! The mother never contacted him about the baby and when she died, he became his son’s only hope at staying out of foster care. Obviously Zeb was the kind of guy who’d do everything in his power for his family so THAT was the thing that makes him go to Sayer asking for her professional help. He needed her to help him save his son!
So as Zeb dealt with the news that he had a son, and Sayer worked round the clock to help him get custody, the two of them were also falling in love with each other. Given her past, she had a lot of fears to conquer before she could fully commit her heart to a relationship, but he saw past her fears into her heart and showed her over and over again that he was willing to fight for them and for her.
“One thing was clear: getting my son in my life on a permanent basis wasn’t the only thing that was going to take a hell of a lot of work on my end. If I wanted the girl, whatever version of her I could get my hands on, then I was going to have to fight for her as well.”
ALL THE SWOON!!!!!!!!!!!!
You guys!! I can’t even explain how much I loved the story. Jay Crownover is such an incredibly strong and talented author. Even from the first few pages of the book, it was clear how well-written this story was. I mean, it’s a clear sign of great writing when you’re highlighting quotes non-stop. Like this one…
“Tall, tattooed, and built like a guy who hauled heavy stuff around and swung a hammer like Thor should be, he was impressive to say the least. But it went beyond the work-hardened muscles, low-slung tool belt, and the flirty charm he liked to throw around so effortlessly. There was something rock steady and so certain that shined out of his dark green eyes when he looked at the world around him and the people in it. There was an inherent confidence and assuredness that poured off of him when he looked at a person, like he knew without a doubt whatever he was bringing to the table was a thousand times better than what anyone else in the room had to offer. God, I could hardly handle how hot it was when he smiled and rubbed his hand over his neatly trimmed beard. Especially when that smile and knowing smirk was directed right at me.”
I really loved the way Sayer never judged Zeb’s past. She judged him only for what she saw in front of her, not for any mistakes he may have made before. She believed in second chances and that made me respect her so much. I did however get a leeeeeetle frustrated with the way she kept pushing him away romantically, but luckily his charm did eventually bring her around. Not to mention it was fun to watch this big Alpha guy woo and chase the woman he wanted in his life. I would urge you not to judge her too harshly, and at the very least, read the beautiful author’s note at the end of the book first. I agree with everything she said about Sayer’s character and I love that she wrote this heroine.
Zeb was one of the good guys through and through. He was willing to do anything to protect the people he loved and I guarantee he’ll make you swoon as he certainly melted my heart over and over again with the love he showed for Sayer and his family. I really appreciated how rational and understanding he always was — it’s nice to have a hero who doesn’t make stupid decisions — and I loved his patience and dedication to doing the right thing. And it helped that I couldn’t stop swooning over how downright sexy he was.
“My truth is that I like the woman you are with me and I like the woman you are in court. I like the woman you are with your brother and they way you fought to be his family. I like the woman I first met at the Bar that didn’t judge me when I told her I had been to prison. I like the woman that lets a scared young woman use her house as a sanctuary… I like the woman who looks at my son and sees that he is everything and is willing to fight for him just because I asked her to. My truth is that you never could be anything other than amazing… So again, you have two options, dinner or bed, which one do you want to pick?”
You can read this book as a complete standalone. All of the books by this author have slightly connected characters. So the hero of one book might pop up in another as a side character, but it’s written very cleverly so that you’re never confused and you do not have to read any other book before this one.
This book has it all — emotional family scenes, great banter, fun flirtations, steamy sexy times, a cohesive plot, a well-rounded story, great supporting characters, and beautiful love story! My gosh, Jay Crownover really can write! If you’re looking for a sweet, sexy, and swoony new book to read, definitely try this!!
Rating: 4.5 stars. Contemporary Adult Romance (can standalone).