“Heart and soul, gut and balls, I love you. There’s no one I’d rather hold. Not until I’m eighty. Not until the day I die.”
I loved this book!! A badass Alpha with a dark past, a strong heroine, and a gorgeous slow-burning love story in the Mountains. Another Kristen Ashley winner and definitely a new favorite!! 😀
Meet Deacon: Tall. Dark. Rugged. Cold on the outside. Closed off from the world. Cassidy could tell with one look that this man was alive on the outside, but dead on the inside. And she wasn’t wrong.
Her whole life, she dreamed of owning cabins in the mountains and living a life there. And, being the can-do type of woman that she was, she did just that. She followed her dreams and made them her reality.
This was where Deacon entered her life. He came every few months and rented cabin eleven. Each time it was the same: cash, few words, nothing else, and then he was gone again. Outwardly he showed no sign of either caring for her as a person or noticing her as a woman except for a few fleeting moments when something slipped and she knew that somewhere deep down he cared, even if he hid it from the world.
“He scared the heck out of me. But this was only part of the reason he scared the heck out of me. The other part, the bigger part, was even feeling all that, I had a nearly-overwhelming urge to go to him and wrap my arms around him. Tight. And maybe never let go. For eternity.”
So their relationship grew over the years. It was a slow burn and a beautiful build up. No insta-love, but rather a genuinely believable progression. His job took him away frequently for weeks or months at a time… and even though it seemed that he wanted nothing to do with her, the more they got to know each other, the more it became clear just how much this badass man really cared for her.
“I’m away, Cassie, do not ever doubt this is precisely where I’d rather be.”
Cassidy was an absolutely amazing, strong woman and one of the best heroines KA has written. Oh my gosh, this girl was AWESOME!!! She was in charge of her life, earning her way, following her dreams and her heart, and making something beautiful out of it.
I loved the way she saw right through Deacon’s cold, distant, aloof, badass exterior and wasn’t intimidated by him. It’s like she instinctively knew he was a good man no matter how dangerous he seemed. It really warms my heart seeing such strong heroines who aren’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with the Alphas!!
“So he was scary. So he was badass. So he was closed off in a way that he’d made clear more than once he was never going to open.
I didn’t care.
I had this one shot, the only one I knew I’d ever get, so I was going to take it.”
Beneath his stone cold exterior, Deacon was a wonderful hero. Such a good guy. He was really deep, respectful, kind, caring, protective… and everything you can imagine from a genuinely good person. He lived in a dangerous world but it didn’t define him. His actions defined him and that was enough for me.
“Not easy, fightin’ your pull. Wantin’ to be right here. Knowin’ I was no good for you. Prayin’ you’d get a man so when I’d come back I’d have a reason to stay away.”
Cassie’s on-going list of badass do’s and don’ts throughout the book were too funny!! Not to mention the Badass Zones and Badass Boundaries… all of these kept a big smile on my face for pages on end.
“Don’t be playful when I’m feeling emotional.”
“You get I’m a badass.”
“Hard to miss, Deacon.”
“Then don’t tell me when to be playful. Badassess don’t like that shit.”
I loved their dynamic and the way they always worked towards trying to find a balance between finding equality in the relationship while still respecting each other. He let her be who she was but was always there to have her back and support her without being over bearing. Deacon had somehow found the perfect Alpha balance. And in turn, her strength and kind heart was his perfect match.
He glowered at me.
Then he grinned.
“A girl has to be when her man’s a badass.”
Not to mention that this is definitely one of KA’s hottest books. There’s all manner of kinky bondage in it (but you’ll have to be patient, cuz it’s in the second half. First comes the relationship development, then comes the kink). But yeah, I was definitely fanning myself!! Hot, hot, hotttttt!!!
“Love is trust, Cassie, you taught me that.”
Overall, this is a quiet book. Don’t expect edge-of-your-seat drama that’s not what this book is about. It’s a love story. It’s a romance. Just a damaged badass and a big-hearted gal falling in love in the Mountains. Both Cassie and Deacon were really sensible people. Him with a lot of damage and emotional scarring from his past. Her with a big enough heart to just love him for who he was. I loved the way they completed each other. And I loved watching their relationship grow and develop with every new page. As I said, it’s a slow burn. But it was realistically paced. Totally awesome. Oh, and kinky too. Don’t forget the bondage 😉
There are many different kinds of Alphas and, as long as they have respect for their women, I love them all. But I feel like I had an extra understanding for Deacon. Everything about him made sense. He had no real “Omg-I-Can’t-Believe-He-Just-Said-That” moments. Even when he did do shocking things, I just felt, as Cassie did, that there was a reason for his actions. And they usually made sense. He was fair, kind, and caring. The closed-off, secret side of him was understandable. And even when he was distant, I felt like I trusted that there was a good reason for it. He just didn’t seem like the kind of guy who would be that way without one. And, as it was later revealed, he did have a good reason. I guess… I just trusted him.
“Anything. You want it, I got it in me to give it to you, you got anything from me.”
In the interest of full honesty, I’ll say there were four small things that I had issue with in this book, so it wasn’t fully perfect. But none of them were anything big enough to cause me to dislike the book and none of them bad enough for me to go into long detail either. But I’m just telling you that they’re there.
Kristen Ashley is so gifted at getting you right inside her characters heads to the point where you feel completely in sync with their thoughts. And the language she writes in is downright awesome. Yes, its english, but it’s almost as if she has her very own “badass dialect” that is entirely unique to her. There’s Alpha speak, but then there’s KA Alpha speak and I absolutely LOVE IT!!!
“If we have daughters I’m starting How to Deal with Badasses when they’re five.”
His eyes were lit but his expression was full-on tender when he returned, “We have boys, they get How to Deal with Stubborn Bitches Who Argue About Meaningless Shit starting at three.”
“Again, women dislike being called bitches,” I shot back.
“That’ll be part of my lesson to the boys.”
Finally, just because I’m being asked this a lot… You can read this as a standalone if you want, but there are cameos from the other guys in the series towards the end of the book. Knowing their stories isn’t vital to understanding this one, but being emotionally attached to them might be (otherwise they’re just a bunch of Deacon’s friends who show up). So it’s really up to you. But it can be read alone.
Rating: 4.5 stars. Contemporary Adult Romance.