Royal Hastings is quickly learning what the bottom looks like after a tragic situation at work threatens not only her career but her partner’s life. As a woman who has only ever had a few real friends she’s trying to muddle through her confusion and devastation all alone. Except she can’t stop thinking about the sexy southern bartender she locked up. Crushing on Asa is the last thing she needs but his allure is too strong to resist. His long criminal record can only hurt her already shaky career and chasing after a guy who has no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak.
A longtime criminal and a cop together just seems so wrong . . . but for Asa and Royal, being wrong together is the only right choice to make.
This was a very bittersweet read for me. I love the Marked Men series, and I am sad to see it come to an end. It's hard to chose a favorite, but I think Asa is definitely at the top of my list. I love the cover of this book, too (Rome's is still my absolute favorite, though). He is exactly how I pictured our little southern charmer to look like.
What I love about this series is it's heart. At first glance, these are not the type of characters that you would necessary root for. They're tough and a little rough around the edges. However, if you look beyond the colorful exteriors, they are everything you could want in a friend or lover. They are loyal, caring, self-sacrificing, protective, and sexy as hell. All of the characters in this series are so well developed and complex, that you can't help but fall head over heals for them.
Asa and Royal's story is no different. Their story is as much about self-love and forgiveness, as it is about two people finding their way to their own happy ending. Watching Asa and Royal learn to forgive and love themselves was so touching, and such an important message. People can change. They can make better choices and learn to do and be better. We don't have to be defined by our appearance or what others perceive us to be. This is what I learned from reading Asa and Royal's story.
Don't worry, there is still plenty of sexy time in the book, but for me, this book was so much more than just another NA novel. It's hard to put it into words, but it just felt like more. Maybe because it was the last, I don't know, but this story felt important to me. It wasn't just a book to be read and enjoyed, it was a book who's story was meant to crawl into your heart and take up residence, and it certainly did for me. I thought it was perfect. Asa and Royal are perfect. How this series ended was perfect. Book hugs all around!
I'm excited to get to know the new characters that Jay introduced that will be apart of the spin-off series, The Saints of Denver. It looks like the first book, Built, featuring Zeb and Sayer, will hit the shelves in January, 2016. I can't wait!