This reformed antihero just wants someone to love him for who he is, and I couldn’t help but swoon over the vulnerability. The man needed a hug, and a little lightness in his life. I loved how perfectly these two complement each other – they’re both broken, with complicated pasts that leave them running scared of the connection that sparks between them. It’s instalove combined with instant terror, because they both have very good reasons for avoiding commitment. I kinda loved that the connection was never in question; it was everything else that got in this couple’s way. And there’s something insanely compelling about a big brute of a man showing his insecurities while opening his heart to love. Combined with some suspense and an unpredictable storyline, and this made for one compelling read.
The story follows Salem, a single mom who is running from her past. When her car breaks down and she meets a rugged stranger on the side of the road, Salem has no idea what’s in store for her. Jud may seem like a terrifying guy – and he openly admits to being no good – but he’s just what Salem needs in that moment. They both have reasons for fighting the attraction, but it soon becomes impossible to stay away. And the more Salem gets to know Jud, the more she sees the goodness that he believes is tarnished by his past. Neither one may be ready for love, but it’s coming for them anyways.
While Salem is a good heroine, it’s Jud who steals the show here. He’s tormented by his past, and vulnerable to hits against his heart. I loved that he was such a big teddy bear of a man; tattooed, tortured and tough, but so soft in the ways that matter. The chemistry was obvious right away, and it ignites in ways that make this a STEAMY and satisfying read. Jud and Salem felt like they were perfect for each other, though the vibe of the book remained angsty and tense throughout. They fight that connection and try to deny what’s in front of them, but it was obvious that their pasts are what will connect them in the future. Jackson’s lyrical writing added a layer of intrigue and mystery to this suspenseful story – the details of the past unravel slowly, and the style lends itself well to that. There are such interesting parallels in their lives, and I liked that certain things were repeated and reinforced. I’ll admit that the writing style sometimes left me a little confused. I’m sure some of that was intentional, but I’m also not sure if (SPOILER) technically both characters are still married to other people for the entire book? I kinda think so, but it’s never overtly acknowledged. I was completely okay with the scenario, but it may be an issue for some readers. There are also plenty of other triggers, so please be aware of that going in. It’s an angsty, steamy read that drew me right in and held my attention the whole way through.
Great on audio! With Joe Arden and Andi Arndt as narrators, you know you’re in for a good performance. It’s dual narration with plenty of emotion infused into every scene. I actually think the audio helps if you’re not a fan of the writing style, because it’s easy to get a feel for the vibe when you’re listening to the narrator. I switched back and forth between print and audio, with no trouble in either form. The runtime is 10ish hours, and this took me about that long to read – speeding up this kind of writing just doesn’t help with comprehension. I’m not sure that I’d recommend this as a workday listen though; the angsty, complex writing requires that you give it your full attention, and there are several steamy scenes scattered throughout. Still a great listen, and easy to read as a standalone.
From NYT and USA Today bestselling author A.L. Jackson comes a close proximity, single-parent stand-alone romance about a woman on the run and the man who will do anything to save her…
Jud Lawson found me stranded in the rain.
Broken down on the side of the road in a deserted neighborhood with my piece of crap car.
I wasn’t looking for a hero, and definitely not one who looks like him.
An obscenely hot, mountain-of-a-man who screams danger.
But I have little choice other than climbing onto the back of his bike.
One look at Salem Aguilar, and I’m hooked.
The girl is devastation wrapped in a black, seductive bow.
Turns out, she needs a job, and I need the help.
Now I have a vixen strutting around my shop, and I’m the fool who’s itching to reach out and take what he can’t have.
But neither of us can ignore the burning attraction.
The fire that leads to a kiss.
A kiss that has us falling into my bed.
The connection that has me wanting the one thing I’d never thought I could have again.
Because monsters like me don’t deserve love.
Only Salem has a secret, too.
She’s been running for years, and her past just caught up to us…
About the Author:
A.L. Jackson is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotional, sexy, heart-filled stories about boys who usually like to be a little bit bad.
Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, BLEEDING STARS, FIGHT FOR ME, CONFESSIONS OF THE HEART, FALLING STARS and REDEMPTION HILLS novels.
If she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the pool with her family, sipping cocktails with her friends, or of course with her nose buried in a book.
Be sure not to miss new releases and sales from A.L. Jackson – Sign up to receive her newsletter http://smarturl.it/NewsFromALJackson or text “aljackson” to 33222 to receive short but sweet updates on all the important news.
Connect with A.L.:
Reader Group: https://geni.us/AmysAngelsB
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