Asa (Marked Men #6)
by Jay Crownover
Publisher - HarperCollins
Release Date - April 21st 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository
Jay Crownover’s New York Times and USA Today bestselling Marked Men series continues with the much anticipated story of southern charmer and certified criminal Asa Cross.
Starting over in Denver with a whole new circle of friends and family, Asa Cross struggles with being the man he knows everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he really is. A leopard doesn’t it change its spots and Asa has always been a predator. He doesn’t want to hurt those who love and rely on him, especially one luscious arresting cop who suddenly seems to be interested in him for far more than his penchant for breaking the law. But letting go of old habits is hard, and it’s easy to hit bottom when it’s the place you know best.
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.
By now you all know how much I love this series. Starting in the middle of the series was probably one of my best decisions when it came to the Marked Men. Shortly after reading authors by the likes of E L James, Sylvia Day and Cora Carmack, I needed a new NA fix and this has quenched my fantasies and hot tattooed men since...now it is sadly time for the Marked Men to draw to close, closing off with a character with far more bad in his life than good... Asa Cross.
Asa Cross, hasn't had the best start in life, far from it. In and out of trouble, Asa essentially was a con artist in his youth and looking for a way in to get the most dosh. He would use his body and his whits to get what we wanted. He wasn't a nice person that's for sure and one I hoped that side of him wouldn't return in his story. When Asa came out of a coma not too long ago, he thought it was his time and he could finally leave people that he has hurt the most, especially his sister Ayden. But clearly someone had other intentions and now he feels that is living his life in repentance. Ever since then, people, his friends, his boss have been giving him a chance to live that life that he should deserve, even though he won't take it.
We first meet Asa in Rome, he is hired as a bartender to help out in the bar. Since then he has tried to keep himself straight, for his sister but also to show Rome what he can really achieve. Asa is trying to prove himself. But also create himself a life within the Marked Men family. Asa is a stubborn git and you can't deny that sometimes that is a attractive quality in Jay's style of writing. Sometimes I felt that he has suffered a lot, but then I felt he deserved it at the same time. I want to feel for Asa and the majority of the time of the novel I did. I think it was the undercurrent of uncertainty and the darkness that surrounds him that I questioned that. In a way though I can understand him a lot more that way too. Asa is so much more than his past, and it was about bloody time he realised it because he is a swell guy, he is caring, courageous, he is a savour. He sees right through people and he wants to save them, including a red headed cop, Royal Hastings.
Royal Hastings certainly has a unique personality and being a cop she is undoubtedly a bad-ass in this book. She is fun, a bit bonkers but she fast becomes a character that you learn to really love. Royal has some issues to deal with herself. Royal's police partner, became seriously injured in a shoot out and if it wasn't for her, taking the shooter down, then he wouldn't be alive. But her partner, also happens to be her best friend and she thinks she failed him. Whilst I can understand what a horrific ordeal she went through, at times I felt that she was being just a bit too selfish for her own good. Royal's issues boil down to the fact that she has always followed her partner to the police academy and never done anything for herself. She needed to stand on her own two feet and that is what she was certainly doing to get one southern bartender interested in her.
Royal has a history with Asa, she arrested him and she knows how bad he is. But that doesn't stop the resistance she has towards him. She knows he can change. Finally when she believes in someone whether they have a record or not, thankfully this time she doesn't let it stop here. Undoubtedly together, they are passionate, addicted to each and so very very right for each other. Two damaged people together as one. The downfall in their relationship was that Asa really didn't give himself a chance and he was pushing Royal away constantly, it actually became a little tedious in places, I'll admit. But issues aside, they both gave themselves something they haven't ever found in a long time, commitment, love and a fiery passion that will never burn out.
In most of Jay's novels, that's the message in all her Marked Men, it doesn't matter if you have a flaw in you, you are beautiful in your own way and that is what we fall for. Asa is the last book in the series so Jay had to tie up the men's stories in one neat bow. It was beautiful to see that it wasn't always focused on the two main characters but on continuing the lives of her previous prodigies, we see some get married, some having a family. Giving each of them a happily ever after. This series has grown strength to strength in each man she has explored with their pasts and their futures but you will be glad to know that there will be a spin-off series focusing more on the secondary characters of each of the novels. So technically it may be the end of the Marked Men series, but a start for another family to begin their journey in The Saint of Denver.
Rating - 4