From the New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes the next installment in the Saints of Denver series.
Everyone else in Dixie Carmichael’s life has made falling in love look easy, and now she is ready for her own chance at some of that happily ever after. Which means she’s done pining for the moody, silent former soldier who works with her at the bar that’s become her home away from home. Nope. No more chasing the hot as heck thundercloud of a man and no more waiting for Mr. Right to find her; she’s going hunting for him…even if she knows her heart is stuck on its stupid infatuation with Dash Churchill.
Denver has always been just a pit stop for Church on his way back to rural Mississippi. It was supposed to be simple, uneventful, but nothing could have prepared him for the bubbly, bouncy redhead with doe eyes and endless curves. Now he knows it’s time to get out of Denver, fast. For a man used to living in the shadows, the idea of spending his days in the sun is nothing short of terrifying.
When Dixie and Church find themselves caught up in a homecoming overshadowed with lies and danger, Dixie realizes that while falling in love is easy, loving takes a whole lot more work…especially when Mr. Right thinks he’s all wrong for you.
Jay Crownover’s damaged alphas are some of my favorite heroes because even though they are the ultimate badasses, fighting for everything that they’ve earned, they love with an equal intensity and those individuals who are lucky enough to feel that emotion from these broody and broken men can consider themselves blessed with an unwavering and powerful connection.
Some readers may not agree, but in my opinion, Riveted is 100% Church’s story; in a way, it’s his reawakening…it’s his final battle against the darkness of his past – one that he can’t fight alone, which is why Dixie plays such a pivotal role in his storyline. But while Dixie is the catalyst for Church’s resurrection and reconnection to his family, her part of the story is shown through Church’s enlightenment…through the way just being her proves to Church that she might just be worth the loss that could come from claiming her. It’s not that Dixie’s voice and actions aren’t integral to moving the plot forward because they most definitely are, and I absolutely adore how Jay wrote Dixie’s character and consistently illustrated Dixie’s silver lining attitude and her ability to bring light to every darkened situation, but she’s not the one who needed to change…she’s not the one who was lost in the dark due to uncontrollable events – that’s all Church, so while Dixie’s sunny disposition and always smiling demeanor shines through on every page in Riveted, the story’s focus is on the prodigal son’s homecoming…on Church’s ability to mend fences with those who have always been important to him despite his distance and lack of contact, and let me tell you when Church returns home and allows Jules, Dalen, and Elma Mae to open his heart again and to fight through the fear of loss in order to see what’s standing right in front of him, the Church readers are introduced to is much like the one in Colorado, but there’s the added bonus of witnessing Church’s whole demeanor light up and realize that he may not think he’s the right man for Dixie, but she sure as hell is the right woman for him, which gives Dixie a way to penetrate Church’s walls and show him with her body, her words, and her soul that he deserves just as much happiness as she does, and she’ll do just about anything to make that happen.
Riveted is definitely different from the previous books in the Saints of Denver series, but that’s what I loved most about it. It was easy to tell when Church arrived on the scene and took the job at Rome’s bar that it wasn’t permanent…that he was only passing through, biding his time for the real battle he was going to have to face back home, and the way Jay explained Dixie’s connection to Church and her views on finding her “right one” also allowed Dixie’s decisions to make perfect sense despite readers’ fears that it would not end up the way Dixie wanted it to from the very beginning.
The Deep South is much different than Denver, Colorado, and Jay does a fantastic job of exposing those differences and the reasons behind the small-mindedness of its citizens; these prejudicial circumstances definitely needed to be mentioned and explored because it illustrates the type of environment that surrounded Church growing up and what still exist in contemporary society.
Dixie Carmichael was the only woman who could bring sunshine into Church’s darkness and deal with the broody badass and his emotional shrapnel long enough to prove Church’s view of himself is nonsense and that his fear to love due to the losses he’s already experienced is depriving him of living a full life and giving the people who love him back the boy he was and should have remained despite the grief that overtook him.
A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
4.5 Poison Apples
She kissed me.
Her lips touched mine and she destroyed me. This tiny ray of light that seemed determined to chase the darkness inside of me away unraveled me with nothing more than the brush of her very soft lips against mine.
I should’ve pulled away, either that or gone all in. The attraction between us was only going to end one way, with me inside of her as we scorched through one another, so a real kiss with tongues and teeth and grabbing hands was inevitable, especially if she was holding the door wide open in invitation. I was already struggling with the friend thing and this wasn’t helping at all. I stood there, holding her, feeling her as she rubbed her mouth over mine, the barest hint of pressure as she took a taste, as she feathered her lips against mine like she was trying to memorize the shape, the feel, the flavor of them. It was the singularly softest touch I’d ever experienced and yet it had the power to make my knees weak and my blood pop with a desire so sharp it felt like it could pierce right through my skin.
Her hand cradled my jaw, her fingers shaking with some of the same things I was feeling. This thing that lived between us was hungry and tired of being ignored. It buzzed around us, electric and hot, refusing to be cooled by the chill in the night air that surrounded us. If we weren’t careful the passion that was hungry and needy between us would consume us, devour us, and leave us nothing more than hollow husks filled with fading satisfaction and jagged disenchantment because no matter how good we were together it couldn’t and wouldn’t last. I didn’t want any part of me to be responsible for burning her out. I liked that her light chased my shadows away and that meant I wasn’t going to have any kind of hand in dimming her internal glow.
Her breasts pressed into the center of my chest as she leaned more fully into me and I could feel the pointed peaks of her nipples stab into my skin. The sensation made my dick twitch behind my zipper and had all the available blood that was still above my belt rushing south. I’d always liked the way Dixie was built. She was on the shorter side, but every single part of her small frame was curved and lush. She looked like a woman that you could grab ahold of without having to watch yourself. She was delicate but in no way did she come across as fragile or breakable. She looked like she could take everything I had to give her, all the pent-up longing, all the nights of frustration I spent hard and alone, all the denied hunger that made me want to eat her up and then go back for seconds and thirds because I knew there was no way I was going to have my fill of her honeyed lips and velvety skin in one go.
There was so much of her to experience, and I wanted to know what all of it felt like, tasted like, sounded like. I wanted to watch her come from every possible position I could get her in, and then I wanted to find some new ones, ones no man had ever had her in before, and watch her come in those, too. Because I knew once I got her she would let me have her in ways she hadn’t let anyone else. Her eyes, so pretty and dark, made me all kids of promises, and I wanted to take her up on every single one of them. But there wasn’t anything I could promise in return, and that always kept me from crossing the invisible line.
She ran the tip of her nose along the edge of my jaw and that little nuzzle made my entire body shudder. She had the ability to bring down all the walls I’d so carefully built up around us in order to keep both of us safe. She didn’t have any clue the kind of damage I could do if I ignored all the warning bells ringing loudly in the back of my mind. I knew the ways in which I could wreck the women in my life that I cared about and there was no way on God’s green and often unforgiving Earth that I would subject her to that. I barely survived the loss of the last woman I loved. I knew if I let Dixie sneak her way inside my heart and something happened to her there would be nothing left of me. There wouldn’t be anyplace left for me to run.
About Jay Crownover
Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, The Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.