The New York Times and USA Today bestselling Marked Men series continues with this sizzling, sexy story of love, heartbreak, fate, and second chances.
After the only girl he ever loved told him that he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and set out to live up to his nickname. A good ol’ boy looking for good times and good friends, Rowdy refuses to take anything too seriously, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. Burned by love once, he isn’t going to let himself trust a woman again. But that’s before his new co-worker arrives, a ghost from the past who’s suddenly making him question every lesson he ever learned.
Salem Cruz grew up in house with too many rules and too little fun—a world of unhappiness she couldn’t wait to forget. But one nice thing from childhood has stayed with her; the memory of the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been head over heels in love with her little sister.
Now, fate and an old friend have brought her and Rowdy together, and Salem is determined to show him that once upon a time he picked the wrong sister. A mission that is working perfectly—until the one person that ties them together appears, threatening to tear them apart for good.
To say I am a huge fan of the Marked Man Series would be an understatement. I am positively in love with all the inked men and heroines of the series, especially Rule Archer. Rowdy has appeared in the previous books and there have been hints about his broken past. There was so much anticipation about what truly happened between he and the two Texas sisters. I could not wait to delve into his and Salem’s story.
“I never forgot you, Rowdy. I always took you with me wherever I ended up.”
As with all the previous books in this series, the story is told via dual POVs of Rowdy and Salem. This is hands down my favorite way to read and Jay does an amazing job with both characters. Because these two share a past, it is pertinent to see what each is truly thinking and feeling. Despite the lack of numerous flashbacks, I really felt their past connection to each other. Salem is amazing! I loved her sauciness but she also possessed a quite vulnerability. Of course, this Texas boy totally stole my heart. He is reserved in so many ways but sexy is so many others. I loved finally learning about his past and there are quite a few new surprises to balance it all out.
“Already been in your rearview once, Salem. I have no intention of ending up there again.”
This book is packed with tons of emotions, but it is also filled with scorching hotness. Salem and Rowdy have an amazing physical chemistry. Those piercings; let’s just say I did several Google searches. This may even be the sexist book of the series. I appreciate that Jay constantly changes things up with each couple to keep things new and fresh for the reader. I have loved each book in this series, but Rowdy is definitely my favorite since Rule! These characters continue to develop and Jay has created this amazing world.
There is a lot of interaction with previous Marked Men characters. It is one of the reasons I love this series; none of the couples ever leave the reader. Rule and Shaw fans will be giddy with excitement too! While Rowdy is considered a standalone, you do not want to miss the previous books in this series. I will be waiting impatiently for Asa’s book in spring of 2015. Jay gives us plenty of teasing for what is going to a phenomenal story of the criminal and the cop.
WHEN I PUT THE key he had given me in the door to his apartment it felt like the end of a long journey. Really it was only a little over twelve hours and I had stopped to nap once along the way, but it still felt like too long since I had seen his face or been able to touch all that toned and tattooed skin. Jimbo greeted me at the door when I pushed it open. His tongue lolled out of his mouth and he jumped up and put his paws on my legs. He was going to be huge when he finally grew into his fuzzy body and I was overwhelmed at how happy I was to see him. I dropped to my knees and rubbed my face in his neck as he licked me all over my face. I was obviously missed and I had to say it was just one more reason I knew I was finally where I was supposed to be. It was late, so the apartment was dark.
I checked the dog’s food and water, trying to be quiet in case Rowdy was already asleep. I was winding my way toward his bedroom when a haphazardly discarded sketch pad lying on the couch caught my eye in the dim light. I paused for a minute to pick it up and felt my heart stop and then start to race as I flipped through the first few pages. There were a couple of drawings that were obviously for clients, tattoos that hadn’t made it from paper to skin yet, but most of the pristine white pages were covered with images wearing my face. There was mermaid me, and naughty- sailor- girl me. There was sassy Indian girl me with long Pocahontas braids and there was sexy devil me standing next to angelic me. There were dozens of them all in different shapes and sizes, but every single image was undoubtedly modeled after my distinct look. I wasn’t sure if he had drawn them all over this last week while I had been gone or over the months we had been chasing each other in circles.
Either way it made my heart swell and the full certainty that I was it for him settle deep inside my bones. I set the pad down and tiptoed through the hall. Jimbo took one look at where I was going and huffed out a disgusted- sounding snort. The poor guy had learned early on that he wanted no part of what happened between his humans when they were together in the bedroom. The light was off and Rowdy was sprawled on his stomach across the covers. His blond hair was sticking up every- where and he hand one arm bent up under his head. The only thing that could have made the sight better would have been if he hadn’t bothered with the black boxers before crashing out.
Even with them obscuring the view, I couldn’t complain. I let out a breathless sigh and crept closer so that I could lean over and touch my lips to that anchor on the side of his neck. I felt his pulse leap and tasted the salt on his skin as he murmured sleepily and rolled over onto his back. Those infinitely blue eyes glowed at me in the dark as a grin pulled up the corner of his mouth.
And don’t miss the previous books in The Marked Men Series!
Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men series. She also introduced the dark and sexy world of The Point in a new series this last summer starting with BETTER WHEN HE’s BAD. 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.