Author: Jay Crownover
My rating: 4 hearts
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pub. date: October 21st 2014
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Synopsis: 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. (synopsis from Goodreads)
This may be my favourite in the series after Rome. I really loved Rowdy and Salem, and I liked their story. I also loved seeing how much both of them grew throughout the book.
Salem is awesome.
She grew up in a very religious family where she never fit in. She was a constant disappointment to her father, and he didn’t hesitate to let her know. He always treated her and her little sister, Poppy, really badly, so when she turned eighteen, Salem left the small town to live her own life. But she also left behind the guy she loved, her best friend Rowdy. Salem is independent and protective.
My heart broke for Rowdy.
His entire life, people has abandoned him. First his father abandoned him and his mother. Then when he was eight, his mother died. When his best friend Salem left, it left him alone. It really broke my heart to see how hard his life had been, and how he was still so deeply affected by it.
When Salem shows up at the new tattoo shop, Rowdy doesn’t really know what to make of it, and the feelings she wakes in him. He’s afraid to open up to her and to love after she left Loveless and him, afraid she’ll run again when things get rough. Salem is determined to show Rowdy that they’re meant to be, but when she finds out just how serious his feelings for Poppy was, she struggles with accepting it.
My heart broke for both of them, and I really needed them to be okay. Their fight against the past really touched me. They’re amazing together. They help each other move on from the scars their past has left and they really grow through the book, both as individuals and as a couple. Rowdy and Salem really came alive for me in that way that is so rare and amazing.
I really loved the story.
Of course, I loved Rowdy and Salem’s story, but I also loved seeing how things went for the rest of the crew. Some things were surprising, others weren’t, but my heart is really with this family of sorts, and I loved seeing them grow, as well.