Whenever a Kristen Ashley book is about to come out, I am like a child in a candy store, greedy for it and desperate for my “KA fix”, but when that book also happens to be part of the Colorado Mountain series, well, we have a small emotional meltdown on our hands. I have re-read every single one of these books more times than I care to admit and finding out that the quiet but reliable Jacob Decker was getting his own book was a dream come true. In true Kristen Ashley style, this is a story of second chances at love, of best friends turning lovers, of people finding a home in one another. Every element of this writer’s signature writing style is present once again – a protective and nurturing alpha male, this one with a gentle Dominant streak, a fierce but emotionally vulnerable heroine, a passionate union of minds as well as bodies – all perfectly packaged into a delicious bundle of addictive fiction at its best.
“You think you’ve lost beauty, Jacob, but you didn’t. Just turn the dial.”
Jacob “Deck” Decker is a loner, a man who has not exclusively dated a woman for almost a decade, ever since the demise of his last failed relationship. But after one chance encounter with a blast from his past, Deck is reminded of the one who got away, of the only woman who has ever both challenged his mind as well as cared deeply for him – his ex’s best friend. Emme was his soul mate from the moment they met, their connection palpable to everyone around them, but their friendship ended the moment his relationship to her best friend came to a halt. Heartbroken and angry over the break-up, Deck had expelled Emme from his life, aware of her affections towards him, but unwilling to deal with them. Nine years later, they are back in each other’s lives, but a decade of distance has changed them both and put so many things in perspective.
“I missed you,” I whispered.
“How bad?” he whispered back.
“I wouldn’t allow myself to think about it, that bad.”
From the moment they meet again, the spark between them is re-ignited, reminding them both of how much they had once meant to one another and enjoyed each other’s company. But Emme is no longer the diamond in the rough Deck once knew, having blossomed into a confident and outspoken young woman, her independence and drive only making her even more irresistible in his eyes. Everything about her now draws him to her, feeding fantasises he never allowed himself to entertain before. It does not take long for their friendship to enter uncharted territory, but Emme is no longer the same woman Deck had left behind, ten years of loneliness and having to face the ups and downs of life on her own, coupled with a childhood trauma, having marked her deeply and made her emotionally disconnect from life. She fears loss above all else, so she skips through life never allowing anyone to get too close to her, preferring solitude over the pain of losing a loved one.
“I’m not a puzzle to figure out, Jacob.”
“You are, Emme, the most frustrating one I ever found and the one it’s most important to solve.”
But Jacob, being the alpha male who not only knows and goes after what he wants, but being also the only person in the world who understands Emme through and through, will not allow her to distance herself from him, seeing the beauty and uniqueness of their connection as something worth fighting for. With every dominant bone in his body.
“You love me but won’t let yourself have me. And, baby, I’m gonna figure out why. Fix what’s broke in you. Then turn my attention to givin’ you the best life I can for the rest of the time you’re on this earth breathin’.”
Every single Colorado Mountain instalment has been an intensely emotional and always truly unforgettable love story, and this last one did not disappoint. But while most other couples in this series had to fight to find their way to one another, Deck and Emme start their journey already caring deeply for each other, and their connection only grows as they let themselves embrace it. In so many ways, this story was quite a departure from Ms Ashley’s previous works in the series, but the fresh dynamic between these characters made me love this book even more. In this beautiful tale of friends becoming lovers, I once more fell head over heels in love with another epic Kristen Ashley romance, one that stayed with me long after I turned its last page.
“… I’d be alone, lost and alone forever, if I didn’t have you.”