What a tremendous treat this story has been! We’ve known of Daisy and Marcus Sloan for so long, it felt like we knew them already, but nothing could have prepared us for the heart-wrenching story Kristen Ashley was waiting to tell. Technically a novella, this book never short-changes its reader with its brevity—it sinks its hooks into our hearts very early on in the story, and amazes us page after page with its unexpected intensity, its well-rounded characters, and its unwavering focus on the growing emotional bond between them. With the author’s unique signature style ever-present in every single word, I was rapt cover to cover, delighting in being back in the Rock Chick ‘universe’, and stretching every moment as far as it would hold.
I was looking forward to the day when I could get a job and I could have money and I could use it for whatever I wanted. I wasn’t going to use it on smokes and booze, for certain. I wasn’t going to use it on fancy dresses or shoes or handbags either. I was going to keep my house like a good Southern woman would. My yard would be perfect. My house would be tidy. And there’d always be sweet tea and food in the fridge.
When nineteen-year-old Daisy got on a bus and left her old life behind with only two beat-up suitcases to her name, she was determined to use every lesson she’d ever been taught to make something out of her life. And even though life eventually led her to become a headline dancer at a strip club—her Dolly Parton-esque appearance and lithe figure drawing a crowd night after night—Daisy never lost sight of who she is, or her humble beginnings, working hard for everything she owned and doing so with confidence, grace, and class.
They saw a woman with big hair and big hooters with a Southern drawl, a way with eyeliner and a penchant for rhinestones, and they thought they knew me through and through.
From the moment Marcus Sloan sets eyes on Daisy, he is attracted and intrigued by the platinum haired beauty. Transfixed by her every move both on and off the stage, he begins to set the scene to claim her as his own, but while biding his time and waiting for the right moment to act, Daisy’s whole life changes in the blink of an eye.
I was finally getting it. Finally. They treated me like trash because that was what I was.
Losing all confidence in herself, and falling deeper and deeper into the kind of darkness that made her believe she deserved to be treated the way she had always been treated, the last thing on Daisy’s mind is letting a man into her life, especially one of the city’s most feared crime bosses. But Marcus is not a man who gives up easily, and he is willing to patiently wait for as long as it takes for Daisy to see him as he sees her—his everything.
“You know every step of your life was leading you right here. You’re the woman for me, which means, darling, I’m the man for you.”
All of Kristen Ashley’s heroes are impressive and inevitably ruin us for all other men, but she paints Marcus Sloan with such a complex palette of traits that it is impossible not to be fascinated by him. A dangerous and ruthless criminal who is also a kind, gentle, thoughtful lover, Marcus is a man whose past drove him to become who he is today, but it never changed what matters the most to him in life. Both Marcus and Daisy have done the best they could, given the lives they’ve led, and from the moment they meet, they recognise that in one another.
“I don’t judge. Life’s life and a person’s gotta do what they feel they gotta do to get along in it.”
“This is correct.”
“So I don’t care what you do or who you are.”
It’s been an absolute joy returning to this series. We not only finally got to read this couple’s story, but we also got to see the Hot Bunch and their fearless Rock Chicks once again. Touching yet deeply romantic in every possible way, this was the ‘cherry on top’ we never knew we needed, but will forever treasure for the true gift that it is.
“Who woulda thought, givin’ my heart, havin’ it broken, learnin’ to guard it, I’d learn something else one day. That bein’ the best way to keep it safe is to find a man who’d prove he could handle it with care and give it to him.”