Release Date: October 21, 2014
After the only girl he ever loved told him he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and decided he was going to do everything in his power to live up to his nickname. Life was all about a good time, good friends and never taking much too seriously. Rowdy learned his lesson early on, when you care that much about anything it can destroy you, and he never wants to risk feeling like that again. Only now he has a new coworker, a ghost from the past who’s making him question every lesson he ever learned.
Salem Cruz grew up in a house with too many rules, too many regulations, and no fun allowed. That never worked for her so she left it all behind as soon as she could, but she never forgot the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been in love with her little sister. Fate and good intentions from an old friend have placed her right in Rowdy’s path and she’s determined to show him he picked the wrong sister all those years ago. A mission that is going along perfectly until the one person that ties them together shows up and could very well tear them back.
“I always thought it was the firsts that matter, but now I know it’s the lasts that stay with you.”
Finally! Finally I get to Rowdy’s book. I had an inkling early on that Rowdy would be my boy, and damn, I was not wrong. There was just something about him that hooked me, even though I couldn’t place it. His blue eyes and pompadour just hooked me. And now…now I’m gone.
In previous books in this series, Rowdy St. James comes across as being the carefree one. He’s the one who just rolls with the punches, always looking for a good time. It just seemed like nothing could rattle him. That is until Salem Cruz walks in. Not much was known about Rowdy except that he was in love once in his past and when that ended, he basically just decided that love was too much of an effort. It was something he didn’t need in his life. But it wasn’t Salem that made Rowdy swore off love; it was her little sister, Poppy.
Salem may not have been the one who turned him off of love back in the day, but she did break his heart. When she was younger, she and Rowdy formed an unlikely friendship. Along with Poppy, the three of them grew fiercely close. However, living under the harsh rule of her father proved to be too much and Salem left town as soon as she could. Leaving Rowdy in the dust. But she never forgot him. And when a job opens up in the Marked business, Salem packs up her life and heads to Colorado, completely unprepared for the welcome she receives.
While I was worried about the storyline going in – boy loves one sister, gets dumped, falls in love with the other – I should have known just to trust Crownover. This was more than a classic love story, this was about accepting and facing the past and coming out stronger on the other side. Rowdy’s been running this whole time from the pain inflicted upon him by Poppy, and when Salem shows up, he not only has to face that but also Salem’s betrayal.
I was a little iffy on Salem in the beginning. She just came in, guns blazing, and basically gave Rowdy no room to process and then she was upset when he didn’t welcome her with open arms. But the more we got to know her, the more I warmed up to her. She didn’t end up being my favorite girl in the series, and honestly I’m not sure that I completely love her with Rowdy, but I did come to appreciate her strength and how much she cared for those around her. And her puppy was just adorable.
Then there was Rowdy.
All of these boys are broken in their own way and I love how each story is so different from the others. None of them overshadow each other and I still care about the other guys when they show up. But it’s Rowdy’s vulnerability and overall sweetness that won me. I loved watching him struggle with understanding the different feelings he felt for both sisters in the past. While he puts on this ‘bad boy’ front, he is more like a lost little boy just waiting for everyone to leave him and I wanted to hug him. So much was thrown at him here- more than just the arrival of Salem- that my heart constantly ached for him.
All in all, I believe that Rowdy is my favorite book of the series and definitely my favorite boy. I look forward to whatever else Crownover has in store for these boys especially based on the little hints that were dropped in this book. I can’t wait!