The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Starting over in Denver
with a whole new circle of friends and family, Asa Cross struggles with
being the man he knows everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he
really is. A leopard doesn’t it change its spots and Asa has always been
a predator. He doesn’t want to hurt those who love and rely on him,
especially one luscious arresting cop who suddenly seems to be
interested in him for far more than his penchant for breaking the law.
But letting go of old habits is hard, and it’s easy to hit bottom when
it’s the place you know best.
Royal Hastings is quickly learning
what the bottom looks like after a tragic situation at work threatens
not only her career but her partner’s life. As a woman who has only ever
had a few real friends she’s trying to muddle through her confusion and
devastation all alone. Except she can’t stop thinking about the sexy
southern bartender she locked up. Crushing on Asa is the last thing she
needs but his allure is too strong to resist. His long criminal record
can only hurt her already shaky career and chasing after a guy who has
no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak.
longtime criminal and a cop together just seems so wrong . . . but for
Asa and Royal, being wrong together is the only right choice to make.
It's no secret that I love these boys. Crownover has had me hooked since Rule, and hasn't let me go. So, to say that I was super excited for Asa is an understatement. While this may not have been my favorite book of the series, it still held that fire and sass that the Marked Men are known for, and I gobbled up every sentence.
We first met Asa way back in book 2, Jet. And not going to lie, there wasn't a whole lot that was likeable about him. He's an ex-criminal with a rap sheet that could probably cover the state of Texas. He's a con man, a thief, and a liar...or actually he was. A near death experience has Asa rethinking his lifestyle, not to mention, he wants to make up his past mistakes to his sister. Since working for Rome at The Bar, Asa has seemed to turn his life around. At least that's how it looks to everyone else, but to Asa himself, his past will always define him. He's no good, and he's definitely not good enough for that redheaded cop who keeps propositioning him.
Being a cop is all Royal has ever known. When her partner and best friend is injured on the
job, Royal starts to question how good of a cop she actually is, and more importantly, if this is what she should be doing with her life. On a path of self-destruction, Royal sets her sights on Asa. That southern charmer has always been on her mind, but deep down, she knew she should stay away. But now, she doesn't care and she wants Asa.
We tasted like sex and always.
I loved these two together. They were both a mess and both so full of self-loathing, but with each other, they were safe and free. Asa was used to charming the pants of women, but with Royal, he was determined to keep her pants on, so to speak. He fought his own want because of his hatred of himself. Meanwhile, Royal hated herself so much that she just wanted to feel something other than regret. With Asa, she felt everything - good and bad. She also didn't take his shit and constantly called him out. When Asa finally gives in, he gives in believing he'll tear her up but in reality, she's the one owning him.
My only hitch with this one was that it didn't seem to have the same vibe as the rest. Not that it was a bad thing, but compared to the other books, this one just felt...off. I think it's because Asa was an outsider. He wasn't part of the tattoo crew, and while he was around from almost the beginning, it was more like he was looking through the windows instead of being an active participant. I also think that the lack of the other guys threw me. The Marked Men series has always seemed to be rooted in the friendships of these guys and that just wasn't present here. Most of the story was just Asa by himself. I missed the camaraderie of the gang.
This series will remain one of my favorites. Each boy has a special place in my heart and I can see myself going back to them multiple times. Crownover's writing style is so real and the characters so vivid. These boys were so alive and jumped off of the page demanding to tell their story. The series wrapped up perfectly with us knowing where each boy lies. And that last paragraph...perfection. Can't wait for the spin-off series!