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REVIEW - Better When He's Bold

Better When He's Bold - Jay Crownover
5 "Fortune Favors The Bold" Stars!

“We’re all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” ~Oscar Wilde


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Better When He’s Bold is book two in Jay Crownover’s Welcome to the Point series. This author has once again managed to weave an enticing tale about an anti-hero from the right side of the tracks but he has ended up on the wrong side. He lives a hard and fast life in a dark and criminal world and makes no excuses for the choices he has made. He’s immersed himself in this underground world fully understanding that someone has to take the reins and run with it. So what happens when a girl who seems to have it all falls for the bad boy, one on the verge of running a criminal empire?


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“In a place like this, there aren’t many good people running around. That means that there are a lot of bad things happening under the surface and a lot of bad people doing those things. I’m not a bad guy, Brysen, but I’m not a good guy either. I’m just enough of both to keep a handle on those bad things to stop them from spilling over and infecting the few good ones left in this godforsaken place. That’s why I do what I do.”

Race Hartman is now calling the shots in The Point, the fictitious inner city Jay Crownover has concocted. A dark, grim and hopeless place full of people who have had to make some very hard choices. It is survival of the fittest, the fastest and the smartest. Race is someone who has fully submerged himself in this society – running numbers, operating illegal gambling houses and chop shops and settling into a fragile truce with Nassir, another ruthless individual wanting to rule it all. There can only be one kingpin of this broken kingdom and Race wants the title. He may not walk along the straight and narrow but he believes he is the right man to take control of the chaos and prevent complete annihilation and devastation. Race may have to dip into questionable moral gray areas and deal with the underbelly of society, but he is just bold enough to walk along the fine line of right and wrong.


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“Race wasn’t just a bad guy, a criminal, he was the bad guy.”

*****

“I liked Race; that wasn’t the problem. I hated everything that came with him, and I just didn’t know that I could separate the two.”

Brysen Carter has secretly harbored a crush on her best friend’s older brother for some time; however, just because Race is a feast on the eyes and has enough charisma and male raw beauty to attract the world’s female population doesn’t mean she wants to get close enough to his golden aura. Brysen is not disillusioned when it comes to Race. He may be pretty to look at but he is also dangerous and Brysen has enough worries in her complicated life without adding in this gorgeous King of a tainted and violent kingdom. Brysen’s family life is in shambles. She has moved back home hoping to keep things from completely falling apart. After all, someone has to step in for her younger sister when it seems her parents are too selfish and too screwed up to care. With college classes, a job and a messed up home life, Brysen is barely staying above water. Getting involved with someone like Race would only lead to her drowning.

When Brysen starts receiving threatening texts and other incidents occur that indicate that she is somehow in danger, the one person who steps in to help her is the one person she should be staying far away from. Brysen find it hard to resist the alluring bad boy. She can’t help but want more of Race, especially when he goes out of his way to become her white knight willing to whisk her away to a world of safety and sensual pleasure. Race is equally as enthralled with the blonde beauty. He can’t help but admire her resilience and strength when it comes to taking care of her sister. Race is determined to keep her safe and hopefully find his way into her heart. His kingdom does need a queen after all.


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“Having something to lose like her love….it was a huge motivation to make sure I kept the parts of me that were still Race intact. With her I didn’t have to be Race the bookie, Race the loan shark, Race the enforcer, I just got to be a regular guy concerned with making a regular girl happy.”

*****

“Are we falling in love, Bry?”

She laughed and again pulled away from me. “Probably. Why wouldn’t we? Life is a mess, I have someone trying to kill me, and you’re right in the thick of a war on the city. What better conditions could you think of to fall in love?”

*****

"Bax was willing to watch the city burn and eat itself alive for Dovie. I wanted the opposite. I wanted to build it up, give it legs, make it a place that could stand tall and proud."

Matters progress into the complicated realm between Race and Brysen. There is no hiding the fact that Race can be ruthless and deadly if he has to be and he is not about to transform into the “good guy” professing his undying love for the heroine promising to leave his criminal ways behind him all for the throes of passionate love. But at the crux of it all is the fact that Brysen sees him for exactly who he is and she accepts him. She sees the honorable side of him, the side that wants to make a difference. There is no “good girl who changes the bad boy for the better” story arc here. Brysen embraces Race and simply understands that he is a man that lives by his own rules and has formed his own moral compass along the way. Despite the dark world that threatens to consume them both, Race is her knight in shining armor. Brysen is as tough and she has just enough sass and strength to stand together with Race and hold her own. She just needs to learn the ins and outs of The Point. In the midst of all the chaos and danger, can Brysen and Race stand strong and beat the odds?

Better When He’s Bold is one of those books that hooked me in, sucker-punched me, and had me completely enthralled. This shadowy underground world that Jay Crownover has created is complex, raw, gritty and unquestionably riveting. I am whole-heartedly addicted and am now anxiously awaiting the next book which is about Titus, Bax’s older brother. Bring it!


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