5 "HUGE-ASS" Stars
Rome by Jay Crownover is the third book in her Marked Men series. I absolutely loved and adored the first book in this series, Rule. I liked Jet, the second installment in this series, well enough but not as much as book one. So to state that I had high expectations going into this book would be quite the understatement. I have come to expect amazing storytelling that is both captivating and compelling from this author. Well....holy crap on a cracker....Jay Crownover DELIVERED and she delivered HUGE. She has written an emotional and absorbing tale about taking a chance on love and taking the plunge into the unknown even though it all may be far from perfect.
We have gotten to know Cora Lewis in the previous two books as this feisty little powerhouse who works as the body piercer and receptionist at the tattoo shop where Rule and the boys also work. She is all sass and has a no-holds-barred kind of attitude. She loves her boys at the shop and is always there for them to set them straight and to also lend them love and support. Even though Cora may come across as this strong and independent female, she does have vulnerabilities that stem from a relationship gone wrong and a broken-heart that refuses to give up on the hope that one day Mr. Perfect will come along on his white horse glistening in the sun with all that shining armor. Well....ok....perhaps that is a bit melodramatic. However, our lovely Cora does have an ideal that she adheres to. She is determined to never settle again unless the man is absolute perfection. How far the mighty will fall when Mr. Broody, Pensive and Hunky comes into the picture and has her salivating.
Rome Archer is the eldest of the Archer brothers and has always taken on the role of protector. He protected his brothers at any cost. He protected his family. He went to war and, as the ultimate sacrifice, he protected his country. Rome has become this ultimate fighter and defender, a rock in the constant turmoil of life. Rome went off to war and after ten years of serving his country, he finds himself back into civilian life. He is lost. He is broken. He is suffering from the aftermath of all that he has experienced while on active duty as a soldier. He is also attempting to come to grips with the mayhem that is his family life. All of a sudden the one constant and steady man who has always been the steadfast pillar that everyone looked up to is wallowing in pain and trying to keep the demons at bay with a surly attitude and a bottle of vodka. Rome doesn’t seem to fit into the roles that he once effortlessly fulfilled. Everything seems to be going to hell in a hand-basket until a feisty and pixie-like punk rock version of Tinker Bell comes into Rome’s life full force completely catching him off guard and providing him with a plethora of color in his bleak, dull and gray life.
I can’t tell you how much I loved watching Cora’s and Rome’s love story come to life. They were both two very broken individuals; however, right from the start they have this intense connection which only grows and becomes more amplified as the pair seek out and explore this bond they share. Cora was exactly who Rome needed to snap him out of his stupor and help him realize that he has so much to live for. She breathed life back into him and gave him a reason to fight his demons. Cora was so focused on finding Mr. Perfect that it took Rome barging into her life for the realization to come to the surface that sometimes it is our imperfections that make a relationship real and beautiful.
One of my complaints about Jet (book two) was that I felt that there was simply too much angst and it became annoying and cumbersome at some points. While this book is not without some drama, Rome and Cora’s relationship felt very real and heartfelt. I couldn’t help but fall completely in love with Rome. Here is a man desperately broken and wallowing in so much guilt. But when it came to the heart of the matter, Rome was man enough to admit when he was wrong and he was strong enough be vividly open about his feelings for Cora. Damn, did Rome ever melt my heart and panties! All that raw maleness was enough to make any ladies’ ovaries stand up at attention and salute!
I also loved Cora. When starting this book I was unsure how I would feel about Cora as in the first two books she had quite the abrasive and outgoing personality. This did not change in this book by the way. I was unsure how her strong personality would play out and was worried that I would find her to be simply too much. I was so wrong. Cora was amazing. I loved her strength and how she was there to help Rome deal with all that was haunting him. She is strength all wrapped up in this small package and she definitely proved just how right she was for the oldest Archer brother. You would think that a straight-laced ex-soldier suffering from PTSD would not be the perfect match for a tatted up, pierced and colorful bundle of energy, but somehow their differences are what made them work so well. Cora had some hurdles of her own to overcome but I loved watching both her and Rome strive for a happy forever. They push forward and fight against all that is holding them back and what you get is some heat-filled and steamy moments, raw and powerful lust, tender and heart-melting moments and pure unadulterated love. Sigh!
I have to share some of my favorite quotes from this book:
“...whatever blanket of despair he had wrapped himself up in, it was thick and it was fibrous and I could almost feel the weight of it suffocating him.”
“Don’t be scared Captain-No-Fun, we got this.”
“And right now, being with you is the one thing that feels solid and real…You’re so full of color, so vibrant you never get lost in all the gray in my head. I don’t want to lose that.”
“I can’t be perfect for you, but I can be someone you rely on, someone you want to keep around even though it isn’t always going to be easy.”
“This” – I put my hand over his heart and made sure he could feel me squeeze him from the inside – “is as perfect as it gets. You’re my guy, no one else does to me or for me what you do, and that’s all there is to it. I didn’t know what perfect meant until you.”
“You’re my family, my everything, Rome, you have to know that.”
“You were right, you are perfect for me because I’m just as imperfect as you are, but with you, it’s all just flawless.”
Seriously, if the above does not make your heart get all fluttery and gooey, there is no hope for you. *wink, wink*
All in all, Rome was absolute perfection and encompassed everything that I have come to love about Jay Crownover’s writing. Not only are we given a beautiful and wonderfully written romance about Rome and Cora, but we also get to catch up with Rule and Shaw, Jet and Ayden and all the other characters that hold my heart in this series. Some of my favorite parts in this book were the heart to heart talks between Rome and Rule. There is no denying that the Archer brothers share a deep brotherly bond as well as share the ability to disintegrate all panties with one look. Before starting this book, I admit that Rule owned my heart full stop. However, I now have to add Rome into the equation. This book made me feel. It made me swoon. I got caught up and swept away with the story-telling. Those darn Archer men have got their grips into me and I love it! It is Nash’s book up next and Jay Crownover does an awesome job setting the next book in the series up. Now the countdown begins. I can’t wait for more.
An advanced reading copy of Rome by Jay Crownover was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.