His hand came up to cup my cheek and he whispered, “Cookie, pay attention. I’m gonna give you everything.”
Jagged is the fifth book in Kristen Ashley’s Colorado series. It is also the first book in the series to be under her publisher, with the other four previous books being self-published. For this installment in the series we are back in Gnaw Bone, a place our heroine calls home. This is a story of a roaming man, one who finally decides to set down roots and goes back to the one woman who made life “easy”.
Zara Cinders has spent her whole life in the small town of Gnaw Bone. Zara was not exactly raised in a loving home nor has she had an easy go at life. One person that stands out for Zara is Graham Reece. The pair met when Graham was in Gnaw Bone working at same bar as Zara. They developed a strong friendship which turned into something more. However, Graham was not the settling type. He lived his life traveling, working and never staying in one place for too long. Over a five year time span, Zara and Graham never quite lose touch and see each other from time to time rekindling the passion that is between them. This is all Graham is willing to give Zara. Even though Zara knows deep in her heart that Graham is the one man for her, she realizes that she needs more than he is willing to give. For the first time since the pair met, Zara is the one walking away from what her and Graham share.
Zara moves on with her life, gets married and then divorced. Circumstances lead her to touch base with Graham once again. When they see each other for the first time in quite a few years, sparks fly and not the good kind causing Graham to pick up and leave as quickly as he came. Zara’s life then goes from bad to worse as time passes once again. Just as Zara is at a new low, Graham is back in town and this time his intention is to stay and help Zara pick up the pieces of her life. Here comes the alpha to save the day. SIGH!
As Zara and Graham rekindle and attempt to restore the friendship they once had, it is not always smooth sailing. Zara harbors some hurt stemming from her past with Graham. However, Graham is determined to help Zara, be there for her and hopefully start something deeper and more meaningful than a friendship between the two of them. As they grow closer and their connection becomes more profound, Zara’s past with her family resurfaces causing huge secrets to be revealed. Graham now has the chance to prove to Zara that he will stand by her side, protect her and fight her battles with her. He has a chance to prove that he is finally willing to settle down and set down roots, something that he has not been willing to do for many years.
Kristen Ashley has once more written a gorgeous romance with a spirited heroine and a gruff and rough hero. I loved how strong Zara was. She endured a lot in her life and yet was able to move forward and make a life for herself. Also, when she finally realized that Graham would never be able to give her what she was searching for, she was strong enough to walk away and search out her dream elsewhere. That took a lot of courage and spunk. I do think that Graham is one of the rougher and more “jagged” heroes that KA has created. When we discover what occurred in his past to make him the way he was, it was very clear why he lived his life the way he did. It broke my heart. Zara always stayed true to who she was and when Graham finally awakens and realizes that he let a good thing go with Zara and decides to once and for all grasp what he has not wanted in so long, Zara finally gets her dream. She finally gets a life that she has been longing for and deserves.
I will state that I had a hard time deciding what to rate this book. If I am to compare it to many of the other books I read, it definitely stands out and is a five star read for me. However, when I compare Jagged to other books written by this author, there was simply something missing that made it fall a little short. This book is shorter in length than its predecessors in this series. This may be one of the reasons why I did not love it as much as the other books. I realize that the job of a publisher is to tweak a writer’s work and present it as a more polished finished piece. With this being said, I am not sure that by shortening the book length and trimming the signature KA rambling, descriptive and wordy writing style is the way to go. For me, the essence of all that is KA and one of the reasons that I fell completely in a crazy obsession with her books in the first place was due to her creating books with humorous and witty dialogue, amazing alpha heroes and wonderful heroines that give as good as they get. What makes her books memorable and unique is her descriptive accounts and wordy story-telling. Any attempt to curtail this and somehow present it in a more mainstream fashion takes away from all that is KA. KA books have always been like her heroes - a little gruff, rough around the edges and a little unpolished. That is how I like them! With all this being said, I do think that old school KA still shines through in this book, it is just in a more understated way.
Jagged is still an amazing book and it is still a Kristen Ashley book. I really did enjoy it. While I hope that in the future Kristen Ashley’s publisher allows more of her signature style to come forth in her books with more of a force than it was in this one, I am sure that anything she will write will be worth the read. At least it will be for me. I am a fan-girl and have been ever since I picked up my first book by this author. I will forever be a fan-girl.