Kristen Ashley

✮✮✮ 4 STARS ✮✮✮

When small-town Nebraska sheriff Hixon Drake meets Greta Dare, the connection couldn’t be stronger, but the timing couldn’t be worse.

Dealing with the fallout of a divorce he never wanted and setting up a new home for his kids, Hix becomes that guy, that one he never wanted to be, and puts a stop to things before they can even start. Protecting his kids and himself is his only priority.

Greta, on the other hand, has found the place for her and the brother she adores that’s perfect for them – a sleepy little town in Nebraska. She’s learned from life that there are no hopes and dreams. The only thing to look forward to is peace. And that’s what she works hard to build for herself and her brother. Right up until Hix walks into her life.

Hix can’t fight the pull and stay away from Greta for long. And Greta’s finding it hard not to hope for something more with all the promise that is Hix.

But when the first murder that’s happened in over five decades rocks his small, sleepy county, Hix has got to learn to trust again, convince Greta to take a shot with him, and at the same time catch a killer.

In other words, things are definitely…Complicated.

Whenever we get a new Kristen Ashley story I know what to expect. I’ve never been wrong so far and I’ve read more than half of her books. Admittedly, it can get boring but I’m not reading them back to back so it’s always a treat when I finally get around reading another one.

I listened to the audiobook of this story and I have to say, while the male narrator was fabulous I wasn’t a big fan of the female voice. It felt a bit over the top breathy, the voice acting wasn’t natural. At 75% I rolled my eyes – mind you, I only listen to audiobooks in the car so it takes me quite a while to get through one. Based on that I’d give this book three stars, however, since I’m in for the story I didn’t feel it was fair to go with a lower rating because of the narrators.

Hixon Drake is the usual alpha male but this time I was waiting for him to get his head out of his ass. He has just been divorced and after a one-night-stand, or what he thought it was, with Greta he just walked out like the jerk I was going to see for the first 30% of the book (and we know how long that can be in KA-terms). His  was selfish, aggressive and an all around asshole towards Greta. I was shouting at my car stereo, he annoyed the hell out of me. I admit he has a lot to deal with, still. However, he got his shit together and was amazing after that so I finally fell in love with him. He was sweet with his kids and I liked that he saw through the crap his ex-wife spouted. He also cared a great deal about the people he served and had a lot of common sense.

Greta Dare is a strong sweet woman who hasn’t had it easy in life. Her brother had a traumatic brain injury after their mother wrecked her car and even before that she’d been taking care of Andy. After her own divorce she works in a small town in Nebraska as a hair stylist and sings at a bar to earn some additional money.
When she meets Hix she feels that there is something special in the making…only to learn that it seemed one-sided when he walks out on her after their night together. And he walks out again on her after he meets Greta’s mother. Without talking to her. Without even letting her talk and listening to her. Gah, I was mad on her behalf.
Greta showed some major backbone there and I gave her a mental high-five. The way she treated her brother with kindness, patience and sweetness totally won me over and I loved her for the way she was with Hix’s kids.

Greta’s mother was a piece of work and I hated her from the get-go, however, Hixon’s children were wonderful – I especially loved Shaw. I would love to see his HEA. I also adored Greta’s brother Andy, who was perfect with his broken mind and body.
What attracted me to this story was the age of the main characters. You don’t get mature characters very often in popular books but KA has been known to do it and do it well.

Again, Kristen Ashley goes into elaborate detail about furniture or outfits at the most inappropriate times, killing the tension when she’d just started to build it up. I always get a little irritated when she does that. Her choice of pet names this time didn’t really do it for me ether. Gumdrop? Snuggle Bug? Smokey? Eh.

Despite all my niggles though it is a cute engaging story. I have no idea how KA does it but I keep coming back for more. This book will be released as ebook and paperback in November. I will definitely read that one again and see if it makes a difference.

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