In Kristen Ashley’s first anthology, readers will find three short stories and two novellas taking them back to characters and series in the Kristen Ashley universe.
No Clue , a short story – Visit with Joe and Vi from At Peace of The ’Burg series and learn how Joe breaks up a fight between his sons, what Ryker’s up to and why, exactly, his wife Violet has no clue.
The Stars Aligned , a novella – The long-awaited love story of Hap and Luci. Introduced in Heaven and Hell , readers learned, after a heartbreaking journey through grief, Luci was ready to take another chance at love. But Hap was adhering to “the code” between brothers, unwilling to betray his dead friend Travis by falling for Travis’s widow. Further, Hap can’t quite believe a beauty like Luci could fall for a normal guy like Hap. But for Luci and Hap the heart can’t be denied. Especially when the stars align.
The Favor , a short story – Deacon and Cassidy from Deacon of the Unfinished Hero series go back to their favorite cabin at Glacier Lily, and there, Cassie asks her husband a favor. He’ll give her anything she wants. Including this.
More Than Everything , a novella – Readers left Diesel, Maddox and Molly at a crossroads at the end of The Greatest Risk of the Honey series. Maddox and Molly were all in with their commitment to their unconventional love triangle. But Diesel was letting the pressures and prejudice of family and society sink under his skin, making him hold himself distant from the man he loved. Can Maddox and Molly lead Diesel fully into their lives and give him more than everything?
Rock Chick Renewal , a short story – Tod has been planning Rock Chick weddings for years. He’s got a new one on his hands. And it’s not what he expected.
“I loved him too.”
She shut her mouth.
“You know that. I miss him too. Not like you, I get that. But I just want you to know I feel that, for me, for you, and I’m there even if we’re like we are right now. I’m there when that hits you, however you need me to be.”
Luci stared at Hap’s profile unable to speak.
She would not be able to do that. If the shoe was on the other foot, he had lost a wife he adored and was moving on with Luci, but he continued to mourn his wife’s passing in his way, she would need him to do that inside himself. To hide that from her. She was too possessive. Too selfish. She knew that about herself, even if she didn’t like it. She’d want to be a bigger person, a better person, and she might be able to hide her feelings from him to give him what he needed, but it would hurt.
She’d never offer it, as Hap would say, straight out.
But he meant it.
He meant every word.
“I would not be able to do that for you,” she blurted.
He glanced at her before looking back at the road. “Sorry?”
“I would want to, but I would find it difficult to support you in that way.”
“Seein’ as that’s not the way it is, you don’t have anything to worry about,” he replied.
That was not the point.
She didn’t belabor the point.
Dio, but she loved him.
“May I ask you something?” she requested.
“Shoot,” he invited.
“If it was the other way around, not you losing a woman you loved, but if I’d found you first, not Travis, and I had lost you, how would you feel if Travis and I found each other?”
“I’d want you to be happy.”
Not a moment’s hesitation.
“Do you say that because you know how I was with Travis?” she pressed cautiously.
“I say that because I’d want you to be happy,” he repeated. Another glance to her before he looked back at the road. “Baby, why do you think I’m right here and you’re right there?”
Luci turned her eyes out the windshield but not her attention.
I’d want you to be happy.
Dear Lord, she was going to cry.
“Luce?” he called.
She swallowed and stated, “I would find it in me to support you through the loss of a woman you loved, however you needed me to support you.”
“Honey, look at me,” he urged, taking up her hand, pulling it to his thigh and holding it tight.
She looked to him and he must have felt it because he didn’t take his eyes off the road when he resumed speaking.
“That’s not where we are. As sweet as that is, we’ve got what we’ve got. That’s enough to deal with. There’s no point to this conversation because we are where we’re at and not anywhere else, and we got enough on our plates. It serves no purpose to take it anywhere else. You found Gordo. You lost Gordo. You want me. I’m right here. That’s where we are. Let’s just find our way through that minefield, yeah?”
You want me. I’m right here.
What did that mean?
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Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).
Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.
Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).
Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.
And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.
LOOSE ENDS is the first volume of a collection of short stories and novellas with which Kristen Ashley ties up, you guessed it, loose ends. Is this a must-read? Well. If you’re a big fan, definitely.
Let me give you a quick rundown what you receive when you get Loose Ends:
- NO CLUE – shorty from At Peace featuring Joe and Vi
- THE STARS ALIGNED – novella – Hap and Luci (from Heaven and Hell)
- THE FAVOR – shorty from Deacon featuring Deacon and Cassie
- MORE THAN EVERYTHING – Diesel, Maddox and Molly from The Greatest Risk
- TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT – Bonus story
- ROCK CHICK RENEWAL – MR. AND MR.– self-explanatory, featuring Tod, Stevie and their posse
A word about whether you can read these short stories and novellas as standalones: I didn’t read Heaven and Hell (although it’s sitting prettily on my Kindle – TIME!) and The Greatest Risk and I had mostly no problem understanding what I was reading. I wouldn’t say the same about the shorties because they are basically extended epilogues – which is why I didn’t read No Clue – I wanted to read AT PEACE via audiobook but didn’t like the narrator so I’ll read it the old fashioned way.
THE STARS ALIGNED – 4 Stars
I know some readers will be disappointed that Hap and Luci don’t get a full novel but you know that this is Kristen Ashley and her novellas are the length of other author’s full length books so let me tell you this is definitely a satisfying story.
Hap and Lucie were very sweet and while it took them some time to overcome obstacles and a little resistance from the outside I was happy with how this developed. I’m sure fans of Heaven and Hell who were waiting for Hap and Luci will be too!
MORE THAN EVERYTHING – 4 STARS
In More Than Everything we meet very unconventional lovers. Maddox and Diesel have been in a relationship for years and a couple of years ago Molly joined them. Along the way a rift opened between Maddox and Diesel which both of them don’t know how to overcome. Both D and Mad are looking for solutions out of their funk but the problem is that it’s not just a funk – it goes much much deeper.
I’m sure that people who read The Greatest Risk will have a much deeper experience than me because they know details which I don’t. Although I haven’t read the Honey series I enjoyed this story immensely. It’s full of raw emotions and angst. It’s also full of rough and kinky sex which I could take or leave but it did show the kind of relationship all the characters had – full of trust and love. I really loved the dynamic between Diesel and Maddox and Molly was an adorable character who helped the story move along. The length of this story notwithstanding (which is still 200+ pages) this novella has a deep and clear message about tolerance and how in the face of bigotry love always wins. I was wondering along the way whether Diesel’s sister would get her own story because she was a pretty damn awesome character. To find out, you’ll have to wait until you make it to the epilogue.
THE FAVOR contains some sweet and hot moments with Deacon and Cassie, a couple of years after DEACON ends. I love these little stories that let you catch up with your favorite characters and you definitely can with this shorty.
TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT is a bonus story that is so sweet and adorable I smiled all the way through it. It’s really only a couple of pages long but it’s delightful with its matchmaking fairies.
LOOSE ENDS is a lovely collection of stories that you definitely should have in your book collection. The bit-sized stories are short enough that you can squeeze them in between other books and will still leave you utterly satisfied. They are chock full with beautiful, heartfelt quotes, that are KA’s signature and will touch you deep as always.