The Gamble, Sweet Dreams, Lady Luck, Breathe - to read before starting Jagged. I wasn't sure what to expect from this series and have to confess I still have Ashley's Rock Chick on my TBR shelf. I do do want to read it, having bought Rock Chick when it was first released, but have found myself putting it off, but have collected all eight.
Well, if they are anything like Ashley's Colorado Mountain series, I'm not going to be waiting for long. I'm really glad I read these books sequentially, even though I probably didn't have to for Jagged. The background helped me understand the characters and the Colorado Mountain towns Ashley has envisioned. Gnaw Bone, featured in Gamble (the first novel) and Jagged, is a popular tourist and second home destination, but the locals are who make it home and real. Carnal, featured in books two, three, and four, is a biker town that has suffered serial killers and corruption at the highest levels. They're rather a contrast as are the characters, but all feature Ashley's keen ability to see deeply into motivations and desires.
Jagged focuses on Zara Cinders, first seen in Gamble, a shop keeper who is now down on her luck, and Graham "Ham" Reece. Ham was Zara's true love, but she seemed little more to him that a permanent friends with benefits to him - as he had other friends as he kept traveling through his life tending bar from town to town. When she tired of this and looked for something more permanent, their friendship seemed as irretrievably broken their relationship.
Following Ham's own up close experience with a killer three years later, they reconnect, but not in a good way and it's hard to say where Ashley will be heading with these two very damaged souls. Fitting the jagged edges of their souls and hearts together might seem impossible, but if anyone can convey this, I had confidence it would be Ashley after experiencing the first four books of her series.
For me, it was hard to gather sympathy at first for Ham, who seemed a little more than an attractive, rough around the edges player. Sure a nice guy, but really, how could Zara keep letting him come back and destroy her little by little as he kept walking away to someone else...and if he really cared wouldn't he see that? I had an eduction in possible motivation for a player's actions while reading this and found myself caring about him as well.
There's so much more, but unlike the other four books there are no guns or kidnappings, but don't worry there is still plenty of tension, hot sex, romance, and a few cliffhangers. I'm looking forward to reading more in this series and hope at some time Ashley will return to Carnal and Deck's story.
From the Publisher
Colorado Mountain Series Book 5
Jagged by Kristen Ashley
Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
(Publish date: 5 November 2013)
An old flame rekindled . . .
Zara Cinders always knew Ham Reece was the one, but he wasn't interested in settling down. When she found someone who was, Ham walked out of her life. Three years later, Zara's lost her business, her marriage, and she's barely getting by in a tiny apartment on the wrong side of the tracks. As soon as Ham hears about Zara's plight, he's on her doorstep offering her a lifeline. Now, it will take every ounce of will power she possesses to resist all that he offers.
Ham was always a traveling man, never one to settle down in one town, with one woman, for more time than absolutely necessary. But Ham's faced his own demons, and he's learned a lot. About himself, and about the life he knows he's meant to live. So when he hears that Zara's having a rough time, he wants to be the one to help. In fact, he wants to do more than that for Zara. A lot more. But first, he must prove to Zara that he's a changed man.