Title: Rowdy (Marked Men #5)
Author: Jay Crownover
Genre: New Adult
Publication Date: October 21 2014
♥ Synopsis ♥
The New York Times and USA Today bestselling Marked Men series continues with this sizzling, sexy story of love, heartbreak, fate, and second chances.
After the only girl he ever loved told him that he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and set out to live up to his nickname. A good ol’ boy looking for good times and good friends, Rowdy refuses to take anything too seriously, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. Burned by love once, he isn’t going to let himself trust a woman again. But that’s before his new co-worker arrives, a ghost from the past who’s suddenly making him question every lesson he ever learned.
Salem Cruz grew up in house with too many rules and too little fun—a world of unhappiness she couldn’t wait to forget. But one nice thing from childhood has stayed with her; the memory of the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been head over heels in love with her little sister.
Now, fate and an old friend have brought her and Rowdy together, and Salem is determined to show him that once upon a time he picked the wrong sister. A mission that is working perfectly—until the one person that ties them together appears, threatening to tear them apart for good.
♥ Lisa’s Review ♥
Rowdy is book five in Jay Crownover’s Marked Men series. I am a hardcore fan of this series and therefore am always anticipating the next book. All the Marked boys have woven their way into my heart and I have come to love their “merry band of misfits” wholeheartedly. This author definitely delivered when it came to the execution of this book. The storyline is both sad and sweet, dealing with coming to grips with the past and beautifully intertwining it with a tender romance. It’s about letting go and embracing life because if you are able to grab hold of that second chance, you may just find a once in a lifetime kind of love….a love that may have always been there to begin with.
There’s a lot more to twenty-five year old Rowland St. James (a.k.a. Rowdy) besides his bad boy image, rockabilly look and the fact that he rocks a pompadour. Rowdy has lost many of the people in his life that he has loved. He is used to being the one left behind. After having his heart crushed by the one girl he professed to love, Rowdy left Texas behind along with a promising football career. Rowdy has landed on his feet, found a profession that he loves, and has found a “family” that stands by him through thick and thin. What he purposefully stays away from is falling in love ever again. Love has gotten him nowhere. He’s unwilling to establish that trust it takes with a woman and let’s nothing go beyond a few good times. That is until someone from his past shows up as the new employee for the tattoo shop. She’s a reminder of all that he lost and Rowdy does not know what to do about it.
Twenty-eight year old Salem Cruz and her younger sister grew up under the thumb of a tyrannical and religiously zealous father. When she was finally old enough, Salem could not wait to leave the hell that was her home even if it meant leaving behind her sister and the young, blue-eyed boy who she befriended and had grown close to. Life has not always been easy for Salem but she has found her way and has lead somewhat of a nomadic lifestyle since leaving her hometown back in Texas. She never forgot her special childhood friend, Rowdy, and has often thought about him over the years. When the opportunity arises for Salem to work for the same tattoo shops that Rowdy is currently employed with, she has no doubt in her mind that she is meant to relocate once again. This time Salem goes knowing that she is searching for something more…something that she feels she will find with the boy who holds a special place in her heart, with the man he has become.
When Salem first appears things are a little rocky. She is determined to infiltrate Rowdy’s life and Rowdy is not willing to let her in. For Rowdy, Salem was his one safe place and his solace when he was a young lonely boy. Until she left. He may have never forgotten her but he has also never forgotten the hurt he experienced when she picked up and left everything behind. Salem also serves as a reminder of how much her sister hurt him when she broke his heart in college. Both Salem and Rowdy have a lot to sort out, both individually and collectively. They both carry many painful reminders from their past and the fact that Rowdy once believed he was in love with Salem’s sister is a huge elephant in the room whenever they are together. Can Salem and Rowdy find a way back to the intense connection they once shared and hopefully develop a new and even more meaningful relationship or will ghosts from the past prevent them from taking a chance on one another?
“I feel like you and the past have been chasing me down ever since you walked into that shop, Salem.” She didn’t answer me but I noticed a little pink work its way into her dusky cheeks. “What are you going to do if I decide to let you catch me?”
“With you staying is the only option I have because the only place I want to be is wherever you are at.”
“It may have taken me a long-ass time to figure out the difference between first love and real love, but, Salem, there is nothing more real than what I feel for you.”
I must admit that when I read the synopsis to this book I was a little gun-shy about jumping in due to the fact that I am not a huge fan of sisters having the same guy storylines. With this being said, I should have never doubted Jay Crownover. The overall story arc turned out to be nothing like I expected and true to her wonderful and unique writing style, this author throws in a few twists along the way that I did not see coming effortlessly threading together a beautiful story about taking a chance once again and finally being able to fully open your heart and love unconditionally.
I absolutely loved Rowdy and Salem. I also loved the fact that despite having some hurdles to overcome, things never got over-the-top angsty nor did I grow frustrated with how matters were evolving. I completely understood where Rowdy and Salem were coming from and I adored watching them find their way back to one another. It is not easy allowing someone in when your past has taught you nothing but disappointment and pain when you have opened up before. We all bear marks from our past, particularly during our younger years where our emotions are all over the place and our psyches are much more vulnerable. Salem and Rowdy had to reacquaint themselves with the person the other had become in adulthood. They had to realize that what they shared when they were younger was more powerful than either could have grasped at that age. Finding their way to a new normal was not easy but certainly worth the effort. It was a beautiful thing to see flourish.
All in all, Rowdy was an amazing read and will go down as one of my favorite books in this series thus far. And, just like in previous books, we get to catch up with the much beloved “gang”. There were some heartfelt moments as well as glimpses into what Ms. Crownover may have in store for future books. I am definitely excited and can’t wait for more.
♥ Marked Men Series Reading Order ♥
♥ EXCERPT ♥
WHEN I PUT THE key he had given me in the door to his apartment it felt like the end of a long journey. Really it was only a little over twelve hours and I had stopped to nap once along the way, but it still felt like too long since I had seen his face or been able to touch all that toned and tattooed skin. Jimbo greeted me at the door when I pushed it open. His tongue lolled out of his mouth and he jumped up and put his paws on my legs. He was going to be huge when he finally grew into his fuzzy body and I was overwhelmed at how happy I was to see him. I dropped to my knees and rubbed my face in his neck as he licked me all over my face. I was obviously missed and I had to say it was just one more reason I knew I was finally where I was supposed to be. It was late, so the apartment was dark.
I checked the dog’s food and water, trying to be quiet in case Rowdy was already asleep. I was winding my way toward his bedroom when a haphazardly discarded sketch pad lying on the couch caught my eye in the dim light. I paused for a minute to pick it up and felt my heart stop and then start to race as I flipped through the first few pages. There were a couple of drawings that were obviously for clients, tattoos that hadn’t made it from paper to skin yet, but most of the pristine white pages were covered with images wearing my face. There was mermaid me, and naughty- sailor- girl me. There was sassy Indian girl me with long Pocahontas braids and there was sexy devil me standing next to angelic me. There were dozens of them all in different shapes and sizes, but every single image was undoubtedly modeled after my distinct look. I wasn’t sure if he had drawn them all over this last week while I had been gone or over the months we had been chasing each other in circles.
Either way it made my heart swell and the full certainty that I was it for him settle deep inside my bones. I set the pad down and tiptoed through the hall. Jimbo took one look at where I was going and huffed out a disgusted- sounding snort. The poor guy had learned early on that he wanted no part of what happened between his humans when they were together in the bedroom. The light was off and Rowdy was sprawled on his stomach across the covers. His blond hair was sticking up every- where and he hand one arm bent up under his head. The only thing that could have made the sight better would have been if he hadn’t bothered with the black boxers before crashing out.
Even with them obscuring the view, I couldn’t complain. I let out a breathless sigh and crept closer so that I could lean over and touch my lips to that anchor on the side of his neck. I felt his pulse leap and tasted the salt on his skin as he murmured sleepily and rolled over onto his back. Those infinitely blue eyes glowed at me in the dark as a grin pulled up the corner of his mouth.
♥ About Jay Crownover ♥
Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men series. She will also be introducing the dark and sexy world of The Point in a new series this summer starting with ROWDY. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.
♥ Giveaway ♥
To celebrate the release of Rowdy, Jay has a signed set of the Marked Man Series plus some swag to give away to one lucky winner. For your chance to win, just enter the Rafflecopter below and Good Luck!!a Rafflecopter giveaway