Series: Crosswords #2
Genres: Alpha Guy, Contemporary Romance, Mystery, Romance, Sports
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For Jake Wrigley, the future is bleak. Some people are survivors, but he’s getting by on his bad-boy looks and charming smile. He owns a gym, gets into bar fights, and wrestles his demons with rough workouts—both in and out of the bedroom.
For Alyson Road, the future is bright. Life can only improve from where she grew up. She graduated at the top of her law class, cares for her ailing mom, and in her job, she defends those who can’t afford anyone else. Her work is thankless but honest.
Jake’s twin brother has been covering his ass for as long as they’ve been alive, but that all changes when Jake finds himself in front of the fiery public defender, his future in her hands. For the first time ever, he doesn’t want to involve his brother, finally realizing he needs to stand alone, be his own man.
Even if Jake’s never absolved of his past wrongdoings or his heart is never scrubbed of the blackness that resides there, he can do one good deed—protect the beautiful lawyer who touched his soul—until helping her nearly becomes his own undoing.
I’m a pretty big fan of Rachel Blaufeld, she write really emotional/character driven books. I also kind of love that she writes love stories that seem to be just a tad unconventional, there is always one element that really sets her books apart. So I was excited about this book, even though it was the second book in the series and I haven’t read the first. Thankfully, this book can so be read as a standalone.
So this book follows Jake and Aly, and both of them have some hard stuff in their pasts. They meet when the book opens and Jake is sitting in jail on Christmas because some guy was spouting off at the mouth at a bar, and Jake used his fists instead of his words. Thankfully it all worked out, and they started running in to each other around town. Jake was always attracted to Aly, and while sure, Aly thought Jake was hot, she was a lot more leery about getting involved with a past client, plus he had that whole kind of bad boy vibe and she wasn’t really sure she was ready for something like that.
So Jake as a character was kind of sad, he carries so much guilt around with him that it literally impacts every aspect of his life. When he was a young boy, he was playing around and the end consequence was something horrible, he was just a boy, and clearly it was not his fault, but he is so haunted by his past he walks around feeling completely unworthy and like there will never be any redemption for him. It’s really so sad to read. But as the book goes on and he lets himself really feel for Aly, he starts to make a lot of progress as a character, and it was actually really enjoyable to read his evolution.
As for Aly, well I liked Aly a lot. Part of why I liked Aly so much is because she has worked so hard for her life, and even though it is a very modest life (she lives on the bad side of town and doesn’t even have a car), she worked hard to become a lawyer, and she works even harder to make sure her mother is taken care of. She’s definitely socially awkward, and in no way prepared to be in a relationship, but what I liked about her is how she pushes back when she needs to. I loved that Aly calls Jake on his BS. There is also a major suspense storyline having to do with Aly’s job as a public defender, and it results in some serious character development for Aly (some of which is kind of heartbreaking), but I don’t want to ruin the storyline for you, so I won’t say much more than that.
All in all, I did enjoy this book, and I enjoyed kind of watching how these two people were able to be there for each other even in the hardest of circumstances. They had great chemistry together, and I loved the people that they surrounded themselves with. If you are a fan of Rachel Blaufeld, like I am, I think this is a book you will for sure enjoy.