Arc received courtesy of Net Galley in exchange for an honest review
Do you remember the feeling you had as a child waking up on Christmas morning or on your birthday? The feeling of pure joy, excitement and the anticipation of the gifts you were about to receive? That’s the feeling I have each time I am about to read one of KA’s new releases. It is like unwrapping and revealing the best present of all. Now, the wait is over, and the story of Graham Reece in “Jagged” did not disappoint.
“…His deep voice could go jagged with tenderness or desire.”
Graham “Ham” Reece was introduced to us in “For You”, the first installment of the ‘Burgs series. A former lover of Feb Owens, he survived a vicious and brutal attack at the hands of a crazed axe murderer. It is that attack which causes a domino affect, forcing Reece to reassess his life and change it’s course.
Reece is a drifter traveling from town to town, from woman to woman and never planting roots or staying in one place longer than necessary. Being screwed over and betrayed so many times, Reece opts for simplicity, a life with no complications, no ties, and no hassles. He is a rolling stone, leaving one bar tending gig and off to another, avoiding attachments. His story broke my heart, and through his experiences, I understand why he chose to live a nomadic life. Relationships with out strings were to protect his heart, which was totally destroyed in the wakes of women he once loved. But, throughout his travels, two lovers left their mark on Ham’s soul. One was Feb Owens and the other was Zara Cinders. Leaving Zara was Ham’s greatest mistake and biggest regret.
Zara, “Cookie”, is one of his many conquests. Their relationship spans over a nine-year period, during which Ham has walked away from her many times. She is a strong female character – surviving a horrible childhood, an abusive father, a failed business, and a train wreck of a marriage, and is now destitute. Wow, what more can a girl live through? (Trust me, there’s more). But Zara is strong willed and perseveres - I loved that about her charcer. I admired Zara; she showed her true inner strength at her weakest moments.
Ham’s character, although described as the quintessential “alpha male” (built, strong, hot headed, gorgeous, dominant in both his sexuality and personality), is vastly different from any other KA male lead and gave the story a different vibe. Ham is not chasing Zara because of her sassy tendencies, stubbornness or complex personality. His philosophy veers from the pack (The typical KA alpha male like Tack Allen, Lee Nightingale, Knight, Tatum Jackson, etc.) because he seeks a woman who is “easy”. Someone who is easy to get along with, rolls with the punches, and easy to love. What Ham comes to learn is anything in life worth having does not come easily. So it is up to Ham to help Zara turn her life around in order to get to the “easy”.
“Cookie, pay attention. I’m gonna give you everything.”
I loved Zara and Ham’s story. I love how the characters from prior books in the series become involved in the plot. (Max and Nina make a comical appearance). Although “Jagged” does lack angst, their journey was highly emotional and romantic. The love scenes where HOT and Ham was a sexy beast. I enjoyed witnessing their relationship evolved. And the best part…. the epilogue. Kristen Ashley is a masterful writer whose words touch my heart and ending her stories rips out a piece of my soul. Thank you for sharing another wonderful love story. Here’s to waiting for the next book.