Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Hold On (The 'Burg #6) by Kristen Ashley @KristenAshley68

Amazingly beautiful and poignant finale to one of my favorite series.  
5 brilliant stars
Once again, Kristen Ashley owned my heart and soul as her unique writing style and storytelling magic caused a whirlwind of emotions, I had no choice but to hold on tight, never wanting to let go of Merry, Cher and all my loves in The ‘Burgs. Reading Hold On took me to an entirely different level as the journey flooded my heart with a riotous amount of emotions. I’ve become tethered to these characters, feeling their passions, pains, heartaches and joys. This friendship turned true love story was touching, but what made this an absolute literary masterpiece was its brilliant epiloguethe best I’ve ever read. So, break out the Kleenex, you’ll need them.
Jumping into this read had me feeling both melancholy and anxious.  I was a bundle of nerves and couldn’t wait to crawl inside of Merry’s head. He fascinated me since Golden Trail (Rocky and Layne’s book).  Throughout most of this series, he was pining over his ex-wife Mia, his supposed ‘soul mate’. I thought he wanted to fight and win Mia back. Next thing I knew, Cher’s really into Merry, but there were some unanswered questions. How and why did Merry push Mia away? When did a relationship with Cher become a possibility? Can Merry shake off his man-whorish ways and convince me he wants to win Cher’s heart? In addition, Merry’s story marks the end of one of my most beloved series, I had to get myself ready to say goodbye. With all of this in mind, I savored the hell out of this read. Taking my time to absorb every heart stopping drama filled moment, each plot twist, the hilarious banter between the main characters and every steamy love scene (Merry’s all Alpha-Dominant ass-smacking sizzling hot), while discovering the beauty of their relationship.  I should never doubt the course KA lays out. Merry and Cher were perfect for each other, feeding their desires while soothing their insecurities and working through a shit ton of baggage.  
In a word, Cher “Cherie” Rivers is a survivor.

Former stripper turned bartender, Cher is a hard working single mom to the adorably witty Ethan.  At first glance, she definitely gave me the tough chick, hard-as-nails vibe, which I adore (I tend to favor strong female leads). However, there’s so much more to her persona.  She’s thick skinned, stubborn and overly cautious since dealing with so many disappointments in her life. She’s a woman whose experiences taught her the rough lesson that dreams do not come true.   Poor Cher, she had my sympathies as well as my respect. I loved her realistic views towards life. She’s not a woman who wallows in life’s misfortunes, but one who perseveres and makes the most out of her circumstances.  I admired her protective motherly ways she sacrifices greatly for her son and when digging deep, I saw her soft, ‘gooey’ side. 
Cher may be unrefined, but she is true to her family and friends. It’s her loyalty to Merry, when he was at his lowest, which led to a night of unbridled passion. After years of loving him from afar, her dream actually came true. Now she’s panicked that their one night tryst would either ruin the friendship or it could (hopefully) lead to something more…that means taking a chance on Merry. I so wanted Cher to finally find happiness and her dream man.

The extremely sexy, outrageously dominant Lieutenant Garrett “Merry” Merrick is the perfectly flawed, self-sabotaging hero. 

The horrific way he lost his mom scarred him so greatly; deep-seeded fears from the trauma led to a failed marriage and crippled future relationships.  When finding out his ex-bitch-wife Mia (oh yeah, she’s a major bitch-face) was moving on, Merry decided to have himself a pity party. The only person to have his back was Cher, which led to not only one night of hot sex and multiple orgasms, but also the possibility of more.

It took a tiny bit of time for me to warm up to Merry. He had a hard, uneasy side in the beginning of the story that had me on edge.  There were times he pissed me off and I wanted to smack some sense into him, snapping him out of his funk. Although, it didn’t take Merry long to open up and show me all his beauty. I couldn’t help but fall in love with his gentle, protective side. I adored how hard he worked to break down Cher’s impenetrable walls, while trying his best to move past his fears. Merry also had me feeling all gushy the way he took Ethan under his wing and effortlessly became part of their small family.

Merry is a controlling and dominating force in the bedroom. Their fierce sexual chemistry ignited my kindle as Merry proved repeatedly that he is one hell of a dirty-mouthed badass who likes it when his good girl’s being bad.Totally scrumptious. 
I loved them together both Cherie and Merry were powerful, dynamic characters that sometimes collided and were frequently sarcastic. They were as funny as they were passionate, and the things that came out of their mouths were hysterical.

“You grabbin’ my hand practically before I could get in your door and draggin’ me to your bedroom so you could shove me on your bed and get your mouth on my dick?” His hold on me tightened slightly. “Awesome.”
“You have a great cock,” I shared.
His hips shifted and his smile didn’t get any less cocky. “It likes you too.”

Now there’s always that one person in each KA series that I refer to as ‘The Sage’. That one special character that puts everything into perspective by imparting their wisdom, which usually leaves me a blubbering mess. For me, it was Dave Merrick, Merry’s dad. Father and son shared an enormously tender moment that was forever seared into my soul. Dave, a man burdened with his own pain and regrets, lovingly takes his son’s hand and guides him into the light. Dave lays it all out for his son, telling him to grab hold and fight against these fears with the help and love of a strong woman that woman being Cherie. It was one of the most touching moments in this read.

As I reached the 95% mark on my kindle, heart palpitations and panic set in when reading the one word that made me realize this is itthe end of an eraEPILOGUE.  Holding my breath, I pushed forward and became fully engrossed in the best ending I have ever read, bar none. Told from various points of view and spanning over a decade, Kristen Ashley gifted a phenomenal insight into the lives and loves of all The ‘Burgs characters. Weaving each saga within this series together, tying all loose ends into one spool of thread, KA magnificently spun all of the happily ever afters I craved.  It was a beautiful pain seeing all these characters one last time. I laughed, I swooned, I cried happy tears (Joe Callahan made me sobagain), and I was overjoyed with the journey this author paved.  

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