Hi there! Today I’m sharing an excerpt and review for BUILT, the first full-length novel in Jay Crownover’s new Saints of Denver series. Releasing next week, BUILT is a contemporary romance featuring a hard-working man with a checkered past, and the ice queen lawyer whose heart he melts.
Be sure to check out the excerpt and enter to win a $25 gift card and a set of The Point book series!
About the book:
From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes an electrifying new spin-off series, Saints of Denver, featuring all the characters fans have been dying to read about.
Sayer Cole and Zeb Fuller couldn’t be more different. She’s country club and fine-dining, he’s cell-block and sawdust. Sayer spends her days in litigation, while Zeb spends his working with his hands. She’s French silk, he’s all denim and flannel.
Zeb’s wanted the stunning blonde since the moment he laid eyes on her. It doesn’t matter how many smooth moves he makes, the reserved lawyer seems determinedly oblivious to his interest—either that or she doesn’t return it. Sayer is certain the rough, hard, hot-as-hell Zeb could never want someone as closed off and restrained as she is, which is a shame because something tells her he might be the guy to finally melt her icy exterior.
But just as things start to heat up, Zeb is blindsided by a life altering moment from his past. He needs Sayer’s professional help to right a wrong and to save more than himself. He can’t risk what’s at stake just because his attraction to Sayer feels all consuming. But as these opposites dig in for the fight of their lives, battling together to save a family, the steam created when fire and ice collide can no longer be ignored.
How about a little taste?
I dug my fingers into his wrists and scowled right back at him as his pulse kicked into my touch. “I don’t think you’re an asshole or a player at all, Zeb, but I also have no experience with men like you.”
“Men like me? What does that mean? What kind of man am I?” He was getting angry and frustrated and I couldn’t blame him. It was hard for me to explain why he was everything I wanted but everything I could never have. We were on two different levels when it came to our personalities and I knew there was no way someone as passionate and expressive as he was would ever be interested in someone as reserved and closed off as I was. Where I was the frozen tundra when it came to emotional availability, he was the blazing heat of the desert. I could see the fire of his annoyance in his gaze as he waited for my shaky explanation.
“You’re a man who is sure of himself and confidant. You’re a man who is used to having women fall at his feet. You’re a man who is exiting and interesting.” I lifted an eyebrow at him. “You’re a man who is tattooed and drives a cool vintage truck around, you’re a man who doesn’t mind getting dirty and can create things for a living. All of that is the total opposite of everything I’ve ever known, Zeb.”
His eyebrows went from the deep frown over his nose to shooting up on his forehead and disappeared under the dark fall of hair that rested there. A grin that could only be described as wicked slashed through his beard and his hands tightened where they were still holding on to my face.
“I thought you were going to say a man with a past. A man that has been to jail. I thought you were going to say a man with my history is the kind of man you have no experience with. You surprised me.”
If I was a different type of woman, I might have smacked him for that kind of ignorance. “Where you have been doesn’t define who you are, Zeb. I told you when we first met that I understand that people make mistakes.”
He grunted and moved his face closer to mine. “And here I am on your doorstep with another one. You want me to teach you about a man like me, Sayer? I’m pretty simple to figure out.”
I didn’t believe that for a single second, so I opened my mouth to tell him. There was never anything simple about passion. I didn’t get a chance to utter a sound because before I got a word out I suddenly knew exactly what it felt like to be kissed by a guy with a beard because he dipped his head and devoured my mouth with his.
It felt phenomenal.
Sayer is on her own for the first time in her life, but that doesn’t mean she’s left her baggage back in Seattle. Six months ago her father died dropping the bombshell that he’d fathered another child–Rowdy from the Marked Men books. Sayer’s mother committed suicide while Sayer was in her teens, and her father was an emotionally abusive man who found fault with everything Sayer did–including crying at her mother’s funeral. It’s not been easy to open herself up to Rowdy and his friends, but she’s trying hard to rebuild her life.
In doing so, she buys a beautiful historic home that needs renovation. For this job Sayer hires Rowdy’s good friend Zeb. Zeb had spent 2 years in jail for assaulting his sister’s abusive partner. Since then, he’s put all his effort into being a model citizen, including starting his construction/renovation business from scratch and hiring guys with criminal histories, training them to be overcome their past and develop a worthwhile trade. Zeb makes no secret of his attraction to Sayer, and while she’d like to sate her desire for more with Zeb, she’s so ingrained with insecurity thanks to her daddy issues it’s hard for her to relax around him.
Before they can even begin to gain ground together Zeb needs Sayer in a professional capacity. Sayer’s not thrown off by Zeb’s past–or present–she only feels unequal to the strong love she knows he gives unflinchingly. Watching both Poppy and Beryl, strong women friends who have overcome physical abuse, gives Sayer a guide to dig her true self out from beneath her callous mask. While Sayer helps Zeb she becomes more and more involved in his life, and the relationship they both wanted begins. It’s still a hard path, but I liked how they were honest–even when it hurt and meant temporary separation.
I don’t want to give away too much, but I think readers are REALLY going to love Zeb. He is a stand up man, who takes on too much responsibility for others, perhaps. He does the hard work for himself and Sayer, and his steadfast love is the balm to her chafed heart. I think he’s one of the best hetero male leads I’ve read in a long time. There’s not too much sexytimes, though when it happens it’s yummy. Readers may not find Sayer approachable–and that’s by design. I still could appreciate her compassion, even if I didn’t connect with her self-loathing. The end is a spectacular HEA.
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About the Author:
Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men and The Point series. 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.
Catch up with Jay on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.