Battling One’s Ghosts UNFORGIVEN–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand-new contemporary romance from Jay Crownover. UNFORGIVEN is the second book in her Loveless series. Like most Crownover works, this one features interlocking characters and each book is a new romance arc. UNFORGIVEN features a solo Texas Ranger and the woman he was never supposed to love: the one his brother had fallen hard for.

About the book:
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men series comes an irresistible and suspenseful romance between a tough Texas Ranger and his first love–a woman in danger who insists she doesn’t need his protection.

Hill Gamble is a model lawman: cool and collected, with a confident swagger to boot. Too bad all that Texas charm hasn’t gotten him anywhere in his personal life, especially since the only girl he ever loved has always been off-limits. But then Hill is assigned to investigate her father’s mysterious death, and he’s forced back to the town–and the woman–he left behind.

When Hill left Loveless, he broke Kody Lawton’s already battered heart. And now that he’s working on her father’s case, avoiding him is impossible. She can handle Hill and her unwanted feelings–until he puts his life on the line to protect her. Suddenly, Kody realizes that Hill could be taken away from her…for good.

My Review:
Hill Gamble and Kody Lawton have a complicated history in Loveless, Texas. Kody’s abusive sheriff of a father made her life hell, especially once her mother died. In her teens Kody fell hard for Aaron Gamble, Hill’s younger brother. Aaron had bipolar disorder, and parents who didn’t really invest much care into him. Hill cared for him, but Hill also coveted his loving relationship with Kody. As Kody began to call on Hill to help manage Aaron’s increasingly erratic behavior, Hill fell too hard for that girl–and he pulled back to shield himself and his brother from the growing passion Hill felt for Kody. And, Aaron’s mental issues climaxed in a tragedy that split both families. Kody never forgave Hill for not being there when Aaron was his most needy, and Hill never forgave himself for not being the brother Aaron needed.

Ten years have passed, and Kody’s still single and running an outlaw bar on the edge of Loveless. Hill rarely returns, even though his folks are still there. He’s a Ranger now, and investigates crimes all over the state. Kody’s no-good, totally-bad dad got gunned down outside of Austin and nobody knows why. Well, there’s lots of suspicions on account of the ex-sheriff being bad news, but Hill’s called in to investigate.

It means seeing Kody at her worst, and helping her when she most needs it. There’s a ton of push-pull happening here, with Hill being a gentleman and Kody being out of her head most of the time. Hill makes sure Kody’s assets are protected, doing good for her even when she’d rather he didn’t. The investigation leads to an unexpected Lawton half-sibling who is currently hiding out because of strange threats she’d been receiving. With Hill and Kody reconnecting, and the watchful Lawton clan on board, it wasn’t long before the found the trail of destruction. It’s also not long before Hill’s generosity thaws Kody’s frozen heart back to beating.

Fans of Crownover will appreciate the detail and angst of her characters. At times, the internal reflections slowed the pace for me. I would have loved if the action happened a little faster, and we were left wondering a bit more about the shadowy characters in the story. That said, it’s a solid reconnection romance, with a pair of lovers who’ve caused themselves far more heartache than they needed to endure. We still have some questions hanging from the resolution, so I’d expect another book (or two) in this series.

Interested? You can find UNFORGIVEN on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

About the Author:
Jay Crownover is the international and multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, The Saints of Denver Series, The Point Series, Breaking Point Series, and the Getaway Series. Her books can be found translated in many different languages all around the world. She is a tattooed, crazy haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays. Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road.
Catch up with Jay on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

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