Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a brand-new contemporary romance from Jay Crownover. DIGNITY is the second book in her The Breaking Point series, and the sequel to HONOR. Like most Crownover series, this one features interlocking characters and each book is a new romance arc. This one features a reclusive computer genius and the homeless woman who picks a fight with the biggest dog in the yard. Expect gritty moments and love that transcends living on the edge of the law.
I knew that most people took one look at the ink and the impossibly big and strong body it covered and decided I was a brawler…a bruiser…a beast. However, I was hardwired to be a thinker, not a fighter.
I should have chosen to use my brain and talents to be one of the good guys, a hero, a man with dignity and worth.
I turned my back on dignity and sold my soul to the highest bidder, deciding to dance with the devil, instead.
I couldn’t figure out how to help myself, so there was zero chance I knew how to save someone else.
That someone else was Noe Lee. She was the unkempt, unruly thief who was just as smart as I was and twice as street savvy. She was annoyingly adorable beneath the dirt and grime, and she was in trouble. In way over her head, I told myself it wasn’t my job to keep her from drowning. In the Point, it was sink or swim, and I wasn’t the designated lifeguard on duty.
I shut the door in her face, but now she’s gone…vanished…disappeared without a trace. It took less than a second for me to realize that I wanted her back.
When a woman comes along that melts all the frozen, hard things you’re made of; you’ll do anything you have to, to bring her home.
What you see is not always what you get…and with a man like me, what you get is more than anyone ever bargained for.
How about a little taste?
Protective and possessive instincts coiled around my gut and rage felt like it was going to choke me. I was so used to being cold and numb, I didn’t know what to do with the fire that was licking at my insides.
“I saw him take her out of the trunk when they got to the docks. He moved like a cop. Not the kind who is there to actually protect and serve, but the kind who pulls you over for no reason and slaps cuffs on you to prove a point. I was locked up for a lot of years, boy genius. I know what a dirty cop looks like. He had a busted-up nose and stitches on the side of his face. Should be pretty easy for Titus to identify him.”
Titus King was Bax’s half-brother and the only law enforcement officer in the entire city any of us slightly trusted. He was one of the few men the Point hadn’t tainted. He was a good guy, trying to do right by the people in our city, and he wouldn’t hesitate to throw Goddard’s dirty cop under the bus. But I didn’t want anyone going after the Mayor. His sadistic ass was all mine.
“Do you think they made it out of the container after you hit it with the truck?” That had been my idea. Nassir was only sending in Booker and Benny to get Noe out, but I didn’t think it was enough fire power. Since he refused to let me go, even siccing Chuck on me as a babysitter until the job was done, I made Benny go over the plan with me no less than a hundred times until I came up with a better one. Knocking the container sideways with one of the big semi-trucks that littered the area would give Benny the time he needed to get Noe out and distract the outside security detail enough that Booker could do his thing. It was a risk because the people inside the container—including Noe and Benny—might have ended up injured when the thing flipped, but the odds of them making it out were much higher than if Benny tried to take on everyone on his own.
“If Benny made it out, we won’t hear from him again. That was the deal he made with Nassir. He would get your girl and then disappear, so he can go and live happily ever after with his. As for the rest of them,” he shrugged, “I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Your girl said someone had a gun, so if they were shooting at Benny, he would do whatever he could to make sure they stopped. He’s not about to catch a bullet for any of us. I know you want that asshole alive for your own reasons, but honestly, it’s better if Benny popped him.”
It was better, but it wasn’t what I wanted. A bullet between the eyes was way too easy for a guy like Goddard. People would bemoan how bad the Point had become, how Goddard had been a staunch supporter of crime prevention measures. He would die a martyr and a legend. I couldn’t stand the thought of that. I wanted who Goddard was, who he really was, out in the open. I wanted his mansion doors flung wide open and every skeleton inside the walls exposed and thrown out on the perfectly manicured lawn for the entire world to see. I hated people who hid behind the law. I hated when men in any position of power got off on using their elevated status to jerk the helpless and hopeless around. Death wasn’t the answer. Devastation was.
I closed my eyes and squeezed the cold, still hand that was clasped in mine. Failure weighed heavy on my shoulders and fury lit up my blood like popping and sizzling firecrackers.
“When do we ever end up with anything that’s better for us?” That wasn’t how the Point worked. That wasn’t how we worked.
Booker grunted and I felt him move behind me. “It happens. It doesn’t seem like better should be able to find a foothold in this place, but despite all odds, it does.”
Snowden Stark was a good kid with an amazing talent for writing code. His parents and twin sister were his whole world, but a series of unfortunate events–not likely random–left him isolated with his intellect and a huge grudge against the government. He grew up in the wealthy part of The Point, fast friends with Nassir, the man who rules the crime-ridden enterprises that drag it down. With no one to trust, he stuck with Nassir, and they’ve made life hard for folks who deserved it. Think of him as a digital Robin Hood, of a sort.
Noe Lee is a Korean runaway from a horror of an adopted family. She’d rather live on the streets using her wits than return to their unholy embrace–but she won’t leave The Point either. She makes cash by creating new identities for people who desperately need them, and one of her recent customers was the 16 y/o pregnant stepdaughter of The Point’s crooked Mayor Goddard. Oh sure, he looks squeaky-clean to his constituents and donors, but he’s a bad, bad dude in a city filled with them. Noe’s on the run, and wants Snowden Stark’s help–which he refuses to give. At first. But when it comes to a rescue, this man can bring the fire.
Stark takes Noe in to his world, and she’s as committed to bringing Goddard to justice as Stark seems to be. An abuse survivor herself, Noe recognized the pattern with Goddard and helps flush out many other victims. Meanwhile, Stark and Noe have an attraction that won’t be stopped. They understand life on the fringes, and have the ability to smooth each other’s rough edges. But, Stark’s sense of duty is a little strong, and his single-minded pursuit of Goddard leaves Noe feeling a bit cold. Good thing Stark has a pal who won’t let him let a good woman slip away.
This is a dark story and abuse survivors should be warned that there are graphic descriptions of molestation experiences. It’s a bit Batman, too, with all the gadgets and tech warfare. I liked how they plotted their revenge, and unmasking Goddard was a sweet, and very dangerous, enterprise. It’s always good when the bad guys get taken down, even if it’s merely in fiction. The world is well-described enough that the more unseemly sides of it seem perfectly commonplace. Corrupt, pedophile mayor? Sure. Computer geniuses who live in the shadows doing white hat work? Yep! Big, mean bouncer/enforcers who have a soft side? Why not! The juxtapositions are interesting, and the delayed gratification of the sexytimes was in-character for Stark, at the very least. It’s a twisty ride to love, but it does happen.
Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $25 Amazon GC and a set of five signed books!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!
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.