Friday, July 12, 2019

Justified by Jay Crownover

Case Lawton comes from a family of criminals. So as the sheriff of Loveless, Texas, he's determined to do everything by the book--until he's called to Aspen Barlow's office after a so-called break-in. The last thing he wants to do is help the woman who cost him custody of his son. But Aspen isn't the heartless lawyer Case remembers, and he starts to question his long-held grudge...

Aspen is scared for her life, and Case is her last hope for protection. But to get him on her side, she'll have to reveal the painful truth from all those years ago. Now, as they work together to track down a dangerous criminal, Case and Aspen learn to trust each other. And as the threats escalate, it becomes clear there's a thin line between love and hate... because there's nothing Case wouldn't do to keep her safe.
Series: Loveless, Texas #1 | Publisher: Forever |  Genre:  Contemporary Romance | Source: Publisher  | Rating: 4 Cups

Challenges Read For:  - Literary Pickers  -  Soup- 2019 Try Something New: New-to-me author
What’s a sheriff to do when his enemy needs protection?
When Aspen Barlow becomes the target of someone out to harm her, Sheriff Case Lawton has no choice but to step up and take action. Although protecting Aspen isn’t going to be easy considering she’s the one who lost him custody of his son and he’s viewed her as the enemy since that day. Not wanting to be like his father, Case is determined to sort out Aspen’s situation. As more attacks are launched at Aspen and the investigation gets underway, Case and Aspen find themselves growing closer. Now they have to figure out if they’re ready to let go of the past and start again.
This was my first time reading Jay Crownover and she has such an inviting writing style. I couldn’t put this book down.
Aspen’s a tough cookie. She’s used to being on her own from a young age since her parents could really care less about what she was doing. She was also used to being the outcast until she married a local guy from a respectable family but now that she’s left him and is in the middle of a divorce, she’s back to being viewed as the outsider. Aspen’s always been one to stand on her own two feet so when she needs help from someone else, she’s not sure how to accept it, especially since the help is coming from someone she’s always looked up and had feelings for but Case has soundly put her in the enemies category. I was a little worried when Aspen was described as a bleeding heart liberal; I’m not one to like reading about character’s with causes but thankfully nothing popped up.
Case’s story pulled on my heartstrings. He’s grown up with a dirty sheriff for a father who was abusive to Case and his siblings so Case has had to fight to prove he’s nothing like his father and he’s still proving that to some of the town’s residents. He’s also firmly held a grudge against Aspen, which was understandable. She cost him custody of his son and it’s not something that he’s able to easily look past. Although Case is a man of integrity, who respects the badge he wears so he knows it’s his job to make sure Aspen’s looked after and her case is taken seriously.
The relationship between Case and Aspen was fraught with tension. They both had been hurt before and they both had wounds that the other had inflicted so there was a lot of healing and letting go that had to happen before they could figure out what was happening between them. With all that going on, there was still so much chemistry bouncing between the two of them but I’m glad that they waited before jumping into something.
The suspense aspect was spot on. It had me on the edge of my seat as events unfolded. While I had an inkling about who was behind the threats, I wasn’t sure until the last few pages.
While I enjoyed this book—and nearly gave it a 5-cup rating—the author used ‘marine’ instead of ‘Marine’. That capitalized ‘M’ makes all the difference and I really wish that authors and editors would pay it more heed.
Marine: military a soldier who serves at sea as well as in the air and on land, e.g. a member of the U.S. Marine Corps.
marine: relating to, found in, or living in the sea
Apparently Case has made an appearance in some of the author’s other books—while I would eventually like to read those because I really enjoyed Case—I don’t feel they were needed to get the full scope of Case.
Overall, I enjoyed this one. It had a nice combination of suspense, angst, and romance without one overpowering the other. I’m eager to see what happens in the next book since this book ended with the start of a new mystery that I’m sure will carry over to the next one. I’m also eager to see what happens with Case’s siblings.

Loveless, TX Series

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