Blog Tour and Giveaway: Rowdy: Jay Crownover

Rowdy (Marked Men #5)
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Expected October 21, 2014

After the only girl he ever loved told him he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and decided he was going to do everything in his power to live up to his nickname. Life was all about a good time, good friends and never taking much too seriously. Rowdy learned his lesson early on, when you care that much about anything it can destroy you, and he never wants to risk feeling like that again. Only now he has a new coworker, a ghost from the past who’s making him question every lesson he ever learned.

Salem Cruz grew up in a house with too many rules, too many regulations, and no fun allowed. That never worked for her so she left it all behind as soon as she could, but she never forgot the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been in love with her little sister. Fate and good intentions from an old friend have placed her right in Rowdy’s path and she’s determined to show him he picked the wrong sister all those years ago. A mission that is going along perfectly until the one person that ties them together shows up and could very well tear them back.

Sex was nothing new to me. I thought I had seen and done it all. I mean there were only so many ways two people could come together. But every single time I was with her I felt like I was experiencing something brand new. Every touch, every kiss, every breathless sigh or guttural groan, every shimmery orgasm, the kind that made my spine feel like it would snap in half from pleasure, all felt new and overwhelming. I was having a hard time processing what that meant and I worried that what was happening between us felt the same to her. It was just another bunch of firsts I could attribute to the raven haired beauty.

I was walking out the front door and double checking that it was locked behind me since the shop was closed Sunday and Monday when a soft female voice interrupted me.

“Working late?”

I looked over my shoulder after pocketing the keys and gave half of a grin to Sayer as I recognized her in all of her elegantly cool glory-even at almost nine on a Saturday night she seemed regal and refined. She looked like she had just left high-tea or court.

“Yep. You too?”

I had no problem being friendly even if once again I felt like she was standing on the sidewalk in front of the shop specifically for me. Salem had mentioned running into the pretty lawyer once or twice while getting coffee and she seemed to think the woman was harmless. I wasn’t so sure I agreed.

She shook her head in the negative. “No. I was actually headed this way and noticed you were still working and I finally worked up the courage to approach you for the real reason I’ve been lurking around. I was waiting for you to finish your appointment and come out. I was hoping you had a free minute to talk with me. Maybe we could grab a coffee or a drink?”

I blinked at her in shock. First, I had serious doubts I was even slightly her type if her reaction to being in the shop the first time was anything to go by. Second, she knew Salem so she had to know we had something going on between the two of us and if she was ignoring that then all the class she exuded had to be for show. Third, I didn’t think I wanted to have anything to do with her real reason for semi-stalking me.

“Uh—no. I’m sort of seeing someone. I’m not interested.” I generally had more tact than that but I was still slightly dumbfounded by her and the moment.

She smiled at me sadly and shook her head again. “Not a date, Rowdy. Not even close.” She heaved a deep sigh and I saw something working her very blue eyes. Her hands clenched into fists at her sides and she nervously shifted her weight from foot to foot.

Salem Cruz relocates to Colorado after being invited to be part of the Marked and their new shop in LoDo and more importantly to reconnect with her best friend from her teens, Rowdy St. James. 

But Rowdy is not giving her a warm reception. He doesn't want to remember that past or his painful history with her and her younger sister, Poppy. They both left a mark on him and caused him to keep future women at a distance. 

Salem broke free of her suffocating religious upbringing, sowed her wild oats, and found her own purpose. But given a chance to be near him again was one she could not pass up. Although she had no idea how much her loss affected the young Rowdy.

I have always had a soft spot for Rowdy and wanted to know more about what made him tick. He has always been the usually laid back, flirty, ladies man, and good friend. But when faced with Salem he puts off a completely different vibe. At first, he is angry, uncomfortable, and using his best avoidance tactics. He acts so differently from the easy going Rowdy we have come to know. We have seen that when he cares about people, he is all in. But now we also see that he also has significant abandonment issues and fears stemming from his past. But Salem is determined to have him back in her life. 

Salem is smart, sassy, sweet and caring under her pierced, tatted, edgy exterior. She is the perfect match for Rowdy. She always saw the real person underneath and what his passions really were. She was his closest confidante and the only one who really understood him....until she was gone. Once on her own she lived by her own rules, made her own choices, and it all shaped her to become  a strong woman who knows what she wants.

It becomes a game of cat and mouse. She pushes, He pushes back. She chases. He lets himself get caught. She finds reason to run. He chases.  Both had issues with the other or their past that affected them at different times, so it was an effort to get them on the same page at the same time.

Together they are fun, flirty, passionate, connected,  and care deeply. They just have to get over their issues and face the past. But I loved both of these strong, loving characters and adored them as a couple. Their relationship might not have been quite as angsty, difficult,  and frustrating as some of the others, but that does not mean it was less emotional or heartfelt.

But when the past comes knocking, they have new problems to deal with and face together. There are surprises and situations that could bring this tight knit group closer together and some situations that have the potential to tear them apart, We get to spend time with all of our old friends and see what is going on in their lives. And get to know a few newer characters, Asa, Royal, and Zeb better, while also being introduced to a few new ones, Sayer, Avett, and Poppy. These characters all fit in with this quirky group and there are already some fun dynamics rippling under the surface.

There's some tension, drama, danger, and damage along the way, But ultimately this book is about finding your home whether it is a place, a person, or multiple people. I adore this group of misfits who have made a whole functional family together. All of these characters have a  special place in my heart. And I thoroughly enjoyed Rowdy's story. Now bring on Asa...The southern charmer with a sordid past and trouble that seems to follow him,....and the sweet, feisty woman that could just mean the ultimate temptation and trouble for him...

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 
Rowdy and Salem have both run from their pasts. Their shared past to be exact. 

Quiet and reserved, Rowdy has always kind of been on the edge of the Marked family. Learning more about his past, the hesitancy to get close to anyone makes a lot of sense, and watching as Salem came back into his life meat Rowdy’s life was shaken up, big time.

Salem left home at 18. She left behind her little sister and the boy next door, and never looked back. Or did, but never WENT back. She is fiercely independent, an individual who doesn’t worry about rules or what others think as long as she is being true to herself. When the opportunity to be near her childhood friend drops into her lap, she wraps things up as soon as she can and shows up at the new shop and reinsert herself into his life.

When they both decided to stop running from the other, they still had the hurts from their pasts standing in the way of feeling confident that their relationship could last. Neither realizes just how much the past is holding the other back, so they each think theirs are the only demons keeping the relationship from being stable. 

I loved both these main characters, as individuals and as a couple. Salem was such a perfect, strong leading lady. Classy, direct, and willing to work for what she wants. And Rowdy was such a good guy, always trying to take care of the people around him (particularly Salem and her sister) that his big heart shone through loud and clear. Together they complimented each other completely, and fit back into each others' lives cleanly.

There were times I wished they would just talk, but at the same time, I loved the way they danced around each other, building the tension and anticipation. It was like a perfect balance between just enough tension and going overboard into angst territory.

But even as Rowdy and Salem work to right the hurts in their pasts, things mellow out pretty quickly. I was happy with where they found themselves, but knew there had to be something else coming as there was still a good deal of the book left. And what came up threatened all the work they had done, all the trust they had built, everything they were looking for in their future together. The way their challenges overlap and fit together just reinforces the mantra Rowdy finds himself repeating often -- that things often happen the way they are supposed to.

I kind of wish some of the new characters from Rowdy had a chance for their own books, but based on what I’ve seen from Jay, it sounds like her upcoming Saints series will be new characters with minimal overlap so I’ll just have to use my imagination for Sayer and Poppy! That’s kind of the sad part about nearing the end of the Marked Men series.

But Asa and Royal are going to be fun! (Or a crazy mess, can’t wait to see!) They have such different personalities and views on cops that knowing they will be the next couple makes me a little giddy with anticipation. I found myself reading as much as I could into every look and interaction when those two were in the same room in Rowdy. I can’t wait!

This was a relatively smooth ride for Rowdy and Salem, once they came to grips with the presence of the other. But it was not such a smooth ride for those they care about. Both Salem’s family, the Marked family face some pretty big shake ups. I finished Rowdy wishing I could jump right into Asa. 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Rule, Rome, Nash, and now Rowdy, it truly does not matter which hero I am reading about, if Jay writes them, I fall head over heels for them.

I have been intrigued by one Rowland St. James since the moment I met him in Rule’s book. Since that moment, I have been on pins and needles anxiously awaiting his story. Let me count the many ways I fell for our hero, Rowdy. First and foremost, he had me with those gorgeous tats and THAT apa piercing…*sigh* I am a complete and utter sucker for this combination; the only thing that would have made him even sexier (physically) would have been if Rowland was also sporting a lip ring or nipple piercing. Oops sorry, I have kind of gotten off track; let me get back to reminiscing about his other amazing qualities. Second, while he was not the typical going down the wrong road, drama filled bad boy, Rowdy was still very much his own brand of badass in my book. Third, but certainly not the least or last, his love and vulnerability for those important in his life tugged at my heart and endeared me to him in a forever kind of way. I think this was the characteristic I loved the most about our lead character. Rowdy did not hide his emotions; our boy had a huge heart, and after he settled things between his heart and mind, there definitely was no holding back or playing guessing games. Sometimes all the extra unnecessary drama can take away from the characters and their stories; it was so nice not having to wade through all the B.S. to get a sense of who Rowdy truly was.

I have to give the author major kudos right now, after my extreme dislike of Saint; I was not sure how I would react to our newest female protagonist. Saint and Nash left me wicked nervous to start Rowdy and Salem’s book, so much so I was dragging my feet a bit. I am glad that I finally settled my mind down enough to sink myself into their love story. I was well rewarded. Salem’s character was so damn wicked and was written to pure ideal. Ms. Crownover, in my humble opinion, nailed every aspect of Salem. Our heroine knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she decided to invade Rowdy’s life and his turf. The thing is it totally did not matter to her that Rowdy may not be as receptive as she would like; she plunged forward with all kinds of sass, determination, and class. Salem and her heart were set on winning. This is what endeared me the most to her. I loved that she was willing to do whatever it took to win back the boy who stole her heart so many years ago. And she did it without all the girly dramatics of too much flight and fight, in fact, this part of the story held the perfect amount of balance. Looking back as I write my review, there were plenty of moments throughout the book that I wished Salem was real; she is totally a chick I could see as my bestie.

Salem, to me, was without a doubt the perfect heroine for my Rowland; and on the flip side, I cannot imagine any other badass for her either. I found that these characters grew throughout the story, both as individuals and as a couple. The more they flourished and matured the more I absolutely loved the two of them together. I am thinking they may be my favorite couple from Jay, and that is a tall order, especially since I am a huge Rule/Shaw and Rome/Cora fan. There was absolutely nothing one dimensional about either of these characters or their journey towards love.

Rowdy and Salem has to be Jay’s tamest book yet when it comes to angst and drama. I knew within a few chapters that I was in for one of the smoothest rides I have read to date coming from one of the Marked Men. Our protagonists had a much quieter and calmer type of intensity when it came to their relationship and love; however, as with Jay’s other couples, they too had their own back-story that came along with internal and external issues they had to work through. And while I had mad love for the characters and enjoyed the more laid-back feel, especially after Saint, I felt as though they were missing that little somethin’ somethin’ the other characters in the series brought with their different types of angst and drama.

On a final note, can we pretty please have Asa—NOW! Holy hell, that man has me so dang intrigued, as does his leading lady, Royal.

Thank you, Edelwiess and William Morrow paperbacks, for the opportunity to read a complimentary copy of Rowdy.

Rule (Marked Men #1)
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Opposites in every way . . . except the one that matters

Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight--A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn't want--and the only person she's never tried to please. She isn't afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won't listen. 

To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess-and his dead twin brother's girl. She lives by other people's rules; he makes his own. He doesn't have time for a good girl like Shaw-even if she's the only one who can see the person he truly is. 

But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails, and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love . . . or each other

Jet (Marked Men #2)
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With his tight leather pants and a sharp edge that makes him dangerous, Jet Keller is every girl’s rock and roll fantasy. But Ayden Cross is done walking on the wild side with bad boys. She doesn’t want to give in to the heat she sees in Jet’s dark, haunted eyes. She’s afraid of getting burned from the sparks of their spontaneous combustion, even as his touch sets her on fire. 

Jet can’t resist the Southern Belle with mile-long legs in cowboy boots who defies his every expectation. Yet the closer he feels to Ayden, the less he seems to know her. While he’s tempted to get under her skin and undo her in every way, he knows firsthand what happens to two people with very different ideas about relationships. 

Will the blaze burn into an enduring love. . . or will it consume their dreams and turn them to ashes?

Rome (Marked Men #3)
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Our 5 star reviews

Cora Lewis is a whole lot of fun, and she knows how to keep her tattooed bad boy friends in line. But all that flash and sass hide the fact that she’s never gotten over the way her first love broke her heart. Now she has a plan to make sure that never happens again: She’s only going to fall in love with someone perfect.

Rome Archer is as far from perfect as a man can be. He’s stubborn and rigid, he’s bossy and has come back from his final tour of duty fundamentally broken. Rome’s used to filling a role: big brother, doting son, super soldier; and now none of these fit anymore. Now he’s just a man trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life while keeping the demons of war and loss at bay. He would have been glad to suffer it alone, until Cora comes sweeping into his life and becomes the only color on his bleak horizon.

Perfect isn’t in the cards for these two, but imperfect might just last forever . . .

Nash (Marked Men #4)
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Our 4 to 4.5 star reviews

Will their past determine their future?

Saint Ford has worked hard to achieve her childhood dream of becoming of nurse. Focused on her work and devoted to her patients, there’s no room for love. She doesn’t need a guy making waves in her calm, serene life—especially when he’s the unforgettable hottie who nearly destroyed her in high school. Dark, brooding Nash Donovan might not remember her or the terrible pain he caused. But he turned her world upside down . . . and now he’s trying to do it again.

Saint has no idea that Nash isn’t the cocky player he once was. Uncovering a devastating family secret has rocked his world, and now he’s struggling to figure out his future. He can’t be distracted by the pretty nurse he seems to meet everywhere. Still, he can’t ignore the sparks that fly between them —or how she seems so desperate to get away from him. But the funny, sweet, and drop-dead gorgeous Saint is far too amazing to give up on—especially since she’s the only thing in his life that seems to make sense.

When Nash discovers the truth about their past, he realizes he may have lost her heart before he could even fight for it. Now, Saint has to decide: is Nash worth risking herself for all over again?

Asa (Marked Men #6)
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Expected April 14, 2015
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Jay Crownover Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads

I'm supposed to share interesting details about myself so that my readers get to know me so here we go in no particular order: I'm an natural redhead even though I haven't seen my real hair color in years, I'm a big fan of tattoos and have a half sleeve on either arm and various other pieces all over the place, I've been in the bar industry since I was in college and it has always offered interesting insight into how men and women interact with each other, I have 3 dogs that are all crazy, I live in Colorado and love the snow, I love music and in all reality wish I could be a rock star not a writer or a bartender but I have zero talent so there is that. I love to write, love to read and all I'm interested in is a good story with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. Thanks for taking the time to check my stuff out...

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