Release Blitz, reviews, and giveaway: Leveled: Jay Crownover

Leveled (Saints of Denver #0.5)
Jay Crownover
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Expected November 2, 2015

We all need a hero...let the Saints of Denver begin.

Orlando Frederick knows what it is to be leveled by pain. Instead of focusing on his own, he’s made it his mission to help others: sports stars, wounded war vets, survivors of all kinds. But when Dom, a rugged, damaged, sinfully attractive cop makes his way into Lando’s physical therapy practice, he might be the biggest challenge yet. Lando loved one stubborn man before and barely survived the fallout. He’s not sure if he can do it again.

Dominic Voss is a protector. The police badge he wears is not only his job, it’s his identity, so when he’s sidelined because of an injury, the only thing he cares about is getting back on the force. He expects Lando to mend his body, he just doesn’t realize the trainer will also have him working towards a hell of a lot more. As attraction simmers and flares, Dom sees that Lando needs repair of his own...if only the man will let him close enough to mend what's broken.

Jay Crownover’s Marked Men have all found their perfect matches…or have they? When Rule and Rome’s brother Remy died, he left behind not only his family and his best friend Shaw, he also left behind Lando, the man he loved. Now, finally, Lando will have the happily ever after he so richly deserves in the e-novella LEVELED, on sale from William Morrrow Impulse November 2nd.

With the surprise release of LEVELED, readers will get a look back at their beloved Marked Men, but will also get a peek at characters from Jay’s upcoming series, Saints of Denver, along with a chapter of BUILT (on sale from William Morrow Paperbacks January 5, 2016).

He reached out and shut the medical file in front of him and leaned back in his chair. His eyebrows arched up, and he laced his fingers together and put his index fingers under his chin.

“What exactly are you after, Mr. Voss?” His voice was smooth and modulated. I was a disaster, a bundle of nerves and anxiety, and this dude was acting like we were talking about the weather, not my entire life and everything I had ever worked my ass off for.

Defiantly I spread my legs apart and slumped back in the chair across from him, making it a point to affect a posture that was as casual as his was professional. I had on a faded DPD T-shirt and a pair of jeans with a hole in the knee, and both were a little baggy since I’d lost some of my bulk being laid up in the hospital after the accident. If the guy across from me was a cherry-red Ferrari, then I was a rusted-out and battered John Deere tractor in comparison.

“I want my life back, Mr. Frederick. I want to be able to move the way I used to. I want to pass the department physical so I can go back on patrol. I want to be able to walk without needing a crutch or a cane. I want to be the way I was before I got hurt.” I was asking for the impossible and I knew it. “And please call me Dom.”

He dipped his chin down a little, and the edge of his mouth tilted up in a slight grin. Damn the man was good-looking. I blew out a breath and lifted up my hands to run them over the top of my shorn hair. I was hanging on to my sanity by a thread and my unexpected reaction to the guy that I was hanging every hope I had left on wasn’t helping matters.

“All right, Dom. You can call me Lando. That’s what my friends call me.”

I felt one of my eyebrows shoot up. “Are we going to be friends?”
Dominic Voss, A Denver cop has been injured and his last hope for a full physical recovery and to return to the force is Physical Therapist Lando Frederick. (Squee! Yes, this is Royal's best friend Dom and Remy Archer's first love Orlando!). They find they have a strong attraction to each other. A bit of flirtation and some smoking hot tension lead to stolen kisses and resistance. 

They have some obstacles. Lando was destroyed as a young man by the loss of Remy so dating a man that risks his life everyday is not something he thinks he can handle. And he doesn't date clients anyway. But Dom does not mind a challenge. He understands he may need to heal his own physical wounds, but Lando has his own emotional ones.

Despite their passion and chemistry, guarded hearts and fear place limitations on their possible future. They will have to learn to take risks, fully trust, and get past fear and regret  if they want a chance at moving on with a new normal. It is a battle of love vs. fear...especially for Lando.

I loved both of these guys. I was already attached due to Lando's relationship with Remy and his family and Dom's bond with Royal shown in previous books. 
I honestly thought that Lando was going to be my favorite because his history had been so heartbreaking, but I have to say that Dom won me over and I adored him. Lando actually frustrated me a bit since he did have more reservations and issues. 

They seemed so different with Dom being a rough around the edges cop while Lando was more refined and reserved.
 They both had good hearts, wanted to help people, and wanted love, but it was also difficult to trust and believe it was really possible due to their issues. These guys were both hot, sweet, funny and intense. Their chemistry was volatile. They had vulnerability and were believable. I was totally rooting for them.

I loved getting both of their points of view and getting to visit with some of the Marked Men and their ladies. I am looking forward to Sayer and Zeb's book Built. This was a good transitional novella to bridge the Marked Men and Saints of Denver series. And most importantly to me it gave us some more closure over the loss of Remy Archer and let us see these two men find each other. 

Marked Men, Crownover style, M-M love, transition to a new series--it's a win win! This did not feel like a quickie novella, but more of a full rich story. The characters were well developed. likable, and had depth and issues. Even though the plot was not overly complicated or angsty, they did have difficult challenges to overcome and healing that needed to occur. She seamlessly brought together old friends and new ones and it was a comfy, sweet, sexy, humorous, and emotional read.

ARC provided by Publisher and author in exchange for an honest review. 

Orlando “Lando” Frederick is the only character from the Marked Men series who deserved more than he ended up with (at the time). Losing his first love the way he did scarred him and there hasn’t been anyone or anything that has challenged him to really heal from Remy’s death, until one particular wounded cop walks into his practice in need of physical therapy.

Dominic Voss just wants to finish his therapy so he can get his badge back. He never expects to feel sparks flying when he meets with the top notch therapist in demand by celebrities and first responders alike.

And the sparks did fly between these two, surprising both with their intensity and their persistence.

There is healing here, and pain. But the overarching theme is forgiveness, life, and love overcoming fear. Both of these characters face their fears, and experience things that make them realize just how lucky they are.

This is not a full length novel, but it is longer than a typical novella. I loved that it felt like it’s own complete story, and had enough depth and detail to make me choke up at times, and laugh at others. Where I was itching for Orlando’s happily ever after in Marked Men, I was happy in the end for the ever after he found and even the way he made it there.

As a bridge between the Marked Men and the Saints of Denver, this gives readers one more chance to see some of those favorite characters we already love, particularly the Archers and Royal & Asa, but also gives a little extra introduction to the characters that will get a closer look in SoD. I love the little conversation in the gym with Sayer, and Dom’s keen observations of her and Zeb. Those little glimpses just made me even more antsy to dive into Built and see what’s going on between the pretty lawyer and the gruff contractor.

ARC provided by Publisher and author in exchange for an honest review. 
 The Marked Men Series

and the upcoming ...

Saints of Denver Series

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January 5, 2016

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May 24, 2016

Jay Crownover
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Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men series. She also introduced the dark and sexy world of The Point that started with BETTER WHEN HE'S BAD and is currently working on her newest series The Saints of Denver. 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.

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