Review and Excerpt Tour: Built: Jay Crownover

by - Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Studio portrait of young bearded man --- Image by © pinkypills/Corbis
Jay Crownover
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Expected January 5, 2016

From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes an electrifying new spin-off series,Saints of Denver, featuring all the characters fans have been dying to read about. 

Sayer Cole and Zeb Fuller couldn’t be more different. She’s country club and fine-dining, he’s cell-block and sawdust. Sayer spends her days in litigation, while Zeb spends his working with his hands. She’s French silk, he’s all denim and flannel. 

Zeb’s wanted the stunning blonde since the moment he laid eyes on her. It doesn't matter how many smooth moves he makes, the reserved lawyer seems determinedly oblivious to his interest—either that or she doesn't return it. Sayer is certain the rough, hard, hot-as-hell Zeb could never want someone as closed off and restrained as she is, which is a shame because something tells her he might be the guy to finally melt her icy exterior. 

But just as things start to heat up, Zeb is blindsided by a life altering moment from his past. He needs Sayer’s professional help to right a wrong and to save more than himself. He can’t risk what’s at stake just because his attraction to Sayer feels all consuming. But as these opposites dig in for the fight of their lives, battling together to save a family, the steam created when fire and ice collide can no longer be ignored.  

I met her at a bar. 

She had a beer bottle in her hand even though she looked like she should be sipping champagne out of an expensive flute, and that inexplicably turned me on. She was pretty and looked completely out of place in the no-name bar sitting across from one of my longtime friends who also happened to be her long-lost brother. He was the reason she was here. In that split second that I laid my eyes on her I wanted to be the reason she stayed. 

I knew it was rude and that the two of them needed some time together, some time to figure out what they were to each other now that she had blasted into his life unannounced. If I was a better friend I would have left them alone. As it was, I made my way over to the tiny table and sat down. I was covered in sawdust and had drywall mud caked in the hair on my head and on my face, but she didn’t flinch or bat an eyelash when I purposely broke up their party of two and placed myself as close to her as I could without actually touching her. 

My buddy Rowdy St. James lifted his eyebrows at me as I stared at her while he introduced us. Sayer Cole. Even her name was elegant and sophisticated sounding. She was an enigma, this pretty woman that seemed like she should be in any place but this bar with the two of us. She’d showed up out of the blue a couple of months ago claiming to be Rowdy’s half-sister, claiming that they shared a father, claiming that all she wanted was to be in his life and have some kind of family of her own. She looked too delicate to be that brave. Came across as way too proper to have said “fuck it all” and picked up her life to move it someplace unknown without being sure of her welcome. She looked like silk, but if my guess was right about her, it was silk wrapped around steel.

Sayer Cole and Zeb Fuller have some serious hot sexual tension brewing, but Sayer has kept it cool by basically ignoring any of his attempts at flirting.  But they both are still harboring a hidden crush after he helped renovate her home. But now Zeb is need of her assistance to help someone that is very important to him. When Zeb finds his world spinning, Sayer is his constant and anchor.

 Sayer is a lawyer with a reserved, professional facade. She hides under a protective shell and is cautious. She is usually aloof, insecure, and always trying to measure up to impossible standards. Her past has left her damaged and fearful. Her most impulsive decision was to change her whole life and move to Denver to connect with her newly discovered half-brother, Rowdy.

Zeb is larger than life, unfiltered, passionate, and interesting. He's blue collar, dirty (both from construction debris and just dirty talking), and has a criminal past. He is somewhat impulsive and overzealous and is fiercely protective. He thrives on repairing things and plans to knock her protective walls down. He wants to fix her and build something stable and solid.

They are virtually opposites in most ways. But he has the ability to make her lose control, beats down her defenses, and makes her feel. But he also terrifies her and brings out all of her fears of not being good enough. Zeb has a lot at stake and cannot risk losing Sayer as his ally. He has his own insecurities. They are both vulnerable and have fears of being unworthy and of rejection.

I absolutely LOVED Zeb...every little thing about this burly, sweet, loving, tender man with a rugged bad boy edge got to me. They way he owned up to his mistakes and took care of those he cared about. His tenacity, strength, and his big heart. He was a big bearded teddy bear, but he was also all alpha male.

I liked Sayer, but she also drove me  crazy with her insecurities and fears. It killed me as she pulled back or ran over and over no matter how many time he could find an "in" with her. I got why she had issues, but sometimes lost patience with her...probably because I adored Zeb so freakin' much and hated to see him hurt.

Stories surrounding the side characters of Hyde, Beryl, Joss, and Poppy added more depth and understanding to the story and underlying issues. It is always fun to spend more time with the Marked Men and their ladies and I was glad to have  Rowdy and Salem featured. We also got a bit of a tease with the next unlikely couple in the book Charged and I admit that they are intriguing.

This has all the fun and feels of a Jay Crownover Marked Men book but was set more with their careers in law and construction versus a tattoo parlor. It's new friends and old ones. There are lots of emotional issues and past pain that require empathy and understanding. There's definitely some sweetness, steam, passion, and fun. But this is ultimately about Sayer's need to find stable ground in order to become the person she wants to be. She has a lot of walls to beak down before she can start over. And it is also about a man who has made mistakes but came out a better man who just wants to build her back up while he is also experiencing other changes in his own life. It's about building trust, allowing true feelings and passion to be ignited. It is told in both points of view that only increased the emotional attachment to the characters and their struggles. I enjoyed this first official installment of this new series and look forward to more. 

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

As the first full length novel in the Saints of Denver series, Built is filling big shoes left by the Marked Men. This story, and its characters step up to the plate in a big way, bringing life to yet another side of life in Jay’s Denver.

Zeb is the big, burly contractor giving second chances to others looking for a new start. He knows how hard it can be to start over after earning a criminal record, having learned the hard way himself, but he also knows that a second chance can mean the world to many of these men.

Sayer is the buttoned up, cold woman who arrived in town to surprise everyone as Rowdy’s sister. As a family lawyer, she sees people in the best and worst moments of their lives and fights to make sure her child clients have the best situation possible.

The Ice Queen and Mr. Fix It seem to be a study in opposites on the surface, but the challenges they bring to each other are perfectly matched. The part of the story that gives these two a reason to spend time together was perfectly crafted for them, and I loved what those scenes showed readers about each character.

Together they had many struggles to face. Sayer was so hot and cold with Zeb that it was hard at times to see the feelings behind her actions. Though she has always looked for a straight-laced man, she is attracted to his easy way and casual comfort.

I love everything about Zeb. From his quiet determination to love Sayer to his honesty and his love of family. It was hard to watch him hurt through some of her hot and cold, but I loved his journey nonetheless.

There will be those who scoff at Sayer’s actions, her propensity to push Zeb away even as she wishes she could keep him. But I love what it said about her that she saw things she needed to change about herself and was determined to find herself before she let him in. 

I have been waiting for this book since the end of Marked Men was announced not only for Zeb and Sayer themselves, but for more from Jay’s Denver and it did not disappoint. With cameos from several Marked Men favorites and possible future Saints, this couple exists squarely in the middle of a full world and busy city. 
ARC provided by author and publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It’s no secret that I have a huge girl boner for Jay Crownover. I’ve pretty much loved anything she's put to paper. Built was no exception. Way to go, Jay, you brought 2016 in with a bang!

Zed Fuller may very well be my favorite Jay Crownover hero, and that’s saying a lot because Jay writes some wicked heroes. There was just something about this man that gripped on to all of my senses, and it didn’t take him but a minute to snuggle in, making himself right at home. I fell for Zed face first. Maybe it was the hint of bad boy I saw in him. Maybe it was his dirty talk and moves in the bedroom. Maybe it was those tats—it was definitely those tats! Maybe it was that he didn’t mind getting his hands dirty, metaphorically and literally. Maybe it was his determination, protectiveness, and sense of honor. Maybe it was his endearing relationship with his little dude. Who am I kidding, it was all of the above and so much more. While I literally loved everything about our hero, the thing I loved the most was that his presence comes across quieter than his counterparts, yet, underneath his multitude of layers, he is one of her most powerful players.

Say’s quirks will drive some readers’ crazy as hell but I actually adored this headstrong spitfire. She’s built her walls so high they are almost impenetrable. Sayer can comes across as remote, heck most of the time she is, but if you can get past her defenses you’ll find our girl is totally soft hearted, a tad bit crazy, and very protective over those she feels need it, especially those she loves. Sayer’s personality just resonated with me. I couldn’t help but love her for everything she was and everything she grew to become.

Zed and Sayer were pure magic! Opposites certainly do attract, and Crownover proves this over and over again with each turn of the page. It was easy for the reader to see that Zed and Say were made for each other, even if she couldn’t always acknowledge it. And ignore it she did; I can’t remember the last time I saw a heroine run as hard as Say did. Boy, did our girl run hard and fast! I feared they would never get their crap together. But thankfully, Zed’s determination had him refusing to let her walk away from all the good that was them. His sweet, demanding personality often brought out the fire AND ice in her. Their chase definitely made for some amazing sparks!! 

Their depth, personalities, and dynamics were some of the best Jay has written. I truly couldn’t get enough of either of them, in and out of the bedroom. The chemistry, tension, and connection between them was off the charts hot! Holy hell, I thought my phone was going to start smoking. Everything about them was so damn delicious, I couldn’t devour their story fast enough, even knowing the book would soon come to an end. To say I am a tad jelly of those that get to read this for the first time is an understatement. 

Zed and Hyde—10 stars!! The way Crownover wrote their relationship was beyond perfect. She took the utmost care when navigating this extremely delicate and complex family dynamic. I’m pretty sure I felt my ovaries explode the moment Zed met Hyde. Not sure which Fuller boy stole my heart more. Hyde gave his daddy a run for his money with his sweet little personality. Ladies and gents prepare to have your hearts stolen by this little man. I’m super excited for readers to meet these two and experience all the love Jay put into creating this father and son duo. 

Hurry up, what are you waiting for?! If you haven't yet, this is definite one click material!! Highly recommended to new and current fans of Jay Crownover. 

Thank you, William Morrow Paperbacks, for the complimentary copy of Built.
LEVELED (Saints of Denver #0.5)
Jay Crownover
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Our reviews

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.

CHARGED (Saints of Denver #2)
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May 24, 2016

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes the second installment in the Saints of Denver series featuring a bad girl and a by the book attorney who could be her salvation...or her ruin.

Avett Walker and Quaid Jackson’s worlds have no reason to collide. Ever. Quaid is a high powered criminal attorney as slick as he is handsome. Avett is a pink-haired troublemaker with a bad attitude and a history of picking the wrong men.When Avett lands in a sea of hot water because of one terrible mistake, the only person who can get her out of it is the insanely sexy lawyer. The last thing on earth she wants to do is rely on the no-nonsense attorney who thinks of her as nothing more than a nuisance. He literally has her fate in his hands. Yet there is something about him that makes her want to convince him to loosen his tie and have a little fun…with her.

Quaid never takes on clients like the impulsive young woman with a Technicolor dye job. She could stand to learn a hard lesson or two, but something about her guileless hazel eyes intrigues him. Still, he’s determined to keep their relationship strictly business. But doing so is becoming more impossible with each day he spends with her.

As they work side-by-side, they’ll have to figure out a way to get along and keep their hands off each other—because the chemistry between them is beyond charged. 

Jay Crownover
Jay Crownover
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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.       
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