The Wake of Violence

Review of the Dream Man Series by Kristen Ashley continues…

Overall Series Rating: 4 (sXe)

I’ve already reviewed two series by Kristen Ashley. This third I’m doing in honor of the Rock Chick Rendezvous happening this weekend (August 27-29) in Denver. It’s my first time fangirling and I am so excited. So I’ve been tweeting like crazy, re-reading Kristen Ashley books that are set in Colorado and enjoying myself immensely. I hope you enjoy yourself too, whenever you read these books and for whatever the occasion.

Wild Man (4)

Brock “Slim” Lucas is used to working undercover. In fact, that’s how we meet him in Mystery Man. This time, instead of having to bang a strung out drug addict, Brock gets close to Tessa O’Hara, a beautiful baker who also happens to be the ex-wife of a drug kingpin in Denver. Tessa has no idea Brock is undercover, but when she finds out, she runs away for three months. Brock understands what he had with Tessa was real, so he gives her that time to cool off and then he goes after her. But after a terrible marriage, Tessa is not so eager to try again. Brock does everything he can to make Tessa safe, but Brock has his own problems with his ex. Problems he only discovers are there because his two sons bear the scars of his ex-wife’s craziness.

I was prepared not to like this book primarily because Brock isn’t portrayed in the best light in Mystery Man. Not to mention the whole, having sex with someone while undercover seems totally sleezy, but whatever, I’m not in law enforcement. What saved Brock for me was how much he took care of Tessa. And I don’t mean that he took care of her in some paternalistic sense (gross). But that Tessa has never felt safe in her adult life and Brock finally FINALLY gives her that. It’s a beautiful thing when you can give your loved one something special that she’s never had before. The other thing that made me fall in love with Brock was his kids. He is a great dad and you’ve got to love a great dad (I know…the irony of that statement after my jab at paternalism). And of course I loved Tessa too. I love baking myself, so I totally get the urge to show people you love them by baking them deliciousness that makes them smile. I wasn’t as sold on the whole analogy that she is a mountainous swirl of purple frosting with a moist cake in the middle, but whatever. I can overlook that.

What really gets me about this book, what is probably the most profound lesson/implication/scene of this series is that domestic violence and rape affect not just the victims. Tessa is a survivor of rape. Brock has also experienced the effects of rape through his relationship with his sister and his first love. Towards the end of the novel Tessa is faced with the likelihood that she will be raped again. She thinks to herself: “But no one was going to hurt me like that, not again. And they weren’t going to hurt Brock either.” She believes in her heart that she wouldn’t survive that kind of trauma again. And she doesn’t think Brock could survive it either.

Here it is folks. A revelation. A profound statement that violence is an act that ripples out, affecting others in its wake. It’s shocking the things we can learn from fiction. But here is a concept I had never really considered before that totally rocks my world. It’s true! It’s so true that the families carry a weight. It’s not the same weight, but it’s a heavy one none-the-less, when a loved one is abused. This lesson is what makes Kristen Ashley such a kick-ass author. And it’s a good reason to love this book. Profound.

Who is your Dream Man?

For me, it’s definitely Mitch Lawson. I love a man who is willing to wait for a good thing. I also love a man who can fix a plumbing problem. Check out my 5 star review of Law Man, book 3 in the Dream Man series, posting tomorrow. I’d love to hear who your dream man is.


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