My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Unfinished Heroes Series by Kristen Ashley
The Unfinished Heroes Series is a series about anti-heroes, or, more accurately, heroes who don’t know that they are heroes to someone/anyone. There is a lot of dark stuff in this series, chief amongst it all is the unconventional sex. Because of that all of the books have an XXX rating from me, although they vary in intensity. Currently the series is on sale ($1.99 each instead of $3.99 each book) in anticipation of the fifth and final book, Sebring, being released January 11, 2016. I am reviewing the books in order so the stories can be fresh in our minds when Nick’s is available. If you haven’t picked up these books, now is a great time to do so!
Overall Rating: 4 (XXX)
Quick & Dirty summary: Those he works with only know him as Ghost. Three people know his real name, Deacon, and he trusts those people with his life. When he returns to a bunch of cabins in the woods of Colorado, he’s surprised to meet the new owner, Cassidy Swallow, especially since she’s fighting with her boyfriend. Deacon doesn’t let it show, but he returns to the cabins time after time, year after year, hoping Cassidy will find a good man. Cassidy doesn’t care that the man she knows as John Priest has the mist of danger surrounding him, she just knows that after six years of renting cabin 11 to him, she wants more. When the two of them finally get together, the world stops and starts again. But Deacon can’t let go of his horrifying past, and Cassidy needs him to give her something so that she can continue to trust him to be the man she’s fallen in love with.
Cassidy is a different heroine than Kristen Ashley’s usual MO. She’s earthy, unaffected, and tomboyish. She doesn’t decorate in pinks, she doesn’t take an hour on her make-up, and all she wants is to enjoy the beauty of Colorado working alongside a good man. She’s not like any of the three heroines we’ve seen so far in this series and I LOVE her. In some ways, she’s a little like Sylvie, because she shares a lot of the characteristics Ashley normally gives to her heroes. Hard working, self-sufficient, and bossy, Cassidy is who she is.
Part of what makes Cassidy such a strong character is you hear her voice a little more than some of the other novels. There’s foreshadowing that comes through from her perspective that give the novel a melancholy feel, even if nothing extremely dark happens in it. Most of the extremely bad stuff has happened in the past, and you don’t get a sense of what that is until the very end. In some ways, the bad stuff that happens is the worst stuff that has happened so far in the series, but you’re a little removed so it doesn’t hit you quite as hard. In some ways I think the trauma of Sylvie and Creed came across as more intense to me then what happens to Deacon, even though Deacon’s stuff is Terrible with a capital T.
This is paralleled in that the sex is also a little more hardcore than the other books. That isn’t to say there’s any sadomasochism, but there is definitely bondage and other non-mainstream sex. The way it works between Cassidy and Deacon is palatable though. Even if you aren’t particularly kinky, Ashley writes about it in a way that makes it easy to see that it’s about pleasing your partner in whatever way that works for them. It isn’t related to past trauma or fetishism. It’s about a couple exploring ways that give each other pleasure and on that level, it’s sweet and hot.
Is it worth buying? (Kindle $1.99 sale, $3.99 regular)
Something else you might enjoy:
If you are looking for another book where the hero is totally messed up because of a horrifying ex-girlfriend/wife, then you should probably read Kristen Ashley’s At Peace, book 2 in the ‘Burg series. I put together a review of the whole series, which you can read here.