Review: At Peace by Kristen Ashley

Review: At Peace by Kristen AshleyAt Peace by Kristen Ashley
Series: The 'Burg #2
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 621
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Ride Steady
Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | iTunes

Violet Winters once had it all but lost it when her husband was murdered by a criminal madman. During a cold winter night Violet has to leave her warm bed to tell her neighbor to turn the music down. And that’s when she meets sinister, scarred, scarily attractive security specialist, Joe Callahan.

She wants to deny it, but Violet can’t beat back the hunger she feels for Joe so she gives in again and again. Feeling it himself, Joe feeds Vi’s hunger, breaking his own rules to keep her in his bed.

Even though Violet had only one man in her life, she’s sure Joe is giving her the signals and Vi decides she’s ready to take a second chance at life and, maybe, love. But Violet doesn’t know the dark secrets in Joe’s past, secrets so soul-wrenching, they’ve drained him dry. With nothing left to give, Joe’s determined to live his life alone and he breaks Violet’s heart.

Crushed by Joe’s betrayal, Violet comes to terms with the fact that, no matter what signals he gave, Joe was not theirs to win. But Violet’s husband’s murderer is obsessed with her and heartbreak again haunts the door of the Winters home. When it does Joe is forced to face the knowledge that he can’t fight Violet’s pull, she’s under his skin and filled him full to bursting.

Joe needs to win her back and put his life on the line to keep Violet safe. But, having had it all once, can Violet endure losing Joe?

Kristen Ashley never ceases to amaze me with her utter brilliance for writing romance books that grab a hold of you and totally get under your skin. I rarely review her books because it’s just too difficult for me to articulate how freaking much I love her books. But after seeing the cover reveal for Hold On (The ‘Burg #6), I felt the need to let some words flow on the page because this book was just too freaking good. And I’m on this quest to finish up the rest of this series before Hold On releases. AT PEACE was such a heart-melting, suspenseful and achingly beautiful story that I’m kicking myself for not reading this book sooner. Seriously? Why had I not read this book earlier?!
For the past year and a half, Violet Winter’s has had to rebuild her once beautiful life. Her high school sweetheart and husband of seventeen years was brutally murdered by a psycho mobster who had a sick obsession with Violet. After enduring months of being stalked and harassed by Daniel Hart, Violet and her two teenage daughters, Katy and Keira, leave Chicago and head to Indiana to live a much more peaceful and safe life. Violet works tirelessly to provide for her daughters, and give them a somewhat normal life back, sans their father.

I’d had everything once, and what was more, my daughters had it. In a way I didn’t think it could begin again, the world had ended when that everything was ripped away, not just from me but from my daughters. 

Violet’s journey with her daughters has been rough and emotional, but the Winter’s girls do the best that they can. But even with all her efforts to put on a happy face for her daughters, Violet is sad and lonely. She definitely still loves her deceased husband but I totally understood her want and need to move on. Ashley really tugged on my heart strings when Violet talked about her loneliness, and as a reader, I was so ready for her to meet the man that would fill the gaping hole in her heart. Thank goodness Ashley doesn’t make us wait too long for Violet to meet the man that would change her life for her and her girls.Joe Callahan. OMFG. Joe Callahan! Now, I’ve read quite a few Kristen Ashley books and have loved all of her alpha males, but Joe FREAKING Callahan easily tops them all. He’s uber-bossy, alpha male to the extreme. He’ll tick you off like no other but when you peel back his layers, you understand why he’s the way he is and does what he does. Joe’s childhood and early adulthood was sad and tragic and when you learn everything about him, you understand why he puts Violet through some real bullshit situations. It’s not totally excusable but you understand and become compassionate.

This shit was natural, like I was born to be in Joe Callahan’s bed and it was natural to him too, like Joe Callahan was born to be in mine.

Like with all of Kristen Ashley’s romances, Violet and Joe’s road to happily ever after in AT PEACE is not an easy road. I swear I got whiplash from Violet and Joe’s turbulent beginning. Like I said, Joe can be a complete – and I mean COMPLETE – dick, but when he turns on his sweet side….HOLY SHIT! you are done and over with. Kristen Ashley smashed my heart to smithereens once Violet and Joe’s relationship finally falls in place, and each can start rebuilding the parts of themselves that was broken or lost.

A lot happens in this book, so I’m not even going to try to capture everything that happens in this book. That would be utterly crazy! I can promise you that you will not want to put down this book as soon as you read it. Kristen Ashley has this amazing talent of getting you fully invested in her characters. She doesn’t just tell their stories, but she makes her characters a part of you. And it’s not just Joe and Violet who burrow themselves in  you, Violet’s daughters and extended family will make your heart melt. The scenes between Joe, Violet and the girls are some of my favorite scenes in the book, and there were a few times that I choked up because those moments were just so beautiful and poignant.

He needs Mom and us more than we need him. He needs a family. He’s over there, all by himself, he has nobody. We have each other.” She looked at me and started, “He needs somebody. I can tell.”

Kristen Ashley infuses so much heart and emotion into her stories that you can’t help but feel a deep connection to each and every one of her characters. I’ve read quite a few Kristen Ashley books but AT PEACE easily slides into my Top 3 spots of favorite Kristen Ashley books of all time. I loved the mixture of Ashley’s signature romance storytelling with a hint of suspense and action. Joe and Violet’s chemistry was off the charts in this book and even though this book was already over 600+ pages, I wished it could have gone on for a little long. They are definitely a couple that I will not forget and their story is one that I know I will revisit often. 

About Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

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