Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Also by this author: Penmort Castle (Ghosts and Reincarnation, #1)
Series: Colorado Mountains #7
Publisher: Kristen Ashley
Source: My shelves
Justice Lonesome has enjoyed a life of bounty. Even so, she's inherited the curse of the Lonesome. A poet's soul. Which means she's still searching for something. Searching for peace. Searching for the less...that's more. And when the foundation of her life is pulled out from under her, grieving, she goes to the mountains to find her oasis. She hits Carnal, Colorado, and decides to stay. Deke Hightower lost everything at the age of two. He lost it again at fifteen. His life has not been about bounty. It's been about learning to live with less, because there's no way to get more. Deke's also watched all his friends go down to the women who gave them what they needed. He wants that for himself. But he knows that search isn't going to be easy because he's a rider. His home is the road. That's the only place he can breathe. And the woman who takes her place at his side has to do it sitting on the back of his bike. When Deke meets Justice, he knows she's not that woman. She's cute. She's sweet. And she's into him, but she's got it all and Deke knows he won't fit into that. So he holds her at arm's length. Establishes boundaries. And Justice will take it because she wants Deke any way he'll let her have him. But when Justice finds herself a pawn in a dangerous game, Deke makes a decision. When he does, he has no idea he's just opened himself up to bounty.
It’s no secret that I adore Kristen Ashley’s books. She will always have a special place in my heart because she’s the romance author I started with in sixth grade. I remember this so clearly, talking to my friend about this book in sixth grade, trying to be nonchalant about it so I could be cool, but also so excited by this whole new world I’d discovered called romance. I started with the first book in this series, The Gamble, and my way through her backlist in the over seven years since. I reread several of her books a year, and it’s become a bit of a tradition to have one at minimum a month to spend time with.
It’s important to understand something about Kristen Ashley – her books are the ultimate romance comfort food. They’re the cozy mystery of romance. They make you curl up, and dream “What if…?” and completely suck you in. They’re not exotic, fast-paced, or wholly different from others, they’re just like a warm hug. Ms. Ashley’s books are always long, and you could probably cut the book in half and still have the plot stay intact. But then that would ruin that magic that she somehow weaves. Because even though, depending on the book, much of the story is about day-to-day life, it all has a purpose. She’s building this amazing connection with and between her characters, and fleshing them out in a way that’s unusual for the genre. She has a formula and tends to stick with that for most to her books, but they’re still all distinct and written with love. Now, onto Bounty…
I’ve basically been waiting for Deke’s book since sixth grade, which was a long time ago. Granted, this book did originally come out (and I did read it) in 2016, but still. Much anticipated, and much loved. It takes place in Carnal, Colorado (a small, fictional biker town) where daughter and granddaughter of rock ‘n roll legend (and legend-in-the-making) Justice Lonesome bought a house. But really the story started seven years earlier in Wyoming when they met at a biker bar, that ended in Justice being stood up. Deke may have had a good reason, but she didn’t know that.
I hoped I was made for him.
Because he sure as fuck was made for me.
And wouldn’t you know… flash-forward, and guess who the contractor ends up being that will be working on her house for the next several weeks? Jus and Deke had such a strong, fierce connection the first time they met, even though it didn’t go anywhere at the time. It was hardly insta-love, but a crumb that signaled the beginning of something great.
Justice “Jus” was easy to love – just like every other KA heroine. She’s quirky, sweet and has a lot of love to give that she just wants to shower on her family and friends. She has a poets soul, and it’s easy to see why people tend to gravitate towards her. Her connection to music was a great piece, and I loved being in the head of a singer/songwriter. Deke, too, was an instant “YES” for me. KA certainly knows how to write her hero’s, and Deke is no different. He may be a grumpus and was very hesitant to open himself up and be vulnerable to yet another girl who can tear his life open, but when push came to shove, there was no other option for Deke. He may be a traveling man, but he’d found his perfect girl in his gypsy princess, who isn’t afraid to be rootless for a while, and he wasn’t going to wait before he laid his claim.
The slow burn of the romance hits good, and their chemistry practically crackles throughout the book, each time the characters make eye-contact or are in the same room. But I always appreciate that build-up that KA gives her characters. They never just fall in bed together, but when they do, it’s combustible! What can I say? The forced-proximity bodyguard/workplace romance really does it for me.
I will say that the pacing of this one was a bit slower than in past books, as there weren’t many *romantic-suspense* moments going on, but KA made it work, by filling this story with the love of a community. (The fictional) Carnel, Colorado holds a place in my heart because it’s such a rowdy, loving family of friends that band together through thick and thin. The town sees some action due to its many romances (and all the dangerous antics that happen in a Romancelandia courtship), but it’s a place of love and I always miss this town and the family when it’s time to leave ✨(Read my review of book 1)