Bounty (Colorado Mountain Series #7) by Kristen Ashley
Can definitely Stand alone, but will be so much better when you know all the side characters.
Kristen Ashley…sigh…what is it about her writing that gets me every single time? She creates magic every time. Her characters have full, rich, fleshed out personalities with complete backstories, her relationships are deep and strong; not just the romances, but the family and friends as well. Her descriptions are so rich and detailed you feel as if you are there. The men are deliciously alpha. The women are so cool you want to be them or be best friends with them.
One of my favorite things about Kristen Ashley’s writing is her abundance of characters who have lived life. Who know what they want and don’t want. They aren’t virgins, they aren’t teenagers. They aren’t billionaires at 25. There are single moms, career women, bartenders, musicians and more, but they have LIVED. And the men. Yum. Totally alpha manly men. These guys don’t manscape, use gel or get manicures. They are cops, bounty hunters, bikers, construction guys, security, even warriors.
There must be something in the water in those Colorado mountains, because damn, they make some fine men in those mountains! Sweet Dreams (the second book in the Colorado Mountain series) was my first Kristen Ashley book, and I became a fan of her writing and of all the Carnal residents who hang out at Bubba’s. So although I didn’t really remember any details about Deke (just that he’s another sexy mountain man who is there for everyone), I knew that being the last in the series (maybe?), Kristen Ashley would make Bounty good, especially because it is hers again, no publisher telling her to cut her book down. In fact, at over 630 pages, she is back to the pre- Jagged and Kaleidoscope Kristen Ashley.
Justice Lonesome may be one of my favorite heroines Kristen Ashley has written. She’s the person I wish I was. And to me it seems she is more like the real Kristen Ashley than any of her other characters. From her kick-ass name, to her boho style to her career in music, she’s one of the coolest heroines I’ve read about. Justice lived a good life, a life of bounty. Filled with wonderful family and friends. She is the daughter and granddaughter of rock legends, and everyone knows her dad and grandfather. She has a successful career in music, both penning popular songs and performing them. She has spent her life on the road and has enjoyed that life.
One night in Wyoming, she wanders into a bar with some friends, and she sees a man. A man she know would change her life. A man she immediately wrote a song about that eventually became a number one hit.
“Suddenly, he was the only man there. The only man at the bar. The only man in the universe. The only man breathing. The only man for me.”
She knew it immediately. He was it for her. Even after standing her up the next morning, Justice couldn’t help but compare every guy to him. For seven years.
After the tragic death of her father, she decided it was time to plant some roots and settle down. She finds a half-built house in Carnal and moves in when there are no walls or kitchen, just a finished master suite. So Max Holden (yes, from The Gamble) calls in his guy Deke to work it alone for the few weeks until he could get a whole crew together to work on it.
“Seven years, ten minutes, and I knew him at a glance.
Seven years, ten minutes, I was right then drawn to him so deeply, it was taking physical effort to stop my body swaying his way, my feet from moving to him. (…)I looked different, it was true. (…) But it still hurt he didn’t remember me.”
Justice didn’t want to remind him, so she just introduced herself as Jussy, and every day she struggled with not telling him they had met before. They slowly built up a friendship, but Deke never let his walls down. Jussy, however, was completely obvious that she had a thing for him, and she knew it. But it didn’t stop her from buying him lunch and treats from La La Land every day even though he says he is happy with the bologna and cheese he brings. It didn’t stop her from being her sweet, cool, down-to-earth self.
As hard as he tries to stay closed off to her, it isn’t easy. Deke is a simple man. A traveling man. He spends over half the year traveling wherever the wind takes him. She is the famous, very wealthy Justice Lonesome, and that doesn’t sit well with him.
“He didn’t need her shit. Didn’t need to feel less when it was obvious she could give herself more.” ~Deke
They are becoming good friends. He starts to realize he is being an idiot, but doesn’t stop being closed off to any type of relationship with her. Watching him slowly soften to her and open up to her banter was fun. Then something happens, and everything changes. There was no more denying their feelings, and you knew immediately this was it, they are in for the long haul.
Jussy loved his Airstream as much as she loved her big home, and spending half the year on the road is old hat to her. As long as Deke was by her side, Jussy know it would be OK. I loved how cool she thought his trailer was. I loved how ‘normal’ she was for a music star. And something I really loved was the visits and crossovers of other characters from The Colorado Mountain Series and others. Her whole family has used Cal for security. She wrote songs for Stella. Deacon was in there, and all of the Colorado Mountain characters showed up at one point or another. It was like meeting up with old friends, and I totally ate it up.
Bounty was a slow build-up. It took a while to establish a relationship, and I didn’t mind the build-up one bit. There was less action than the previous books, but we still get some. I mean you can’t follow serial killers, crooked cops, being buried alive, kidnapping children and more with with even more crazy. There is only so much that poor town can take!
“All a’ that goin’ down, no one wants near Carnal, Gnaw Bone or Chantelle. It’s the fuckin’ Bermuda Triangle of the Rockies.”
Though Bounty followed the same basic format of the other books in the series, that is quite alright with me, because I loved them all. I will say that I was really glad to have done an audiobook re-read of Sweet Dreams before reading this because it really re-introduced me to many of the core characters in Bounty, like Krys, Bubba, Jim-Billy, Twyla, Lauren, Tate, Sunny and Shambles (I love them) and more. It was 4 years since my last read, and I think the refresher made me enjoy Bounty much more.
“Rooted myself in you”
- Justice may be one of my favorite KA characters ever.
- A slow burn that was more relationship focused than danger focused.
- Visiting with all of the old friends from this series and beyond. I love her crossovers.
- Awesome descriptions of clothes, hair, and her house being built.
- Deke and his unwavering support.
- Great secondary characters that never took away from the core couple. I loved her family.
- I love when Kristen Ashley does first person for the heroine and 3rd for the hero. It’s unique and it works.
- In the end I was bawling my eyes out and hugging my kindle, my typical reaction to the last 10% of a KA book.
- The sex was yummy with an edge of kink that you know will grow.
- Another amazing epilogue.
- Some of Justice’s inner dialogue was so run-on it was hard to make sense of it.
- There were no surprises, it basically followed the Colorado Mountain Series formula.
- Juss and Joss. That tripped me up a number of times.
The Down & Dirty:
Rating: 4.75-5 stars on the KA scale, but I’m going to round up to 5. Because a 4.75 on the KA scale is a 5++++ from anyone else. 4.25 Heat
Purchase Bounty by Kristen Ashley
A lip brush then a whispered, “Relax, Deke.”
His hand resting on my hip slid up to my waist and squeezed.
It did not push me away. It just squeezed.
“Jussy,” he muttered. “Now’s not—”
I went in for another lip brush, another whisper of, “Relax, honey,” and then I went for it and slid my tongue out, gliding the tip along the crease of his lips.
God, he tasted yummy.
I had just enough time to have that thought before I drew in a soft breath when I suddenly found myself on my back, Deke’s weight on me, all of his lower half pressing me into the bed.
“Jussy, don’t,” he growled, his words contradicting our new position. “Now’s not the time.”
Now was totally the time. If I didn’t feel that “now was the time” gathering between my legs (which I did), I could feel that indication hardening on my thigh.
I moved both my hands to his neck, its back, fingers up in his hair and I used those hands and his stiffness to pull me up and I put my mouth back to his.
“Now’s a great time,” I said softly. “You’ve been taking care of me. It’s my turn to take care of you.”
“Shush,” I whispered.
I cut off whatever he was going to say by sliding my tongue in his mouth and touching it to his.
His head jerked back.
My body went solid.
He didn’t move.
I held on to his neck and stared at him staring down at me.
Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have pushed it. Maybe now wasn’t the time.
Hell, maybe I was even wrong about the whole thing. Maybe Deke was that guy who went the extra mile to look out for his friends. And maybe the evidence that was growing hard against my thigh wasn’t evidence of what I thought it was, but just that I was a girl, he was a guy, we were in bed in the dead of night and that was the natural order of things.
I started to feel weird, scared, embarrassment creeping in, and I was about to let him go when it happened.
Thunder rolled in my bedroom, feeling like it was emanating from his stomach, through his chest, his lips, swelling in the room, over my skin, straight between my legs.
Then he shifted one of his hands that were in the bed at my sides, his weight up on his forearms, so it was wrapped around the back of my neck and his mouth slammed down on mine.
I opened my lips and his tongue thrust inside.
Oh God, yes, fuck yes.
He tasted yummy.
Another fierce growl released from Deke, sinking down my throat as he slanted his head and took the kiss deeper.
The man could kiss.
1) Grand Prize winner will receive a $100 Gift Card to the winner’s favorite bookseller.
2) First prize winner will receive all the books in The Colorado Mountain series signed by Kristen plus tons of KA swag.
3) Second prize winner will receive a signed copy of BOUNTY plus tons of KA swag.