Breathe [Colorado Mountains #4] by Kristen Ashley

Publication Date: July 23rd, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
In order to protect a father he does not respect, in Lady Luck, we learned that good cop Chace Keaton went bad, sacrificing his career and his future. But when the local police department’s secrets are revealed and the wife he’s forced to marry is murdered, Chace finds himself the town of Carnal’s hero. Knowing how deep in the mud he was forced to sink, Chace feels he’ll never get clean. The quiet, content future he envisioned of the love a good woman with whom he could build a family was now beyond his reach. The only thing he can do is find his wife’s murderer.

But he isn’t the only one looking.

While searching for new leads, he runs into Faye Goodknight, the town’s quiet, shy, pretty librarian. Chace has long since had his eye on what could possibly be the town’s last remaining virgin but he has also long since given up hope he could make her his. Faye is pure and clean and Chace refuses to dirty her with his sordid past.

Pure and clean Faye may be, but when the shy librarian is forced to go head to head with the man who she’s had a crush on since he hit her hometown, Chace finds Faye is full of surprises. And he doesn’t know what to do with her.

This was a bit more of an emotional powerhouse over any other books from Ms. Ashley. There was a story of abduction and child abuse, what Chace had to endure to get to where he was, and his romance with Fay wasn’t always bed of roses but it’s pretty emotional nonetheless. In short, it had been a throat-clogging read for me. I’ve been looking forward to reading Chace’s story just because this man had been dealt the worst cards imaginable. I’ve had my eye on him ever since Lady Luck. Back then, we didn’t really know how deep he was in the filth of corruption headed by Arnie Fuller. Well this is his story. And boy, it was more than I wanted to know – especially the circumstances in which Misty, his ex-wife, was murdered.

The first scene was a douse of scalding water. It opens up as Chace tries to exorcise the darkness in him. Here, he tells how the police found Misty’s body: bruised, battered, riddled with bullet holes and stomachful of semen. If that’s not enough to give you nightmares then you’re better at this than I am. If anything, I think that Kristen Ashley excelled in writing some pretty gruesome crime scenes. Come to think of it, the serial killer’s method of collecting ‘memorabilia’ on Sweet Dreams was just as grisly. My point is, I’m starting to realize the extent of Ms. Ashley’s writing abilities. She not only give us the most frustrating, hot, toe-curling romance, she’s also given us some thrilling crime stories.

I love the Chace and Fay pairing. After everything that he’d been through, Chace deserves the clean, innocent, kind, generous Fay. On the same token, I think Fay deserves her hero, regardless if he’s unconventional.

My complaints with Ms. Ashley’s writing remain the same; there’s no need to rehash them. Although, I don’t think I’ve mentioned this pet peeve of mine before: she’s been fond of writing, “I deep breathed” in different variations in her books. I mean, I’m not proficient in grammar by any stretch, but this just doesn’t sound right. This particular section was told in Fay’s POV – Fay, who has a masters in Library Science. Fay, who lives and breathes the literary word. I failed to see how someone like her could talk like this, even for a second. Come to think of it, Lexie spoke like this in Lady Luck and there’s definitely an intellectual difference between the two. I’m not belittling Lexie; I’m just reiterating  Ms. Ashley’s inability to give her characters distinct personalities. Sigh. Okay, whatever, I’m nit picking. But still, I need to join an Ashley Addict Anonymous – if such a thing exists.

VERDICT: Breathe, is by far, my favourite book among all of her work. Since I’ve come at peace with my addiction to her books, I’ve learned to disregard the things that annoyed me about her writing and therefore, reading this book was far more enjoyable than what I’ve read so far.

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