In terms of residence, I've sworn that I won't ever veer far from city comforts... that is, until I read [b:Play It Safe|13413762|Play It Safe|Kristen Ashley|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1326638842s/13413762.jpg|18699235] and decided that I want to move to a town like Mustang, Colorado and find my own Grayson Cody and be a sassy rancher wife with kickass cowboy boots. And if that doesn't work out for me then I'm heading to Carnal.
Seriously! What is it with [a:Kristen Ashley|2958084|Kristen Ashley|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1279995377p2/2958084.jpg]'s books that makes me all googly-eyed and dreamy after drowning myself in their pages? I'm trying to quickly compare her heroes right now and I must say, Gray is the sweetest one I've ever read about. He is probably the least assholey among the lot yet he still reads like a true KA alpha male.
Ivey and her older brother, Casey, have been on the move since she was twelve. They've moved from one town to another and made money by hustling people, mostly through Ivey's winnings from playing pool. Their MO was simple: be inconspicuous, make their play and get their cash, then be off to the next town to avoid trouble with the law and people they've scammed money from. This was their lifestyle until one day when Casey decided to overstay in Mustang because of a girl he has met. Ivey knew they couldn't stay. Their cash was dwindling down and they needed to get a move on, stat. In the same period, Ivey had also caught the eye of the handsome Gray Cody. On the night of her extended stay, she gets into trouble with Buddy, the town jerk, who lost his pride and $500 when he pushed Ivey for a bet at a pool game. Gray steps in to protect her, and she finds herself falling for him since then.
Seeing that her brother is feeling happy-in-love, and still mooching money off her, she had no trouble informing him that she now has a job in town and is settling in. Ivey and Gray get to know each other better and fall in love day by day.
"How can one day you have next to nothing and then a week and a day later you have everything?"
"You still fallin' in love with me?"
"'Cause you should know, baby, I'm already gone for you."
Everything was finally looking up for Ivey, until that fateful day when tragedy struck and she was forced to leave Gray and the wonderful town of Mustang. Hurtful circumstances beyond their control kept them apart, and Ivey, for seven years, loved no one but him. Now an unforeseen event happened that made Ivey swallow her pride and head back to Mustang, and this is where her and Gray's lives intertwine again.
Needless to say, they found out that they were duped by several people. The unveiling of events angered me as much as it did them, and I found myself crying over the years lost, the might-have-beens and the could-have-beens. But I was just happy that they were finally together again, and now they're able to face life's challenges together. However, years have passed and they've both changed somehow, and with that came the challenge of living together after only being together for two and a half months seven years ago.
"You have opinions, I will too, they clash, we'll battle our corners. Just as long as we go to bed in the same bed every night and eventually find a way to sort our shit, we'll be good."
Nothing upsets me more than having two innocent people in love pulled apart by external factors. It just HURTS!
Reading about what was done to Ivey and Gray had me cursing at my iPad and sobbing like crazy. But all that pain just made their reunion all the more sweet and touching, and by the time Gray found out the truth, everything was just automatic. Just like that, he went to get his girl back and not wanting to waste any more time, she was back in Mustang where she was meant to be.
I loved the story for the most part, and Grayson was just absolute perfection. The cast of secondary characters were also some of the most memorable KA characters I've ever read about but I can't help feeling that some parts could have been further developed. I liked Ivey, I really do, but her character was an unoriginal KA heroine for me. I would have preferred more fire, especially considering the life she led growing up and the suffering she'd dealt with for 7 years. I'd have liked to also read about her getting a school diploma and maybe getting a course that would help her manage the ranch better, or even finding girlfriends. I just thought that she had a lot of potential that was left untapped. The thing with Buddy and Casey were also loose ties for me. I wished Casey could've been somewhat redeemed and rejoined Ivey later on, and I wished Buddy had gone to jail instead of Pete.
This book was not short, but it left me wanting more. The epilogue was perfect though, true to standard KA-style, and I was happy with the thought that several people made their way back into Ivey and Gray's lives. Overall, I thought it was a great KA book, and one that I could see myself re-reading in the future. I'd end this by quoting a favourite dialogue that tugs my heart strings because it just captures what I love most about the typical bossy but lovable KA man.
"Say you love me, Ivey", he ordered.
"I love you, Gray", I did as ordered.
"Good, baby, because I love you too," he whispered.