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Feb 05

Hard & Reckless by Victoria Ashley Review

Victoria Ashley - Hard & Reckless - Cover Image

3 Smooches

a4-5 a4 a4-4

Synopsis

Cole King… the name alone leaves a bad taste in my mouth, a reminder of how he broke my trust in the worst way possible.
My best friend of twenty fucking years.
He had my back and I had his.
Always.
Until he crossed the line.
Now visions of him sinking between my girl’s legs, making her scream in all the ways only I should’ve been doing, haunt me, mixed with images of all the ways I can rip his damn throat out.
I’ve tried to forget it and move on, but I can’t.
Ways to inflict even just a small portion of the pain he made me feel fucking consumes me.
Somewhere in his fucked up, twisted mind, he thought it would be okay to share my girl.
Now…
Now, he gets to see what it feels like to share what is his.
Brooke Collins…
Hopefully she can handle both of us, because I intend to make Cole work for her.
The hard part will be making sure she falls for the right one in the end.
I don’t intend for that to be me…
At least, not until I get a taste of her.
That one touch alone is enough to change the fucking game.

Review

Jameson and Cole were best friends, and in an attempt to teach him the lesson that his girlfriend of four years was bad news, Cole betrays Jameson in the worst possible way by sleeping with that girlfriend. This scenario, given how it played out, was a miss for me. Both the unbelievable set-up and timing of that tryst as well as the notion that it was a lesson that needed to be taught versus of a conversation that should have been had showed exactly how immature these guys were. Not to mention the fact that Cole had already been hooking up and “talking” with—whatever that means—the heroine, Brooke, when he slept with Jameson’s girlfriend, essentially cheating on her in the process of delivering this lesson to Jameson, and betraying her as well. Jameson’s reaction is to get angry and retaliate—with a lesson of his own, of course, devised to show Cole what it feels like when your best friend sleeps with your girl. Thus begins Jameson’s sexual targeting, I mean seduction, of Brooke.

The fact that these two guys toyed with this girl this way was deplorable, especially since they were supposedly great guys, known for being good to and very protective of women. Honestly though, throughout this whole part of the plot, it was Brooke who bothered me most. She came off as a fickle girl who was driven not by her feelings for these guys, but by her uncontrollable lust for them. She started out crushing only on Cole at first, but she found that she couldn’t fight her physical attraction to both of them, though she didn’t really try to fight it either. Once Cole and Jameson finally did talk everything out and agreeing to drop the lesson teaching, they came to the obvious (ridiculous) conclusion that since they’d put poor Brooke in this position, where she now wanted both of them, it was only fair that they give her what she wants–a night of hot sex with both of them. Because surely no one will develop feelings or get hurt in that scenario, right? Wrong.

I had issues connecting with all three of these characters, and ultimately, it impacted my ability to sympathize, empathize and relate to any of them. I found the three of them to be juvenile, immature, naïve and, frankly, a bit annoying. The crux of the plot – that lesson instead of conversation nonsense – only served the purpose to drive home the fact that these two guys were not yet emotionally mature men, and that they were still very much in the man-boy phase of their lives. But as turned off to Cole and Jameson as I was, I also had big problems with Brooke.

I honestly could not fathom what the heck it was that these two guys saw in Brooke that made her a woman worthy of jeopardizing a twenty-year friendship over. What happened to bros before hoes? On more than one occasion, she showed herself to be more of a girl to scratch an itch with, not girlfriend material. I just didn’t get it, and neither did she considering it was her who said, straight out, “what kind of girl goes and falls for the best friend of the guy she’s talking to?” Exactly, Brooke, exactly. At one particularly intimate point, she mentally waffled between the two guys comparing how they, ahem, sized up against each other and implying that one of the guys was inching out the other because he had more to offer, if you catch my drift. It was like she was a girl whose heart was ruled not by her head or her feelings, but by whomever was arousing her the most. I even found myself frustrated to the point of audibly groaning and exclaiming expletives a few times while reading this book. The promised hot sex was there, and it was plentiful, but even that fell a bit flat for me considering the circumstances and how little I cared for these characters.

There were some funny moments in the book. I did like two side characters, the guys’ best friend, Rowdy, and Brooke’s best friend, Karson, who had their own connection and chemistry going on. Thankfully, once Brooke finally settled on one guy, she did stop sleeping with the other guy. Like I said, the sex was steamy and frequent without it being overdone. Even though I didn’t buy into the premise of the plot, the author’s writing style was good, the story flowed well and the book was well edited, not to mention I love this cover. When I weigh what didn’t work for me with what did, I land smack in the middle of my rating scale, so for that reason I’m giving Victoria Ashley’s Hard & Reckless three smooches.

~ Danielle Palumbo

 

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