The road to recovery is full of twists and turns no matter who is in the driver’s seat.
From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jay Crownover comes a standalone romance with a hero sure to keep readers up long into the night.
Pick up your copy of RECOVERED for just $.99 through release week only!
It was hate at first sight……
I hated Cable James McCaffrey.
He was entitled, spoiled, a user…and an addict.
He was out of control and didn’t bother trying to hide it.
He had everything anyone could want but still seemed miserable and lost.
Every move he made, every mistake he stumbled his way through, rubbed me the wrong way. However, I couldn’t stop myself from trying to save him from himself when no one else would. In the sweltering heat of the summer, Cable taught me that having it all means nothing if you can’t have the one thing you want more than anything else.
I was obsessed with Affton Reed.
She was rigid, uptight, and no fun. There was something about her innate goodness that called to me.
She acted like she was above all the normal faults and failures that clung to the rest of us like the scent of smoke after a fire.
I was infatuated with her, but that didn’t stop me from acting like she didn’t exist.
In the scorching heat of summer, Affton taught me that there is always a way back from the brink of despair. She showed me that the trick to having it all was realizing that it was already there, in my hands. All I had to do was hold onto it.
The road to recovery is full of twists and turns no matter who is in the driver’s seat.
RECOVERED is just $.99 through release week! Order your copy of RECOVERED today!
I lost my heart a long time ago to Jay Crownover’s bent but not broken bad boys, and while Rule will always be my favorite because he’s the one who introduced me to the awesomeness that is Crownover’s stories and characters, each one of her fractured alpha males finds his way into my head, into my heart, and even sometimes, into my soul, and for all his jacked up issues and addictive tendencies, Cable James McCaffrey found a way to make me understand him, want better for him, and be proud of him for all that he worked through as his and Affton’s story pushed them both to their limits and left readers amazed at just how strong both Cable and Affton were as they journeyed through Cable’s addictions and vices as well as the contradictory and overwhelming feelings that consume them when it comes to each other and what they seemingly want and need regardless of their thoughts and spoken words to the contrary.
I have to say that it was a dark, bitter, and lonely time when Crownover allowed readers inside Cable’s head, especially at the beginning of Recovered. He had so much self-loathing and misplaced anger as well as addictions that consumed every facet of his psyche and his body. It was extremely difficult to be forced to witness his downward spiral and not be able to do anything for him. Cable’s last name absolutely allowed him to get away with an horrendous amount of illegal activities, but I don’t think Cable really cared about getting caught; in some ways, I think he was acting out so abdominally to see if anyone would call him out and the fact that no one did, except a girl from his school who barely talked to him spoke volumes when it came to who he had to help him fight his addictions.
What’s also interesting is the fact that Cable would probably be the first to admit that he was and perhaps even still is a user but not for the reasons some might expect. His destructive choices continually numbed his emotions, helping him to escape the maelstrom of feelings and consent badgering that never seemed to be fully silent inside his head. Cable truly didn’t care what the drugs did to him because the freedom he felt while being on them is what kept him from having to deal with a barrage of complicated and contradictory emotions that no one else would understand.
Affton is an incredibly complex character, partly because her past is what guides every aspect of her present and partly because it’s rather difficult to understand some of the choices she makes, not only when it comes to Cable, but to herself as well. In Affton’s experience, addiction never loses; it always brought those in its clenches down to their lowest point, refusing to surrender them, so if she focuses on that idea, she shouldn’t care…she shouldn’t be angry at Cable for destroying his life with addiction…she shouldn’t want him to get help…she should have seen Cable as a lost cause and moved on. But for some reason, Affton couldn’t, and even after she’s forced into being Cable’s sobriety companion, for lack of a better term, her feelings towards Cable lead to complications that she doesn’t want or can handle because they put her right back into a situation that has the ability to overwhelm her again…to fight against and for someone who would much rather give into their addiction than fight it.
Affton doesn’t, truly, allow anyone past the walls that she has built around her heart because the love she had for her mother scarred her in life-changing ways – ones that for most of the story, I don’t see her getting past, and I can’t say that I blame her. What Affton experienced with her mother is not something that anyone should have to endure, especially at such a young age, so the fact that she holds steadfast to her mission…to her goals…to her future makes sense but because she didn’t factor in just how much Cable would get under her skin and compel her to do things she never would have done without his influence and her feelings for him, she finds herself on a path she never wanted to be on and now it’s one that she doesn’t know how or if she wants to find a way off.
Recovered is a rather interesting title for Cable and Affton’s story. For one, I don’t know if Cable will ever truly be ‘recovered’ from his addictions. He can stay clean and he can maintain his sobriety, but those demons don’t just disappear…they’re always there hoping that Cable allows them back into his life. And, there is no way that Affton has recovered from her mother’s neglect due to her addiction or the fact that Affton gave her whole heart to someone who always let her down. That kind of past…that kind of treatment can never be erased, and the fact that she had to go through someone else’s addiction with him and fight for him when he couldn’t or wouldn’t fight for himself is not something that can be forgotten.
The lessons that Affton and Cable teach each other are brutal and heartbreaking. She’s had a front row seat to Cable’s downward spiral and because she was the only one who intervened, she now finds herself responsible for his sobriety, and even though the situation was forced upon her, the days and weeks they’re together redefine her feelings for Cable, forcing her to readjust her life, in some ways, while still maintaining the parts she deems most important.
But these two bent but not broken characters can move forward, knowing that what they’ve been through, both individually and together, will continue to define them but it no longer has to hold them back or make them feel like they need to put up walls and keep people out because it’s clear that if there is someone fighting right along side the addict then there’s every chance that they will finally see improvement…finally see the light that has been submerged in the darkness for far too long…finally feel like they’ve somewhat recovered and regained control of their life, even in the smallest of ways.
4.5 Poison Apples
I took another swallow of cinnamon-flavored booze and made a face as it burned down my throat. Maybe I could breathe fire. I needed to be able to if I was going to make it through the summer with Affton Reed looking over my shoulder. She had some of the strongest shields I’d ever seen. If my fire wasn’t hot enough, it would bounce off her and burn me to a crisp.
The sun was down, and I was pretty much sitting in the water now. I thought about lying down and letting it lift me up and carry me wherever it wanted. I wasn’t drifting anywhere good on my own. I heard splashing and felt the air behind me stir. No longer alone. No longer left to my own devices and bad choices.
I took another swig from the bottle, draining it, and looked over my shoulder at the girl making her way toward me. Her hair looked silver in the darkening light, and there was no mistaking the annoyance on her unmade-up face. She looked at me then shifted her gaze to the empty bottle in my hand. Her lips pulled into a frown, and her eyebrows tugged down into an angry V over the top of her nose.
“You aren’t going to make anything about this summer easy, are you, Cable?”
I had a thing for her voice. It was a little bit husky and a lot sweet with that slow, southern Texas twang in it. The way my name sounded when she said it, all exasperated and frustrated, was fucking sexy. It made me wonder what it would sound like when she whispered it in the dark while I was inside of her. I’d imagined that more times than I could count over the last eighteen months.
“I don’t really do easy, Reed.” I looked at the empty bottle in my hand and contemplated tossing it into the Gulf. Knowing my luck, I’d hit some endangered marine life and give the judge one more reason to add months onto my sentence. Instead, I reached up and handed it to the leggy blonde who was now standing next to me, the water well above her ankles.
“Jesus. Did you drink this whole thing?” She sounded incensed, and when I rolled my eyes up to look at her, it was clear she was contemplating hitting me over the head with the very weapon I’d just handed to her.
I shrugged. “Pretty much.” The bubbly teen girls barely had the chance to put a dent in it before I swooped in and snagged their stash.
She sighed from where she was hovering above me. I jolted in shock when she suddenly lowered herself to the wet sand next to me, the water immediately soaking into her frayed cutoffs and swirling around her ankles and hips as she copied my pose, my empty bottle caught between her feet. She leaned forward, rested her cheek on her knee, and gazed at me steadily out of those mesmerizing eyes. “I tried to tell your mother this was hopeless. I warned her there is no helping someone who doesn’t want to be helped. I don’t want to be here, Cable.” Her voice was hard, and I was surprised that her admission hurt a little bit. I didn’t want to be around me most of the time, but I was used to other people flocking to me, vying for my attention. “I don’t want to be here, but I have to be, so that means you’re stuck with me no matter how difficult you decide to make the next couple of months. I don’t have a choice.”
I wanted a cigarette. I needed something to occupy my hands and my mouth. I’d left the smokes and m y t-shirt on the steps of the deck off dad’s house. The steps led to the beach, just a few feet from the water. It was a beautiful house on a prime piece of property. With Affton here, it was nothing more than an expensive jail cell.
I knew exactly what means my mother had gone to in order to get Affton to agree to this madness. She told me outright she was blackmailing my former classmate, I think in a thinly veiled attempt to make me care about someone else’s future if I wouldn’t care about my own. I knew if I drove Affton away, her father would lose his job. It wasn’t fair, but my mom had been nothing short of ruthless in her pursuit of my sobriety. “My mom can be very convincing when she puts her mind to it.” She could also be tough as nails and immovable when she wanted something.
Affton snorted and shifted so her chin was resting on her knee instead of her cheek. She looked out over the endless landscape of water and sky, and I shivered even though it wasn’t cold. I lifted a hand to run it through my hair. My unease lived inside of me, crawled all around my bones and under my skin. I wasn’t used to it making its way to the surface because of someone else. There was a lot unsaid between me and this girl. The few words we’d exchanged were powerful, important ones that hung heavy between us. It was so much easier when I looked at her, and she refused to look back.
“I don’t think convincing is the word I would use…more like conniving. Either way, she tied my hands, so succeed or fail, you are stuck with me until the end of summer. Let’s get you into the house so you can sleep this bottle off and pray you don’t get popped for a piss test tomorrow.” She grabbed the bottle from where she had plunked the base in the sand and lifted a pale eyebrow at me. “You should have picked something…” she trailed off and gave me a shrug. “Less wussy to enjoy your last binge with. This stuff tastes like toothpaste.”
She offered me her free hand, and for a second all I could picture was grabbing it and pulling her under with me, letting the water cover us both and take us somewhere we would both rather be. I didn’t. I took her hand and struggled to my feet. Months of forced sobriety tumbled away under the wash of cinnamon whiskey. I wobbled and almost went back down, but before I could nose dive into the shallow water, Affton was there, arm around my waist, empty bottle pressed into my side, a chilly reminder that I’d already fucked this up and it was only the first day.
I had no idea how either one of us was going to survive the summer, and if we did, I had no idea how I was supposed to survive beyond that when I was once again left to my own devious and duplicitous devices.
About Jay Crownover
Jay Crownover is the international and multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, The Saints of Denver Series, the Point Series, the Breaking Point Series, and the Getaway Series. Her books can be found translated in many different languages all around the world. She is a tattooed, crazy haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays. Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road.