From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Jay Crownover, comes the next title in her The Breaking Point romantic suspense series, RESPECT.
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Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess who called a corrupt kingdom home sweet home.
Protected and sheltered from the worst the world had to offer, she fell in love with the crumbling city that burned and blazed around her. Every dirty corner, every scary shadow, found a place within her heart. So did a man who was violent and dangerous, just like the streets she claimed as her own.
He was all business and brutality, except when it came to her. With her, he was calm, caring, and heartbreakingly patient.
He warned her over and over that he wasn’t the man for her, but she refused to listen. She never expected either the streets or their enforcer to hurt her, since she’d given her heart so completely to both.
She should have known the streets in the Point were always going to be savage, and so was the man committed to keeping control of them in the hands of criminals and bloody kingpins.
Blindsided by a betrayal which cut so deeply she was sure the wounds would never heal, the princess fled the home she loved and the man who broke her heart. Throwing away her rusted, twisted crown was supposed to help her forget. All it did was make her long for everything she left behind. She told herself she would never go back, but in this tormented kingdom, family is everything. Eventually, she has no choice but to return.
While she was gone, the people who loved her worked hard to make the city safe, and the man who destroyed her sank deeper into the darkness. Going back shouldn’t feel like surrender… but it does. As this pretty princess hovers on the edge of the unknown, the past attacks with a vengeance. It’s a good reminder that puppy love eventually grows up and turns into something with sharp teeth and one hell of a bite.
She never asked for the keys to the kingdom. She’d much rather go out and build her own.
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Jay Crownover has done the impossible; she’s taken a corrupt and crumbling city…a crew of dangerous and deadly anti-heroes…a group of, for the most part, angelic and innocent heroines and tied all of these elements together to create a setting and a group of main and secondary characters that grow and prosper in the most unruly, chaotic, and impossible situations, not quite creating fairy tale endings for these dynamic couples but offering them a chance for more…a chance to decide their own fates in a place that would much rather chew them up and spit them out, illustrating who or what’s actually in charge in the Point regardless of what it tries to take away from those who live within its limits.
The Point revels in its darkened alleyways…its dilapidated buildings…its dangerous inhabitants. It’s supposed to be a place of nightmares…a place where people go missing and no one looks for them…it’s not a city that should include fairy tale characters, even if they aren’t necessarily ideal, but that’s exactly what Jay Crownonver offers her readers in her Welcome to the Point and The Breaking Point series, and while her characters of this volatile and deadly world would not be considered true kings, queens, princes, princesses, and knights, Bax/Dovie, Race/Brysen, Nassir/Keelyn, Stark/Noe, and Booker/Karsen all have a part to play in this dilapidated kingdom…as long as they survive what threatens to reign down on them.
In Honor, Jay Crownover introduced readers to the devil himself and placed an angel in his path, not necessarily to redeem him, but to fight for something other than burning places to the ground.
In Dignity, readers met a wizard of sorts and a pixie girl whose skills rival his own.
And now, in Respect, we’re able to watch the knight of the Point guard something other than the gates of someone else’s kingdom and claim his princess…the woman who has always been his despite the age difference, despite his scars, and despite the declaration and threat sent down from the King.
I can’t tell you how excited I was to immerse myself back into the world that I’ve grown to adore despite its ranshackled and fractured status, and I knew from the start of Booker and Karsen’s story that their relationship would have to be broken before it could offer either of them the real chance that they wanted. But as I witnessed that pivotal moment play out and not just break their hearts but blow them into a thousand, million pieces, I didn’t know where these two would go from here and if they would ever get everything they deserved, including each other.
But despite the years they lost…despite Booker’s feelings of inadequacy and a past that constantly haunts him…despite the people who love Karsen willing to do whatever it takes to give her a better life than the one she’ll have in the Point, this knight and this princess, together, find a way to make than own happiness, forging a bond that seemed impossible for so long but one that will now guide them to make a stand against a tyrant and a not so wicked queen who always felt they were doing what’s best for the princess.
As I read the other stories in The Breaking Point series and witnessed the interactions between Karsen and Booker, I can’t say that I understood Karsen’s infatuation with Race’s enforcer, and it was never about the age difference…it was always about the desire for Karsen to have more than the other characters have or at least the choice to have it.
But as Karsen tells her own story, her heartbreak is palpable and readers see, firsthand, how her painful feelings forced her to not truly live during her four years of college in Colorado, simply existing and graduating with no true direction, especially the one that her family always hoped she would take.
Through Karsen’s internal musings, her heartfelt conversations with her best friend, Ari, and her stilted but emotional discussions with the only man she’s ever loved, readers begin to understand that her feelings for Booker were always based on a deep and powerful connection, illustrating that it was never a crush or just puppy love; it was always a living, breathing, and tangible emotion that refused to abate even when it unequivocally shattered her heart.
Although the Point is not where Noah Booker was born, it definitely played a significant role in molding him into an unfeeling brute…a scary and scarred enforcer who thinks his only skill is his ability to hurt people, doing the dirty work of those he works for, never feeling capable or worthy of more. But Booker showed a much different side of himself in his interactions with Karsen, and through their time together, regardless of the fact that he downplayed her feelings for him as nothing but a crush, he developed his own affection for the girl who he guarded with his life.
Booker and Karsen are fighters, which means that there’s nothing they won’t do for the ones they love, but more importantly, there’s nothing they won’t do for their ONE…for their other half…for the person who brings light into Booker’s darkness and for the person who surrounds Karsen with trust and respect.
What Jay Crownover has demonstrated through Respect is that regardless of the age difference between Booker and Karsen, they know what they want and who they want it with and the people who love them should have recognized that idea and respected both of them enough to see what’s so clearly been between Booker and Karsen for all these years.
The Point and The Breaking Point series poignantly illustrate Jay Crownover’s remarkable ability to craft storylines and characters that despite their gritty and raw appearances truly define and depict the true measure of a man in an atmosphere that wants nothing more than to see them fail, so overcoming their circumstances and finding love and light beneath the hate and darkness speaks more to who these characters are and how they make their own not-so fairy tale endings.
5+ Poison Apples
I had no plans to leave the Point. It was ugly, mean, hard, and unforgiving, but these streets were home and I couldn’t imagine being happy anywhere else. This place had long since made my hands and the edges of my soul dirty. It was something I would be hard-pressed to hide should I go anywhere else. I’d have to spend my days trying to camouflage the filth I was so familiar with. Here, no one looked twice at the pretty teenager with shadows in her eyes and blood on her hands. I was one of many.
I wasn’t interested in leaving behind my sister or her fiancé, Race. We were an odd, dysfunctional family, but we made it work.
I didn’t want to be too far away from my mother, who was living in a group home as she slowly, painfully tried to recover from her alcoholism and PTSD from an accident she caused that ended up taking the life of a young mother and her child.
But more than anything, I absolutely didn’t want to leave him.
I couldn’t imagine a day going by without catching a glimpse of Noah Booker. I mean, he was impossible to miss. Six-and-a-half-feet tall, body built like a professional athlete, dark and brooding with the prettiest gunmetal-gray eyes, he was the entirety of every one of my teenage fantasies. I barely noticed the jagged scar dividing one side of his face. White and raised, it cut one of his black eyebrows in half, slashed over a high cheekbone, and ended somewhere under the chiseled edge of his hard jaw. He never talked about it, but Race, Booker’s boss, let it slip that Booker got the scar when he was locked up. Or maybe it wasn’t as much of a slip-up as a thinly veiled warning. Race never kept it much of a secret that my infatuation with his massive, dangerous, ex-con enforcer made him extremely uncomfortable. He’d warned me over and over again that Booker wasn’t for me. And he’d made it clear to the man who broke knees and smashed heads for a living that he was to stay as far away from me as possible.
They called it puppy love. It wasn’t.
To me, it was a vicious kind of love, filled with teeth and claws that I could feel digging at my insides every single time someone patted me on the head and told me how young I was, how much life I had yet to live. This love was rabid, and I was tired of having it on a leash. I wanted to let it free, wanted to let it sink its razor-sharp fangs into the man who had awoken the primal need inside of me. It was only fair he felt the same kind of crushing bite and painful pressure around his heart that I did every single day.
I was solely focused on getting to Booker. It barely registered I was done with high school and had new doors opening all around me. I couldn’t care less about getting my hands on my diploma. A piece of paper with Karsen Carter written on it in pretty calligraphy meant exactly nothing to me. The only thing I was focused on was the fact I was finally old enough to make my own choices. And I’d always picked Booker. Over and over again he was my number one priority.
And don’t miss the first titles in The Breaking Point series, HONOR and DIGNITY!
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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.