Double The Romance Review-Games of the Heart and The Promise by Kristen Ashley

Double The Romance Review-Games of the Heart and The Promise by Kristen AshleyGames Of The Heart by Kristen Ashley
Also in this series: For You, At Peace , Golden Trail
Series: 'The Burg #4
Published by Independently published by author on March 15 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 573
Format: eBook
Source: Self Purchased
Goodreads
   AmazonLibrary Thing
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
four-flames

From the balcony of his house, Mike Haines can see the quiet, commonplace beauty of the Holliday farm. But what he remembers is the little sister of his high school girlfriend, Dusty who grew up there. As a teen, Dusty had gone off the rails but when she was a kid, she was sweet, she was funny and she had a special bond with Mike. But after high school, she took off and Mike never saw her again.

Then tragedy strikes Dusty's family, she comes back into town and Mike thinks she hasn't changed back to the sweet, funny girl he knew but instead continued to be selfish and thoughtless, leaving her family alone to deal with their mourning. So he seeks her out and confronts her in an effort to understand what went wrong and to force her to sort herself out.

He finds out quickly he's wrong about Dusty Holliday. Very wrong. And right after Mike discovers that, the bond they had years before snaps back into place in ways he would never suspect.

But Mike Haines had a bad marriage then he played games of the heart for a good woman. And lost. In order to protect himself and his kids, he's cautious, he's careful to read the signs and he's not interested in finding a woman he has to fix.

Then he learns what happened to Dusty and he thinks she needs to be fixed. He swings, he misses and in this new game of hearts, for Dusty, Mike just got strike three.

Ever since we saw the wonderful male character “Mike Haines” in one of the previous books in the series, I have been eager to read his story. And in his story we see something so profound and beautiful in the type of story that he definitely deserves. I am beyond thrilled that KA decided to do a book featuring him and in my opinion this is the BEST book of the series so far. I have really struggled with this series more than any of her other books (they just for me, are super difficult to get into in the beginning) but Games of the Heart? Definitely NOT!! This book was a breeze, and had the similar feels that I have experienced in many of KA’s other works. So I was beyond happy with this book and this story swept me away.

So “Games of the Heart” is a story of long lost friends who are once reunited once again. Mike and Dusty were th closest of friends once in high school. Dusty was viewed as the “odd ball” of the town and even in her family, but Mike saw the true genuine heart of Dusty and that she was “gold” but then she left town and Mike never heard from her but then disaster strikes the family, and she returns home once again. When her sister spins lies about her, Mike is furious and goes to Dusty to confront her and hotel room smexy fun flares between the two as the truth is unveiled and the true heart of Dusty is revealed in the loss of losing her brother with whom she adored. Even though Dusty lives “not close” Dusty and Mike are determined to see where their relationship can go but there will be deception that will put a hold on their romance and it will take the family and Mike working together to confront the one who wants to destroy everything and the legacy Dusty’s brother left behind.

Games of the Heart is a story that I was so drawn into and it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through. Definitely one of the easiest close to “600 pages” reads because I just swept through this book so quickly and it was such fun to experience. I actually LOVE how long Kristen Ashley’s works actually are. Most cases you can’t get enough and that is a rarety among romance this length. There is such a sense of normalcy in her work that is so relatable to reality in some respects and I love it. The romance that builds between Mike and Dusty is so warm and refreshing, it has a fresh feel to its level of emotion and the tension that builds within the plot line. Mike is such a wonderful alpha male—of course, KA writes the most delectable alpha males, and Mike is the one you would want to marry. I love his support and love of Dusty but also demands respect and care too. He sets those healthy boundaries that I love seeing within KA novels —and one we need more in romance.

Overall I found Games of the Heart to be a true delight of endearing love, strong family bonds and the courage to fight for what is right!!


Double The Romance Review-Games of the Heart and The Promise by Kristen AshleyThe Promise by Kristen Ashley
Also in this series: For You, At Peace , Golden Trail
Series: 'The Burg #5
Published by Independently published by author on April 26 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 566
Format: eBook
Source: Self Purchased
Goodreads
   AmazonLibrary Thing
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
four-flames

Since his brother’s death, Benny Bianchi has been nursing his grudge against the woman he thinks led to his brother’s downfall. He does this to bury the feelings he has for Francesca Concetti, his brother’s girl. But when Frankie takes a bullet while on the run with Benny’s cousin’s woman, Benny has to face those feelings.

The problem is Frankie has decided she’s paid her penance. Penance she didn’t deserve to pay. She’s done with Benny and the Bianchi family. She’s starting a new life away from Chicago and her heartbreaking history.

Benny has decided differently.

But Frankie has more demons she’s battling. Demons Benny wants to help her face. But life has landed so many hard knocks on Frankie she’s terrified of believing in the promise of Benny Bianchi and the good life he’s offering.

Frankie’s new life leads her to The ‘Burg, where Benny has ties, and she finds she not only hasn’t succeeded in getting away, she’s doesn’t want to.

The Promise is a story that I just had to read and I am so glad that I was able to immerse myself into this book over the weekend. There is something so unique in the books that KA delivers, her voice that is portrayed in the writing is delectable in every way. And I was completely ready for the story of “The Promise” we were introduced to this wonderful family in Cal and Vi’s book and I have to say I was tempted to skip over “Games of the Heart” to read this one because I adore ITALIAN families, there is something so entertaining and energetic about their connections to each other. One that if you love family bonds, is definitely something that you NEED in your life.

The Promise is a story that you NEED to read previous books in the series or there is a certain detail you will be so confused on. But the story starts off with a gunshot wound that our heroine has suffered while trying to save her friend. And now she has the Bianchi family all over her for it and she thought they were done with her. Seven years previous she lost her boyfriend, a man she loved that turned into a man she barely recognized and is the brother of Benny Bianchi and there were some hard feelings blasted toward her and she left the family but now they are back in her life, wanting to make amends and start anew. Frankie has always loved the Bianchi family, but she is still hurt over their rejection but especially from one man….Benny. He wants to redeem himself towards her, but Frankie is closed off for more than just the rejection and pain—and Benny is determined to dig deeper and find the genuine soul that resides in Frankie’s heart–but it will take patience, love and fighting to do so–but the promise of it will be worth the work for it.

The Promise is quite different but the GROVELING is epic, so if you love a good groveling/redeemable story, than you definitely need to check out this book for sure.  I love seeing the determination in our hero to find his way to Frankie’s heart no matter the work he needs to put into it, because he sees her as “worth” it, no matter the cost. But I also love how he doesn’t just let her run over him either, he sets the boundaries and gives his all to the relationship. Frankie has her own growing to do in the story. She has to find her path and her way to the Bianchi family and into Benny’s heart. She has many unresolved issues from her past, and never had what Benny had growing up. So she has to learn how to build a healthy relationship with no experience of it except her interactions with friends and the Bianchi family. But we see such growth in her character in coming to this realization.

Overall I found The Promise to be a gratifying read that had me in tears from the depths of emotion that we feel within this story here….definitely worth its weight in gold!

About Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn't taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.