Review + Excerpt: Loose Ends - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

In Kristen Ashley’s first anthology, readers will find three short stories and two novellas taking them back to characters and series in the Kristen Ashley universe.

No Clue , a short story – Visit with Joe and Vi from At Peace of The ’Burg series and learn how Joe breaks up a fight between his sons, what Ryker’s up to and why, exactly, his wife Violet has no clue.

The Stars Aligned , a novella – The long-awaited love story of Hap and Luci. Introduced in Heaven and Hell , readers learned, after a heartbreaking journey through grief, Luci was ready to take another chance at love. But Hap was adhering to “the code” between brothers, unwilling to betray his dead friend Travis by falling for Travis’s widow. Further, Hap can’t quite believe a beauty like Luci could fall for a normal guy like Hap. But for Luci and Hap the heart can’t be denied. Especially when the stars align.

The Favor , a short story – Deacon and Cassidy from Deacon of the Unfinished Hero series go back to their favorite cabin at Glacier Lily, and there, Cassie asks her husband a favor. He’ll give her anything she wants. Including this.

More Than Everything , a novella – Readers left Diesel, Maddox and Molly at a crossroads at the end of The Greatest Risk of the Honey series. Maddox and Molly were all in with their commitment to their unconventional love triangle. But Diesel was letting the pressures and prejudice of family and society sink under his skin, making him hold himself distant from the man he loved. Can Maddox and Molly lead Diesel fully into their lives and give him more than everything?

Rock Chick Renewal , a short story – Tod has been planning Rock Chick weddings for years. He’s got a new one on his hands. And it’s not what he expected.

Book Type:

Contemporary Romance

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Loose Ends
By Kristen Ashley

Review + Excerpt: Loose Ends

With LOOSE ENDS, Kristen Ashley gives us a taste of everything we love about her stories, her characters, her worlds, but this time it’s through a collection of three short stories and two novellas. We visit with some of our faves, tie up narrative loose ends and revel in wonderful, new happy ever afters.

In NO CLUE (short story), we stop in on Joe and Vi from AT PEACE (my favorite in The ‘Burg series) and it was an absolute delight. We see the beautiful chaos of their family, breaking up fights, making meals and just being together. We also get a visit from Ryker, and we learn what crazy shenanigans he’s up to. I could hang out with this crew forever.

THE STARS ALIGNED, a novella, delivers Hap and Luci’s long-awaited love story. We met them in the standalone HEAVEN AND HELL, at a time where Luci struggled against deep sorrow. Longing for a second chance at happy, it’s Hap who’s in her heart, but Hap cannot imagine betraying his friend. Their story brims with emotion, knotted by the intrinsic complexity of grief, love and loyalty. Beautiful and poignant.

In THE FAVOR, we return to Glacier Lily with Deacon and Cassidy from DEACON. We get a much-needed glimpse into their lives, and see just how deep their love goes when Cassidy asks her man for a favor. Their short story is sexy and humorous, a delicious taste that will have you craving more. I wanted to keep reading, keep following these characters we all love so much as they live out their dreams in those remote cabins in the Colorado Mountains.

In one of the longest and undeniably the sexiest pieces of the compilation—MORE THAN EVERYTHING—we’re back with Diesel, Maddox and Molly from THE GREATEST RISK. Diesel continues to struggle with their unique relationship, particularly with his feelings for Maddox. Together they’ll need to work things through, in the sheets and out, if they’re to find their unconventional, but much deserved happy ever after. The pages burn hot and high with these three, but there are also some moving moments to experience.

Get your tissues out for ROCK CHICK RENEWAL, which delivers everything you never knew you needed. The short story centers on Tod and Stevie, and want to mention no more as it’s best to experience every moment with these two, along with our favorite Rock Chicks and their Hot Bunch. All. The. Feels.

Lastly, we get a bonus, standalone snipped entitled TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT, that’s all new and so sweet.

Overall, avid readers of Kristen Ashley will relish falling back in with these characters. We love them. We’ve missed them. And visiting with them will feel wonderful and simultaneously too brief. It’s the perfect solution to tide us over before we devour FREE, the final book in the Chaos series.

From “The Stars Aligned”

Chapter 1

“I loved him too.”

She shut her mouth.

“You know that. I miss him too. Not like you, I get that. But I just want you to know I feel that, for me, for you, and I’m there even if we’re like we are right now. I’m there when that hits you, however you need me to be.”

Luci stared at Hap’s profile unable to speak.

She would not be able to do that. If the shoe was on the other foot, he had lost a wife he adored and was moving on with Luci, but he continued to mourn his wife’s passing in his way, she would need him to do that inside himself. To hide that from her. She was too possessive. Too selfish. She knew that about herself, even if she didn’t like it. She’d want to be a bigger person, a better person, and she might be able to hide her feelings from him to give him what he needed, but it would hurt.

She’d never offer it, as Hap would say, straight out.

But he meant it.

He meant every word.

“I would not be able to do that for you,” she blurted.

He glanced at her before looking back at the road. “Sorry?”

“I would want to, but I would find it difficult to support you in that way.”

“Seein’ as that’s not the way it is, you don’t have anything to worry about,” he replied.

That was not the point.

She didn’t belabor the point.

Dio, but she loved him.

“May I ask you something?” she requested.

“Shoot,” he invited.

“If it was the other way around, not you losing a woman you loved, but if I’d found you first, not Travis, and I had lost you, how would you feel if Travis and I found each other?”

“I’d want you to be happy.”

Not a moment’s hesitation.

Not one.

“Do you say that because you know how I was with Travis?” she pressed cautiously.

“I say that because I’d want you to be happy,” he repeated. Another glance to her before he looked back at the road. “Baby, why do you think I’m right here and you’re right there?”

Luci turned her eyes out the windshield but not her attention.

I’d want you to be happy.

Dear Lord, she was going to cry.

“Luce?” he called.

She swallowed and stated, “I would find it in me to support you through the loss of a woman you loved, however you needed me to support you.”

“Honey, look at me,” he urged, taking up her hand, pulling it to his thigh and holding it tight.

She looked to him and he must have felt it because he didn’t take his eyes off the road when he resumed speaking.

“That’s not where we are. As sweet as that is, we’ve got what we’ve got. That’s enough to deal with. There’s no point to this conversation because we are where we’re at and not anywhere else, and we got enough on our plates. It serves no purpose to take it anywhere else. You found Gordo. You lost Gordo. You want me. I’m right here. That’s where we are. Let’s just find our way through that minefield, yeah?”

You want me. I’m right here.

What did that mean?

 

Chapter 2

“I’ve come to terms with Travis’s death, Pearl,” Luci told her.

Pearl didn’t believe a word she said and didn’t only express that with her face, but with words.

“So why, precisely, were you a million miles away when you had a beautiful shoe on your foot and a dozen boxes of the same surrounding you?” Pearl demanded.

“Because I’ve met someone else.”

Pearl’s chin lifted slightly, and she murmured, “I see.”

“But he won’t have me,” Luci went on.

Henry made a choking noise.

Pearl’s already magnified eyes behind her glasses took up her face.

“I beg your pardon?” she asked.

“He won’t have me,” Luci repeated.

Pearl leaned forward. “For goodness sakes, why?”

“He’s one of Travis’s dearest friends.”

Henry made a low noise of male understanding while Pearl’s wrinkles rearranged themselves into supreme annoyance.

She aimed her glare at Henry.

“So you approve of this nonsense?” she queried.

“Approve? No. Understand? Yes,” Henry answered.

“Then please,” Pearl threw out both hands, palms up, and spread them wide to indicate the table, “educate us.”

“That would be impossible for me to do without offending you both greatly,” Henry replied.

“Because we’re too dim to understand?” Pearl asked.

“Because it’s a piss around your property issue that a woman simply cannot comprehend, mostly because it’s ridiculously stupid,” Henry returned.

Pearl was mollified by this and shared it by reaching toward her Bellini and taking only a half-still-annoyed sip.

But Luci turned her attention to Henry.

“You think it’s ridiculously stupid?”

He nodded. “As a philosophy, yes. Logically, it makes no sense. Emotionally, if, to try to find a like comparison, I had not foolishly thrown away any chance I had to win the only woman I’ve ever loved, and we had wed and built a life together, and we found ourselves at that time where we discussed the tragic and hopefully very unlikely event that one of us should pass before the other, in the prime of our lives, or whenever, I would find it very difficult to say with any authenticity that I would be fine with the idea of another man with Josephine.”

“That’s preposterous,” Pearl snapped. “Not to mention selfish.”

“I said with any authenticity, Pearl,” Henry stated soothingly. “Of course I would want her to move on. I would want her to find happiness again. Of course. Logically. Because I love her and I would not want her ever to be unhappy. But would it make me happy in the slightest to think of her with another man? Not a chance. A nightmare, I’ll remind you, I’m living right now in another way, but I’m still living it. Make that man a friend? I’d be infuriated and feel betrayed just by the thought.”

“That’s preposterous and selfish too,” Pearl retorted.

“Nevertheless,” Henry said, catching the eyes of the waiter and lifting his chin before he tipped his head to his empty glass then flicked his hand to indicate he wanted the table to have another round, “it’s true.” He returned his attention to Pearl. “And I’m here because you like me. You like annoying me. You like beguiling me. You enjoy making me laugh and entertaining me. But you didn’t call two hours ago to invite me to dinner for any of that. Nor did you do it to set me up with Luciana. You did it so I could state the facts for my gender.”

“I also like looking at you,” Pearl huffed, and Henry grinned.

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