Friday, January 15, 2016

Sebring by Kristen Ashley

Nick Sebring has issues. Born feeling like an outsider in his own family, growing up under the shadow of a brother who could do anything, Nick isn’t that great of a guy. But when this culminates with Nick lashing out to hurt his brother through the woman he loves, Nick turns inward and makes some decisions about the man he intends to be.

And as he does this, he falls in love and truly learns the man that he’s grown to be.

When his love is murdered right before Nick’s eyes, Nick knows he has to avenge her. He knows how he’s going to avenge her. And he has no qualms using Olivia Shade to exact that vengeance.

Olivia Shade has grown up on the outside of her family too. Her problem is that they don’t want her outside. They want her all the way in, right under their thumbs. She pays the price for seeking escape and learns her lesson—she’ll never see a dawn where she wakes up free.

Then she meets Nick Sebring, and even as she fights it, the hope that died years ago starts to blossom. She can find love. She can have a man of her own. She can be happy. She can be free.

Olivia hopes while Nick schemes.

However, as Nick peels back the layers of all that is Olivia Shade, he finds something surprising. He understands its fragility. He falls in love with its beauty. He seeks to protect it.

But he forgets to protect his Livvie from one thing: Nick Sebring.

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Book 5
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

The last in the series (sob sob), this book had a serious pedigree to live up to – and it did!

Nick has not been a hero in any sense of the word in previous books – but he finally gets his chance to shine – and wow, does he shine. Of course he has the benefit of being supported by a team of great guys, and he understands just what that means. Starting off with an explanation of just why Deacon had to leave Cassidy so soon after promising to have left that life, the reader is quickly immersed in Nick's plot for vengeance. As characters that we know from other series blend together to give us a fuller picture of life in this part of Denver, the loyal KA fan is alert to all the danger that is present.

The relationship between Nick and Olivia is so fraught with danger and issues that each keep from the other...that it is inevitable that the shoe will drop at some point...and the tension that creates, along with all the other darkness in their lives, is very effective. There are lovely interludes of normality, which serve to reinforce what we know to be true, and they finally work out for themselves. I love the food chatter, so funny.

All in all, this book ties so many things together, gives the reader much hope for all their futures, and really satisfactory closure. That said, Ms. Ashley, should you feel the need to reopen the series, I think I can safely say we would all be delighted!

When we met Nick at the beginning of this series he is unlikeable and a cast as a bad guy. In the now, Nick has turned is life around and is seeking revenge for the murder of his girlfriend, and he is going to use Olivia to do it. Olivia Shade is the daughter of a drug lord and seemingly cold as ice. But she is living a lonely life and doesn't let people get close to her.

When Nick and Olivia hook up, the result is it is explosive, dirty, hot, combative sex. Night after night. Slowly Nick starts to breach Olivia's walls and he likes what he finds far too much.

This is such an emotional story. Nick is a hero that had me swooning. I loved seeing him bring Olivia out of her shell and giving her some happiness. The story has lots of heat, romance, action and heart ache. Nick and Olivia are two people who seemingly can't be together. Things are against them and this is one of those stories where I just couldn't see how a happy ending would be possible. But the ending – it was glorious!

Sebring is a fantastic finale to the Unfinished Heroes series. Make sure you have tissues handy when you read it.

I love it when an author can redeem one of their highly detested characters and that’s exactly what Ashley does in Sebring with Nick Sebring. Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick. You have been such a bad, bad boy and a thorn in your brother’s side from the very beginning of this series. But when you finally pulled up your “big boy” pants and put some effort into, you showed that you could be just as impressive of a force of nature as your big brother Knight. As Knight was the first KA book I ever read and my introduction to Nick, it seems only fitting that Sebring be the final book of the series and of my KA binge. And boy did the author take the series out in blaze of glory.

After watching his girlfriend murdered in front of his eyes and nearly losing his own life in a botched FBI sting, Nick Sebring is finally in a position to make the men responsible pay for their crimes four years later. While his plan to use Vincent Shade’s daughter Olivia as his “in” goes better than expected, he didn’t count on discovering up-close what four years of surveillance hadn’t revealed – that Olivia wasn’t the stone cold woman everyone believed her to be. Having grown up a LOT over the course of the series, Nick has become as charming and charismatic as Knight. Being less of a player now and more of a man, Nick works his way past Olivia’s barriers when they embark upon an off-the-charts hot no-strings-attached sexual relationship. As he learns more about Olivia, he realizes that he has to find another way to take down her father, one that protects her because he’s in too deep with her, feeling things for her he never expected to feel again. Now any KA fan knows that the path from the couple meeting to their happily ever after is never smooth and those in the Unfinished Hero series seem to be even bumpier, but it seems as though Ashley saved the bumpiest ride for last as Nick and Olivia attempt to navigate the minefield that is the Denver underbelly, all while Nick attempts to avenge Hettie’s murder and save Olivia from the crumbling Shade empire.

Sebring was awesome! None of the men in the series are what would be considered ideal heroes because they each have their own bit of tarnish, often not even walking the fine line between legal and illegal activities, but stepping across it in order to do the right thing. Nick has come a long way and it was impressive how Ashley took a character that I detested and made me fall in love with him. As for Olivia, her situation was horrific. Simply because of who she had the misfortune of being fathered by, she was forced to work in the family business, engage in illegal activities, have practically no say in her life, and have no one she could trust. This is why her emotional “defection” to Nick wasn’t all that hard to believe, especially as her sister and her dad got more and more page time…freaking lunatics. I will admit that Olivia’s father did do one thing right in the book and if you’ve read the entire series, you will recognize it when it happens and I dare you not to smile (or cheer internally). I was heartbroken by all that Olivia endured over the course of the book at the hands of her father and I was pleased that Knight became enraged on her behalf when Nick revealed what he learned, proof yet again that the Sebring brothers rock! I am sad that Sebring is the end of the series, especially with Turner still having things left to accomplish. So while I wait to see where he pops up to finish his mission, I look forward to finding time to reread the entire Unfinished Heroes series back-to-back. Until then, Ashley fans enjoy and rest assured this is another great addition to your KA library that you won’t want to miss.

I was born a middle class white child in Gary, Indiana, USA. One of the last of a dying breed. I nearly killed my mother and myself making it into the world, seeing as I had the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck (already attempting to accessorize and I hadn’t taken my first breath!). Mom says they took me away, put her back in her room, she looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). She remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.

Nothing’s changed.

All I’ve ever wanted to do was write (well, and be the Queen of the World, but you gotta start small) and I’ve published a gazillion books and counting (and a gazillion is a lot! shoo!).You can learn about my titles that have been released or that are soon to be released in the Titles section of the website.

Even though I jump genres, there is always a theme to my books…humor (hopefully), engaging characters (again, hopefully) and romance (definitely).

My loves are movies, music, food and fashion and I partake of all of them as often as I can (the middle two more than the others, the former, which takes time I don’t often have and the latter, which takes money I rarely have). In fact, I love food so much, I like to share my good fortune so I put my recipes on offer for you on this page (see top menu and don’t miss them, they’re awesome!).

I grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and have lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus I’m blessed to have friends and family around the globe. My family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write and growing up it was large and multi-generational. We all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. I grew up with 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 I keep growing up, it keeps getting better.

So here I am, thank goodness.

Connect with Kristen

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Angela, Ruthie, and Veronica reviewed their personal copies of Sebring (Unfinished Hero #5) by Kristen Ashley for this post.

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