New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jay Crownover returns with a heart-stopping new series… Welcome to the Point.
There’s a difference between a bad boy and a boy who’s bad . . . meet Shane Baxter.
Sexy, dark, and dangerous, Bax isn’t just from the wrong side of the tracks, he is the wrong side of the tracks. A criminal, a thug, and a brawler, he’s the master of bad choices, until one such choice landed him in prison for five years. Now Bax is out and looking for answers, and he doesn’t care what he has to do or who he has to hurt to get them. But there’s a new player in the game, and she’s much too innocent, much too soft…and standing directly in his way.
Dovie Pryce knows all about living a hard life and the tough choices that come with it. She’s always tried to be good, tried to help others, and tried not to let the darkness pull her down. But the streets are fighting back, things have gone from bad to worse, and the only person who can help her is the scariest, sexiest, most complicated ex-con The Point has ever produced.
Bax terrifies her, awakening feelings she never thought she’d have for a guy like him. But it doesn’t take Dovie long to realize . . . some boys are just better when they’re bad.
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I’m supposed to share interesting details about myself so that my readers get to know me so here we go in no particular order: I’m an natural redhead even though I haven’t seen my real hair color in years, I’m a big fan of tattoos and have a half sleeve on either arm and various other pieces all over the place, I’ve been in the bar industry since I was in college and it has always offered interesting insight into how men and women interact with each other, I have 3 dogs that are all crazy, I live in Colorado and love the snow, I love music and in all reality wish I could be a rock star not a writer or a bartender but I have zero talent so there is that.
I love to write, love to read and all I’m interested in is a good story with interesting characters that make the reader feel something.
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Review by Michelle:
Brace yourself this may come as a shock...I have never read a Jay Crownover book before. What? Me, an ardent lover of bad boys especially those with body art in the form of abundant tattoos and/or piercings, has not read a single one of the Marked Men books from the author known to write the quintessential bad boy! Until now that is. Better When He's Bad's Bax is the epitome of bad boys and try as you might not to fall into his trap, even this baddest of bad boys can make you fall so good.
Shane Baxter is actually a bad boy. He is not a boy that pretends to be bad, not a boy that you get the wrong impression about at first glance, or even a boy that talks a big game. He is a man that is a hardened criminal, that has been to prison, and runs with the big boys. The bad boy image is one that gets me all fired up every time, but honestly when it comes down to it, the jailbird who makes a conscious decision to be bad with no regard for anyone but himself is a major turn off. Bax is another story all together. At first he appears to be exactly this type of distasteful ruffian. He has built a seemingly impenetrable suit of armor around himself which would take the jaws of life to pry him out of, but with the slightest chink in that armor we catch the rare glimpse of a thoughtful, selfless, loyal, caring, vulnerable man and we see that he may be a bad, bad boy, but he's far from a bad guy. This crude, harsh, tough as nails habitual offender brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion with the love and tenderness he unwittingly let leak from the tiniest cracks in his armor and I found myself fighting just as hard if not harder than Dovie against any kind of attraction or connection to him at all. Unfortunately, once you get a peek at Shane Baxter's softer side, this man becomes irresistible.
Books from the male point of view are always my favorite, but this time the inclusion of Dovie's perspective kept the story grounded and was a welcome addition instead of being repetitive or detracting in any way. Bax is unapologetically honest and all about survival of the fittest while Dovie is sharp as a tack and unfailingly good without being naive or nauseatingly sweet. These two characters strike the perfect balance and it is exactly what is needed to keep both Bax and this story just this side of depraved.
I loved the way these two came together; the situation was believable, the reactions realistic, the compulsion undeniable. This was not instant love, instant lust, or even instant attraction. Instead this was a desperate fight to escape an unexpected building attraction and an inescapable magnetic pull that threatened to obliterate everything Dovie and Bax thought they knew about themselves and each other, undo everything they scraped and clawed their way through, and alter where they think they belong as well as what they think they deserve .
There were so many little things about this story that I just loved. Dovie's nickname that may have started out a bit on the derogatory side ended up being a sweet and sincere term of endearment. The Shane/Bax dichotomy and differentiation was enthralling and the way that Dovie and eventually Bax embraced both sides really made me believe that we truly are more than just a some of our parts, good or bad. Bax's complicated and often surprising family ties made for a few nice twists and his eventual acceptance goes a long way in showing how far he has come. I really appreciated the unconventional setting and characters that are the polar opposite of the billionaires that are so popular these days making this story stand out as different and original. And the list could go on and on and on.
Better When He's Bad is so much better BECAUSE he's bad. An unlikely love story that pulls at your heart strings and makes your heart skip a beat when you least expect it. I'm excited for Better When He's Bold and if I suspect correctly, I would venture to guess that all of Jay Crownover's boys are at the very least a fraction as enticing as Bax so you can bet I will be working the Marked Men into an overly crowded and increasingly impossible TBR at any cost.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
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