Asa (Marked Men #6) by Jay Crownover
Starting over in Denver with a whole new circle of friends and family, Asa Cross struggles with being the man he knows everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he really is. A leopard doesn’t it change its spots and Asa has always been a predator. He doesn’t want to hurt those who love and rely on him, especially one stunning arresting cop who suddenly seems to be interested in him for far more than his penchant for breaking the law. But letting go of old habits is hard, and it’s easy to hit bottom when it’s the place you know best.
Royal Hastings is quickly learning what the bottom looks like after a tragic situation at work threatens not only her career but her partner’s life. As a woman who has only ever had a few real friends she’s trying to muddle through her confusion and devastation all alone. Except she can’t stop thinking about the sexy southern bartender she locked up. Crushing on Asa is the last thing she needs but his allure is too strong to resist. His long criminal record can only hurt her already shaky career and chasing after a guy who has no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak.
A longtime criminal and a cop together just seems so wrong . . . but for Asa and Royal, being wrong together is the only right choice to make.
Excerpt Asa (Marked Men #6) by Jay Crownover
“I like that even though Ayden and I don’t see eye to eye on everything, and even when she has really pissed me off, I’ve never not loved her. Even when I didn’t know how to love, when all I was doing was looking out for number one, I still loved her, and I like that I know how to do it right now. I like that I haven’t wasted the second chance I was given to be her big brother and ruined it … at least not yet.”
She made a whimpering sound where she was buried into the center of my chest and I felt her fingers curl into the base of my spine right above my ass.
“Have you ever told her that?”
I blinked a little as she pulled back and smoothed a hand over her long hair.
“No. But I’ve apologized to her more times than I can count.”
Her long lashes dipped down over her gaze as she stepped all the way out of my embrace. “When she comes to town next week, tell her that, Asa. Apologizing for what happened or what might happen is a waste of an opportunity to tell her that you like who you are for her now. That’s the moment you need to focus on with her.”
We stared at each other for a long, intense moment until she reached up and put a hand on each of my cheeks and pulled me down for a smacking kiss. “Now take me home and take me to bed.”
Thank fuck. That was something I could do without all the introspection and soul-scraping thought.
I kissed her back and put her hastily in the Nova so we could race back to her apartment on Capitol Hill. When I parked in front of the Victorian, it was a stroke to my ego that she seemed just as eager to get through the front door as I did. She threw her purse absently on the small table by the door and her keys hit the floor with a clatter as I shut the door behind us. She turned around to face me and I felt every predatory instinct I still harbored claw at me to pounce on her to make her submit and give me everything I wanted. I started to prowl toward her, and whatever she saw on my face must have startled her because she took a stumbling step back. Finally she was getting smart and running away from me. Too bad she had nowhere to go and was now trapped in a room with my raging desire and the raw, unsatisfied edge she had sharpened with her little game at the warehouse.
“I might not be able to pick out a whole lot of things that I like about myself, but I sure can pick out about a thousand things I like about you, Red.”
She kept backing up as I stalked toward her, her dark eyes wide in her face as her tongue darted out to slick across her bottom lip. “Is that so?”