Asa is the sixth and final book in the Marked Men Series by Jay Crownover. Each of these books can be read as a standalone, but the characters are interconnected and I would recommend reading these in order if possible. Asa was first introduced in Jet's book, as he is Ayden's troublemaker brother. But you won't have any problems reading this story even if you haven't read the previous books.
Asa Cross relocated to Denver in order to start his life over, leaving behind his checkered past. He struggles with trying to be the person his friends and family want him to be and how to reconcile that with the person that he knows he actually is. Though he has done terrible things in the past, he is trying to do better. He knows that the beautiful cop Royal Hastings is interested in him, and yet he knows he is the last person she should hang around. Royal has been struggling as well after an incident on the job left her best friend and partner injured but lucky to be alive. She feels guilt and believes that what happened was her fault. She hasn't been sleeping and the only thing she has been interested in doing is going to the bar where Asa works to see him. Though she realizes that Asa is far from what she needs, she also can't stop herself from wanting him. Can a criminal and a cop find happiness and a life together?
Asa had that southern charm about him, and he had always known how to use that to his advantage. He was also sexy and never had a problem using that either. But I liked seeing beneath the surface with him. He was so much more, and I felt really badly for him at times. He thought he was a bad person for what he had done and while I don't support a lot of it, it was also easy to see that he hadn't had the easiest life growing up and that had affected him. I was really glad that Royal was able to see more to him, and that she helped him to realize that he wasn't as bad as he thought. At first glance these two were complete opposites, and yet when you got down to it they were actually similar in a lot of ways. Both of them were struggling and it wasn't until they really found each other that they were able to start to move forward with their lives. They were just surviving rather than really living. They had a lot of chemistry and you could see the attraction right away for them, but the connection was slower to build and I liked seeing them figure things out as the grew closer.
Overall, I liked this book but I also felt like it wasn't my favorite that I have read in this series. While Asa and Royal were good characters, I just didn't feel invested in them or their story. I found my interest wavering at times, especially at the beginning of this story. For some reason, I just wasn't drawn in and kept wanting to put this one down. I liked them, but I wasn't excited by them or their story. I think a lot of readers will enjoy their story, especially fans of this series. But this one just lacked that spark for me, and I felt like something was missing. I will read more from Jay Crownover in the future though, and I am curious about the spin-off series that will follow the Marked Men series.
**ARC Provided by Publisher**