AT PEACE is an example of why I enjoy good contemporary romance. It is the story of a love that doesn't come easy and isn't easily embraced by either Joe or Violet. Both Joe and Violet are nursing losses that can never be replaced and hurts that aren't easily healed. Joe protects himself by simply never getting emotionally involved with anyone. He gets what he wants from women giving them the least that he can and then moving on. He's brutally honest in the way that he deals with women and they can either take it or leave it. Joe even keeps the family that he has at a distance. Joe literally carries the scars of his past on his body as well as on his heart and doesn't want the trouble that caring too deeply for someone can bring. Violet on the other hand is basically forced to leave the family and community that she loves in order to escape the man responsible for her pain. By moving away and starting over she is attempting to build a new life for herself and her daughters.
I loved that the pull between Violet and Joe is so strong that even when they both want to walk away from it they can't. The physical attraction is absolutely and prominently there, but that isn't the only thing that is binding them together. Both Joe and Violet are adults who aren't full of angst but there is plenty of drama with a strong and slowly unfolding story that I enjoyed page by page. Joe is often a jerk but as I have come to expect from Ashley's male leads he manages to become a hero in the end. Violet, although not always confident in herself or her decisions, is still a strong and loving person. Her ability to keep going through every tragedy was believably portrayed. As with pretty much every KA book the secondary characters are important and enjoyable and will leave you jonesing for the next book in the series. AT PEACE is yet another KA book going on my favorite reads list.
I listened to the audio version of AT PEACE and it was narrated by Olivia Porter who did an excellent job!
You can listen to a sample of the audio at Amazon or Audible!
Violet Winters once had it all but lost it when her husband was murdered by a criminal madman. During a cold winter night Violet has to leave her warm bed to tell her neighbor to turn the music down. And that’s when she meets sinister, scarred, scarily attractive security specialist, Joe Callahan.
She wants to deny it, but Violet can’t beat back the hunger she feels for Joe so she gives in again and again. Feeling it himself, Joe feeds Vi’s hunger, breaking his own rules to keep her in his bed.
Even though Violet had only one man in her life, she’s sure Joe is giving her the signals and Vi decides she’s ready to take a second chance at life and, maybe, love. But Violet doesn’t know the dark secrets in Joe’s past, secrets so soul-wrenching, they’ve drained him dry. With nothing left to give, Joe’s determined to live his life alone and he breaks Violet’s heart.
Crushed by Joe’s betrayal, Violet comes to terms with the fact that, no matter what signals he gave, Joe was not theirs to win. But Violet’s husband’s murderer is obsessed with her and heartbreak again haunts the door of the Winters home. When it does Joe is forced to face the knowledge that he can’t fight Violet’s pull, she’s under his skin and filled him full to bursting.
Joe needs to win her back and put his life on the line to keep Violet safe. But, having had it all once, can Violet endure losing Joe?