Novel Of The Week: Asa (Marked Men #6) by Jay Crownover

6th and final book of the Marked Men series, Asa is also the only male protagonist who hasn't a drop of ink (and piercing as well) on his skin and isn't a tattoo artist, but a bartender with a criminal record. What to know more? Here's my review and thoughts of Asa by Jay Crownover.
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Asa Cross may look like and angel, but surely isn't one of them. He spent all his life using people for his own and only good and that almost killed him.
Now that life (and his little sister Ayden) gave him a second chance to redeem himself, he makes sure he stays on the right tracks and constantly reminds to himself how bad he use to be and did.

Royal Hastings is no stranger when it comes to bad guys...she's the one who puts them behind bars because, despite her top model appearance, she's a cop.
She and Dom, her long time patrol partner and friend, were shot during a night shift and Dom was seriously injured; Royal is convinced that happened because of a mistake she made and tries to punish herself drinking her weight in alcohol and flirting heavily with  Asa.

After one month, Asa eventually gives up and lets Royal into his life, but keeps on saying that she shouldn't want to be in it in the first place, given Asa's past. But Royal is a tough one and, moreover, she really likes Asa, so all his tricks to making her go away are a complete failure.

Like every love story worthy of this name, there're going to be obstacles all the way to the "happily ever after" and most of them will be made by Asa, who really doesn't want to let the past be in the past...but the most important event that will lead to a standstill in their relationship is self-supporting.

What I liked
Of all the female characters created by the author, I have to say that Royal (alongside with Saint) are her bests! Naturally beautiful, she could easily fall into the "beauty without brain" stereotype, but instead she's ambitious and capable of being a good cop, even without her friend Dom.

Interesting and engaging are the parts where it's described the pros and cons of Royal's job, with episodes that go from domestic disputes to actual shootings in Denver' suburbs. I also liked how well the author managed to fit all the protagonists of the previous stories without diverting the attention from Royal and Asa.

What I did not like
I found Asa's excuses to avoid any sort of relationship with Royal weak...I understand that the "dark side" is charming and once you're out of it you have to work twice as hard to stay out, but come on!!
It might sound strange, but I would have loved a bit more fight and argument between Royal and Asa...ok, she knew from the beginning that Asa would have tried everything to make her leave so she wouldn't get hurt, still I think it would made her more realistic if she yelled when he did so, instead of immediately understanding Asa's motivations.

I loved Royal Hastings since she made her first appearance in "Nash" and because of that I think this is an excellent conclusion of the Marked Men. Jay Crownover confirms she's a great observer of the human kind, all her characters eventually find their place in the world and in the heart of their significant other.
So this is it, after 6 books I've reached the end of the series. Yes, there's the spin off "Saints of Denver", but there's something with the original series that can't be repeated with a spin off...

And now, my ranking of favorites!
Rome Archer                                                                   1° (even) Saint Ford and Royal Hastings  
2° (even) Nash Donovan and Rowdy St. James                        2° (even) Cora Lewis and Salem Cruz
3° (even) Rule Archer and Asa Cross                                      3° Shaw Landon
Jet Keller                                                                         4° Ayden Cross

My Marked Med series reviews:
Rome - click HERE
Nash - click HERE
Rowdy - click HERE

My vote: 7½ /10

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