Series: Broken Outlaw #1
Published by Self-Published on June 21st 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Xander Evans has been on the road for many years. Never settling. Always moving from one place to another, unable to let go of his past. He lived a tragic childhood, spending most of those years in foster care. He's never felt like he's had a home. That is until he stops in the small town of Truman Valley, Missouri, where he meets a woman who will change everything he's ever known.
Paige Watson has it all. A loving family, beautiful home, and a great career. The only thing she's missing....is love. After escaping an abusive relationship, she opens her heart up to a stranger. He is unlike any man she's ever met. He came into her life and turned it completely upside down. Everything is perfect. That is, until one fateful night.
A night that would tear the Watson family apart, never to be put back together again.
A night that would send Xander away to prison for life.
I was psyched to see that BT was writing his own novel and even more so after I read the blurb. So when it appeared on my kindle one Saturday morning, I immediately dropped everything and dove in.
It started off really strong. We were introduced to Xander, who is in prison for murder, in the prologue. He is adamant that he is being set up and then the book takes us back a few months to set up the story. We are, then, introduced to Paige and the Watson family. The Watson’s own a winery. Xander is a wanderer and traveling through town when he decides to have a drink. He meets Paige and Jack, Paige’s father. They offer him some short term work and a place to stay. This, coupled with a spark between him and Paige, entices Xander to stay for a while.
Paige hasn’t had it easy with an abusive ex and navigating through the emotional landscape of getting through that. Xander was in foster care and never adopted and hasn’t led an easy life. The two find kindred spirits in each other.
I really wish I could say that this book hit it out of the park. I really wish I could. I found a really lack of connection to any character except Teresa, Paige’s mother. And our interaction’s with her are brief. Even when I am supposed to feel bad for Xander, I often feel like he’s a pile of crap. He is selfish and destructive and should be in some major therapy. The whole story Paige puts down her ex-boyfriend’s substance abuse problem, while it is clear that Xander has a problem with alcohol. Maybe she doesn’t mind because her family runs a winery?
Along with that problem, we have the love story. If we set aside the prison/timeline problem, it feels very shallow to me. It never feels like it runs deep. And I don’t feel like this story *would* end in a happy ending, at least without some serious effort on their parts…and maybe some counseling for the two of them.
I feel like this would be a better story if told from the POV of Paige. We would feel more for all characters if it were told from her point of view completely. I felt like the two POVs blended together to become one, anyway, and it felt like the same voice.
In the end, I would give this 3 stars. It felt very stale and the characters, underdeveloped. There were some problems, plot-wise, that I wish were more developed. However, I really liked the overall story and felt like this was a good basis for a story.
“He was over here for like five hours last night drinking and talking with Dad. You think I like him? My dad’s in love. And the way he didn’t hesitate to put Benji in his place, I just think Dad’s got a good feeling about him.”
“Shit, I’ve got a good feeling about him too… and it’s in my panties.” She laughs and motions toward her crotch. “If I had been working and saw him do that to Benji’s fat ass, I would’ve let him fuck me right on top of the bar…and I would’ve let everyone watch.”
“I’m serious. Fuck it!”
“Paige, don’t tell me you didn’t notice that anaconda stuffed into his jeans?”
“What?! What the fuck are you talking about? Anaconda? I wasn’t looking at his damn jeans.” I laugh, finding it hard to not to love this girl who has become like a sister to me. She’s the craziest bitch I know, but she’s got my back no matter what. She’s had it since day one.
“Why wouldn’t you look at his jeans? That’s where his dick is!”