My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Official book description:
"Hanna Boudreaux has lived in the small town of Willow, Colorado all her life. The great-granddaughter of the town matriarch, she's sweet, cute and quiet.
Hanna has a moment of epiphany when she realizes her crush for forever, Raiden Ulysses Miller, is not ever going to be hers. She sees her life as narrow and decides to do something about it.
Raiden Miller is the town of Willow's local hero. An ex-marine with the medal to prove his hero status, he comes home, shrouded in mystery. It takes a while but, eventually, Hanna catches his eye.
But after all these years of Raid and Hanna living in the same town, the question is, why? Is Raid interested in Hanna because she's sweet and cute? Or does Raid have something else going on?"
Kindle Price: $3.99
Genre(s): Adult/Contemporary/Erotic Romance
At an estimated two hundred and ninety-two pages Raid was quite brief for a Kristen Ashley novel. I think most of hers are well over four hundred pages. I read Knight, the first book in the Unfinished Heroes series, last year, but have not yet read Creed (it's ready and waiting for when I'm in just the right mood.) Reading stories about alpha-men sure can be delicious, but some of what they do or say can turn my stomach. I dealt with Raiden's 'alphaness' pretty well overall, but at 66% into the book when he yelled at Hanna to "GET OUTTA MY SIGHT" (cleaned up and paraphrased greatly!) after she barely mentioned how some soldiers felt disenfranchised after returning home...YIKES! At that moment I detested him. PTSD or no. Of course, he made up for it, and rather soon. Hanna is what he considers his "reward." His reward for all of the shit he had to put up with. He wasn't a fool, he knew he'd found everything he needed in her. She was his reason to smile, to laugh, to want a home...just by being her sweet, honest self.
I enjoyed the larger-than-life Raid living in his small Colorado hometown of Willow; a place where he couldn't disappear or be anonymous. Not that any man who looked like him could remain anonymous. ;) Physically, he sounded quite dreamy, but he was dealing with ghosts from his past as a Marine and his father's desertion. He was gloriously tall, dark, and handsome, but his occupation as an under-the-table bounty hunter for hire to less-than-lawful types...Well, that's where his being an unfinished hero probably stemmed from and further contributed to his 'badassness' as a whole, wouldn't you think? Hanna had her own style and way of speaking. Her silly inner dialog, especially the self-assessing dialog was so cute:
"I was a klutz and a dork. I was a dorky klutz!"
"It was good he was beautiful because he [Spot the cat] was a pain in the patoot."
"The last time, I matched my bike. This time, I matched my car. I matched my car!"
And then there was Hanna's "grams," Miss Mildred...OMG she was the best!!! Funny, feisty, and aware of everything! Some of the things she said:
"Sweet Jesus, forgive her [Hanna, for falling asleep in church]. Pastor Wright's sermon is far from inspiring, you hear that, Lord, but still. My precious girl's got better manners."
"Every Friday, him [Raid] in my yard, sweatin' and mowin' my lawn. Even old women need a thrill. That right there's gonna be mine."
Too bad about Bodhi. He exhibited great promise in the quirky character category. I got a kick out of his observation of Raid spoken to Hanna:
"Dudette, GI Joe checkin' you out. Three o'clock. Total GI Joe. As in GI Joe, whoa. Seriously, they should update the doll to look like him. Every kid in America would buy that doll. Boys and girls."
The other Unfinished Heroes and their "women" made brief appearances, as does a character from the Rock Chick series. Another Rock Chick regular was mentioned, as well. That is a pleasant way of keeping those characters current, and alive, in a fictional sort of way. I love a good epilogue, and Raid's is a good one. Yes, there was some sadness there, but mostly it featured that wonderfully detailed Kristen Ashley passing-of-time happily-ever-after finish!
Kristen Ashley must adore her character Hanna very much, since I believe she gave Hanna her pink Schwinn bicycle! :)
"I did not see Raiden Ulysses Miller. Not for five months. What I didn't know was...He saw me." ~ Hanna
“You, that dress, those shoes, that hair, beverages and furniture you can get horizontal on would not be a good combination.” ~ Raid
“If you’re the kind of woman who can withstand the blaze of hellfire he’s got burning inside, he battles that and wins, you will know nothing for the rest of your life, no taste, no experience, not even the birth of your children that will be sweeter than the love he’ll have for you.” ~ Miss Mildred to Hanna
“It was then Raiden Ulysses Miller scorched me a second time, but I didn't battle this blaze. There was no pain. But that didn't mean I didn't end up branded.” ~ Hanna
“You do it for me because you were the girl across the street, your hair shining in the sun, laughing, making me fall in love with you, and I didn't even goddamned fucking know you.” ~ Raid
Hanna: “'He backed me into a wall, caging me in, got in my face and explained he is most definitely into me.'
When I was done speaking, her lips were parted and her eyes were glazed.
'KC?' I called when she didn’t say anything.
KC: 'Shh,' she shushed me. 'I’m having an orgasm.'” ~ Hanna and KC