Title: Take Me Harder
Author: Jackie Ashenden
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept
Date of publication: February 7th, 2017
Number of pages: Unknown
POV: 3rd person
Series: Texas Bounty
Take Me Deeper – Book 1 (review here)
Make It Hurt – Book 2
Take Me Harder – Book 3
Make It Good – Book 4 (Expected publication date: March 6th, 2018)
Make It Last – Book 5 (Expected publication date: May 1st, 2018)
Take Me Longer – Book 6 (Expected publication date: July 3rd, 2018)
Standalone – No
Where to find this book: Amazon
Rush Redmond never expected freedom to taste so bittersweet. He spent eight years in jail doing someone else’s time, and for what? As an ex-con, Rush can’t work as a bounty hunter like his brothers—not in Texas. Better to drown his sorrows with a stiff drink and soft curves. Too bad the temptation he craves is a redhead with a badge: Ava St. George. Once upon a time, Rush would’ve done anything for the sheriff’s innocent daughter. Now he’s fighting the urge to let her sweet-talk him into some trouble he can’t afford.
Even though she’s a cop, Ava knows that sometimes justice means pushing the boundaries of the law. To track down her mother’s killer, she turns to the man with the county’s criminal underworld in his little black book. The boy she knew is still drop-dead gorgeous, with panty-dropping charm as smooth as his smile. But his sculpted arms and the menacing gleam in his eyes scream “Don’t mess with me.” Yet Ava needs Rush more than ever—in more ways than one.
Rush Redmond spent 8 years in jail for a crime that he did not commit….to protect his older brother, Quinn, and his alcoholic father. He has changed in those 8 years and not for the better. He came out of jail bitter. Bitter towards his brothers, who didn’t visit him. Bitter towards his father, who promised he would do everything to get him out and instead left him to rot in jail for 8 years. Bitter that his mother had told him that he wasn’t his father’s son while she was dying (even though it explained a lot).
Ava St. George is the sheriff’s daughter and is a cop herself. Her mother was murdered when she was 7 years old and her father withdrew, emotionally, from her. Stricken with grief, she forms a friendship with Rush…who is 10 years older. He is the one who helps her get over her grief, who supports her dream to be a cop like her mother and father, who teaches her how to shot a gun and who was her first crush. She was 14 when he went to jail and she never forgot him.
I felt really bad for Rush but to be honest, he did come off as a jerk. A huge jerk who kinda bullied Ava (but hated doing it if that made sense). I understand that he was lashing out because of everything that happened to him but still. I wanted to smack him for some of the things he said to her. And Quinn was definitely in the right for not wanting him around Ava, at all.
I loved Ava. I really did but she let Rush walk all over her for a little while. I don’t know if it was because she felt guilty that she never visited him in prison (hello, she was 14 and he was 24….no way her dad would have let her do that) or because she needed his contacts but she should have never let him do it for as long as he did.
I wouldn’t call what was between Ava and Rush a romance at first. It was more of lust. Where Rush wanted Ava and she wanted him just as badly. It evolved into love when she asked to be his girlfriend when he went to the arms dealer’s party to get information for Ava and to see if the arms dealer was his father (his mother had an affair with him right around the time Rush was conceived).
The sex scenes were very hot. The only thing that I didn’t like was Ava losing her virginity in the front seat of Rush’s truck. I was kinda hoping that it would happen in a bed but oh well. The rest of the sex scenes were great and….drum roll please, they used safe sex. Double fist pump yes…..lol.
The storylines, except for who fathered Rush, were all resolved in a good way. I do like that Zane was featured a couple of time and that Iris was only mentioned once. Which made me happy because I couldn’t stand her.
The end was typical of a romance, with a HEA. But, in this book, I felt that the HEA was deserved.
How many stars will I give Take Me Harder: 4
Why: For some reason, this book got to me. I don’t know if it was Rush’s pain over everything that has happened to him from the age of 17 on or if it was the great message interwoven in the book (forgiveness if good) but it got to me. It also helped that Ava was such a great balm for Rush while he worked through everything and that their sex was great.
Will I reread: Yes
Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes
Age Range: Adult
Why: Sex, language, and violence.
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**