Author: Jay Crownover
Series: Marked Men
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Published: January 7th, 2014
Format: Audiobook downloaded from library
Right now I have to say I am so glad that I decided to go to the NOLA Story Con in September. I might never have picked up a book by this author if she hadn't been on the list for the authors that would be there. And that, that would have been a tragedy, because I am so in love with this series, and these guys! This story sounded perfect from the start. Rome is Rule's older brother, and he is an ex-military guy. I have been a fan of military guys for some time, especially after going to college in a town that was near to an Air Force base, meaning I met those guys at the bars in town when I went out with my friends. So I was excited for Rome's story. And other than the ridiculous mispronunciation of the name Asa by the narrators, I loved this audiobook! If you haven't read the first two books in the series, you should click on their titles here to read my reviews, book 1 - Rule, and book 2 - Jet. Now, on with this story's review.
Rome has returned from being over with the military in the middle East. But he's come back a different guy than when he left. He was honorably discharged from the army because of his injuries, he was unable to meet the qualifications to stay. He lost a lot of his soldiers in the very event that caused his injuries, and he wakes up in the night from horrible nightmares of what happened. These nightmares, along with not knowing how he fits in with his family now, have made him grumpy, and as Cora likes to call him, Captain No-Fun. Cora is the woman who kind of runs the tattoo shop's front desk for the guys. And it is her house that Jet and Ayden live in, along with Ayden's brother Asa. We kind of join the story at a 4th of July party at Rule and Shaw's new house. Now that Rome's brother Rule has become a home-owner, also finally being in a real relationship with Shaw, Rome feels maybe his brother doesn't need him anymore. When Cora gets tired of Rome's attitude at the cookout, she dumps a beer on him, and Rome takes off. He ends up in a bar run by another ex-military guy. Unfortunately for Rome, who is a stereotypical big tough-looking military guy, there is a guy who is trying to get into a biker gang that picks Rome to try to start a fight with in order to get initiated. Rome wins the fight, but not without a lot of damage to the bar and his own injuries. He feels bad for the guy who runs the bar, and offers to pay him back, but the guy wants Rome to help him out by fixing the things that were broken, as well as helping him fix up other things around the bar.
The bar work reminds me of The Karate Kid, because it is helping Rome work through his problems. Until one day he gets a call from a friend in his unit that is still over there in battle, and in the call he learns that more are dead. Rome feels guilty, as if he was still there, he could have kept those young soldiers from dying. And he goes to the bar and starts drinking again. When he needs a ride home because he's too drunk, the number that gets called from his phone is the tattoo shop where Rule works. Unfortunately Cora is the only one left, but she decides to help Rome instead of bothering Rule, because of all the brotherly issues they've been having. So Cora drags him to her house and puts him in her bed to sober up. When she goes in to grab her things so she can sleep on the couch, Rome grabs her in his sleep and pulls her onto the bed and underneath him. At first he just goes back to sleep. But later on, he wakes up, and things happen, sex happens. Everything on Rome matches exactly with what you'd expect a big guy like him to be packing. And it's cute how Cora deals with the situation at first.
Now, Cora has her own issues. An ex-boyfriend who she found out was sleeping around on her with someone from the tattoo shop, and the sad thing was that everyone at the shop knew, but didn't tell her. That's how she ended up at the tattoo shop with these guys. The other guys at the shop tell Rome he needs to be careful, they don't want her getting hurt, and some of the guys even warn Cora that Rome isn't the "perfect" guy she has said she is now waiting for. But the two of them decide to try things out anyway. Being with Cora helps Rome with some of the stress he's been going through, helps him to calm down. But of course things won't be all smooth going from now on. Remember the guy that tried to beat up Rome? Well he's not done. And that surprise night when Cora took Rome back to her house? Well let's just say they weren't thinking about consequences and protection in that situation. Rome seems to really be enjoying being in charge of the bar the more authority he gets. He even ends up hiring Asa as a bartender when the bar starts getting busier. What else could go wrong? How about Cora's ex coming back into the picture?
Through all of this Cora and Rome must decide how much they love each other, how much they are willing to share with each other, and if they can make it through all the obstacles put in their way. And I loved it.
Now, this is probably a spoiler, but it's something I have to say. I honest to god LOVE that when Cora found out she was pregnant, not once did she mention having an abortion. Not once was that an option. I'm not sure how realistic that is, but I love that it is how the story goes. I'm pro-life, although I don't have as much of a problem with abortions that early in a pregnancy. But I love that the people in this book don't even think of that as an option. These are my kind of people. Sorry for the spoiler on that, but I had to point out how much that stood out to me.
Also, pretty sure I'm going to need to buy one of these t-shirts to wear when I go to meet the author! The Captain No Fun stuck in my head so much that I called my brother "Daddy No-Fun" when he wouldn't let my niece do things on our vacation over Memorial Day weekend.