Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Hold On (The 'Burg #6) by Kristen Ashley

Since she was young, Cher Rivers knew she was not the kind of girl who got what she wanted. A girl who could hope. A girl who could dream. She knew a happily ever after just wasn't in the cards for her. 

In love for years with the last bastion of the 'burg's eligible bachelors, Garrett Merrick, Cher worked hard at making him laugh. Being one of the guys. Having him in her life the only way she could. All this knowing he was in love with another woman.

The Merrick Family is known for loving deep. So when Cecelia Merrick was murdered, it marked the Merricks in a way none of them recovered. Both Cecelia's children found love. Both turned their backs on it. But Garrett "Merry" Merrick knew in his soul the woman he divorced years ago was the one for him.

Until the night when Cher took Garrett's back and things changed. The Merrick family loves deep. They also protect fiercely. And with his eyes finally open, Garrett sees the woman who truly is for him and he goes after her. 


This series has been a rollercoaster for me. Mostly good, some ok and a really bad moment. This book ranks right at the top of the experience. I don’t always have the best luck with KA books…the guys piss me off, the chicks never have enough backbone and on some occasions, it’s just an all around bad story. But this book…was amazing from page 1. I freely admit that I had very little interest in this book. I had no interest in Cher and I especially didn’t want her for Merry.

However, from page one, I was drawn into Cher and Merry’s story. I couldn’t help but love Cher when you saw how strong she was, how tough. She didn’t roll over and submit to Merry like many other KA heroines do. I don’t mind some of that, but it always seemed like when a heroine in a KA book would try to stand up for herself, and the hero said something opposite, she gave in asap. And I hate seeing that. Ok fine, you’re going to give in, but make a valiant effort to assert your position first and make yourself heard. Cher was good about standing up for herself and her son. She made her position known, and at times she may have freaked out a little much, but she didn’t bow down and just let Merry take over.

I loved how their relationship progressed, how it wasn’t love at first sight and they took time building a relationship, not only between Cher and Merry but Merry and Ethan. Merry didn’t hold himself back from the insta-family either. He was all for it and embraced it. My one issue was with Merry’s “issues”. I just had a hard time believing that flowers would set him off and wondered how he hasn’t interacted with flowers in 20+ years. But I was glad that Merry listened to Alec and stuck it out with Cher. I also loved that Cher didn’t let him wallow in it and confronted him to set things right.

Overall, this was a great book. I hate to see the series end because overall, I did enjoy the series. But seeing as this is the end, I enjoyed the epilogue and seeing where everyone from the series ends up in the future. 

I'll be honest here- Cher wasn't exactly the woman I wanted to read about, or to pair up with Merry aka: Garrett Merrick. I'm glad Kristen Ashley could change my mind- though Merry's ex, Mia, made it even easier to change that course for me, too.

Cher Rivers, or as we know her from, For You (The 'Burg book 1) as Cheryl Sheckle, has always been head over hills for Merry. Merry has blinders on though, and thinks of her as a friend until they blur the lines late one night with whiskey, a shared cab ride, and Cher's bed. Can they go back to being just friends? One wants a relationship and the other wants to be friends- until a visit changes that, causing both to change their minds from their original hopes.

Cher had a good backbone and takes her own back -as she only has herself to rely on. She will have to learn to lean on others and let someone else take her back for a change. She's going to need it as she still has problems that started out in book one, For You, coming up for her as well as her son's father and his wife to deal with.

Merry has demons of his own and certain things can trigger the pain he can't let go of from when his mom died. Can he let Cher, and her son, soothe his soul? Will he take the advice of his father, and Layne,  and PROCEED? If you remember in Golden Trail, Merry told Layne to PROCEED with Rocky when her demons came back to haunt her. Now it's Merry's turn to hold on for the ride and never let go- or he will forever be lost and miss out on Cher and her awesome son.

This book is a friends to lovers story. It revisits an issue for Cher that started and was book one's main focus. It also deals with baby/daddy drama.

Between the ex's drama, her work schedule, the creepy neighbor, unwanted phone calls and visits, and trying to decide where Merry fits into her life- can Cher handle all that's on her plate, and do it alone? She may as well put both hands up and let someone else hold her for the duration of the ride that's made up of her life.

I really liked The 'Burg men, as they always make me laugh and stick up for and protect those in their 'Burg.

The EPILOGUE!! I have to say that I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the epilogue. It made me laugh, it gave me good closure to the series, and it gave me happy tears.

Ok, for any one who knows me, like at all, you know I love me some Kristen Ashley! She's like, my go to author. I've read almost all of her books, and the ones I haven't read are simply because I don't want to run out of new material. Not to say I don't like re-reading her books.. Cuz I do. Often. So of course when I was offered the chance to read Hold On for an honest review, I freaking jumped at the chance. Literally. I was jumping up and down fangirling like a tweeny bopper at a damn Beiber concert. (And hell no I don't like Beiber, how dare you think that atrocious thought!) 

The 'Burg series is one of my most favorite of hers as well, so I have been anxiously waiting for Cher and Merry's story for-freaking-EVER! And just to say, it was absolutely freaking awesome! :D

Cher is quite possibly one of my all time favorite heroines. She has a backbone and she does and says whatever the hell she wants and makes no apologies about it. Right on. After the Denny Lowe fiasco from For You, Cher has had to start a whole new life for her son Ethan and herself. She even changed her name to help with all the jerkoff reporters who hound her for her side of the story. She got a job at J&J's and has been officially added to the group. She has also been harboring growing feelings for the last bachelor standing, Garrett "Merry" Merrick. Of course, he's a man so he has no clue. Smh. 

Merry is a cop. A hot cop. ;) He's also having some major mixed feelings about his ex wife. *cough*bitch*cough* He gets some info that drives him into J&J's to drown his feelings in a bottle of whiskey. Cher is on duty and she helps distract him. Things happen.... Their relationship starts to change. But here's the thing, Cher's led a life that hasn't been all too good to her. So she knows good things won't last. And as hard as she tries not to get too comfortable, she does. 

Merry has his eyes opened when Cher shows how she has his back in a situation where no one else really has. And when he makes the decision to pursue her, that's pretty much all there is to it. You know how KA guys are. They're stubborn and immovable in their pursuits ;) But he has his work cut out for him because, like I said, Cher's gun shy... No pun intended. I think what I liked most of all about their relationship, it didn't happen overnight. They started as friends first and that took years to develop. Thus begins the best last book of a series ever.

I don't want to go into too much detail of things that happen in the book because I know how I get and I'll end up spoiling it. Just know that it was awesome and I couldn't put it down! I absolutely loved everything about it! Hold On had her trademark style of writing, and seeing all the supporting characters from previous books was really like visiting old friends for me. I'm gonna miss them! (Especially Joe, he's my man ❤ ) As bittersweet as it is that this series is over, I really feel like KA did a great job of wrapping things up. The epilogue had me tearing up. I have to admit, at first I wasn't sure how I felt about it, but after some reflection, I realized it was really the only way to end things. I absolutely loved this book.

Through this, my leg hit an end table and I adjusted. We cleared the couch, I shifted again too soon, both my calves hit the coffee table, and my ass went down on it.
I looked up. Cell flat to the table, I braced my hands to push up, but Merry was there, chin in his throat, eyes on me, and when he spoke again, his mind was clearly on my location.
“Tried to get your mouth on me more than once when we tore at each other up last Friday, but I was in the mood to use mine. Lookin’ forward to learnin’ what you can do with yours, but like I said, baby, right now, don’t got the time.”
My only response that he couldn’t twist was to glare at him, which was what I did.
“But got time before I go for a kiss,” Merry informed me.
“Only kiss I’ll give you is tellin’ you to kiss off,” I informed him.
“Who knew warm brown eyes like the ones you got could spark that kind of fire,” he muttered as if he wasn’t even talking to me.
“Step back,” I demanded.
“No,” he denied.
I continued to glare up at him, then I realized I was not the kind of woman who sat on her ass, glaring up at a man towering over her and pinning her in. So I stood, which put me smack in Merry’s space, my breasts brushing against his abs and up his chest on my way.
They kept brushing when he didn’t move back, but I didn’t attempt escape, even to get away from the shafts of electricity this all caused at my nipples, shafts that headed south.
I glared at him from closer.
He stared into my eyes, his gaze moving down to my mouth then back up as one side of his lips curved.
He was getting off on this.
I didn’t get that and I didn’t want to get that.
I wanted this done.
“In the mood to play, Officer?” I whispered.
“Told you, sweetheart, don’t got the time.”
I shook my head but held his gaze. “Not what I mean. Single mom, all alone. Switch out her storms. Offer info to help her out of a jam. Been a while since I was in the know about these things, so tell me, what’s the price for all that? You mentioned a blowjob. You got stamina, but I got talent. Balance that out, I’m thinkin’ it’ll take more than the usual ten, fifteen minutes. We’ll give it twenty. So I can manage my time, is there more?”
I wasn’t even done talking before I learned his eyes could spark fire too.
I also learned he was in the mood to play, that being, playing me at my own game.
And doing it better.
He dipped his face close, his voice low. “Storms get me the blowjob, brown eyes. I get the intel you need, that buys me sinkin’ deep in wet pussy.”
I felt my nipples get harder at the same time something else happened to me that, if he was of a mind to take his payoff right then, he’d get what he wanted.
I hid this reaction and asked, “You want this all in one go, or you wanna spread payback out for a while?”
“Keep plenty of time open, Cher. I intend to earn a fuckuva lot more and draw it out collecting.”
I nodded, still keeping a lock on his eyes. “I get it. Girl like me, only payback expected for me to be able to give.”
That didn’t get me fire.
That got me ice.
“I hear you talk down about yourself one more time, Cher, shit will get extreme.”
That made me ice over.
“Do not hand me that crap, Merry. You come into my home and got no problem talkin’ about wet pussy right to my face tells me the woman you know me to be.”
He dipped his face even closer, to the point it felt like if I blinked, my lashes would sweep his in a butterfly kiss.
“Do not hand me your shit, Cher,” he growled. “That hang-up is yours, not mine. And how I know that is I made you come just finger fuckin’ you and talkin’ dirty in your ear, and it was the talk and not what my fingers were doin’ that took you there. I like that, a woman who can let go and let me give her that without gettin’ uptight and closin’ down on me. You liked it too, a fuckuva lot more than me. So don’t stand there handin’ me your shit when I know you’re wet for me now and I haven’t fuckin’ touched you.”
I refused to reply to that because he was right and I had no intention of confirming that information.
But it was then he hit me with a verbal blow, the intensity of which, not in my whole shitty-ass life I’d ever received.
“Christ, if I didn’t know you were worth it, I’d walk out the door and this would be done—all we got, over.”
I could stand.
I could stare.
But I couldn’t breathe.
Merry could.
He could also speak.
“Hope like fuck no one takes off with those storms while I’m gone. You think they will, move ’em into garage and leave the key under the mat. I’m switchin’ ’em out, Cher. I come back tonight and they’re done, I’ll find you, and I won’t be collectin’. I’ll be dishin’ it out, but you won’t get it until you beg for it and do that shit for a really long time.”
His words were lost on me.
I continued to stand.
I continued to stare.
But my lungs had started burning.
If I didn’t know you were worth it…
“When’s Ethan’s next sleepover?” Merry bit out.
“Friday,” I whispered. “But his friend’s comin’ here.”
“Fuck,” Merry clipped. “Find a time, babe. You don’t, payback’ll stack up and I’ll have to take personal days and hole up in a hotel with you for a week. And there’s not a doubt that stick-up-her-ass church lady your ex tied his shit to won’t appreciate you bein’ gone from your kid for a weeklong fuckathon.”
That was kind of funny as well as hot.
I still said nothing.
Merry fell silent and stared at me.
Then he dealt the second biggest verbal blow I’d ever received in my life.
“Christ, you’re pretty, even standin’ there plotting my murder.”
After that, he lifted a hand, grabbed me gentle but firm at my neck, yanked me up so my mouth hit his hard but brief, then he let me go.
“Later, babe,” he said, strolling to my door. He stopped in it, turned to me, and bid his farewell by saying, “You touch those storms only to put them in the garage.”
He closed the door on that.
I stood where he left me.
If I didn’t know you were worth it…
What was I worth?
What was I worth to Merry?

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