Note From Vagabonda Reads: Reading is (and always has) been a source of escape, of learning, of entertainment for me. When I’m graced to find a story that captures all those elements, that story and its characters are burned into my memory — they become a part of me. Such is the case with Jay Crownover’s stunning new novel, Honor. The character of Nassir Gates, his story, has now become a part of my story. I urge you to read, enjoy, and learn . . . .
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jay Crownover returns with her most complicated hero yet, in the first book in the romantic suspense series The Breaking Point.
Don’t be fooled.
Don’t make excuses for me.
I am not a good man.
I’ve seen things no one should, done things no one should talk about. Honor and conscience have no place in my life. But I’ve fought and I’ve survived. I’ve had to.
The first time I saw her dancing on that seedy stage in that second rate club, I felt my heart pulse for the first time. Keelyn Foster was too young, too vibrant for this place, and I knew in an instant that I would make her mine. But first I had to climb my way to the top. I had to have something more to offer her.
I’m here now, money is no object and I have no equal. Except for her. She’s disappeared. But don’t worry, I will find her and claim her. She will be mine.
Like I said, don’t be fooled. I am not the devil in disguise… I’m the one standing front and center.
– EXCERPT –
Maybe if I hadn’t spent the last six months slinging pancakes and greasy hash to hungover hipsters and avoiding the too-curious eyes of the cops who like to hit up the diner for early-morning breakfast, I would have noticed the ominous shift in the air.
Before I came to Denver six months ago, my senses had been honed to pick up on the slightest threat. Before, anything that might be dangerous, that might put me in peril, had made my skin tingle, made everything inside of me vibrate with awareness. Now I had settled into a simple, dreary rhythm. Every day was the same as the one before it and there was no outside threat constantly hounding me, hunting me, haunting me. I let my guard down. I had gone soft, and as a result the biggest danger of them all managed to slip into my new normal without giving any kind of hint he was there.
My nonslip shoe—that were probably the ugliest things ever made but absolutely necessary considering the greasy food the tiny kitchen pumped out—squeaked on the laminate floor as I made my way over to the lone patron who had taken the last available seat in my section. The massive plastic menu completely covered his face, but the Rolex on his wrist and the perfect cut of his suit jacket let me know he wasn’t my typical kind of customer. There wasn’t a flannel shirt or police blues in sight, and as I got closer, a whiff of something exotic and familiar engulfed my senses and stopped me in my tracks. Of all the things I had left behind, he was the one I had tried hardest to forget.
The tingling across my skin spread. My tummy tightened. Blood rushed loudly between my ears. My shaking fingers curled around the pen in my hand like a weapon. Before I could pull it together and walk away, the menu lowered and I was pinned to the spot, immobilized by eyes the color of spice rum.
They were wicked eyes. Eyes that saw far too much and gave nothing away. Eyes I daydreamed about. Eyes that caused me to wake up in a cold sweat. Eyes that turned me inside out and shook me up as they made a slow perusal from the top of my head to the tips of my god-awful shoes, returning to my face and staying there as I struggled to keep my shit together.
He slowly put the menu down on the cracked tabletop and leaned back in the booth. He was strikingly out of place here and I absolutely hated how that sexy twist of his mouth, a mouth that I dreamed about almost every night, made my traitorous heart flutter and my pulse kick.
I was also strikingly out of place here, but I’d learned to fake it. He, obviously, never bothered to fake anything. He wasn’t a man with virtuous intentions and he never pretended to be.
Gone were the mile-high stilettos that I always wore. In their place I now donned work shoes that prevented me from falling on my ass as I ran food and dirty dishes to and from the kitchen. I was hiding in plain sight, knowing that the last place on earth anyone who might come looking for me would check out would be this greasy spoon. This was the opposite of me and the life I had always lived, so even though I could afford better, craved more, this was where I needed to be…until he showed up.
– REVIEW –
Nassir Gates exists in a place most people can’t even conceive of, much less relate to. Born to a mother insane for a cause in a land where survival is measured not even on a daily basis, but rather in increments of seconds, Nassir Gates knows that in his life, there is no room for error. Trusting no one, Nassir becomes his own arbiter of justice. He accepts he’s a monster and he makes no apologies. Not one person, not one cause warrants his loyalty, until the day Nassir sees Keelyn Foster.
Keelyn Foster, young, jaded, works as a dancer in Spanky’s, a seedy club located in The Point. She dances under the name of “Honor”. Keelyn knows the mindset of her audience and she can take care of herself. One particular day, a customer charges her stage in an attempt to grab her. But before Keelyn can react to the assault, an enraged Nassir Gates comes to her rescue.
So begins the story of Nassir and Keelyn in Jay Crownover’s stunning novel, Honor.
More than a romance, author Crownover gives her audience a study into the mind of a soul tortured out of its humanity. Nassir Gates is essentially a dark machine until the appearance of Keelyn Foster. So appropriately named, Keelyn holds the key to Nassir’s remaining vestiges of humanity:
“She was my endgame. She was what had given my life meaning . . . She was everything.”
Kindle Loc. 1411 of 4869
Crownover sets the tone of Honor with such a cold and riveting prologue, the reader is immediately seduced into the story — it’s a masterful piece of writing. The body of the novel is told in alternating points of view, between Nassir and Keelyn. Secondary characters from Crownover’s Welcome to The Point Series make appearances in sub plots that contribute rather than distract from the story.
Honor is not a story for the faint of heart. It contains scenes of graphic violence and sex. The tone of the novel is very dark — this is not a hearts and flowers romance. Rather, Jay Crownover’s Honor is a story about those who survive, and ultimately, thrive on the fringes of an illusion we like to call civilization.
*ARC received from Inkslinger via Edelweiss, courtesy of William Morrow in exchange for an honest review.*
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– ABOUT JAY CROWNOVER –
Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, The Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.
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