Series: Saints of Denver #1
Published by William Morrow on 1/5/16
Amazon ∣ B&N
The first in the new SAINTS OF DENVER series from NYT bestselling author of the MARKED MEN series, Jay Crownover
Sometimes you have to tear everything down to build something new…
Sayer Cole is frozen inside. At least, that’s what it’s felt like for as long as she can remember. She’s yet to let anyone past her icy exterior – and the one guy she thinks might melt her heart couldn’t possibly be interested in someone so uptight.
Rough, hard and hot-as-hell, Zeb Fuller has rebuilt his life and his construction business since protecting his family sent him to jail all those years ago. His elegant client, Sayer, makes him feel like a Neanderthal in denim, but despite the many hints that he’s been dropping to get to know her better, she seems oblivious to his charms.
Just as things finally start to heat up, Zeb’s past comes back to haunt him and he needs Sayer’s professional help to right a wrong and to save more than himself. As these opposites dig in for the fight of their lives, fire and ice collide in an unstoppable explosion of steam…
“…there was no way I was going to build anything that wasn’t one hundred percent indestructible even if that meant getting in there and knocking down some walls and pulling up some of the existing structure. Sayer Cole was a project I couldn’t wait to get my hands on.”
Jay Crownover introduces a new series with Built, a new set of characters, a new setting, but the same heart. Jeb and Sayer’s story shows two characters who overcome their past and present hardships to build a future from something solid that will last. Jeb, with his capable hands, takes Sayer and all her damaged parts and tries to restore the vibrant woman that he knows in hiding under all the broken parts.
“When you shut your emotions off to survive, it is nearly impossible to turn them back on, even for someone you care about.”
Unfortunately, Sayer’s damage is maybe more severe than even a skilled fixer such a Jeb can handle, and their relationship experiences a few starts and stops as one fights to make it grow and the other pushes against their feelings for fear it won’t survive.
“She looked like silk, but if my guess was right about her, it was silk wrapped around steel.”
I was excited to read Built because I just loved (most of) the couples in the Marked Men series and I couldn’t wait to get more doses of that feeling. I loved the sexiness and uniqueness, the vibrancy of the characters and stories. Built didn’t deliver the same rush of feelings that some of my MM favorites did. I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. The story was entertaining, and I enjoyed reading it while I was reading it, but I wasn’t drawn to it when I had to put it down. It was close to halfway through the book before I thought it was good, and even then any kind of emotional connection I felt was surface deep. Also, I understood that the characters were trying to overcome legitimate issues, particularly Sayer, but at times the introspection became repetitive. Show me, don’t just tell me. I think that would’ve made the emotions more potent.
I don’t love Built as a standalone, but I think it is a good series opener since it sets up what I think will be some intriguing romances. I believe that die-hard fans of Jay Crownover will appreciate this book more than I did, and they’ll love Zeb especially, because he is quite a romantic hero. Plus, Sayer is a smart, relatable heroine (at least to me), even when she frustrates.
Sayer and Zeb are interesting characters with complexity, but their story was lacking something for me. Spark? I don’t know… they had good chemistry, but that certain je ne sais quoi was missing. What I enjoyed the most about Built were the familial elements, the closeness of the surrounding characters, and the backstories of a few more than minor characters who I think might get their own books. I’m looking forward to their stories. So, though I didn’t fall in love with this one, I’m not going to write off the series. If you’re still curious about it, give it a try and tell me what you think.
“She owned me from the very start; now I just needed her to take possession and keep me forever.”
He took a step closer to me and put his finger under my chin so that I had no choice but to look at that darkening green gaze. “You know what is a big deal?”
Without thinking I put my wet hand on the center of his chest and watched as my handprint covered the place where his heart was thudding heavy and strong. He felt so vital and real, like everything I had had my hands on before him was just make-believe.
“What?” My voice came out more of a whisper than anything else.
“We hung out, I bought you dinner, we talked about our families and shit. We shared. This was a date, Sayer. Maybe not the best first date ever but it was still a date, so you know what that means.”
I did? I was still trying to get my head around the fact that it really had been kind of a date when his head lowered toward mine and my lips tickled as his beard got close enough to brush against them.
“It means we went on a date, so now you should absolutely put your hands on my dick…a lot. My gentlemanly tendencies only reach so far and with you they have about reached the end of the line.”
I gulped a little. “Oh.” That sounded like so many different kinds of dangerous and delicious. I had never asked him to be a gentleman, and frankly one of the reasons I was so attracted to him was because he seemed so rugged and untamed by the conventions I was used to and bored to death by.
“Yeah, oh…which I fully intend to make you say over and over again while I’m as deep inside of you as I can get.”
When his mouth settled over mine, it was an entirely different mess I was suddenly worried about. There was going to be no cleaning up the wreckage that was going to be left of my heart and body when this man was done with me and that felt entirely like a great big deal even though I was helpless to stop it. It was one mess I intended to embrace and not apologize for even if that went against everything I had ingrained deep down within the very core of me.