Featured Author Review: The ‘Burg Series by Kristen Ashley
The ‘Burg Series
Titles: For You, At Peace, Golden Trail, Games of the Heart, The Promise
Kristen Ashley sets her ‘Burg series in a town she knows well–Brownsburg, Indiana, the author’s hometown. But the characters in the series led very different lives than that of the talent writer. The six-book series centers around the townspeople who have been involved and impacted by murder and mystery and the ways in which they settle scores, unravel secrets and love hard and fast.
In book one of the series, For You Brownsburg Lieutenant Alexander Colton is trying to solve a murder. He’s set in his task and, he thinks, in his life, but when February Owens, the girl he’d planned to spend his life with before she broke his heart, returns to town to run her family’s bar and people in her life start turning up dead, Colt will have to push back the pull Feb still has on him to discover the threat that looms. Kristen plays second chance and first love against the backdrop of a intricate mystery. The characters are sharp, clever and intriguing enough to pull the reader in as much as the shocking identity of who is gunning to destroy the peaceful life in Brownsburg.
Book two in the series, At Peace, is another heartbreak that will leave readers unable to put down their e-readers or paperbacks. Violet is a single mother with two daughters, new to Brownsburg. She escaped her life in Chicago following the murder of her detective husband and the unwanted attention of the man responsible. When Violet’s life is interrupted by her new neighbor, Cal (Joe), life as she knew and wanted it to be completely unravels. A personal favorite of mine, At Peace is Kristen Ashley at her best. She draws a complex, yet seductive dynamic between Cal and Violet and amps up the mystery and suspense by inserting a murderous villain and a cast of characters that are as endearing and compelling as the town they call home.
With Golden Trail, book three in the ‘Burg series, Kristen again returns to one of the genres she’s best at–second chance romances. Layne and Rocky once meant everything to each other. Now, years after they separated, fate and circumstance brings the couple back into each others’ orbits. The novel is brimmed to capacity with unresolved sexual tension, strong, independent characters that have jobs to do and a determination inside them that isn’t remotely diminished by the undeniable connection they still share.
Book four, Games of the Heart is about assumption and the secrets that keep Dusty and Mike from getting back to the bond they had as kids. Mike had always wanted her. He’d always seen her as the dream girl out of his league and when that dream breaks her family’s heart, and his in the process, Mike finds his dream has dwindled to nothing. Years later, Dusty returns to Brownsburg and Mike is a different man; heart broken and angry that Dusty has grown selfish and cruel. Kristen draws Mike and Dusty’s relationship with depth and feeling, a bone-deep ache that readers will be unable to forget long after they’ve come to the end. Game of the Heart is a passionate, suspenseful addition to the burg series that will not disappoint.
The Promise, book five, is one Kristen’s fans eagerly anticipated, with good reason. The Bianchi family had always hated Francesca Concetti, thinking she was responsible for their brother’s death; Benny especially harbored a deep loathing for her. But when Frankie takes a bullet in an effort to protect the family she’s never quite forgotten, Benny begins to understand the sacrifices Frankie has made in the name of love. When what he feels for her deepens and is reciprocated, Benny will have to convince Frankie not to give up on him or what might be waiting for them together. Full of heart, humor and consuming passion, Benny and Frankie’s chemistry is palpable and their story is one of the most beloved, and popular in the series.
Sometimes what’s right in front of us, what we’ve spent years ignoring, is just the thing that’s meant for us. In the final ‘Burg novel, Hold On, Merry Merrick is convinced the woman he let slipped through his fingers was the only one that could make him happy. That is, until his ‘just one of the guys’ buddies, Cher Rivers, has his back and shows Merry just what’s she made of and how passionate she can be. But it’s hard to let go of everything you think is real, even when a touch, a taste of something new tempts you away. Hold On brings the series full circle with past couples and characters returning to complete the series. Merry and Cher, like their predecessors, are full of heart and passion; they are determined and strong and willing to sacarfice everything, right down to their hearts for the right sort of love.
The ‘Burg series examines the kinds of character Kristen loves depicting–men who are strong, who take care of and are taken care by the women who love them. And those women? They love hard, they hold their own and they do it with a strength and elegance you’d be hard pressed to find in a typical romance. But that’s the thing about Kristen Ashley–there isn”t a single thing typical about the writer and the worlds she creates. The ‘Burg series demonstrates that perfectly.
If you like rugged, passionate men and fierce, endearing women living in an idealized town, getting up to mischief and mystery, then pick up the ‘Burg series today. You won’t be disappoint.