Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley
Series: Colorado Mountains #2
Also in this series: Jagged, Kaleidoscope
Published by Forever, Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: June 24th 2014
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"I adore Kristen Ashley's books!"---Maya Banks, New York Times bestselling author She's ready for the ride of her life . . .
Lauren Grahame is looking to reinvent herself. After leaving her cheating husband, Lauren moves to Carnal, Colorado, and gets a job as a waitress in a biker bar called Bubba's. It's a nothing job in a nowhere joint . . . until Tatum Jackson walks in. Lauren has never seen a man with such good looks, muscles, and attitude. But when he insults her, Lauren doesn't want anything to do with him. Too bad for Lauren he's also the bar's part owner and bartender.
When the rough-around-the-edges Tate meets the high-class Lauren, he thinks she won't fit in at Bubba's. Yet there's more to Lauren than meets the eye, and Tate soon sets his mind on claiming her as his own. Before long, the desire burning between them is heating up the cold mountain air. But when violence strikes the town, Tate must reveal a dark secret to Lauren-one that may put an end to their sweet dreams.
A curious thing happens to me with Kristen Ashley. I read her books the first time and come away feeling not too impressed. The stories are just okay, the writing is frustrating, they go on forever and honestly, the heroes are mostly assholes. I don’t even know whey I read them half the time. Then a few days go by and I can’t stop thinking about the stories and characters. I’ll think about a scene so much I end up deciding to do a quick read through and next thing I know I’ve read the damn book 800 times and highlighted a million passages. That’s what happened with this book. I read it the first time and really liked Lauren, the heroine, but it drug on and on and honestly, I didn’t love it. I probably would have given it a solid 3 stars, but I wouldn’t have recommend it to everyone and their mother.
Then I started thinking about a particular scene and ended up re-reading the whole book. Which I loved. Then I read it again. And Again. And again (and again…). I’ve probably re-read this book more than any other and I love it. I’ve highlighted or noted at least 3/4 of it. I love Lauren’s interactions with Tate and his son, the way she comes into her own and the way their relationship progresses. Even the constantly back-and-forthing they do and the ridiculous dialogue doesn’t bother me any more. I just love this book.
Lauren has spent a year wandering. She found out her husband – whom she thought was the love of her life – was cheating on her with her best friend and she just lost it. She granted him a quicky divorce, sold everything and set out on a roadtrip that lasted a year. She finally lands in Carnal, CO and gets a good vibe from the place so she decides to stay awhile. The local bar, Bubba’s, has a “now hiring” sign in the window, so she pleads her case to the owner and lands a job as a waitress. She’s ready for a fresh start and the biker town offers her a chance to see where her head is at.
Then she meets Tate, co-owner of Bubba’s bar and extreme hot guy. When he insults her, she’s devastated. Then she realizes he isn’t worth getting worked up over and focuses on figuring out herself. She’s a forty-something who always thought she’d find something special, and instead she’s washed up and alone. As time goes on she makes friends and begins to find herself. When her father has a heart-attack, Tate is there to help her through it, and they end up seeing each other. She’s unsure about the relationship, but she can’t deny she wants Tate more than any man she’s ever met. He is totally unexpected. He’s a rough-around-the-edges biker with a temper, but he’s also kind, caring and goes out of his way to let Lauren know she matters.
I think what I love best about this book – and most of Ashley’s other novels, if I’m being honest – is the slow slide into love. The relationship moves fast at first, but Ashley takes the time to explore their feelings for one another and really shows them falling in love, rather than telling us it happened. They fight, they joke, they open up to each other, they face trials and tribulations and through that, their relationship grows. This isn’t instalove. This is them slowly settling in to each other.
I also really love the way Lauren comes into herself. She’s been kind of lost since her divorce, not really thinking or feeling too much. She let her ex convince her she was less than she was, and it takes some time but she begins to return to the woman she was before him. Yes, she meets a man and begins to fall in love, but she also makes friends, finds joy in her work and begins to have a life outside her relationship with Tate.
Sometimes their dialogue drove me crazy, Tate could be a total jerk and at times Lauren was way too quick to give in, but in the end that didn’t matter to me because I believed in her, and them. It’s not without faults, but the story is engaging and Lauren’s personal journey really speaks to me. I especially love the way Lauren comes into herself and develops friendships with the residents of Carnal, and falls in love with Tate and his son.
There’s a mystery plot that revolves around a serial killer. It serves as a catalyst for some big dramas, but doesn’t have much purpose outside that. The killer wasn’t revealed until the end of the book and seemed to come out of nowhere (there were very few clues about who he was or to point in his direction). When I reread I skip the last chapter completely.
This is an engaging story about a woman finding herself with the help of a town full of bikers and the love of a good man. It’s a story I’ll read again and again for the interpersonal relationships and sweet romance.
4 out of 5