Series: The Outskirts Duet #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: ARC, Amazon
Also by this author: Tyrant, King, Lawless, Soulless, All the Rage, Preppy: The Life and Death of Samuel Clearwater, Part One
Sawyer wants a life of her own. Finn wants to forget he ever had one.
After a tragedy, Finn Hollis escapesinto the swamp to be alone. That is until Sawyer Dixon shows up, all SCORCHING HOT innocence, claiming she owns the land less than fifty feet from his front door.
Sawyer gets under his SKIN, but even worse? She makes him CRAVE things. Things Finn hasn’t thought about in a very long time.
Finn WANTS Sawyer gone.Almost as much as he wants her in his BED.
The swamp is about to get a whole lot HOTTER.
The Outskirts was originally set to be a standalone.It is now book one of a duet. The Outliers is the title of book two.
The Outskirts is everything I love about TM Frazier’s books: Broken characters, pain and angst, and hope. Sawyer and Finn’s story made my eyes leak a few times because their heartbreak was just so palpable.
Sawyer has had a miserable life growing up with a father who had indoctrinated his family in the ways of ‘The Church’. This means women are 2nd class citizens and must be discipled frequently. Once her mother dies, Sawyer has the chance to break free and she takes it. She manages to meet some great people in Outskirts and starts to carve out a life for herself, even though she is totally clueless about the world.
Finn lost the love of his life years ago and has become a cranky old hermit living in a shack in the swamp. Sawyer comes along and shakes up his miserable existence. He struggles with the guilt of moving on with life when Jackie didn’t get to do the same. Sawyer and Finn are both so damaged but Sawyer wants to move on and create a new life. Finn had no plans of ever moving forward.
“Good guys,” he wagged his pointer finger, “those are the worst kind of punks.”
What always draws me to Frazier’s books is her characters. All of them are damaged and many of them are not on the right side of the law, yet everything about them is perfect. Frazier shows us that life isn’t always pretty or easy and I loved that the Outskirts shows us the poor and downtrodden town and the people who won’t leave. Towns like Outskirts exist all over the world and people with stories like Finn, Sawyer, Josh, Miller, Critter, and the rest exist in those towns. The story is gritty and sincere, which I think is what drew me to it like a siren’s song.
I didn’t see the giant twist coming…like at all. I feel very much like I did at the end of King.
- POV: 1st (dual but more from Sawyer)
- Tears: a few
- Trope: death of a lover, religious cults
- Triggers: View Spoiler »Sawyer and her mom were the victims of physical abuse which may be a trigger for some « Hide Spoiler
- Series/Standalone: duet
- Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »yes « Hide Spoiler
- HEA: View Spoiler »things are good-ish between Finn and Sawyer at the end, but it is a cliffy « Hide Spoiler
From The Outskirts:
My throat tightened and a heaviness grew in my chest like my heart didn’t know whether to beat faster or stop beating altogether. “Did you leave me all this to show me the life you could’ve had, but didn’t? Why!?” I pounded the wheel again and then again, and again and again until my vision was blurry and all I could see was the redness of my own heated rage. “You’re a fucking coward! You fucking COWARD!” I screamed to no one, pounding on the wheel until the skin across my knuckles split and blood dripped between my fingers.
Strong hands bit into my biceps, yanking me from the cab. I was spun around by my shoulders and found myself face to face with Finn. “I like it when you swear,” he said, pressing close.
“Finn, get off me! Get off me! Let me go!” I wailed, struggling to free myself from his grip. Kicking out my legs only to connect with the air as he evaded my every move.
A growl tore from his throat. Finn picked me up and walked me to the back of the truck, setting me on the open tailgate. He pushed himself between my legs and hovered over me to keep me from leaping off.
“Let me go,” I demanded, pushing at his hard chest. “I don’t have time for your broodiness right now.”
Finn held my wrists together with one hand. “No, of course you don’t. You’re too busy tearing up pictures and screaming at no one.”
“Let me go,” I repeated.
“No,” he said between clenched teeth.
“Just go! Leave me alone. Leave meeeeeee!” I wailed as I pounded against his stone chest.
“You don’t want to hit me,” he warned, his eyes hardened.
“Then let me go.”
“Why?” He stepped in closer, unaffected by my attempt to fight against him. My inner thighs were touching his outer thighs.
“Because she did!” I screamed, my eyes sprang open to find his cold blue gaze. “She could have run anywhere and taken me with her. Instead she left him but she left me too. She was a coward who couldn’t make the right decision and I love her. I love her…but I hate her. I hate her so much…so…” I was interrupted when Finn’s lips pressed against mine, momentarily rendering me stupid. I pointed my toes toward the sky to avoid my initial instinct which was to wrap my legs around him. It was so consuming that I momentarily forgot to fight him off, but I didn’t need to, he pulled his lips from mine.
“Stop doing that,” I said. I pushed him off but he stayed between my legs, his hands on my bare back just under the hem of his big t-shirt I was wearing. His gaze hardened. I could see the conflict written in his lined forehead and the deep V between his eyes. I had no doubt the conflict had everything to do with me.
And kissing me.
“It’s your fault that I do it,” Finn said, his voice deep and smooth against my chin and then my neck.
“So that’s your plan? Kiss me every time you want to shut me up?” I asked, still feeling every bit of my anger but also feeling something else. Something that sent tingles between my legs and an ache in my core. “Thank you for saving me. Really. Thank you. I appreciate it,” my voice cracked. “But you can just leave me alone now. And please, STOP kissing me.” My words a whisper.
“I’m going to kiss you whenever I want to kiss you,” Finn stated as if I didn’t have a say in the matter.
The early morning sunlight highlighted the beads of sweat trickling from his shoulders down his broad chest and across the valleys of his defined abs. He was standing so close that we were breathing in each other’s air.
“Whenever you want to kiss me?” I laughed. “I don’t understand you. I don’t understand any of this. You’re always mad at me. Why did you save me? Why do you keep kissing me when you’re always mad at me?”
“It’s when I’m pissed off at you that I want to kiss you the most,” Finn said, his voice flowing over my skin like a silky blanket. He slid me closer so I could feel the outline of his rigid erection as if he were proving a point. He lowered his lips to mine and consumed my mouth in a greedy kiss that had me shaking with need and spinning with confusion.
“Do you always kiss everyone you hate?” I asked, yanking my lips from his.
“Does this feel like hate to you?” he growled pushing his hard length between my legs.