Series: Saints of Denver #4
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: ARC, Edelweiss
Also in this series: Built, Charged, Riveted
Also by this author: Asa, Built, Charged, Honor, Retreat, Riveted, Shelter, Unbroken, Justified
The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men books continues her delightfully sexy Saints of Denver series.
Hudson Wheeler is a nice guy. Everyone knows it, including his fiancée who left him with a canceled wedding and a baby on the way. He’s tired of finishing last and is ready to start living in the moment with nights soaked in whiskey, fast cars, and even faster girls. He’s set to start living on the edge, but when he meets Poppy Cruz, her sad eyes in the most gorgeous face he’s ever seen hook him in right away. Wheeler can see Poppy’s pain and all he wants to do is take care of her and make her smile, whatever it takes.
Poppy can’t remember a time when she didn’t see strangers as the enemy. After a lifetime of being hurt from the men who swore to protect her, Poppy’s determined to keep herself safe by keeping everyone else at arm’s length. Wheeler’s sexy grin and rough hands from hours restoring classic cars shouldn’t captivate her, but every time she’s with him, she can’t help being pulled closer to him. Though she’s terrified to trust again, Poppy soon realizes it might hurt even more to shut Wheeler out—and the intense feelings pulsing through her are making it near impossible to resist him.
The only thing Poppy is sure of is that her heart is in need of some serious repair, and the more time she spends with Wheeler, the more she’s convinced he’s the only man with the tools to fix it.
Salvaged was my most anticipated book of 2017. I have been wanting Poppy’s book since we met her back in the Marked Men series. She was so broken I cried for her. I couldn’t imagine who Crownover would bring into her life in order to heal her, but Wheeler is the man for the job! Salvaged is the salvation of two people who have been hurt; two souls who need and deserve each other! This book was everything I anticipated and more.
Jay Crownover’s Introductions in her books are always ones I read. There is always a bit of insight into her process and into the character evolution. I find her words in the intros fascinating! She is the only author whose intros I actually have highlighted passages from!
In order to do these two justice, it took some digging deep, some honest self-evaluation and self-examination, on my part to get to the soft center of myself that I usually keep hidden from the world.
Once the story started, the tears began for me. I was tearing up from the prologue and it kept going until about the 25% mark when things got a little lighter. But seriously: Wheeler’s tragic past, Poppy’s tragic past, and an abandoned puppy! Too many emotions!!!!!!!
“I can count on one hand the number of times in my life someone bothered to ask if I was okay, Poppy”-Wheeler
These two are just heartbreaking yet beautiful. Wheeler has such a need for belonging and family since he grew up without one. Poppy has such a need for independence since everyone in her life controlled her and abused her. The beautiful thing is, they both thrive with the other! Wheeler is able to care for someone and Poppy is able to trust someone. They feed the needs of the other. This isn’t a story of a hero saving a broken girl, or a heroine saving a sad boy. Its a story of two broken people making the choice to accept the love and compassion of another. Crownover has written Poppy and Wheeler in a deep, dynamic way that shows us what a person is like long after a life changing event. The struggles that one encounters in the days, weeks, and months of a very traumatic time are different that the struggles of someone whose trauma happened years ago. Where Poppy and Wheeler are in life its the stage of years after some of their trauma and they are just starting to realize what their coping mechanisms have cost them. Its incredibly powerful and very emotional.
Salvaged is all about family. Wheeler’s future family with the baby coming, Poppy’s family and her ongoing concern for her mother, and the growing families of all their friends. If you have read the Marked Men series and the Saints of Denver series you will be so enraptured with all the family in Salvaged!
Salvaged is that rare story that comes along and gives you something you never knew you needed. It reminded me that sometimes, you have to save yourself with the help of others. Sometimes, what you have is an illusion that slips through no matter how tight you try to hold. Sometimes, you have to listen to your inner voice and learn to trust again. What Jay Crowonver does with Poppy and Wheeler in Salvaged is help us learn to live life.
- POV: dual 1st
- Tears: oh hells yeah
- Trope: tortured hero, domestic violence
- Triggers: View Spoiler »Poppy was abused by multiple men throughout her life and her ordeal includes physical abuse, verbal abuse, kidnapping. « Hide Spoiler
- Series/Standalone: stand alone within in an interconnected series (but really, you should at least read Rowdy from the Marked Men series before reading this so you understand Poppy)
- Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »no « Hide Spoiler
- HEA: View Spoiler »yes with 2 beautiful epilogues « Hide Spoiler
I rounded the corner at the end of my block and came to a halt. The puppy took that as a sign that we were done playing outside and started jumping all over my lower legs and pawing at my shins. He whined at me until I picked him up, and as soon as he could reach my face, his little tongue started darting all over my chin and cheeks. I wondered if he could feel the tension that made my limbs stiff and the anxiety that tightened all my muscles. I felt my breath catch in the back of my throat and there was no stopping my eyes from rapidly blinking to make sure what I was seeing was real and not a figment of my imagination.
He looked like one of those black-and-white art prints that hung in every diner and restaurant I’d ever eaten in. The one that was a throwback to another era when cool was something you had to cultivate and couldn’t buy on Amazon. He was leaning against a black-and-silver car that looked like it should be on the cover of a hot-rod magazine and not parked on a busy and crowded Capitol Hill street. He had on dark jeans and a dark canvas jacket that had the logo of his garage embroidered on the front. His ankles were crossed on the curb in front of him and one booted foot bounced up and down, giving the impression that he’d been waiting for me for a while. His arms were crossed over his chest and his eyes were locked on mine as I stood still, unsure what to do. He had an effortless kind of charisma that radiated off of him. It was equal parts intimidating and irresistible. I was unsure if my feet wanted to rush me toward him or run me as far from him as possible.
The puppy made the decision for me. Seeing another human, and thus another opportunity for pats and rubs, he threw his wiggling little body out of my arms before I could react. He hit the ground with a little yelp and then bolted right for Wheeler. I let out a gasp and took off after him thinking I could catch the end of the leash that was trailing behind him. I didn’t want him to run into the road or veer off into a yard where he didn’t belong. I was light-years away from being able to handle a confrontation with a hostile stranger that didn’t want the puppy in their space.
I didn’t need to worry because Wheeler pushed his long, lean frame off the polished side of the car and reached the scrambling animal within just a few strides. He crouched down as the puppy hurled himself into his arms and scooped the excited bundle up in one fluid motion. Then he was rising back up to his full height, which meant he was towering over me when I made my way over to where he was standing. I was embarrassed at how out of breath I was. I was supposed to be stronger than I was before, but I could hardly handle a little jog up the block or the way my heart raced at the sight of him.
I shook my head and put my hands on my hips as I looked up and into those arctic eyes. He was scratching the puppy under the chin and looking at me from under lashes that had the barest hint of red to them. “Why don’t you have a coat on?”
It wasn’t what I was expecting but his question reminded me that I was cold and that the lightweight hoodie that had the Saints of Denver logo on it wasn’t doing much to keep the bitter chill in the air off my skin. The shirt came from the tattoo shop where both Rowdy and Salem worked and was probably the most exciting garment I had in my closet. It was the only thing I owned that was bright and colorful. I rubbed my arms up and down and fired my own question right back at him.
“What are you doing here?”
The puppy barked like he was telling me not to be rude but I was unsettled by Wheeler’s unexpected appearance, and not the typical unsettled that I struggled with because he was a man that I didn’t know. It was the kind of unsettled that made parts of my body I forget could react to an attractive man feel warm and tingly. The kind of unsettled that had me involuntarily leaning closer to him as he started to shift so that he could pull his heavy jacket off one arm without letting go of the dog.
“I wanted to talk to you about the dog. Did you find someone to take him yet?” He shifted the puppy to his now bare arm as I watched the endless amounts of ink that covered his skin move and flex as he shook his other arm free of the coat.
“Uh…not really.” The truth was I hadn’t really put that much effort into finding someone because I didn’t want to let the puppy go. In just a few days I’d grown surprisingly attached even though I knew I wasn’t allowed to keep him in my apartment. I’d already asked since Dixie was allowed to keep Dolly, but the landlord informed they were grandfathered in before the laws surrounding pit bulls in Denver changed. My little guy wasn’t that lucky.
My response made Wheeler chuckle. He stared at me silently as he held out the coat he’d taken off in his free hand.
“Put this on.” I stared at him like he’d suddenly started speaking Russian until he shook the coat again and frowned at me. His voice was serious and left no room for argument when he repeated the command. “Put this on, Poppy.”