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The 'Burg #2

At Peace

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Violet Winters once had it all but lost it when her husband was murdered by a criminal madman. During a cold winter night Violet has to leave her warm bed to tell her neighbor to turn the music down. And that’s when she meets sinister, scarred, scarily attractive security specialist, Joe Callahan.

She wants to deny it, but Violet can’t beat back the hunger she feels for Joe so she gives in again and again. Feeling it himself, Joe feeds Vi’s hunger, breaking his own rules to keep her in his bed.

Even though Violet had only one man in her life, she’s sure Joe is giving her the signals and Vi decides she’s ready to take a second chance at life and, maybe, love. But Violet doesn’t know the dark secrets in Joe’s past, secrets so soul-wrenching, they’ve drained him dry. With nothing left to give, Joe’s determined to live his life alone and he breaks Violet’s heart.

Crushed by Joe’s betrayal, Violet comes to terms with the fact that, no matter what signals he gave, Joe was not theirs to win. But Violet’s husband’s murderer is obsessed with her and heartbreak again haunts the door of the Winters home. When it does Joe is forced to face the knowledge that he can’t fight Violet’s pull, she’s under his skin and filled him full to bursting.

Joe needs to win her back and put his life on the line to keep Violet safe. But, having had it all once, can Violet endure losing Joe?

660 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 2, 2011

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About the author

Kristen Ashley

136 books37.6k followers
Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn't taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,138 reviews
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,827 reviews29k followers
February 6, 2019
2/4/19: Felt like the time for another re-read!
5/29/16: I feel the need...the need for a Joe re-read...


And triangles.
And circles.
And squares.

Re-read: 9/6/15
Re-read: 5/31/15

God, I fucking love this book.

This is definitely one of my fave KA's and I think I have probably read this thing 15+ times.

Because JOE.




Nuff said.

*wipes drool*
Profile Image for Christy.
3,811 reviews32.4k followers
March 25, 2022
5 Stars!!!


Can Kristen Ashley write a bad book??? I think not. This may be my new favorite of hers. Couldn’t get enough of Joe and Violet! I fell in love with this story. An amazing read!


Violet has recently moved to ‘the burg’ with her two teenage daughters from Chicago. Her husband a cop, the man she was with since she was a teenager was murdered over a year ago, so now its just her and her girls. One night, she hears a lot of music coming from her neighbors house in the middle of the night. She doesn’t want it to wake her girls, so she goes to check it out. Thats when she meets her neighbor, Joe Callahan.


Joe makes quite an impression on Violet, and not necessarily in a good way. Joe, who goes by ‘Cal’, is in the security business. He travels a lot for work. Joe is a bad ass alpha male. He is tough and rugged on the outside, on the inside he is empty. He has a damaged past. He can be a jerk some of the book, but he is just so damn lovable.

Joe and Violet’s ‘relationship’ starts out as a ‘booty call’ as Vi calls it. She just can’t resist Joe. He doesn’t want to form a connection with her, he doesn’t do relationships, hasn’t for seventeen years, but there is something about Violet that is different. He knows it right away. Joe knows he is empty.
“Nothing can fill you up,” she stated.
“Nope,” he agreed again.
“You won’t let it.”
“Barrel’s got a hole in the bottom, buddy, everything leaks out no matter how much you pour in.”

Violet is given no choice in the matter. Joe pretty much dismisses her, and pretty harshly. You will think Joe is a giant asshole for a good part of the book, but he has his reasons. She tries to move on with the ‘nice cop’, but its hard. Eventually, Joe realizes he made a mistake. A HUGE mistake. He wants her and the girls back and he takes whats his.
“You’re mine, the girls are mine. I’m stakin’ my claim with you right now and, you force it, I’ll do it with him too.”

And one of my favorite parts of the book...
“You know that hole?”he asked.
“What?” she asked back.
“You were right. You and the girls plugged it.”

Once Joe and Vi were together... I just loved it. I couldn’t keep the smile off of my face! Those two together, two damaged people finding each other, it just makes my heart happy.


Things couldn’t be easy for these two, even after going through everything they went through, healing each other, loving each other. There was a ton of drama. The man who murdered Vi’s husband and is after Violet. He wants her and he won’t stop until he has her. He is a straight up creeper, but a powerful man from Chicago. He is the reason Vi had to move. You know in ‘the burg’ there is a lot of drama, stalkers, action etc. On a side note- It was great seeing Colt and Feb again too :D

Not only did I absolutley love Violet and Joe, Violet’s daughters were just so awesome. They were in the book a lot. Just loved them both. Especially Keira. She was a firecracker. Their relationship with their mom was great- Momalicious, and I loved how they interacted with Joe. That was one of my favorite parts of the book. How the girls and Joe were together, how they accepted each other and became a family.
Kiera was a magnet for trouble. Kate would rather die a thousand bloody, painful deaths than break a rule or get into trouble. Keira would make a deal with the devil for a pair of killer shoes and not even blink.

Joe and Violet were HOT together. They were sweet together. Both of thier stories and pasts were heartbreaking, but I loved how they were able to come together, heal one another. It was just beautiful.


Kristen Ashley: I will forever be a fan of yours, woman! I will read anything you write! This one was just great. Such a beautiful and fantastic book about love, friendship, healing and second chances. If you haven’t read this series yet, you are missing out!!! I give it 5 freaking spectacular stars!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE <3
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,163 followers
May 15, 2016
Just shoot me. This fucking book! I wanted to murder the main guy. He is an alpha asshole for the alpha asshole museum. And, the book was 1,400 pages on my e-reader. That's a long time to hate someone. I think my blood pressure took a hit during this reading. I need wine.

Okay, so we have Violet, a widow with two teenage daughters, and Joe, an asshole who lives next door. They have a not-so-nice meeting where Joe acts like a total jerk. Later, he comes up to her at the local bar while she's drunk and decides to take advantage of that fact. You know how you read these romances and the lead male character is all noble and shit and refuses to sleep with the drunk girl? Yeah, this guy isn't noble at all. Even when she says she's not on the pill, and he doesn't have condoms, he says, "Fuck it" and has sex with this drunk woman who can barely stand up anyway.

What a hero! How romantic! Isn't he awesome?

After a couple of nights of booty calls, he cuts her loose in the most humiliating way possible. After this happens, she avoids him - you know, like a normal human would do. And, she's pissed off - again, a human-like reaction. So, good old Joe calls her a bitch. Yup, he's that awesome. I know what you are thinking, girls, "Where can I find a great guy like this?" I'm thinking you can go to any prison or biker bar and find guys of this caliber.

This guy might be available. And, he's better than Joe.

So, Violet moves on and meets another guy, Mike. Mike is normal. He asks her on a date. He gives her time to see where her head is at. He treats her with decency and doesn't even cuss her out. What a loser!! So, of course she goes back to screwing Joe.

They've got a great situation worked out. Mike takes Violet out on nice dates and drops her off at home with a goodnight kiss, then she goes over to Joe's house and has sex with him. Joe is cool with this arrangement. He doesn't have to do the work, but gets the payoff. Violet is cool with this. She's obviously a low-class slut. Mike.... well, Mike doesn't actually know about this. What Mike doesn't know won't hurt him, right?

So, at this point I'm thinking Violet deserves Joe. They are both a couple of assholes.

Two for one special here!

Aside from the horrible horrible couple in this book, it was also just waaaay too long. It dragged on and on with angst and break-ups and fights and dramatic bullshit until I wanted to burn the world down just to get rid of this book. Seriously. I considered the Witness Protection Program to get out of this buddy-read.

But, my friends at BBB make the torture of these KA books worth it, so of course I will be ready for our next book. I'm such a masochist!
Profile Image for Mo.
1,351 reviews2 followers
August 4, 2016
This was a Buddy re-read with Alleskelle and Irene. This book is perfection. I used think Tate was my number one KA hero but Joe "Cal" Callahan has toppled him. There are tears, laughter, suspense, teenagers, dogs, drinks, food. It has it all. HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS.

Decided to do a re-read. Was it as good the second time around – even better…..

Sexy Joe Callahan …

He was a dick, Christ he was a dick, he should cut her loose. For the life of him, he just fucking couldn’t.

Loved the way poor Vi was calling herself a slut… You Go Girl!!

No more drink, no more sex. Ever. LOL, right Vi!


“Buddy, that’s life. You always work to balance the scales. You don’t wanna owe someone something, even it it’s only in your head that you owe ‘em and they don’t give a shit. It’ll fuck with you. So you give back to balance the scales.”

Vi, as Joe keeps telling you…

“We’re talkin hearts, here. You don’t play games with the hearts.”
“You’re wrong. Only games worth playin’ are games of the heart.”

Setting us up nicely for one further down the road … Poor Mike!

“Yeah, buddy.”
“I never said thank you.”
“Honey, for what?”
“For handin’ me the world.”
“Yeah, you did.”
“I did?”
“You do it all the time,” he said, “fuck, baby, you’re doin’ it now.”

God, I loved him, I more than loved him.

Profile Image for Stacey.
1,446 reviews1,156 followers
October 7, 2021
Still bloody brilliant.

One of my all-time favourite Kristen Ashley reads/listens. There are so many things that I feel I could hold against Joe but by the end, you can't help but love him. His relationship with Kate and Keira always makes me smile as he steps into their lives so effortlessly. Cradling them in his arms when they face heartbreak could make anyone's heart melt.

It's sexy, emotional and it's enthralling. I will be back again...soon...ish. :-)


Baking can be very, very emotional...

An Audio Review

How’s my form…baking cookies and cupcakes with tears pouring out of my eyes. Hubby walks past and doesn’t even ask if I’m OK? He just shakes his head and keeps on walking. I mean, I could have burnt myself, be recovering from a concussion after slipping in egg whites or sprained my wrist with all of the mixings with a hand mixer. I’ve been hinting to hubby I need a Kitchenaid stand mixer. I have this one recipe for coconut cookies that you have to beat for 5 minutes, my arms feel like they’re going to fall off by the end. Anyways… Noooo, he just walks on by. To be honest, he knows me too well. The bugger knows I get a wee bit emotional when I’m living in KA world.

So I’ve read At Peace a few times, absolutely love the highs and low of Joe and Vi’s journey. When the audio went on sale for $1.99 (that price is from Audible if you own the Amazon ebook already) I snapped that sucker up. I started hesitantly after some complaints that the narrator was quite monotone, but that wasn’t my complaint. I could hear swallowing…I hate that in real life let alone right in my ear. It wasn’t throughout the whole book but it did happen. So was it worth $1.99? Too bloody right :-)

Vi and her two daughters Kate and Keira, have moved to The Burg trying to get away from a madman who killed her police officer hubby. The mad man has the hots for Vi and wants her. Unfortunately, she didn’t get far enough away. He finds her and starts harassing her again. Lucky for Vi she moved in across from Alex (Burg police) and Feb Colton, and next door to security specialist Joe Callahan. The first time Joe and Vi meet isn’t ideal, but they feel an instant attraction to each other. Joe has issues and I mean serious ISSUES. This is the journey two people make to find happiness.

Unfortunately, the journey is fraught with barriers…mostly made by Joe. His issues date back 17 years and he still hasn’t gotten over them. What starts off as the two of them finding mutual satisfaction in each other's arms, becomes more for Vi. Vi’s husband was her first love and she doesn’t have a lot of experience, especially handling no strings attached sex. When Joe sees Vi getting attached to him, he does some very horrible things to make it clear that he’s not in the same headspace. There are more casualties, though…Joe started a friendship with Vi’s teenage daughters. One other issue, when Vi tries to move on, she starts a more “normal” relationship with Mike a detective in the Burg. It’s not great…and she does keep them both on the line…I can only blame her inexperience.

Not saying anymore…I’ve probably said too much already. But I wanted to make clear that even though Joe does some really douchey things…when he comes good he comes really, really good. That brings us to another point. This man is HOT!! I mean he takes her to market, he takes her at home, he cooks her beef on the barbie and makes sure Tina has none, And then Joe gives her O’s O’s O’s all the way home.

Profile Image for ~IreneOust~.
509 reviews784 followers
December 12, 2014

This was my umpteenth reread! My ultimate favorite read of Kristens!!

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I have a confession to make ... this is the most read book on my Kindle and my absolute KA favorite. This was the 9th time I read it (I KNOW, RIGHT?!?!?!) and I already want to read it again. Perhaps I have issues or maybe it's because

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Do I think Joe Callahan is the ultimate alpha created by Kristen?? Well ... DUH!

You know how we all have this one book that we find perfect for one reason or another. This is MY perfect book. It's always a sure cure for my book slumps!

What I love about this book is absolutely

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The story (I am sure you read the synopsis so I won't bother with it) is perfection! Even the one and only part that bothers me every time I read this book (where Mike tells Vi the story that isn't his to tell!) I have managed to come to terms with ... somewhat.

Now onto the best parts of the book ...

Joe Callahan ...*sigh*... what can I say other than

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I know many viewed him as asshole for the first 45% of the book due to some of his actions but I just don't see it. Sorry, ladies and gents! We all have reasons for doing things we do and I think Joe's were pretty valid ones. Was he not always honest/upfront about what he wanted?? Then what more do you want from a guy??

Then there is Violet a.k.a. Vi and/or "buddy" ...


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Usually I want to bitchslap a heroine at least once in most books I read. Vi managed to sail through the entire story without getting on my nerves even a little bit ... She is such a great character! A perfect combination of sweet/a little bit naive and strong/loyal. Reading about her with her girls was one of the sweetest things ever!

And speaking of the girls ...

Keira and Kate

 photo kateandkeiraatpeace_zps43918485.jpg

are probably the cutest teenage duo I've ever read about. The way they took to Joe and he to them ...

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Scratch my above statement about Vi with her girls being one of the sweetest things I've ever read about ... Joe with the girls was equally as sweet if not sweeter!

All in all, this is a great book that will make you laugh and it will make you cry. The story is one of the most heartwarming stories KA has ever written, IMO. I just love when a big, strong, ÜBER MACHO guy tries to fight (to no avail!) his feeling & then finally succumbs to those feelings only to become THE ultimate book boyfriend we all wish for IRL!

An absolute MUST for any KA fan and everyone else in between!

*** This is also a fantastic book for a BUDDY read ;) which I've done on numerous occasions with some of my favorite GR "buddies" (Kim and Jennifer being the two).
Profile Image for NMmomof4.
1,513 reviews3,759 followers
December 21, 2021
4 Stars (Originally read 4/16/2017)

4 Stars (Re-Read 2/11/2019)

4 Stars(2nd Re-Read 12/2/2019)

3.5 Stars (3rd Re-Read 10/12/2020)

Re-Read Update: This was an enjoyable re-read. I'm going to keep my rating the same. I did have some issues with the h leading on Mike while still emotionally attached to Joe, but I also understood what she was doing (and Mike knew what she was doing). There were some moments where I felt the length of the book. I never skimmed, but it felt long. I also felt like that ending was a total let down and not at all up to par for what I come to expect out of Kristen Ashley books.

2nd Re-Read Update:Nothing really to add here -- still bugged about Mike, still felt a little too long at times, and the ending still let me down...but! I like these characters and their story enough to keep my rating at 4 stars.

3rd Re-Read Update: Same issues as before, but seemed to lag a little bit more and didn’t quite pack the emotional punch as it previously had. Very well could be the fact that I’ve re-read this so many times, or it could be simply attributed to my book funk 🤷🏻‍♀️

Overall Opinion: This was cute! I'm not quite sure why, but I haven't been all that interested in this series -- but I'm glad I gave it a shot! I enjoyed both of the main characters, and I loved the H's interactions with the h's daughters (something KA always seems to get right IMO)! I also got that town/family feel that I love in KA books here. Both Joe and Violet's pasts broke my heart, but it just made me root for their happiness so much more! BUT -- I would've loved to see a farther glimpse into their HEA though! Yes. I am a greedy, greedy girl ;). It also dragged a little here and there to where I think some of the unimportant stuff could've easily been edited out. But, all in all -- I enjoyed it and it's going in my mental log of KA successes!

Brief Summary of the Storyline: This is Violet and Joe's story. Violet lost her policeman husband and she needed a new start with her two teenage daughters, so she moves to the 'Burg. She finally meets her new mystery neighbor one night, and they are instantly attracted to each other. They bump into each other a few more times, but then start a hot casual affair. Joe isn't one for relationships, so he continues to push Violet away even though he also keeps wanting her. They are connected when some tragic events come to Violet and her family, and Joe goes fully in with his pursuit of Violet. There are some sad and funny moments, some sexy times, some suspense...and they get a HEA.

POV: This alternated between Violet and Joe's POV.

Overall Pace of Story: Ok. As with most of KA's books, this was a little long. I actually felt it in this one too. I think it could've been edited down a bit to fully keep my interest. I never skimmed, but it did feel like it dragged in certain parts.

Instalove: No, they take a while to develop stronger feelings.

H rating: 4 stars. Joe. I liked him. I understood his damage and I felt for his loss, but I really wanted to shake him a few times!

h rating: 4 stars. Violet. I liked her. I did wish that she didn't fall under Joe's sexy spell as easily at times though ;)

Sadness level: Moderate. There is a few scenes that had me crying, but never ugly crying.

Push/Pull: Yes

Heat level: Hot. They have some hot tension, chemistry, and scenes -- but not so much it takes away from the story.

Descriptive sex: Yes

Safe sex: No

OW/OM drama: Yes

Sex scene with OW or OM: No

Cheating: Not technically, but kind of.

Separation: Yes

Possible Triggers: Yes

Closure: This had alright closure with a cute jump ahead epilogue and a HEA ending. I still would've liked a farther jump ahead epilogue....

How I got it: I got it in loan through my public library.

Safety: This one is probably either Safe with exception or Not Safe depending on personal preferences.
Profile Image for Arini.
772 reviews1,613 followers
January 14, 2023
🎧 2nd Read, Oct. 2021 — 2 Stars

Don’t ask. I was in the mood to torture myself with one of the worst KA books I’ve ever read. I should hate BOTH the H & h, but honestly it’s the h whom I couldn’t stand.

Do you not see the control this author has over me?!? For I’d never willingly subject myself to this purgatory if I didn’t hold her and her works in such a high regard.

🎧 1st Read, Dec. 2020 — 2.5 Stars

Tell me which one do you prefer . . . insta love or love triangle?

I’ve come to learn from this book that I’d rather deal with the former than the latter. This was a torture of the worst kind, and I freakin’ HATE this. It’s a first time for me and a KA book which sucks HUGE.

It’s not exactly a love triangle since it’s never a mystery who the h is going to end up with. But it’s certainly an ENTANGLEMENT of a situation between the h, the H, and the OM. I disliked this for multitude other reasons too.


↠ Kate and Kiera;
↠ Joe, Violet, and the girls spending time together;
↠ Them having quality time with their respective families and relatives;
↠ The stalker side story;
↠ Joe’s association with the mob;
↠ Benny and Frankie, I’m intrigued!;
↠ The action and big showdown at the end.


Violet (h)

“I figure you know, I think you’re an asshole. I don’t only not like you, I hate you. I hate how you played me. I hate that I was so fucking stupid, I let myself get played. I hate that you know about this because I hate that you know anything about me. And I hate that I have to accept help from you.”

There’s NOTHING I liked about Violet. Not the fact that she was spineless and fickle. Not the fact that she didn’t know how to freakin’ SPEAK despite having the ability to do so, which was just FRUSTRATING most of all. She uh-ed and umm-ed her way into everything, let other people (Joe mainly) talk OVER her and decide things for her.

There were so many times I wanted her to talk back and RETALIATE or just give me a good cat fight goddamnit! People think the world of her, but to me she’s anything but. I’m even bewildered she managed to raise two teenage girls. She was a decent mom, but weak (IMO) nonetheless. Seriously, I’ve never disliked a KA heroine this much.

Joe (H)

“So, don’t matter tomorrow morning you still think I’m a dick, ‘cause now, even though you’re drunk, I’m gonna take you inside and fuck you ‘til you ache.”

Joe was an unapologetic asshole. Almost like a anti-hero. I adored how he was with Violet’s kids. Aside from that, he was a greedy man ho who did and take what he wanted but not in a way that made me weak in the knees. I pretty much wanted to throat punch and crotch kick him for half of the book. After he and Violet became the real deal, he was less insufferable.

I said, I loved Joe with the girls, but it was also incredibly convenient that they warmed up to him real fast considering they just lost their beloved dad or the fact that Joe was welcomed and accepted by Vi’s parents in law for that matter. Not that he cared what people think. I’d expect that the girls at least held a bit of animosity towards him.


The romance was a big fat NO. I’ve never been in Vi’s position, so it’s easy to judge. Maybe her conflicted feelings were genuine, but I couldn’t relate. In any case, I didn’t like the fact that Joe/Vi had a “booty call with special treatment” arrangement while she was juggling another guy (Mike) like he was her back up plan.

“I closed my eyes, sucked in breath and felt like a slut.
This was mainly because I was acting like one.”

Vi had been a widow for one and a half year before opening herself to any of the guys. Her relationship with her late husband was one that honestly kinda vague and I couldn’t fully grasp. Said she loved him, but this book wasn’t about her grieving and here she was moving on. Not that it wasn’t allowed, it just wasn’t believable.

Joe, on the other hand, had something in his past that made him scared shitless of commitment. He said something along the lines “you can go on a date with him (Mike), but you come back to ME when you’re done,” which was just unacceptable except for the fact that Vi went along with it because . . . she couldn’t HELP herself. What a cliché!

Maybe there’s a strength in letting yourself be vulnerable and hurt by the people you care about, but all I see is . . . pathetic! Also, how romantic it is that Joe called Vi with buddy. 🙄 Honestly, there wasn’t much of anything standing in their way since pretty much everyone encouraged them to be together. They were the ones who made things complicated.

“Cause, when you talk about Mike, you look like a woman who’s talkin’ about a guy she likes. You talk about Cal, you look like a woman who’s talkin’ about the man she needs to breathe.”

As for Mike, he was the Stefan to Joe/Violet’s Damon & Elena (The Vampire Diaries). He didn’t deserve to be put in the middle of this mess; regardless of the fact that he asked for it and was okay with the consequences. Also, it was just weird to witness this part of his love life cause I’ve read his book (the 4th in the series) and am TOTALLY over the moon that he ended up with Dusty.


The female narrator was different from the one who did KA other series. She did okay, but I liked her less because she paused longer than I could bear, and I could actually hear everytime she took a breath or the slapping sound of her mouth (??). It was EW, YUCK. I have a pet peeve with people who chew loudly. This gave sort of similar sensation.

She also didn’t have a variety of voice sounds or styles (??). Her male and female voices just kinda blend in. So, with the audiobook not helping the situation, I ended up alternating between listening and reading conventionally. I wanted so many times to DNF, but I mostly skipped the long ass inner monologues and over descriptive paragraphs.

“Be pissed at me ‘cause I fucked you over. That’s cool, you got a right, I fucked you over and it was a shit thing to do.”

THAT is a fitting quote to close this rant. There’s nothing wrong with this book if it fits your preferences. It’s a long ass book to spend hating and fuming, so by the time I finished I was just done and ready to set it on fire.
Profile Image for Stacia (the 2010 club).
1,045 reviews3,955 followers
October 30, 2012
Dear Goodreads Friends,

I'm sorry to have to go against the trend here, but I can't seem to wrap my mind around a 1,000 plus page contemporary romance book. Someone please come let me know if Ms. Ashley ever decides to write one in about half of the space and I might be willing to check it out. Thanks.

Your Exasperated Friend,

I do think there was a good story buried among the rubble of excess character description, shopping scenes, and the home and garden report. However, my patience isn't up for reading page after page of gossip about who is who at the BBQ, what Mike's house looks like on the inside, and how much care and attention Vi put into her backyard. When a 'random' scene having nothing to do with the actual story drags on for pages, my eyes start to glaze over.

This is contemporary romance (w/a side of suspense) - not the type of story which requires a lengthy word count, such as a high fantasy or historical fiction might in some instances.

What I did like about this story :

~ The Characters. I didn't struggle with Joe or Vi the way that some other people did. I didn't care that Vi hooked up with more than one man (guys do it all the time, after all...turnabout is fair play). The daughters were cute and fun to read about, although somewhat unrealistic sounding. I'm around teens constantly, and none of them sound like these girls.

~ The Chemistry. Joe and Vi had great chemistry and the sex was enjoyable to read. Almost all of the scenes involving Joe and Vi or Joe with the family were worth reading.

I am always a sucker for men who want to own their women in the bedroom : He ground his cock in deep and demanded, "Who do you belong to?"

~ The "scales" storyline. All of the dialogue involving the scales and weights was endearing and heartwarming.

What I didn't like about this story :

~ Mike's part in all of this. I have seen this pattern before with KA books. One of the heroes falls for the leading lady and she rejects him, so he gets a chance for his own book later. Eh...I find this method unnecessary. There are other ways to introduce a future character. Let him be the lonely neighbor who is closed off to the world, so we're all curious to know more about who he is.

~ Editing issues. This is nothing new. FFS, passed and past do not mean the same thing.

~ As mentioned before - it was too long. I would also mention that there are too many characters. If we're introducing characters for future books, then it's probably better that we meet one or two at a time in each book, not 10 (or so) of them in one book.

~ The obligatory love/drug reference. As if I'd miss this in any book. Shit, he was like a drug and I realized I'd been jonesing for him all day.

~ The obligatory nicknames. Does every single book need to have nicknames? Is this a trademark? If so, can we get something other than BUDDY?!? Really...BUDDY?!? If some guy called me that, I'd hurt him. This ties with Daddy for being on the list of worst nicknames ever.

~ Other than the Italian family, everyone sounded the same. Again, another recurring issue with KA books. In real life, not all men sound the same, not even if they're all alpha. So why does every man (and even an occasional woman) in these books (from various ethnic/cultural backgrounds and locations) sound like they all grew up in the same 2 block radius?

Case in Point :

Joe - "I'm not leavin' for two weeks not gettin' my fill of you."

"Buddy, you want me fuckin' you with your girls in the house then you stay home. You don't, I hear your feet on the steps of my deck."

"Split you in two, I fuck you harder."

Mike - "You're comin' to my house. I'm makin' you dinner."

Sam - "I'd hate to see you sittin' there, glarin' at me while I'm eatin' it. Shit's fuckin' ambrosia."

Tina - "Know you walked out Cal's backdoor wearin' his shirt. Know you're stringing' along a good man like Mike. Know that's fucked."

This author has the ability to deliver on great characters and story, if only she'd mix it up more with each book. I'd love to see some beta males, or at least an alpha who isn't the same controlling (yet lovable) jackass. If she could figure out how to make each book stand alone as something completely unique from the last book and work on possibly condensing and editing, then I really do think we might be looking at something great. I'm hoping that someday I'll find the KA book which truly works for me. I'd love to be able to give one of her books a rating higher than 3 stars because I see what could be. We're just not there yet.

I had officially decided to take a break from KA books after Motorcycle Man, but this was a buddy read that I was talked into by a good friend who I simply couldn't say no to. I'm not sorry that I read the book because I did enjoy it in parts, even with my complaints. However, this will be my "official" time now to break from this author for a good, long while. You might see me read another KA book someday, when my memory is at least slightly fuzzy from my last read, so I'm not comparing details too closely in my head.

Profile Image for UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish.
1,166 reviews1,597 followers
November 22, 2015

Awesome!!!! Kindle Price Drop!

Gearing up for Frankie and Benny's story!

The first 4 books in the series are only $1.99 for a limited time!

#1 - For You - http://www.amazon.com/For-You-Burg-Se...

#2 - At Peace - http://www.amazon.com/Peace-The-Burg-...

#3 - The Golden Trail - http://www.amazon.com/Golden-Trail-Bu...

#4 - Games of the Heart - http://www.amazon.com/Golden-Trail-Bu...


At Peace has become one of my very favorite Kristen Ashley books, and Joe Callahan has become my favorite, most over the top, nigh unto Neanderthal, über alpha heroes ever. Mitch Lawson still holds the #1 spot for favorite, most realistic, über alpha hero from Kristen Ashley’s books, but yeah… Cal is everything I love in a tormented hero and there’s no question in my mind that if I could choose a hero to bring home and love all better, it’d be Joe.

From the first page to the last, At Peace brings so much heartache, so much family drama, and yet, so much hope, humor, passion, love and devotion… I can’t remember how many times I was in tears, but it was often. Vi and her daughters, Kate and Keira, are awesome, and then with Sam, Mel, Bea, Gary, Pete, Vinnie, Theresa… we got an incredible supporting cast who I loved getting to know, as well as revisiting with many of the folk from For You . And Tim… wow… even in death he had a powerful presence and I loved getting to know him, and mourned him as though he’d been right there all along. But then again, in ways he was.

The bottom line – Time and time again, Kristen Ashley has given me stories I can immerse myself in, characters I can believe in, and she has given me hours and hours of absolute reading pleasure. As with most of her books, the page count is huge, and yet, never enough.

If you're a Kristen Ashley addict, or just interested in checking her books, be sure to stop by our Kristen Ashley Addict's Support Group here on Goodreads!

Profile Image for Auntee.
1,280 reviews1,380 followers
September 30, 2016
Joe Callahan, also known as "Cal", minus the scars that mar his gorgeous face....

So I'm sitting here, stalling, wondering how to convey my thoughts about this one. So many people have raved about this author, and finally, after a few not-so-gentle nudges, I decided to give KA a try. And oh boy, I've boarded the KA train, and I'm afraid I don't want to get off! I haven't picked up another book since I've finished this one days ago. I just can't get over security expert Joe and his next-door-neighbor Violet (okay, who am I kidding, it's Joe that I can't get over!) But how to explain how this story totally captivated me? It wasn't a flawless book by any means. And by that I'm not only talking about some weirdly structured sentences, a few grammatical mistakes, and a couple of slow passages that could've used some editing-- I'm talking about the main characters. Joe/Cal, 39, was not your perfect romance hero--he was a dominant alpha male, rude, crude, not much of a talker or communicator, (except when he wanted sex), and at times I was very ticked off with the way he treated Vi (or "Buddy" as he liked to call her) and I thought he didn't treat women (or think of them) with a whole lot of respect. I understood that his years spent But something about the way he took control of Vi, like he couldn't get enough of her and became out of control...boy that was hot. So yeah, the fact that he wasn't perfect made him a much more interesting character and really worked for me!

"And then there were his eyes. Sky blue eyes. Sky. F***ing. Blue."

Now the beautiful 35-year-old widow Vi, I liked for the most part. I liked that she was a hard worker, was able to overcome the terrible tragedy in her life, took care of her two teenage daughters, Kate and Keira (who were nicely drawn characters), and I enjoyed the inner dialogue she had with herself (especially regarding her feelings about Joe). I liked how she handled her relationship with Joe (most of the time). The one thing that I didn't like was how she treated Mike (the man who was also vying for her affections). I didn't like how she

The best part of the book? The smokin', and I mean SMOKIN' hot physical relationship between Joe and Vi. Joe was one big badass, an intense, physical lover, who kept Vi coming back for more (even when she knew she shouldn't!) Wow, Joe...just...wow. Mmmmmm....

Joe's classic Mustang starred in one memorable scene...

"You kiss me before you leave my house."

"So, don't matter tomorrow morning you still think I'm a d***, 'cause now, even though you're drunk, I'm gonna take you inside and f*** you 'til you ache."

While the physical stuff was toe-curling and all, the emotional aspects of the Joe/Vi relationship is what really sold me, and had me reluctant to put my e-reader down. Joe and Vi's relationship was filled with ups and downs, break-ups and intensely passionate makeups. Joe thought he had nothing left to give a woman besides sex, and when Vi realized that he may be right and she was tired of expecting more from him, she had a terrific scene where she laid it on the line for him...

I absolutely loved this scene, and Joe's reaction. But boy did it make me sad.

My other favorite emotional scene, one in which a beloved character is tragically killed, and Joe is there for Vi and her daughters...

He was warm and strong and solid and big enough to surround us with all of that and we all needed it, we needed something to hold onto.
He could go away later.
And anyway, he would.

Well I could go on and on, giving up plenty of scenes that touched me emotionally. But I'm not going to do that. I'm just going to suggest that anyone who enjoys a tortured hero, a bad boy, a bad a**, a dominant lover who takes what he wants and then wants some more, a guy who takes no s*** from anyone, be they male or female...a guy who protects what's his and you'd better not mess with what's his...if you like a hero like that, then Joe Callahan is for you. And when Joe finally lets himself have what he fights against for most of the book, when he finally is "at peace", you're going to love the man that he becomes, the man that was buried deep for 17 years.

Joe, finally at peace and a much better, happy man...

If you haven't given this author a try yet, do yourself a favor and pick something from her extensive catalogue. Even though this is the second book of this particular series, it can be read as a stand alone (if you don't mind a few spoilers). I am so grateful to all my Goodreads friends for their reviews and suggestions...and once again I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to react to their suggestion! If you're looking for a book that will grab you emotionally, make you squirm and blush with the sheer audacity of some of Joe's actions and declarations, and have you rooting hard for the heroine to have another shot of happiness in her life, then this is the book for you. I think that now that I've gotten all that out of my system, I'm ready to move on to another Kristen Ashley book. My only concern is....how's she going to top At Peace? 5 stars
Profile Image for Amy | Foxy Blogs.
1,408 reviews970 followers
March 25, 2022
Re-read on 3/25/2022.
Listening Length: 23 hours 10 minutes.
Hard to believe it's been 7 years since I read this book. If I was to rate it this time I'd give it 4 to 4.5 stars.


I've been on a Kristen Ashley audio binge lately. This audio was 23 hours long. I figured it would take me a month to finish but instead it took a week and half. I really enjoyed listening to this one but there were some minor things that the narrator did that took some time getting use to... such as her swallowing noise. At the beginning when she'd do it would distract me from the story.

I'm Team Joe now! He makes a great KA alpha male. Vi, on the hand, drove me nuts for a portion of this book with her stringing along two guys. I'm glad to know the other guy has his own book later in this series..

Overall, I'm glad I got to meet Joe Callahan. ♥

For You (The 'Burg, #1) by Kristen Ashley At Peace (The 'Burg, #2) by Kristen Ashley Golden Trail (The 'Burg, #3) by Kristen Ashley Games of the Heart (The 'Burg, #4) by Kristen Ashley The Promise (The 'Burg, #5) by Kristen Ashley Hold On (The 'Burg, #6) by Kristen Ashley

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Profile Image for Aestas Book Blog.
1,059 reviews74.8k followers
January 28, 2014

**SQUEEEEE** O.M.G what a SENSATIONAL book!!! My heart is filled to bursting here. Love love LOVE!!

This is a gorgeous book about a second chance at love, life, family and healing. Kristen Ashley never ceases to amaze me with utter brilliance of her books. Just one winner after another!! Damaged Alpha male hero, strong heroine, beautiful story... whats not to love??

"You're mine, the girls are mine. I'm stakin' my claim with you right now..."

"You're unbelievable," I snapped.

"I'm yours."

That socked me in the gut... Taking advantage, his face dipped close and his hands curled around both sides of by head.

"First fuckin' time you smiled at me in my bed, that's when it happened," he murmered."

After her cop husband's brutal muder a year ago, Violet moved to the Burg with her two teenage daughters. One night, at 3:33am, she's tossing and turning in bed, unable to sleep because someone is blaring music. In a huff, she stomps out to figure out where its coming from and give whoever was playing it a piece of her mind when she meets Joe Callahan. He's big, tall, rugged, striking, scarred, gorgeous, blunt, badass, and Alpha-out-the wazoo! But he kind of acts like a bit of a jerk (though not in a way that'll make you hate him) and needless to say, despite her intense attraction to him, Violet pretty much dislikes him... though, not for long :P

"Who's the big guy next door?"...

"Joe Callahan."

"Good neighbour to have."...


"Looks like he could crush a rock with his fist."


It was really heart breaking because you felt how strongly Vi missed her husband. Hell, after a few paragraphs, I missed him. He sounded like such a perfect KA man - gorgeous, caring, protective. And she's struggling and trying to start a new life - working as hard as she can to keep her and the girls afloat in the aftermath of such a senseless tragedy.

Joe's work takes him away a lot, but every time he's back, Vi and him have some sort of interaction. And so begins their on-and-off-ish, swoony-to-us yet perhaps frustrating-at-first-to-Vi relationship.

"You already think I'm a dick."

I felt my heart beat faster and I whispered. "Joe-"

Joe cut me off. "So don't matter tomorrow morning you still think I'm a dick, 'cause now, even though you're drunk, I'm gonna take you inside and fuck you 'till you ache."

Seriously though, every time they met, even from their slightly rough start, I was grinning like an idiot and squeeing right out loud (often quite loudly).

"And I was in that truck with Joe Callahan. Joe Callahan who was scary and thrilling all in himself. He was more man than I'd ever know and I spent most of my adult life around cops. His maleness filled the cab, dangerous, assertive, assaulting my senses."

And they come together (hmm, meant literally and figuratively *winks*) FAST!!! This book differs from most KA books (except perhaps Mystery Man) in that the hero/heroine sleep together (or, I should say, have wild, rough, hard, passionate, crazy hot, sexy-as-hell, sex) very close to the start of the book. In this story, the sex (or, honestly I should say f*cking lol) happens first, and the relationship develops second. What they have is explosive, undeniable, and freaking H.O.T... and it doesn't stop... very soon she's spending every night in his bed.

But Cal has gone through something tragic in his past that makes him unable to establish a permanent emotional connection and give himself fully over to any relationship even if its what his heart wants and as soon as his feelings for her grow too strong, he breaks both their hearts by leaving and breaking off the relationship.

But when Vi's husband's murderer comes back on the radar with his creepy-stalker-eye set on Vi, that isn't something he can just stand by and do nothing about, so its up to him to do what he can to protect her and the girls, even though he has his work cut out for him to make her trust him again.

And so begins the beautiful craziness of this book - with a seriously SWOONY romance, crazy drunk ex's, crazy creepy murderer/stalkers, the crazy fun of 2 teenage daughters, the craziness of amazing neighbors and family... and as Vi learns to love again, and as Joe learns to trust again, they both learn to find healing, comfort, love and security in each other ... and an absolutely perfect happy ending :) *melt* *squee* *swoon*

Joe. Freaking. Callahan. *swoon* has definitely made my absolute top list of guys... lol, especially after he worked his issues out. It was so sweet and heart warming watching him struggle with his emotions, wanting more, but not trusting, trying to do right by Vi and her girls, trying to protect their family. He might be rough around the edges, but he sure-as-hell could be ridiculously sweet and thoughtful. He just had a lot of walls up, guarding himself against future hurt that might mirror a past he's spent 17 years trying to forget. And when his back story finally comes out, you get it. Its horrible, tragic, and made me cry. It totally explained his behavior, his attitude and his reluctance to get fully into a relationship.

And since their relationship wasn't clearly defined for a while, there is a bit of a love triangle thing going on for part of the story, but its always clear who ends up with who especially since the other guy is the hero of book 4 of this series :P ... but can I just say, that judging by his swooniness, book #4 is gonna ROCK!

Joe was just so damaged and totally Alpha, the perfect tortured badass bad boy. And once he figured all his stuff out and finally accepted that he couldn't ignore or deny what he and Vi had, he went all-out possessive claimy Alpha and stopped at nothing to prove his intentions, his love and his dedication to both her and her girls. Dear Lord, its hard for one heart to handle that much swoon!! *dreamy sigh*

"Joe burst out laughing and I froze, listening to the richness of it. I wasnt even certain he could laugh. He was my hot-as-shit, bad boy, player, next door, security to the stars booty call. He was a serious, scary, rugged, sinister, alpha male. Men like that didn't laugh."

If you want a book with steam, this is it. Its is SMOKING HOT!!! The steamy fan-yourself hotness starts at about 8% of the book and pretty much never lets up, in fact it pretty much just builds as the emotional factor increases as the story progresses.

I have to say, the only thing I didn't really like was how he called her 'buddy' - that's just a little weird and not exactly hot to me. But hey, if that's my only possibly complaint about the book (and it is), I can definitely live with it.

This book really sneaks up on you. There were twists that had me rocking back and forth crying, some utterly beautiful scenes, epic badass moments... Loss. Healing. Betrayal. Trust. Family. Friendship. Loyalty. Bonding. Love.

Seriously. KA is a genius. The depth to which she just "gets" deep connections between friends, family, lovers, is just sensational. You can't help but feel totally connected to them, be totally sympathetic to them, and you end up knowing them so well and feeling for them so strongly that its hard to believe they are not real. She has a magical way with words. Speaks straight to your heart.

I thought it was so beautiful how Joe never tried to replace Tim (Vi's husband) either with Vi or the girls. He was something different. He was special. He loved them for who they were, not for who he wanted them to be to him. He really was Superman <3

Joe and Vi had have their share of hotness and swoon, but they also had their share of of heartache, of mistakes, and of misunderstandings. Watching them work together to learn to trust each other and develop a functional relationship just melted my heart.

"I'm gonna piss you off, honey, probably enough for you to want to leave. I've got a temper and so do you, we're gonna clash.... But... we've both learned, this, what we have it's worth getting over it.... I won't give up on you, Joe, I promise. I just need you to promise the same thing."

This book really makes you FEEL!!! I had lots of misty eyes and several tears. Not just from a sad event, often just because the level of emotional I was feeling for a scene was just so strong, it overflowed.

Also, I loved how Colt and Feb (the hero/heroine of book #1: For You) were integrated into this story. They live on the same street as Joe & Vi and we see them a lot. I love when an author doesn't forget about the beloved characters from previous books. Its so wonderful to see the development of their happily-ever-after, even if its from the outside.

And Oh. My. God, the ending is intense!! It starts building slightly sooner than the classic KA 90% mark and your heart just goes right in your throat. Its absolutely epic - filled with cops, mafia, stalkers, murders, kidnappings, plenty of badass... just totally epic, emotional and thrilling!!
*mega grin/squee*

"Semper fuckin' fi."

LOVE LOVE LOVE this book!! If you haven't read it yet, GO GO GO!!!!! Get book 1 and join the swoon-fest. You won't regret it!

Rating: 5+++ STARS

See above for my casting choices :)


And lastly, this is ONLY for those of you who have already read the book cuz it'll either not make sense or spoil something for you if you haven't, but can I just say how much I LOVED this quote:


For more of my reviews, book news and updates:
Main blog: Aestas Book Blog
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Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,258 reviews8,703 followers
October 10, 2021
When I was in college, I dated this guy who was . . . he really wanted to be a hardcore, badass kind of guy . . . but mostly he was just an ass.

He was my first serious boyfriend, and over the course of our relationship he got three tattoos. The first one was of the Chinese characters for . . . wait for it . . . "iron man." And trust me people, he was a big dude (6'4''), but "iron man" he was NOT. The second one was of a phoenix. In FLAMES. It was on the top of his arm with a rune that the guy at the tattoo place swore meant "unquenchable fire," but I'd never heard of that rune before or since, so I'm still skeptical, and then . . . the last one he got was of more Chinese characters . . . and this one (allegedly) meant . . . "unquestionable authority."

Like I said . . . an ASS.

And as hilarious as it is that there does indeed exist in this world a man with ALL THREE of those tattoos, that's not why I'm relating the shame of boyfriends-past. NOPE, I'm telling you this b/c I'm pretty sure ASS wanted to be Joe Callahan.

And maybe if he was, it would have worked out.

Scratch that, if he was Joe Callahan it would have definitely worked out.

"Who is Joe Callahan?" you ask, and I'll tell you: Joe Callahan is the only KA Alpha who (IMO) can give Luke Stark a run for his money (and not just b/c he doesn't have that godawful Luke-stache).

At Peace is a VERY different kind of story than the first book in The 'Burg series, For You. It's still romantic suspense, and it's still dark and gritty, but this one not only has two precious teenage girls (who, depending on which one you get, call their mother either "Momalicious" or "Mawdy") to help lighten the overall mood, but the dark and gritty is tragic and personal rather than the relatively impersonal picking-off of February's ex-boyfriends.

Admittedly, it probably felt personal to Feb, but to us? Not really. We didn't know any of those guys.

But Violet . . . we know Violet. And we know Kate and Keira, her girls, so even if we don't know Tim (Violet's husband, and father of Kate and Keira), the fact that he was a cop who was killed by a mobster in Chicago . . . it feels more personal.

ESPECIALLY when the mobster who had Violet's husband killed has taken a shine to her (which is why she moved to the 'burg in the first place--to get her girls away from the creepy, stalker mob boss).

Guess how well that worked?

I'll give you a hint . . . not very. 'Cause this is KA y'all, and what kind of story would it be if moving away solved all of Vi's problems? Here's another hint: not much of one.

And who does Violet happen to move next door to in the the 'burg? Hmm??

Joe Callahan, that's who.

And after they meet it's all hearts and flowers, right?
Yeah, no.

But it gets there . . . eventually . . .

This is one of my all-time favorite KA books, and that's really saying something b/c KA<-----I love her. Something about the combination of Violet and her girls and Joe . . . it's just . . . warm fuzzies, head to toe. Joe's this big, gruff guy who has NOT had an easy life, and it's made him hard. But these girls . . . turn him to GOO. And BONUS: no stupid tattoos. This really is a fantastic story, and about as likely to happen as any KA book (which is to say unlikely), but it is the kind of modern day fairy tale that KA is so well-loved for. And guys, this entire series is still on sale for $0.99 each on Amazon, so get these suckers. If you already have them, get them for your sister (I did), or your best friend--It's what needs to happen.
Profile Image for Kristen.
832 reviews4,733 followers
March 16, 2012
4 1/2 to 5 stars

WOW! I loved this book! 

I will admit to not fully enjoying the first half of the story because the hero was a complete and utter jerk, but the second half more than made up for it and shined brilliantly. At Peace made me laugh. It made me cry. It made me happy. It made me sad. It made me giddy. It also made me irate at times. However, At Peace is packed with so much heart and soul it's impossible not to get caught up in all its splendor.

I was captivated and enthralled by the meaningful and awe-inspiring relationship that developed between Joe Callahan and Violet Winters and her daughters, Kate and Keira. Joe needed them as much as they need him, and their relationship left an indelible impression on me.

I am grateful I read reviews before starting this book. I knew what to expect, how the love triangle would play out, and how cruel the hero would be during the first half of the story. Had I not been prepared, my enjoyment of this book undoubtedly would have suffered, which would have been a shame considering the fact this book is simply wonderful. 

The only reason I dropped the rating a half star is because of the climax chapter near the end. It just didn't fit with the overall tone of the book. It had a heavy "cops and robbers" feel that didn't resonate with the rest of the story. This book is about family, healing, redemption, and love; and, frankly, the "cops and robbers" chapter did nothing to enhance the overall story. It only diminished it. Luckily, the epilogue brought everything back on track, giving me that heartwarming feeling that only Kristen Ashley can give.  

If you're already a Kristen Ashley addict, or interested in checking out her books, be sure to stop by our Kristen Ashley Addict's Support Group here on Goodreads!
Profile Image for Duchess Nicole.
1,258 reviews1,527 followers
August 19, 2013
”You two come with so much baggage, it's a wonder you don't get crushed. And that's the thing, neither of you did. And you found each other. It's time to unload that burden and find some joy.”

I rarely gush and swoon and giggle and lose my ever loving mind for a book. I should have known Kristen Ashley would bring out my inner teenage girl. Joe Callahan and Violet, even Mike and Vi's daughters Kate and Kiera...they all stole my heart. Their story made my emotions run a crazy obstacle course before setting in on “ADORE”.

Violet Winters moved to the 'Burg after the death of her husband. She and her two teenager daughters are doing the best they can to move on with their lives. Her husband, Tim, was a wonderful father and partner, and if they don't have him, at least they have wonderful memories.

One night, the house next door is suddenly blaring music for hours on end. Since the house has been empty for months, Violet tries to give her neighbor a pass. But after hours of losing sleep, a fuming Vi finally storms over to Joe Callahan's house, livid and fed up. This initial meeting between Joe and Vi is a great precursor for how the next few months go...it's volatile, it's scary, it's passionate, it's confusing as hell...but boy, does it get their blood flowing.

Joe Callahan is a security specialist for the stars. He may live in the Burg, but he's rarely home. A chance 3 a.m. meeting with his cute and sexy neighbor leaves him titillated and interested. But Joe doesn't DO relationships. Like, ever. Not since the tragedy of his younger years. Joe is the very definition of a loner, and he has no place for a woman, especially one with two beautiful, wonderfully quirky daughters, one who lights him up with a smile, and one who wants, expects, and deserves more than he is able to give.

But when Violet's secrets come out and she is put in danger, Joe's protective instincts come out. And he realizes that somehow, these three women have squirmed their way into his heart, where no one else has been for seventeen years. And once Joe lays down a claim, I can't imagine anyone who would get in the way.

This book has lots of fun Kristen Ashley type inclusions such as:
An awesome group of zany, wacky, distinctly loyal girlfriends
Some competition for our heroine's affections...with a hottie who gets a future book
A scary dude who forces the hero to go into protective commando mode
Endearing secondary characters who give our heroine a platform to show her awesomeness
Super duper alpha male that you might want to castrate a few times throughout the story, but you'll be really glad you didn't

Hahahahahha!!! My thoughts...get ready for a gushfest. It's almost ridiculous how much I loved this book. I had heard, being a big KA fan, of Joe Callahan, for quite awhile, by so many friends....but I've saved and savored her books like fine chocolate...little bits at a time. Partly because I can only take so much of her uber alpha, overbearingly bossy men, and partly because I'm attempting to prolong the end of her long list of amazing stories.

Joe Callahan.

He is, without a doubt, one of the hardest of KA males to read about. Because for quite some time, he's a big fat jerk. No matter how hot and amazing he is, he does some really mean stuff to a woman that is extremely undeserving. However, he more than makes up for it, and you come to realize that Joe is in an even darker place than Vi is...he just hides it better. Joe's story is practically Burg lore, though, so Violet gets to know him more from the town gossip tree than she ever gets from him. Joe is secretive, a loner, and brusque to the point of rudeness. But he wants Violet. He wants her bad. Only, Violet doesn't like being played.

”...if you're willing to help, I should take it. But I'm gonna tell you even though I figure you know, I think you're an asshole. I don't only not like you, I hate you. I hate how you played me. I hate that I was so fucking stupid, I let myself get played. I hate that you know about this because I hate that you know anything about me. And I hate that I have to accept help from you.” After she dealt her lethal succession of blows, she finished with, “But I'll do it...for my girls.”

Poor, poor Violet. She's been so beaten down by life. Hard knock after hard knock should have left more than a mark on her heart...shouldn't someone with a story like this end up sad and broken? Not this chick! Vi still sees beauty in life, she has joy in her girls, she likes her job, and she's building a new life for herself and her daughters. There is a realism to Vi that makes me want to be her friend, and her life, full of money worries and teenage angst, jumps out at me from these pages. This story is full of REAL people, REAL life. Sexy neighbor Joe, no matter how big an ass, is also bringing out her sexuality again. And when Joe screws her...and decides to screw her over, she moves on to Mike, a town cop who is exactly the type of man that she should want. Mike and Joe begin to vie for her attention, and the sexy factor goes up a couple of notches.

”She's sweet, she can be funny when she forgets to be sad. She's good to her girls, a great Mom and fuckin' gorgeous.”

One thing that I love about KA heroes is that they always see the value in a good woman. They always have a deeply hidden romantic nature that is not apparent at first. And when they finally accept that a woman is theirs, there is nothing that gets in their way...not even her! Call it stalking, call it an unhealthy obsession, these boys don't take no for an answer! And than goodness for that!!

So Joe is a broken man, but Vi brings out the happy Joe, and when this man gets romantic...SWOON!!!

”Love it when you say my name, baby...The way you say 'Joe', every man would wish that was their name.”

Not to mention the way that Joe is with Vi's daughters. I'm SUCH a sucker for a man who is good to kids. Joe come across as a natural father, and it's heart melting. These girls are dying for some stability, and Joe gives that to them...eventually. He also has to do a lot of questionable things to keep his girls safe, but it's all in the name of love.

”Happy family and about fucking time.”

To sum it all up: Joe screws up more than any other KA alpha that I've read to date. This is probably not a good book to go into without prior knowledge of what it means to be a KA man. However, everyone makes mistakes, especially those of us with demons in our pasts. Joe...yeah, he makes a lot of mistakes. So does Violet. But this isn't just a romance. It's a story. It's not pretty. In fact, there are times that it's ugly. But in all, it's actually quite beautiful, because when it's all said and done...this Burg is going to have some happy, healthy couples.
Profile Image for Flo.
286 reviews593 followers
August 16, 2015
5 give me more of that Joe STARS

“You’re mine, the girls are mine. I’m stakin’ my claim with you right now and, you force it, I’ll do it with him too.”

I'm repeating myself, but I just have to say it again...I kinda like to read Kristen Ashley books. I know you didn't expect that. ;D I'm so cheeky.

So, At Peace is the second instalment in the The 'Burg Series and while I'm partial to the first book For You, I still had to give this one 5 Stars just because anything less would have been blasphemy. As always the writing is stellar, the characters are wonderful, lots of family drama, heartbreak and in this particular series the whole world created around the main players is just so rich and developed with a lot of care.

I have some good and some very bad news for you:

good -- I found the perfect man and you can read a whole book about him

bad -- he is taken, or better yet he will be taken by the time you finish reading

Oh well, here is the story in a nutshell.

Widow and mother of two teenage kids, finds herself in a torrid affair with her next door neighbour.

Of course it's a lot more complicated and drama is strong in this one, but it's a good start. ;D

So Violet Winters, said single mother of two teenage girls had lost her husband when he was killed by a crazy stalker mafia boss who has an insane obsession with Violet and wants her all to himself.

Yeah, you can already see this is one of those books. Bring the crazy from the get go, why don't you?

First and foremost Violet is a mother. Everything she does is for the well being and safety of her daughters, Kate and Keira. Especially after they lost their father. But then one night loud music coming out of her neighbour’s house leads her down a path of personal happiness and satisfaction. Woooop Woooop...

“You already think I'm a dick.”

I felt my heart beat faster and I whispered. “Joe-”

Joe cut me off. “So don't matter tomorrow morning you still think I'm a dick, 'cause now, even though you're drunk, I'm gonna take you inside and fuck you 'till you ache.”

Oh Joe Callahan, you awesome -- awesome man. *sigh*

One prime example for a real swoon worthy alpha male. He has it all; he is domineering, a little mysterious, gorgeous and he has the tragic past. What more can a girl hope for? Oh, I know...he loves Vi's kids. OMG, he might just be PERFECT! Damn you, Ms. Ashley!!

I really like Vi and Joe's story. From the start the two have some scorching chemistry and don't even get me started with explosions happening when they get together. SCORCHING!

But that doesn't mean everything is sunshine and daisies. Joe and Vi have to fight many obstacles starting with their own stupidity, Mike (I dislike this one the most), a murderous mafia boss and not to mention a gossiping town.

“Worth the wait," Joe muttered and my head tipped back.
"Every bit of it. Every day, every week, every year, every fuckin' second, buddy," he kept muttering, his eyes intense, his face serious and my breath caught, "this. All of it. Worth the wait.”

It took me weeks to write this review and I'm sorry it is rather short and surely not my best, but I had to write something. And I really wanted you to meet Mr. Callahan.

I hope you can forgive me. ;P

Profile Image for SamJ ★Needs a HEA★.
609 reviews861 followers
November 11, 2018
5 stars after a re read.

I love this book.

It is truly truly beautiful!

Violet Winters has moved the The 'Burg after losing her cop husband to a crime lord, a crime lord who then took an interest in her, and "stalked" her for months.

She moves in next door to Joe Callahan.

At first, they get off on the wrong foot!

Wasn't that just the shit of it? There I was, in my predicament and I had security to the fucking stars living next door and I hated him because he was a huge jerk

But they have an attraction to each other, and both try to fight it, and even make a good go at fighting it, denying what they could mean to each other. There is hurt and hurtful words thrown on each side, but they cannot deny what they mean to each other.

"You're unbelievable" I snapped.
"I'm yours"
That socked me in the gut, so hard it winded me and all I could do was stare up at him.
Taking advantage, his face dipped close and his hands curled around both sides of my head.
"First fuckin' time you smiled at me in my bed, that's when it happened," he murmured.
"You're under my skin"
"I'm under yours"

Not to say, Joe did not do some hurtful things, but it was all in an effort to protect himself, and once you know why he felt that need, your heart broke for him.

But once he decided Violet was it for him, he was all there and completely committed to it.

Add in some drama, a once again excellent set of secondary characters (and is it just me who wishes we could have had a lot more of Cal's secretary Lindy?") and you have a winner

A beautiful heart wrenching 5 stars
Profile Image for Jennifer.
374 reviews569 followers
September 8, 2016

I didn’t expect this book to rip me apart.

Yes, it was unbelievably sexy and HOLY CANNOLI JOE!!!! The dirty talk is off the charts…but we’ll get to that…

Vi has been dealt a shit deal in life. She is a mother of two teenage girls….and a widow. After losing her husband a year and a half ago, she does what she has to do in order to get by. I loved loved loved her girls, Kate and Keira. They helped make this book for me. They made me laugh through the whole book.

I wondered why anyone on earth would need drugs. You could get high just having a family.

Joe is a man whore (Duh! Those are the best kind!). He and Vi are next door neighbors and end up using each other for sex. And it’s HOT!!! Any girl would take advantage of Joe. There’s a reason he is such an asshole. That reason split my heart into a million pieces.

My Joe:

Sinister, rugged, interesting.

Like him? He’s Joe.

Lucas Gil

My Vi/Buddy:

Aka Momalicious. Aka Mawdy.

Odette Annable

KA doesn’t stop there. She never does! She creates a helluv an epic story.

At one point, I was FLOORED!!!! I was in complete shock and sobbing out of nowhere!!!!

Finally, after the 60% mark, I was able to breathe and just sit back and enjoy the ride for a while. Joe and Buddy (Vi = Buddy) have one hell of a love story. Their story is beyond love.

He was warm and strong and solid and big enough to surround us with all of that and we all needed it, we needed something to hold onto.

Ok, now let’s get to the good stuff… THE DIRTY TALK!!!

I am a whore for dirty talk….

Seriously, I would take an asshole calling me a bitch while he pulls my hair over a gentleman any day!

So, don’t matter tomorrow morning you still think I’m a dick, ‘cause now, even though you’re drunk, I’m gonna take you inside and fuck you ‘til you ache.

Turnin’ you over my knee, spankin’ that ass of yours until you break and let go of the bitch.

You, tonight in my bed with your hand between your legs.

You suck my dick, baby, you do it naked.

I don’t know why I was always whining to be on top. Being on my back was just fine.

Love it when you say my name, baby. Feel it in my dick every time.

I have two more words for this review….



That pretty much says it all. She cannot write a bad book.

I still have Joe’s voice in my head telling me to relax and go shoot the shit while he makes me steaks on the grill.

Note: Benny and Frankie. Give it to me. Now.
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,826 reviews2,185 followers
November 25, 2020
That awkward moment when you reread a book five years later and see that you never wrote a review as promised.

2020 is a crap year, we all know it. But here we are in the end of November, and I realized I didn't reread a single Kristen Ashley book all year! *shudders* THE HORROR! So I remedied that very quickly with a reread of this one. Even though Joe is kind of a dick, I still really love this book, Angsty romance is my favorite, and this one has so much of it!

Rereading this one, I can say it's a wee bit too long, around 80% I started to skim a bit. But otherwise it still stands the test of time.


4.5 'buddy' stars!

Loved every single bit of this one!! (Except 90-95% but otherwise it was awesome!)

Review to follow....
Profile Image for Lady Heather .
1,292 reviews692 followers
February 26, 2023
Still one of my favorite KA books!
LOVE VI-0H-MY and Joe (Cal) Callihan. <3

Third read: 'cause I'm in the mood for a KA romancin', a little Vi-oh-my (Violet), and a whole lotta Mr Joe Callihan (security to the stars).

Second Read: July 13, 2014


First Read: March 30, 2012
5 ++

This bloody book had me in knots & stitches the whole time! Literally loud sobs coming out of my mouth & tears streaming down my face one minute, then laughing out loud the next.

The only other book to affect me like this was "The Gamble" (also a Kristen Ashley book)... Go figure? .. LOL!


Cal (Joe)- AMAZING! (even though I wanted to kill him a couple of times until he smartened up), then... Compassionate, Caring, Strong, Uber-Alpha-Neandreathal-Kick-Ass-Mofia-Connected-Killer Lead man.
Violet - AWESOME! (her scars were on the inside, but man the strength this woman has is overwhelming)
Katy & Keira - The best-written teens I've read about in a long time. Totally fell in love with them and their characters!

I also loved the secondary characters Benny & Frankie in particular. Aunt Theresa and Uncle Vinnie were also favs!

On a final note, I can't wait to read Mike's story, because a character that 'fine' HAS GOT TO GET HIS OWN HEA!

Oh, ya.. Did I mention I LOVED this book?
... might have mentioned that a few times *he-he*

Enjoy! *smile*
Profile Image for * Meli Mel *.
856 reviews653 followers
October 22, 2015


●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

"I got older and that changed and all I wanted was a good woman and a family. All my life, with a slight variation on theme, that's all I ever wanted. Buddy, you've given me both. You think, givin' me that, I could
ever balance those scales?"

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

Oh Joe Callahan... How I LOVE you!! This guy... seriously... one of my all time favourite Kristen Ashley Alpha males. At first I thought he was a jerk. I was like, 'why do all these people like him so much?'. His fanclub was HUGE. Just when I thought I would be the minority and wouldn't love Joe like everyone did. We get his back story and my heart breaks so bad for him. No wonder he was such an asshole. He was broken by what happened and had pretty much given up on anything good ever coming his way. He didn't think he deserved happiness because he thought that what happened in the past was his fault. So he kept pushing Violet Winters, the widow next door with whom he has a sexual relationship with, away.

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

"What's beyond love?"

"Don't understand the question, Vi."

I didn't explain. Instead I said, "Whatever it is, that's what I feel for you."

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

Violet Winters suffered some tragedies of her own. The most recent being the death of her husband and highschool sweetheart, Tim. But what I loved about her was that she was able to pick herself up and move forward for her daughters. She was a great mother despite her own parents not being there for her when she got pregnant very young. She always tried to stay positive. When she meets Joe because of the loud music coming from his house, she is intantly attracted to him and scared of him. Still, she finds she wants to get to know him better, and find out why he is so alone. No matter how many times he pushed her away, she tried to break through his barriers so she could love him. Of course, Joe has to ruin it all so she gives up on him. Then Joe realizes that what he had and just let go of, he will never get again so he tries to get her back.

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

"You're mine, the girls are mine. I'm stakin' my claim with you right now and, you force it, I'll do it with him too."

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

Joe totally redeems himself! He made me swoon and sigh so hard. He was freaking perfect. I loved how alpha and protective he was with Vi. She was trying to move on with Mike but that didn't end up happening with how persistent Joe was to ger her back. But what totally won me was his interactions with Vi's daughters Kate and Kierra. OMG!! That was so beautiful to see. And the great thing was that these girls loved him back. There never resented him or ever thought he was trying to take their father's place. They welcomed him with open arms almost instantly. This was because they thought he was a good man for their mother, and they didn't want her to be alone anymore. Such amazing girls. I also loved that he wanted to show the girls that they deserved great guys who would appreciate them and nothing less. I loved that he was always there for Vi. Seriously... I love Joe.

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

“I’m yours.”

That socked me in the gut too, so hard it winded me and all I could do was stare up at him. Taking advantage, his face dipped close and his hands curled around both sides of my head.

“First fuckin’ time you smiled at me in my bed, that’s when it happened,” he murmured. “You’re under my skin. I’m under yours.”

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

Then came the scene that wrecked me. Vi suffers another tragedy that had me bawling!! My heart hurt, I couldn't believe it had happened. She had suffered enough. She went out of control and to be honest, I don't blame her. I probably would have reacted the same way. When I thought I couldn't possibly love Joe more, he shows up to offer his support to Vi and her daughters. I can't tell you how amazing that scene was. It was so weird how I felt so completely heart broken for what happened and yet, be so happy because of how wonderful Joe was. This was one of my favourite scenes in the book. Just because, it was beautiful seeing them altogether like that. Joe was an exceptional step-dad.

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

"Every bit of it. Every day, every week, every year, every fuckin' second, buddy," he kept muttering, his eyes intense, his face serious and my breath caught, "this. All of it. Worth the wait."

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ���  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

Overall, this book will be a part of my list of top best books by Kristen Ashley. I loved Joe. It was really emotional but there was some parts with humor and suspense that really grabbed your attention. I loved Joe. The sex was good and didn't overwhelm you. I loved Joe. All of the secondary characters were also really great. I really like how Kristen Ashley always provides a support system for the main characters. I loved Joe. I am really intrigued by Mike and I can't wait to read his story, as well as Benny's. I loved Joe. I definitely recommend you give this a read, especially if you love alphas because Joe won't disappoint. Oh, and before I forget, I really LOVED Joe.

Profile Image for Baba  .
859 reviews3,834 followers
January 19, 2012
“Without peace of mind, life is just a shadow of its possibilities.”

- by Jean Borysenko -
3.5 stars.
About my rating: Despite my issues it’s a well-written, emotional and engrossing story and therefore I rounded up to 4 stars.

Wow, deep breath...I know, I know, hold your horses, Baba! This was such an emotional rollercoaster and I got worked up. A lot. While reading At Peace I felt angry, annoyed, frustrated, extremely sad, yet at the same time I was happy. Happy for Joe, Violet, and her daughters.

Brief synopsis
Violet Winters is a widow with two teenage daughters. During a cold winter night she has to leave her house to tell her annoying neighbor to turn the music down. That's when she meets Joe (Cal) Callahan - her hot-as-shit, bad boy, player, security expert neighbor. Violet's husband was executed by her stalker and even now he is obsessed and can't let her go. Cal's grandfather's sister married a Giglia and the Giglia's are big time mob. They fight against Hart (Violet's stalker). Cal had briefly worked security for Giglia during the last war Giglia had with Hart. And Cal lost his cousin to that war. For that reason Joe has a personal interest to protect Violet and her girls against Hart.

What did work for me
As always Kristen writes terrific family dynamics, good dialogs, and wonderfully fleshed out main and secondary characters. Her writing is not polished, yet it is always honest, real, and emotional. What she writes is really heartfelt, and it is just not essential to write down a “perfect” story. 

At the beginning of the plot Joe seemed a little bit over the top alpha for my liking. I don’t know, it was just…too much! He was really harsh and rude. Sweet Dream’s Tate Jackson was a badass alpha male but if you compare these two…wow, I’d say Tate is a pussycat compared to Joe. Well, I have to take up the cudgels for Joe, though. As the story unfolds The Lone Wolf became more accessible and kind of more soft. It was a nice change! Moreover, Joe came to love Violet’s girls. It was so sweet to see him interact with these two teenagers. He cared deeply for them and he wanted to protect them.

The passion, the hunger, the need between Joe and Vi was palpable. Their chemistry was very good, although there were many ambivalent feelings between these two as well. As always a better communication would have resolved many problems, then again it suited the taciturn and closed off hero.

Basically, I liked Violet. I appreciated the fact that she is a very determined and independent single mother. Vi loves her girls deeply and she is there for them and gives her best. She deals with her problems and she does it on her own. With that said, I had my issues and was disappointed when she was “fooling” around with Mike (see spoiler below).
Vi really liked Mike but ultimately she chose Joe because she needed him to breathe. Joe bears his own hell and Vi made him feel AT PEACE again. Overall I think they fit perfectly.

One of the best aspects of At Peace was the part where a very dear person died. Wow, this was so utterly intense and very, very hard to take. Honestly, I was bawling my eyes out because their pain was my pain. The whole process of getting to know that he died and then accepting the anger, the pain, the solace and ultimately attending the funeral was incredibly well written. Absolutely outstanding!
What didn’t work for me
**********CONTAINS SPOILERS*******
At the beginning Joe annoyed me and acted like a jerk at times. Further, Joe was way too taciturn. He should have talked to Violet earlier. And Joe…you should have come clean. Ever heard of how to avoid heartache??? He posed with an ex in front of his house and of course in front of Violet and her girls to push her away. Joe wanted to save Violet from him. But he didn’t have the balls to end their relationship and that’s why he thought she would do it for him when she “caught” him kissing his ex. And she did. He even confirmed that he did have sex with his ex to push Vi over the ledge (of course he didn't have sex with his ex). It wasn’t only Joe’s fault though. After starting her affair with Joe, Violet went out to Feb's bar and met Mike. She started to flirt with Mike and that's where it all started No qualms at all. Both of them were no saints and they made mistakes. Sometimes Vi was just bitching around which was not funny either. Then again, real life is neither polished nor perfect.
Mr. Jerk was having a meaningful conversation with Ms. Bitch. He’s staking his claim “You’re mine, the girls are mine. I’m stakin’ my claim with you right now and, you force it, I’ll do it with him too.” Oh, Joe, I agree – do it! Holy crap, I was thinking “Please spare me such agonizing pain in the future”, and to top it off what does Ms. Bitch? Why, yes, the same f***ing day she’s hopping to Mike’s townhouse and ends up in his bed. I mean Joe is telling her that she is the only woman on his mind and he didn’t have sex with his ex and what does Vi, what does she?? I was fuming, believe me! Oh, and read that…Vi and Mike are lying in his bed and she says that Mike is winning her over for one night, and that’s why I thought they did the deed. Jeeeez, I get worked up all over again! Will I ever live this down? Holy hell, get this, she says she didn’t have sex with Mike, since they were giving head to each other. WTF…hello???? Uhm, a bit too contradictory for my liking.
A few times I caught myself thinking “Woman make up your mind already!” and Joe…tsk-tsk…speak up and get your act together, man!!!
Another weird thing. Frankly, I had to put up with Ty calling his woman “mama” in Lady Luck, which BTW was really sweet and endearing after I got used to it. It kind of fit. However Joe calling Violet “buddy” (besides “baby” and “babe”) felt kind of odd. Gosh, I had to scratch my head. Seriously, if my boyfriend would call me buddy I’d have to inflict some bodily harm.

Memorable "quotes"/lines: (SPOILERS)

<…>Before she opened it, she turned back. "You don't know, Cal, you have no idea. You've shut yourself up for so long in this fucking house with your tragic memories, you have no idea what's about to walk out your door. Kate, Keira and me, we could have plugged that hole. We could have filled you so full, you'd be bursting. We would have loved that chance. We'd have given it everything we had, no matter the time that slid by, graduations, weddings, grand babies, you'd have been a part of us and we'd have given everything we had to keep you so full, you'd be bursting."<…>

<…>It hit him the minute he saw Vi standing, shoeless, carrying a dust rag, wearing shorts and a tank the first time he'd seen her in two and a half months and she was shrieking, fuck, the sound of her shrieking the word "no". He'd never forget it, not in his life. That word, the way she said it, seared a path straight through him.
And it kept coming when he ran to her house after the crashing sounds came from it, the Dad pounding on the door.
And more of it came when he forced his way in and he saw her, that loss claiming her expression, fresh this time, so difficult to witness he felt it settling on his fucking soul.
And more of it came when she pressed into him, giving him her grief.
And more, when Kate beat at him, and more when she collapsed into him under the weight of her sorrow.
And more when they all curled into him, one by one.
And now, that feeling in the left side of his chest wasn't nagging.
It was constant, but it wasn't pain.
He felt full.
Christ, the way it felt, he was full to bursting.<…>

<…>"You're mine, the girls are mine. I'm stakin' my claim with you right now and, you force it, I'll do it with him too."<…>

<…>"Yeah, you lose this attitude, I can help you work that hurt out."
Who was this man? He held onto his tragedy for seventeen fucking years, how could he stand there and tell me he could help me work through mine? <…> "You're unbelievable," I snapped.
"I'm yours."
That socked me in the gut too, so hard it winded me and all I could do was stare up at him.<…> "You're under my skin."
"Please -"
"Im under yours."<…>

<…>"Gotta remind you," he murmured.
We locked eyes.
Then he moved.
I turned and ran.<…>He was wrong. I remembered. I remembered every second with him, even the ones when we weren't having sex, and I missed them. God, so much, I had to bury it, covering it with everything I had so it wouldn't break me.
But it all came back, the longing, the hurt, the hunger, everything we were, everything I wanted us to be and it was everything there was.
We tore at each other's clothes, yanking them off while we wrestled for supremacy, kissing, licking, biting, touching, scratching. "Christ, baby," Joe growled…<…>

<…>"It was a shit time for you, the worst, but you were there and you saw 'em doin' it. They crawled into this same fuckin' bed with me, so did you, and when you did, you all became mine."
"That's insane," I informed him.
"That's the way it is," he shot back.
"Joe, we were beside ourselves with grief."
"Yeah, and when you are you don't lock tight to some guy you don't know or some asshole you hate. You lock tight to what's yours to remind yourself that it is and that you need it."
"That wasn't what was happening."
"Buddy, you're naked in my lap, your girls want me in the house, you're pissed at me, tellin' yourself it's over and all I gotta do is kiss you and you turn wild. This shit gonna sink in?"
"It did twice," I reminded him, "and no matter the signals you gave me, Joe, it wasn't what I thought."
"Not given' you signals this time, Vi, I'm telling' you straight out and I'll tell you somethin' else, always listen to your gut."
"Joe -"
"It told you you belonged to me, I'm tellin' you it was right."<…>

<…>"He promised me, I stand down, he'd give you everything."
My heart flipped over.
"He did?"
"Yeah," Mike nodded, then his hands tightened on my jaws. "He doesn't, Vi, you come to me and I'll give it to you."<…>"Sweetheart," Mike called and I opened my eyes. "You won't be comin' to me. Man I talked to today would move heaven and earth to give everything to you."
"Mike -"
"Didn't think that, no fuckin' way I'd stand down."
"Mike -"
His lips touched mine again and when his head lifted, he whispered, "Be happy, honey."
I nodded and whispered back, "You too, Mike."
He smiled and it was the first time he smiled at me in the hundreds he'd given me that it didn't reach his eyes.<…>

<…>She ended with her knees to the floor, her body between his legs, her torso in Joe's lap, her face in his chest, her arms wrapped around him and, before I could open my mouth or even more, she burst into tears.
"I knew you were always lookin' out for us," she cried into his chest, "I knew it!"
That lump hit my throat again but it was so big this time, it choked me.
Joe's hand dropped to Keira's hair and he bent forward. "Baby, hey," he whispered.
"I knew it!" she sobbed into his stomach.
What I knew was this wasn't about Joe and the dog. This was about my sweet, crazy, strong, beautiful daughter losing her Dad and losing her XXXXX and living in a world that was uncertain, being afraid of that world and needing something to hold onto. They'd been strong a long time, both my girls had. And I was proud of them. But even the strongest person in the world needed something to hold onto.<…>"Keirry, honey, what's this?" Joe whispered into her ear when he had her in his arms and she'd burrowed in closer. He, too, knew it wasn't about the dog.
She yanked her head out of his neck, looked at him and demanded in a fierce tone, "Don't ever go away, Joe."
At my daughter's words, I felt my breath choke me so hard I heard it too and that choking sound wasn't just coming from me.
"I'm not goin' anywhere, honey," Joe replied gently.
"Promise!"<…>"I promise," Joe said, his tone just as fierce, then he put an arm behind her knees and he straightened from the chair, Keira held to his chest.
I straightened too, murmuring, "Joe."
"I got this, buddy."
"Joe -"
"Got it," Joe repeated and walked from the room down the hall.
I stood there, staring down the hall. Then I turned and stared at our group, seeing Bea and Theresa flat out crying.<…>

<…>He's here, buddy, that's all I could take, that's all I need. I had to let go the rest. The rest is too much," he told me.
I was a mother and I was a widow. I knew better than that.
"You need all you can get," I whispered.
"Can't take anymore," he replied.
I pressed my hand into his chest. "That just isn't true."
"Vi -"
"Bring him home."
"Violet -"
"Let me bring him home."
"Buddy -"
I pulled my hand from his and put it back to his face. "He's a part of you and I want you, all of you. I want my girls to have all of you. Joe, honey, please let me bring him home."
We stared at each other again for a long time before Joe whispered a tortured, "Fuck…get it." <…> "You looked AT PEACE." My tears could be heard in my words but Joe's eyes didn't move from the picture.
"I had the world sleepin' on my chest," he replied, his voice low, thick.
I looked at the photo. "Funny how the world can fit in your arm."<…>

************END OF SPOILERS***********

BTW, the suspense part of At Peace was absolutely minor. Overall it was a very engaging and certainly worthwhile story. If you can bear the “flaws” I mentioned, then I would recommend you to read At Peace.
Profile Image for Sher❤ The Fabulous BookLover.
865 reviews555 followers
August 3, 2015
**5++++ Just Amazing Stars**

Well I've added another KA alpha male to my book husband list. The sexy, dirty talking, slightly tormented, Italian (something about Italians that screams HOT!) loves with his whole heart Joe Callahan! I burned with heat for this man and he has my heart! Here's my banner for Joe:

I love you KA for making such fabulous characters that make me swoon! I was like this the whole time:


And I'm sure Joe looks something like this:

And yes I'M IN LURVE!!

Violet had a crappy life, her cop husband was shot dead by a lunatic who wanted her all to herself, but she kept strong. She takes care of her girls and everyone around her. She is simply a heroine that didn't get on my nerves and that in itself was a breath of fresh air! I loved how she kept calling herself a slut, because let's be honest she was acting like one but hey, who wouldn't be a slut when you're neighbor is thee Joe Callahan!! And that garage scene! *Fanning myself*

If you haven't read this, READ IT! This is KA at its finest.
November 17, 2014

My Joe/Cal


My Violet

My Kate & Keira

Vi and her 2 teenage daughters, Kate & Keira, are newcomers to the 'Burg. Escaping a psychopathic criminal stalker who killed her cop husband. Violet is a great mom doing everything a great mom does who doesn't have her partner... gently spoiling her daughters because of that. Vi living for her daughters in grief for over a year.

Joe is a security to the stars, who barely visit his home... a home that is right next door to Vi. Joe lives smart taking jobs that will take him that much faster to cushy retirements BUT at the same time he is not living. He is a man that lives in his grief for 17 years.

"He needs Mom and us more than we need him. He needs a family. He's over there, all by himself, he has nobody. We have each other. He needs somebody. I can tell."

... and Joe did not stand a chance living next door to that Trio. From Vi's midnight visit, Katy's too-mature wariness of Joe yet lassoing him in into the fold and Keiry's open-hearted-arm-flailing acceptance that is just pure heart melting.

Like their mother, they were sucking him in, using him to plug that hole their father left and their combined power was almost unbeatable.

Oooh Joe tries to keep them at arm's length... VERY HARD... pulling all the stops making him the jerkiest of all Jerks in KA Kingdom. However, he is also the hottest. Joe is just as confused in his protectiveness and papa-bear behavior of the girls as Vi is clueless in how she lassos in men in and being all organically flirty. But disaster after disaster with Vi's stalker destroying her in an effort to "catch" her attention Joe can't/doesn't have it in him to stay away. THANK. FUCKING. GOD! Just 'cause they didn't start out 'that way'... it ended up being so. much. more.

There are some awesome characters who are introduced and some old ones that make a special appearance. Holla to Mama Jackie! That woman is amazing.

"Feb lost the man who helped her breath, didn't take a full breath for twenty years until she got him back... You lost your man, your brother and honey, my heart's with you, that's awful... You two come with so much baggage, it's a wonder you don't' get crushed. And that's the thing, neither of you did. And you found each other. It's time to unload that burden and fine some joy."

Feb, Colt and baby Jack... so happy for them!

Mikey... um... sorry man. Your turn comes in book #4. You are a nice man but you are not Vi's.

Now my favorites: Benny & Frankie - WHEN ARE WE FINALLY GETTING THEIR STORY??? I've read this series over a year ago... re-reading now and STILL the story is not out.

If you haven't realized it yet it is my favorite book of the series... no it's in the top 3 of my favorite KA writings.
Profile Image for Angie - Angie's Dreamy Reads.
686 reviews13.5k followers
July 3, 2015


That ending was really freaking spectacular. This book was so much, so many things. The feels. Ahhhhhhhh! I need a minute. Hahahaha! I feel exhausted. I was pulling for Joe so hard. GAH. Okay... I need to move on to the next! GAH. I can't wait to get to Mike and Benny's books. Benny Bianchi especially. I really hope we get some Joe and Vi in there too. Ah!
Profile Image for Bev .
1,901 reviews404 followers
January 1, 2018
I honestly don't know how many times I have read this series, each time seems just like the first time. More so with listening to it on audio, loved it.

Re-read Dec 2017: Sometimes I need a bit of Joe in my life, what a way to close out 2017 ❤️️
Profile Image for Dija.
413 reviews230 followers
June 13, 2012
Rating: A very, very generous two stars.

Before I begin my rant (because that's pretty much all this review is), I'd like to clarify something: I adore Kristen Ashley. To me, she's the Walt Disney of adult fiction. Her stories are unforgettable, fulfilling, and utterly beautiful.

That being said, At Peace didn't do it for me. At all. I had a number of issues with this book, and most of them are because of the heroine, Violet.

To begin with, the relationship between Violet and Tim, her first husband, wasn't really explained that well. They were together for nearly two decades but right after she jumped into bed with another man, she barely thought about him. That's not only weird, but highly unrealistic as well.

And throughout the story, she never felt guilty about sleeping with or loving someone else. I understand about moving on, but some people you just never fully get over (especially not a little over two years later), and one of them should be your husband of 20 years. So either her relationship with Tim wasn't as perfect as is portrayed or she really didn't love him as much as she supposedly claimed. Either way, I would have appreciated the story a lot more if there had been further clarification about where exactly Violet and Tim stood as a couple.

Onto the present romance. To sum it up, I couldn't believe how Violet acted. The fuck, calling cheating and leading a poor man on as "looking out for myself" while sleeping regularly with another man, and when the former confronts you about it, having a breakdown and acting like you've been the one wronged in all of this?! Uggghhh!! This woman got on my very last nerve, I swear.

Another constant wtf moment? Whenever anyone went on and on and freakin' on about what a "prize" Violet was (I know that's a KA constant, but it really bugged me in this one). I tried hard to be forgiving and all, but a two-timing cow is a two-timing cow and that sorta wipes out a lot of the good, yes? It does as far as I'm concerned.

I only began to stop hating her after 81% (yes, I was keeping track). And I only fully stopped hating her at 97%.

Surprisingly, I didn't hate Joe all that much. I disliked him immensely but I never felt he was being two-faced (unlike a certain someone else, ahem). I eventually came to like him, but I don't think I'll ever love him.

The only highlight in this loooong book was the budding romance between Benny and Frankie. I'm absolutely ecstatic they'll be getting their own book soon. My initial plan after finishing At Peace was to give up on the rest of the series, but I'll be reading on because I'm highly interested in reading Mike and Benny's respective books. Really hope they're both better than this one.

For more reviews, visit my blog.
Profile Image for JAN.
1,138 reviews755 followers
May 31, 2022
2013 ---> 5 stars
2022 ---> 5 stars.

Best male character.
Best alpha.
Best asshole H.
Best hot male character.
Best teen girls.
Best family connection.
Best entertainment.
Best also for mature characters, (35 Vs 39 years old) and giving Joe's POV from the beginning.

Cutting to the chase, At Peace is Kristen Ashley's best creation and
Joe Callahan is her number one swoony male character. Period.
The end.
Profile Image for Kristin (KC).
251 reviews25.1k followers
October 11, 2014
*3.5 Stars*

Another sensuous, action-packed installment to The 'Burg series. At Peace was a fun, exciting read filled with tension, romance, suspense, and one agonizingly sexy alpha-hero.

Cal and Violet are neighbors whose friendship takes a little longer to ignite than their passion. The sexy, brooding, tormented Cal has been burned in a past relationship and is emotionally distant and unattainable. Violet has moved into the neighborhood with her two daughters to escape the threat of her husband's killer, who happens to be stalking her. Cal, being in the line of security, decides to protect Violet and her daughters when they learn that the stalker has found their new location. This begins the turbulent but extremely sexy-sweet journey of Cal and Vi.

The characters in this story are so realistically portrayed and hold a familiar connection to one another, however, I was hoping for a bit more distinction between each personality; all too often, I found the characters blending into one. I really adored watching the relationship between Cal and Violet's daughters blossom. I loved that the emotional connection between Cal and Vi grew slowly and eventually caught up with their initial attraction. I think anyone who has read a KA book pretty much knows what to expect regarding the racy, no holds barred steam factor, and this book certainly makes no exception.

While I can appreciate the great attention to detail Kristen Ashley displays in her writing, I feel its intricacies immensly drag out the story. I also find myself getting a little tripped up on some of the awkwardly structured sentences which took away from an otherwise intriguing plot. That being said, KA does have such a distinctive, recognizable writing style and I can see why there are so many Kristen Ashley addicts out there. Fun read!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Book Stats:
▪ Genre/Category: Contemporary Romance
▪ Steam Caliber: Maximum steam
▪ Romance: Slow burn. Intense and sexy.
▪ Characters: Alpha, protective hero. Sweet but strong heroine.
▪ Plot: A steamy, suspenseful love story with a great portrayal of friendship and family.
▪ Writing: Highly descriptive. Slightly repetitive. Engaging.
▪ POV: 1st Person Perspective: Heroine
▪ Cliffhanger: None
▪ Next Installment: Character spinoff
▪ HEA?

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