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Deacon has an ugly history, a history that broke him, leaving him a ghost of a man. Out of necessity, he left the normal world to descend into the criminal world and found he fit. So he stayed. Cold as ice and living off the grid, Deacon has no intention to connect, not with anyone.

Then he returns to some remote cabins in the Colorado Mountains and finds they have new owners. One of them is Cassidy Swallow, a young woman willing to work hard to live her quiet dream in a house by a river surrounded by aspen and pine.

Suddenly, Deacon finds he’s at war. Cassidy’s pull for him to connect is strong. He fights it, but he loses, always coming back for more. But when he does, he gives her nothing.

From the first time she sees him, Cassidy knows Deacon is dead inside. She knows he’s the kind of man who could destroy a woman. But one night when Deacon’s control slips, Cassidy takes a chance.

He might break her. He also might be her dream come true.

216 pages, Paperback

First published September 23, 2014

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About the author

Kristen Ashley

110 books37.9k 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 1,935 reviews
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,862 reviews30.1k followers
May 25, 2017
Re-read 12/17/14...The review below still stands...

2.5-3 Stars of Disappointment

It kills me to rate another KA so low, but that's just how I feel about this book.

I'm going to keep this short...just because.

It started off really strong and I was loving it.


I just knew Deacon was destined for greatness.


Until it wasn't.


The ENTIRE book was about Deacon and Cassidy and their relationship.

No Rock Chick-esque crime/shenanigan aspects.
No Reese or Finn-esque side characters.
Nothing ELSE.

Which would have been totally fine...except that it started to get really slow and kind of redundant.

Also - in the beginning of the book, there is a "disclaimer" regarding some bdsm/butt play shenanigans that were going to be afoot - and I was like YES!

Bring. It. On.

Well, it got brought on. And it was...Okay.


Until it wasn't.


I'm sorry, but a supposed "Badass" (a word that was soooooo overused in this book, it's ridiculous) like Deacon? I just don't see him allowing ANYONE to .


There are other ways to prove trust, people!

And when Cassidy finds out (or thinks she finds out) about Deacon's secret, she sends him off with REALLY?


I don't know.

It started off so strong and I was so excited about it. But, at the end of the day...I just thought the story got boring (by 80% I was almost skimming...skimming a KA!!!), there wasn't enough real communication between the characters when there needed to be most (instead we got ), and overall this just fell flat for me.

All I know is, a book that I have been anticipating for EVER (and probably the most that I can remember in recent years) is the final of the Three Series.

So even though this one missed the mark for me, I have my fingers crossed for that one.


Please be good, please be good, please be good...

Profile Image for Christy.
3,919 reviews33k followers
April 20, 2015
5 Bossy Stars!

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Kristen Ashely’s Unfinished Heroes series is my favorite of hers. Not only do we have Knight- aka the Daddy- aka Christy’s book husband, but we have Creed and Raid which are pretty great as well. When I heard Deacon was getting a book, I was pretty freaking excited. I had very high expectations for this book, and I wasn’t let down. Knight is still my favorite of the series, but this was a close second! Deacon is not only insanely hot, but we have a sexy alpha antihero, a kick ass hilariously fun heroine, and a great story. You can’t ask for more that that!

Cassidy is living her dream, doing what she’s always wanted to do... but is she really living? She has always wanted to live in the Colorado Mountains. She’s now the proud owner of Glacier Lily Cottages. She rents out 11 different cabins by the night. She didn’t plan on doing this alone. She planned on doing it with her man, but that didn’t quite pan out. She’s happy where she is, and she’s happy with her work... but still, something is missing.

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Since the very start of her running this business, Cassidy has a man, a costumer that visits cabin 11 frequently. He says his name is John Priest. He’s tall, dark, handsome, and a little bit scary. He’s also quiet, brooding and rugged. For years he comes by. Sometimes every few weeks, sometimes every few months, but he always shows. And she always keeps cabin 11 open for him if she can.

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Deacon has a mysterious past. We’re not sure who he really is, what he does for a living or any of that. What he does isn’t exactly on the radar, or even legal for that matter. Something happened to him to make him so closed off. He has very few people in his life he trusts, or who know the real him. He has no real home. But for some reason, or because of one particular woman, he is constantly drawn back to Glacier Lily Cottages when he’s not working.

It’s obvious Cassidy and Deacon are drawn to each other. For years they fight that pull. Deacon knows he wouldn’t be good for a woman like her. And Cassidy knows Deacon has a dangerous side. But they can only fight their feelings for so long... Until it all comes out in the open.
“Not easy, fightin’ your pull. Wantin’ to be right here. Knowin’ I was no good for you. Prayin’ you’d get a man so when I’d come back I’d have a reason to stay away.”

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“You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve seen in my entire fuckin’ life.”

Their relationship had a unique start. It definitely wasn’t insta-love, it was more like a slow build up. They weren’t able to spend all kinds of time together, but anytime Deacon wasn’t working, he was with Cassidy. It was the only place he actually wanted to be. He hadn’t had a home in a very long time, but with Cassidy, he was finding one again.

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Cassidy was an incredible heroine. One of my favorite KA heroines for sure. I can’t think of one time she was unlikable or annoying. She worked hard, she was sweet, funny, stubborn, bossy and spunky. I loved her attitude. So many scenes with her had me laughing out loud. Because come on- how true is this statement?
“ I don’t watch the news, Deacon. It’s televised depression.”

Talking to herself in the hardware store... then the grocery store... I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve done that! I love that she speaks her mind and is outgoing and strong. You have to have that backbone when your with a badass alpha.
“Total boss.”

“A girl has to be when her man’s a bad ass.”

And that’s exactly what Deacon was. A bad ass alpha. He seemed like this complete hard ass, stoic and uncaring at the beginning, but that’s not him at all. Deacon is a caring and protective man. He’s just had a past that has made him a bit damaged. Then there is Deacon in the bedroom... this book may be Kristen’s hottest book yet. Seriously scorching hot and kinky. I loved it! Deacon was a bossy in the bedroom, but let himself be vulnerable too.

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Deacon and Cassidy didn’t have the easiest relationship, but they both wanted it, wanted each other. Deacon is not only a beautiful romance, but also an emotional tale of a man getting over his past and a woman helping him learn to love and trust again.

I love the way Kristen Ashley writes. I love her details, her story telling ability, and her fantastic heroines and hot as hell alphas. When I read books like this, I remember why she is my favorite author. After reading Deacon, I was a 100% happy and satisfied reader, and there is no better feeling than that!

“No boundaries. That’s us, Cassidy. That’s who we are. That’s what we were both searchin’ for.”
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Profile Image for Aestas Book Blog.
1,059 reviews74.9k followers
September 27, 2014

My casting for Deacon.... ;)

Kristen Ashley does it again!! And now we have a new badass Alpha male hero to swoon over :D

Meet Deacon: Tall. Dark. Rugged. Cold on the outside. Closed off from the world. Cassidy could tell with one look that this man was alive on the outside, but dead on the inside. And she wasn't wrong.

Her whole life, she dreamed of owning cabins in the mountains and living a life there. And, being the can-do type of woman that she was, she did just that. She followed her dreams and made them her reality.

This was where Deacon entered her life. He came every few months and rented cabin eleven. Each time it was the same: cash, few words, nothing else, and then he was gone again. Outwardly he showed no sign of either caring for her as a person or noticing her as a woman except for a few fleeting moments when something slipped and she knews that somewhere deep down he cared, even if he hid it from the world.

"He scared the heck out of me. But this was only part of the reason he scared the heck out of me. The other part, the bigger part, was even feeling all that, I had a nearly-overwhelming urge to go to him and wrap my arms around him. Tight. And maybe never let go. For eternity."

So their relationship grew over the years. It was a slow burn and a beautiful build up. No insta-love, but rather a genuinely believable progression. His job took him away frequently for weeks or months at a time... and even though it seemed that he wanted nothing to do with her, the more they got to know each other, the more it became clear just how much this badass man really cared for her.

"I'm away, Cassie, do not ever doubt this is precisely where I'd rather be."

Cassidy was an absolutely amazing, strong woman and one of the best heroines KA has written. Oh my gosh, this girl was AWESOME!!! She was in charge of her life, earning her way, following her dreams and her heart, and making something beautiful out of it.

I loved the way she saw right through Deacon's cold, distant, aloof, badass exterior and wasn't intimidated by him. It's like she instinctively knew he was a good man no matter how dangerous he seemed. It really warms my heart seeing such strong heroines who aren't afraid to go toe-to-toe with the Alphas!!

"So he was scary. So he was badass. So he was closed off in a way that he'd made clear more than once he was never going to open.
I didn't care.
I had this one shot, the only one I knew I'd ever get, so I was going to take it."

Beneath his stone cold exterior, Deacon was a wonderful hero. Such a good guy. He was really deep, respectful, kind, caring, protective... and everything you can imagine from a genuinely good person. He lived in a dangerous world but it didn't define him. His actions defined him and that was enough for me.

"Not easy, fightin' your pull. Wantin' to be right here. Knowin' I was no good for you. Prayin' you'd get a man so when I'd come back I'd have a reason to stay away."

Cassie's on-going list of badass do's and don'ts throughout the book were too funny!! Not to mention the Badass Zones and Badass Boundaries... all of these kept a big smile on my face for pages on end.

"Don't be playful when I'm feeling emotional."
"You get I'm a badass."
"Hard to miss, Deacon."
"Then don't tell me when to be playful. Badassess don't like that shit."

I loved their dynamic and the way they always worked towards trying to find a balance between finding equality in the relationship while still respecting each other. He let her be who she was but was always there to have her back and support her without being over bearing. Deacon had somehow found the perfect Alpha balance. And in turn, her strength and kind heart was his perfect match.

He glowered at me.
Then he grinned.
"Total boss."
"A girl has to be when her man's a badass."

Not to mention that this is definitely one of KA's hottest books. There's all manner of kinky bondage in it (but you'll have to be patient, cuz it's in the second half. First comes the relationship development, then comes the kink). But yeah, I was definitely fanning myself!! Hot, hot, hotttttt!!!

"Love is trust, Cassie, you taught me that."

Overall, this is a quiet book. Don't expect edge-of-your-seat drama that's not what this book is about. It's a love story. It's a romance. Just a damaged badass and a big-hearted gal falling in love in the Mountains. Both Cassie and Deacon were really sensible people. Him with a lot of damage and emotional scarring from his past. Her with a big enough heart to just love him for who he was. I loved the way they completed each other. And I loved watching their relationship grow and develop with every new page. As I said, it's a slow burn. But it was realistically paced. Totally awesome. Oh, and kinky too. Don't forget the bondage ;)

There are many different kinds of Alphas and, as long as they have respect for their women, I love them all. But I feel like I had an extra understanding for Deacon. Everything about him made sense. He had no real "Omg-I-Can't-Believe-He-Just-Said-That" moments. Even when he did do shocking things, I just felt, as Cassie did, I felt that there was a reason for his actions. And they usually made sense. He was fair, kind, and caring. The closed-off, secret side of him was understandable. And even when he was distant, I felt like I trusted that there was a good reason for it. He just didn't seem like the kind of guy who would be that way without one. And, as it was later revealed, he did indeed have a good reason. I guess... I just trusted him.

“Anything. You want it, I got it in me to give it to you, you got anything from me.”

In the interest of full honesty, I'll say there were four small things that I had issue with in this book, so it wasn't fully perfect. But none of them were anything big enough to cause me to dislike the book and none of them bad enough for me to go into long detail either. But I'm just telling you that they're there.

Kristen Ashley is so gifted at getting you right inside her characters heads to the point where you feel completely in sync with their thoughts. And the language she writes in is downright awesome. Yes, its english, but it's almost as if she has her very own "badass dialect" that is entirely unique to her. There's Alpha speak, but then there's KA Alpha speak and I absolutely LOVE IT!!!

"If we have daughters I'm starting How to Deal with Badasses when they're five."

His eyes were lit but his expression was full-on tender when he returned, "We have boys, they get How to Deal with Stubborn Bitches Who Argue About Meaningless Shit starting at three."

"Again, women dislike being called bitches," I shot back.

"That'll be part of my lesson to the boys."

Finally, just because I'm being asked this a lot... You can read this as a standalone if you want, but there are cameos from the other guys in the series towards the end of the book. Knowing their stories isn't vital to understanding this one, but being emotionally attached to them might be (otherwise they're just a bunch of Deacon's friends who show up). So it's really up to you. But it can be read alone.

“Heart and soul, gut and balls, I love you. There’s no one I’d rather hold. Not until I’m eighty. Not until the day I die.”

Rating: 4.5 stars. Contemporary Adult Romance.

For more of my reviews, book news and updates:
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Profile Image for Mo.
1,363 reviews2 followers
September 25, 2014

This was “typical” KA. Has the term “KA” been added to any official dictionary yet? It should be! Halfway through I was wanting something more to happen. I think I had a hankering for the exciting stuff that happened in the Colorado series. I read one review that said it was a “slow burn” (Jennifer, I think) and yes, it was. But when we got to about 80% it all sort of took off and we got to know more about Deacon and why he was the way he was.

… dead man walking …

Yes, I love all the flowery, descriptions that come with a KA book. Descriptions of the clothes, the interiors, the sinks even.

The sex is HOT.

“Badasses know what they want, definitely know what they need, and don’t settle for anything less.”

Loved that we got to meet characters from previous books.

“It was my turn to let my eyes travel over his features. Take in his male beauty. Memorize it. Do it knowing that as crazy as it sounded, I’d never forget him. For reasons I didn’t know and would never have the opportunity to understand, there would always be a part of me that would long for him. There would always be thoughts in the back of my mind plaguing me, haunting me, making me wonder, if he let me in, even just a little, how it could have been. I stopped thinking these thoughts when the pad of his thumb whispered across my lips. That was when the tears pricked my eyes. Because I knew that was when he was going to let me go. For always.”

The story focuses on their relationship. On how Deacon wants to be the man for Cassie but is convinced that he can not be.

He is an ass at times. But he does redeem himself. Aw, I loved him.

I found her to be a very strong character. She took no shit from him. She was independent, ran her own business.

Strange how life connected like that ...

I know some reviews hinted that Deacon was not really an “anti-hero” like Knight maybe. TBH, I have read the other books but cannot really remember them. Need to do a re-read maybe.

Any author that incorporates music and lyrics into a book is usually a winner for me. I am a Rock Chick at heart. Eventhough I have not read that series. BTW, Happy Birthday The Boss – yesterday he turned 65!! Looking good, old man!

Yes, I got my epilogue but it was more of a prologue for the next book (well, I thought so).

KA is an auto-buy for me. One or two of her books I have been a bit disappointed in. But, overall, this author can do no wrong.

Profile Image for Jennifer Kyle.
2,414 reviews4,661 followers
September 24, 2014

"It's a beautiful war, baby."
He dipped so close, the tips of our noses
brushed but his eyes never left mine.
"And I...just won."


Deacon and Cassidy’s story was a slow burn tale of a mysterious hot guy named John Priest renting the now infamous cabin number 11 sporadically for several years.

One night their dynamics changes and the couple is left with the question of where do they go from here?

”After last night, we changed,” he responded immediately. “And that change can go two ways. Either I drive away and we never see each other again or I don’t and we find out what that change is gonna mean. Read down to your bones, woman, and do it now. Which way do you want that change to be?”

Cassidy was one kick ass lead and Deacon he was the complete broken alpha package. Cassidy goes for it but who is John Priest/Deacon? He is a mystery that he doesn’t plan on explaining.

”I’m away, Cassie do not ever doubt this is precisely where I’d rather be.”

The sex scenes were on fire and the Queen actually gives a reader a warning and boy did she deliver...


Doubts and questions that Deacon won’t answer breaks these two apart. Deach is left struggling with the man he used to be and the man he has become.

”Tried to be dead again when I left you, Cassie. Dead doesn’t hurt. Tried fuckin’ hard to find it. But I couldn’t find it. You lived in me.”

There were also cameos of all of my favorite guys from previous books in the series and the tie-ins to those books totally wowed me. I loved the progression of the resort as well as the delivery of who Deacon is, what has broken him and my darn Kindle was smoking when Deacon gives himself to Cassidy.

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Overall, the setting was gorgeous I would definitely book a stay if Cassidy would start providing the towels. I loved everything about this book totally K.A. magic for me!


Profile Image for UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish.
1,166 reviews1,636 followers
November 19, 2015

4.5 "It's a beautiful war" stars!

No surprises here - Kristen Ashley rocks it again...my world, that is. Love me some naughty, naughty Deacon.

Love me some Knight, Creed, and Raid...

Can't wait for who's up next!

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 Geri Reads.
1,232 reviews2,066 followers
September 27, 2014
3.5 stars!

Don't be fooled by my rating because I actually enjoyed this book. It was shorter than most KA book which I didn't mind. It was also hot, which was a plus. But...there are a few things that bothered me. Let's get to the positives first.

1. Deacon. I am probably one of the few who didn't mind that Deacon was a watered down version of previous KA alphas especially in this series. We all know what this series is about. The male leads in this series have typically been edgier and darker compared to KA's other series. That said, Deacon was pretty tame in the bossy alpha department. I didn't mind this at all. He had a lot of vulnerabilities for a KA hero, which I really liked.

2. The length. KA made the length work. There were no unnecessary descriptions of clothing, decor or anything.

3. Cassidy. I liked her. She was steady throughout the book.

4. The sex was hot. For sure. Deacon and Cassidy have awesome chemistry which I really liked.

Now, what I didn't like or wasn't too crazy about.

1. The over use of the words like beauty and badass. KA needs to retire beauty. I still can't imagine some badass saying that to a girl while he's banging her.

And a badass wouldn't say badass unless badass is a girl and likes to wear to pink. I don't know. Is there like a rule or something that part of being a badass is not saying the word badass or even acknowledge being one?? Lol! I just found that trite and cringe-worthy.

2. Again with the whole renovation thing. Sigh I had Kaleidoscope flashbacks with that one.

3. The general lack of grittiness that I associated with this series. Don't get me wrong, I liked that this book was relationship-focused but it felt like we only get to see half of Deacon. I missed seeing the other side of him, that part which made him such an asset to Knight & Co. We didn't get to see that here.

As a bonus, I'm also gonna list the things that had me going "Huh" or just generally left me "Meh".

1. The kink. What separates the Unfinished Hero Series from KA's other series was the kink. But frankly, I just generally found them awkward. Not because I don't like them in my books -- God knows I've enjoyed far kinkier books in the past -- but I don't think KA has managed to find her kinky voice yet. It's all very mechanical to me. I found their vanilla sex better.

2. The pacing. Yeah, which sounds contradictory because I liked the length. It wasn't bad but it wasn't great either because there were too many lulls and not too many excitement. It worked in the whole scheme of the book but I wish there could have been more excitement, I guess.

3. The use of songs. Sometimes they work sometimes they don't. Sometimes I just don't care either way. Don't get me wrong I liked the songs KA chose. The messages of the songs fit those moments between Cassie and Deacon. What I wasn't really sure about was the way the two went about it, you know. I'm like, "What are you 15?" I mean, seriously? I kinda expected Deacon to make a mix tape for Cassie to express his feels. Again, nothing wrong with that but Deacon? I mean, maybe a 15 year old Deacon but a 38 year old Deacon? Hmmm...Not gonna lie, I loved Beautiful War but it just...I dunno. It was cute and all but I'm not sure if that was consistent with the characters at all.

Overall, still an enjoyable read. Better than the Promise for sure.
Profile Image for Arini.
857 reviews1,774 followers
February 4, 2021
3.75 Stars

This is basically the erotic version of KA other book, The Gamble, because the setting and plot twist are similar, but with:

↠ a love story that’s not insta (like in The Gamble), waayyy more steamy, and spans over seven years of the lead characters meeting, leaving, and skirting around each other’s feelings until they eventually decide to make a go for it.

↠ a grumpy H you’re going to adore if you’re a reader who cares about safety, celibacy, and that kind of thing. He’s also a man of few words who rarely speaks, but when he does, he’s going to blow your mind and (in KA words) give you a belly whoosh.

↠ a secretive H who (on top of being quiet, scary, and intimidating) carries a lot of guilt and doesn’t ever share his past. He doesn’t necessarily hide it, but he also isn’t being open about it. And it becomes a point of conflict in the third act.

↠ an ornery h who’s talkative, argumentative with the H about nothing and everything, independent, can handle her own in any situation, and manages to build a thriving business from the ground up in under a decade.

As it were, I really liked this book but didn’t love it. I have a few reservations that I think are just a me thing, so you probably won’t mind.

(1) The ENTIRE book is about the main couple’s romance. While it’s fine and dandy, I wish there’d been more side characters, action subplots, and just the usual Rock Chick-esque shenanigans.

(2) The kink is weird. I thought it was supposed to be intense, gritty, and maybe even forceful when it came to BDSM stuff. However, the characters are doing it rather tenderly, lovingly, and they also communicate a lot. Moreover, . Idk the whole thing is just off.

(3) I think it’s unaccepatble to use the word badass as many times as the book does and associate it with the H when he rarely, if ever, get to show his kickass moves and badassness as a bounty hunter.

In short, this book has a captivating beginning but doesn’t quite hold up until the end. Nevertheless, it’s a delightful and sexy romance to read.

(Read as an Audiobook)
Profile Image for Ⓐlleskelle - That ranting lady ッ.
998 reviews827 followers
September 28, 2014

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 STARS ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Friends, I’m a Kristen Ashley fan, but I’m also first and foremost a woman who speaks her own mind. Therefore the following review isn’t just me gushing over another KA book. If I were to fangirl, I’d simply tell you to read everything KA wrote, that I enjoyed all her books, (Okay, you got me here, I DID) and that there’s no reason you wouldn’t too!
No, this review will be about sharing feelings being delivered to me straight to the heart, without any warning. I need to let it out!

(And a warning, you may be on your way to the longest review, ever, so bear with me!)

“Dream come true, seated deep inside you in this bed.
Six years, laid in this bed, you up at the house, wantin’ this.
Dream come true.”

I did not expect the level of emotions I felt reading Deacon and Cassie’ story. I thought I’d signed —wrongly— for a gritty and action packed adventure, cleverly entwined with romance, a dark and broken man and woman finding their reason to be, as it was the case in this series’ previous books. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This book was so much more than the usual action/love story. I didn’t even check the blurb before diving in, I figured it was unnecessary as I loved all the previous Unfinished Heroes, and I’m glad I did so, the surprise was all the more welcomed!

Deacon is the fourth book in Kristen Ashley’s Unfinished Heroes series . We met Deacon briefly in Raid’s book, maybe even Creed…? Damn memory, I guess this calls for a re-read of this series soon! All I remembered was him being kind of a lone wolf.

Cassidy Swallow is an ambitious, self made woman, with her dream all laid out for her, she left her home in Oklahoma with her eyes set on her dream since she’s a teenager. Living her life in the beauty that are Colorado mountains, owning her own business, and enjoying a peaceful and happy life with the man of her heart, Grant. (Come on, she is not the only woman whose dream is going to live in Colorado. That’s where all the Alpha badasses are. Keep a cabin open for me, Cassie!)

Yes, as we enter this story today, Cassidy is 24, and she is just setting up her Rental Cabins business with her boyfriend, Grant. Everything is going according to plan, well, for Cassidy at least.
Grant is just not settling to the business owner’s life, having to prioritize work over play time doesn’t work for him.

Cassidy is becoming more and more conscious of Grant’s moody temper and non support. She doesn’t recognize the man she fell in love back in Oklahoma,

Enters the picture a man, a customer more precisely, interrupting yet another argument between Grant and Cassidy.

“Tall. Dark-haired. Rugged-featured. His large frame built tough and solid.
…he was terrifying.
Huge. Dark. His face a cold, emotionlessness mask.
He existed.
He did not live. He did not feel. He did not smile. He did not laugh.”

Ladies, meet John Priest :

As Cassidy and Grant’s relationship is slowly sinking down the drain, we are spectators to Cassidy slow and steady life as the owner of Glacier Lily Cottages, with glimpses of this mysterious John Priest (our Deacon), returning customer, who continues year after year to rent his secluded cabin 11.

From the moment she laid eyes on him, Cassidy felt an irresistible pull toward her most mysterious customer.
“The other part, the bigger part, was even feeling all that, I had a near-overwhelming urge to go to him and wrap my arms around him.
And maybe never let go.
For eternity.”

I know. Insta lust. Love. But not quite. And you know what? I don’t care, she wasn’t declaring her love and having his babies right this minute. She just knew this was the kind of man whom if he decided to give himself, would be a dream of a man.
For years, their relation will stay purely professional, observing a gradual yearning, wanting, and I loved every aspect of this scarcely slow burn.

Deacon’s not a man she could easily covet anyway, he is closed off, cold, distant and shares only the utter minimum. He doesn’t talk. He mutters. He growls. His words are clipped. And he made sure to give her NO reason to get attached, he made sure to keep her safe.

Until one night, everything is going to finally change, an unfortunate accident in her establishment is forcing Deacon to stay close to Cassie. To show her he cares. That he cared for years.
“Every time I show, I pray to God there’ll be another truck outside your house, a man in your bed. Every time I show, nothin’. You’re alone. No fuckin’ clue why. You the way you are. Goofy. Sweet. Hard-workin’. Happy to sit outside on a porch and sit quiet, doin’ nothin’ but bein’ and listenin’ to a river rush by. The way you look. No man?
It makes no fuckin’ sense. Then you rent a cabin to me knowin’ you should show me the road and that makes even less sense.”

Once again, Kristen Ashley provided steam in spades! From the moment Deacon and Cassie "change", the level of hotness is hitting high, the chemistry between them is explosive, rendering carnal their every touch. The sex scenes that are offered here… I have no words.

Cassidy has an unfulfilled curiosity regarding bondage, and well, Deacon being a man of many talents, demonstrates his skills, and be prepared : Deacon vanilla style is hot, but throw in a little kink and it becomes sizzling hot!!! I saw an update here 2 days ago : "HOSE ME DOWN" (Maura, was it you?)

KA accomplished to enhance my pleasure reading this book even more, by giving me A DIRTY TALKER!!!
I loved Creed for that, but seriously Deacon plays in his own league.

“Baby, that pussy on my mouth, your ass in my hands, the noises you make fillin’ the room, knowin’ I get to drive deep in your wet, tight cunt while you’re still moanin’ for me. Then after I give it to you, and you give it to me, I get to bed down with you tucked tight. You don’t think that makes me happy, you’re fuckin’ crazy.”

“I didn’t just ride you until your pussy exploded. You did that to my dick. Fuck, watchin’ all that beauty go wild, takin’ my cock, enough to undo a man. Add that cunt so wet and tight…Jesus.”

Somehow along the way, Cassidy is breaking this ruthless man’s walls.
With her kindness, her smartass-ness, her Christmas kisses, her eyes and all the little things that makes Cassie who she is. She is giving him a real shot at something genuine, a good life, with an honest and hard working woman.

But Deacon being a shell of a man, a broken man, a man whose dreams have been ripped apart… Well this man is not ready to give it all to Cassie yet. Something’s still having a hold on him, and we can just hope for Deacon to work his shit out. For Cassie’s sake.
“Say something,” I begged on a whisper.
He said nothing.
“Say something,” I repeated, my eyes burning now for a different reason, tears fighting to be unleashed.”
“You need to say something, Deacon. You need to give me something, anything.”
He didn’t speak.
“You said you’d give me anything,” I accused.
“Say something,” I snapped. “You have to. You don’t get that, Deacon.” I jabbed a finger to the picture on the floor. “You don’t get that from me. You don’t bring that in my house. To my cabins. To my bed.” I sucked in breath and screeched, “Say something!”

The story is slow paced, so very so. At one point I felt like this was going nowhere to be honest, I was pondering what was so awesome about this rugged man being domesticated… Still enjoying the characteristic KA touch, but wondering when this "Unfinished Hero" business was going to burst in.

I should have known something was building, something I wasn’t aware of, something beautiful, but before getting "it", I had to know who was behind "Deacon Deacon".
Trust me when I say that Deacon was as "Unfinished" as the others, Knight, Raid, Creed…
From this moment on, with all the music references, knowing all too well the songs KA referred to… It gave me the chills. This gave a whole new meaning to the story. All the little moment and the descriptiveness KA is well known for… Those moments were golden. Even more so after reading the book. I spent 2 days thinking about it all, I’m currently writing this review, listening to Kings of Leon’s Beautiful War.
Make yourself a favor, and when mentioned in the book, play the songs, it’ll enhance the experience, feels, tears guaranteed! (Playlist Youtube : clic)

“Want ’em, woman. Two, definitely, maybe three.”
Oh yes.
Gleefully happy.
“Yeah?” I whispered.
“Yeah,” he whispered back.
“I want two, maybe three, too.”
His eyes lit and he pressed closer. “Miracle.”
That confused me.
“Somethin’ my Cassie Boss isn’t gonna fight about.”

I loved Cassidy, she was smart, sassy, always a retort on the tip of her tongue, that made her a really top of the class KA heroine! I loved her cataloguing of every Badass Behavior, she was hilarious. Witty and sweet, caring and loving. Everything Deacon’s needed to heal.
“Not stupid enough to know I’d win every fight, but you taught me I could take care of a woman again. You taught me I could be trusted with her. You taught me I could make her laugh and smile and you gave me back what it feels like, doin’ that for a woman you love.
…You taught me a lot of things, Cassidy.”

The banter in this book was to die for!!! Kristen Ashley delivered banter at its finest! And it was all the more hilarious to witness this cold man goofing around with Cassie.

“Those two, three babies?”
My body tensed. “Yeah?”
“This stays good, woman, wanna make ’em with you.”
I closed my eyes tight.
“I know that’s too soon. I also don’t give a fuck,” he continued.
“It is not too soon,” I replied firmly.
“Fuck, my Cassie.”
“That’s me, your Cassie. And you’re my Deacon.”
His hand started sliding up my side as his lips ordered, “Quiet.”
“You should know, I’m claiming you.”
“Woman, quiet,” he growled.
“Too much too soon?” I asked, like it was a dare.
“Fuck no.”
“Okay, then quit your bitching.”
He glowered at me. Then he grinned.
“Total boss.”
“A girl has to be when her man’s a badass.”
“Like you weren’t one before.”
“She was one before,” he muttered.

“Jesus, you’re so much of a woman, you’re more woman than any woman I’ve met.”
I started getting peeved again.
“You say that like it’s bad,” I replied sharply.
“Hang on, Cassidy, I’m still adjusting to your last mood swing.”
I glared at him and saw the crinkles by his eyes.
He was teasing.
“Don’t be playful when I’m feeling emotional,” I ordered.
To this, he strangely replied, “You get I’m a badass.”
“Hard to miss, Deacon,” I returned.
“Then don’t tell me when to be playful. Badasses don’t like that shit.”

As much as he was dark and aloof, Deacon was sweet! The things he said to Cassie throughout the book… Lovely things, I was literally swooning every time. For a man who cut ties, a man supposedly rusty, he was at the top of his game!

“Woman, if you don’t already know that you’ve been on my mind every day for the last six years, I got no clue how to communicate that to you. Now that I’ve had you, that shit has not changed. It’s just got worse. Now it’s not every day. It’s every hour. I don’t fight it, every minute. Fuck, every second, I don’t keep it in check. Every second, I’m thinkin’ of you, thinkin’ of gettin’ shit done, but only so I can get back to you.”

The book already won me over, but it was without counting the cameos! Raid, Knight, Creed, Marcus and their woman are making appearances, even Maxwell and Nina are mentioned. I loved it! Kristen Ashley weaved in the Colorado series, the Rock Chick series, The Unfinished Heroes series all in one book!
Deacon was definitely not built the same as the previous books in this series, but this worked really well, in my opinion, the slow built, the gradual emotional pull, the trigger and then the burst of feelings.

Pre-review 9/23/2014

Profile Image for Vishous.
509 reviews561 followers
May 3, 2015


This always happens, Glam sucks me into reading KA whenever I give up on her !

Last 20% I skimmed, more like flew over it, I just couldn't take it anymore, I had no strength in me anymore.

It actually started ok, till it didn't get so sweet that made me almost puke of sweetness and boredom. And nothing happens, seriously nothing at all... no story... nada....

Their dialogues were ridiculous. .. I really don't need to read about her leaking his cum in that weird ridiculous converstion, in such a weird KA talk. And that typical KA talk just doesn't bode well with me mixed with BDSM. It just becomes tacky and literary misses any taste in writing.
It sounds gross honestly...

Then I wondered is that really answer to problems... showing her he let go of his past by allowing her to plug his anus, becuase he told her before that he likes it, even though not his thing and that he would love it more with her so that is a NO NO ! I mean, what does that even mean ? How does that make any sense ? It just triggers lots of "read between the lines" homophobic statements. And even though it ends with her plugging his ass as his declaration of love trust and other BS , it just has no fuckin sense.

Him summoning her with "here" is like calling some dog and throwing stick yelling FETCH !

And his past.... good God could it be more dramatic !?!?!
Seriously..... I think I never eyerolled that hard before.

And yes, when you want to tell him how you feel before "breaking up", the best way is to give usb with a song on it... yes, you are not 30 years old...

And please... please it's really time for KA to find another petting word, because If I ever read honey again......
Profile Image for Brandi.
634 reviews1,275 followers
September 25, 2014


KA has once again delivered a kickass story. I adored Deacon and Cassie. This story focuses on their relationship, unlike most KA books, there are no bad guys waiting in the wings - just two people and a beautiful love story. I loved it.
“Heart and soul, gut and balls, I love you. There’s no one I’d rather hold. Not until I’m eighty. Not until the day I die.”....

“Do you love me too, my Cassie?”...

“Heart and soul, belly and womb, I love you too, Deacon.”
And, this book is steamy. Seriously KA out did herself. These two were on fire ;)

Profile Image for ♥Sharon♥.
971 reviews142 followers
October 5, 2014
4.5 Warm, Sweet, Fluffy Cloud Stars ❤

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I’m sure you’re not surprised that I loved this one. KA has yet to disappoint me really. A couple of her recent books have fallen just a tiny bit short for me but I’ll keep going back.

The Unfinished Heroes series is one of my favorites. Each of the hero’s had a sharp edge to them, were off the grid and of course they were badasses. But with Deacon, there was something different about him. For me this difference was his sweetness and I LOVED it.

“Woman, if you don’t already know that you’ve been on my mind every day for the last six years, I got no clue how to communicate that to you. Now that I’ve had you, that shit has not changed. It’s just got worse. Now it’s not every day. It’s every hour. I don’t fight it, every minute. Fuck, every second, I don’t keep it in check. Every second, I’m thinkin’ of you, thinkin’ of gettin’ shit done, but only so I can get back to you.” ~ Deacon

Cassidy Swallow is following her dream. It is a simple one. She has left home with her boyfriend Grant to live in the Colorado Mountains, renting beautiful cabins while living in all this beauty herself. She knows being a business owner is not an easy life but she is willing to work hard to make her dream come true.

Cassidy and Grant feel the pressures of the hard work involved in making this all work. Cassidy is willing to do whatever it takes but for Grant things begin to unravel. Grant is no longer that person she fell in love with, the one that made the promises of living out her dream.

When Cassidy first meets John Priest (Deacon) he is masked, cold and detached. But she cannot deny this sense of a connection with him. She is drawn to him in a way she can’t explain. As John Priest drifts in and out of Cassidy’s life over a number of years there was an ache, a slow burn between them that neither would acknowledge until one night. Everything changes.

Deacon ~

I said at the beginning that Deacon’s difference is his sweetness. But that is just a sliver of him that I grabbed hold of. Deacon just existed. He didn’t feel things. He didn’t want to. The last time he did, his life had fallen apart. He slipped away from everything and everyone who had been important to him to live a life that didn’t have much meaning.

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“Where do you wanna be when you’re eighty?” “Don’t fuck up and blow my shot, sittin’ on my ass on a chair that I’m glad now has a pad, next to a decent woman with beautiful eyes, lips made to be kissed, and phenomenal hair, listenin’ to a river and starin’ at some trees.”

Cassidy ~

She lived her life with a sense of determination that made her beautiful inside and out. Cassidy spoke her mind, would not settle and was fiery as all hell.

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“I’d been right all those years ago. His eyes had the power to make you feel what he was feeling. Cold to your soul. Or warm in a way you’d never again feel a chill. And that was how I felt right then with Deacon’s eyes smiling into mine. Like I’d never feel cold again.”

I have to admit, things were just chugging along and I was hoping it was going to pick up a bit. Then I felt it. I knew things were going to change and they sure as hell did.

KA did not disappoint when it came to the sex scenes. Has she ever? Deacon and Cassie were explosive and when they began to “play”, HOLY SHIT things were HOT. Deacon loved hard and Cassie harder. She gave her body to Deacon freely and Deacon worshiped EVERY single INCH of HER.

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Watching things shift within Deacon was something else. This badass was surrendering to Cassidy’s genuine love she had for him and it pained him. I just found that to be beautiful. And with each piece of him that he was handing over, Cassidy was holding on tight.

But there was a part of himself that he couldn’t let go of. He couldn’t give her everything and for Cassidy that just wasn’t good enough. How does that saying go? If you love something set it free. If it comes back it’s yours, if it doesn’t it wasn’t meant to be. She needed to let Deacon go.

Such an amazing read. KA doesn’t miss a beat. She gives us everything from freakin amazing characters, detail after detail on the beauty of the location, scorching sex and she always gives us that little something extra . Don’t let this one pass you by ladies!! Deacon is a must read.

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Profile Image for Flo.
286 reviews591 followers
August 16, 2015
5 what are you doing to me KA? STARS

“There was nothing there. He was standing. His blood was coursing through his veins. He was breathing. But that was it. He existed. He did not live. He did not feel. He did not smile. He did not laugh.”

Hands down my favourite Kristen Ashley book I read so far. I really feel like she stepped up her games with this one. Of course there were a few hit and miss things in the last three books, mainly pacing and story flow. But with Deacon I believe she hit the nail on the head...FOR ME. I can't stress this enough. KA books are beautiful for me, but they might not be for the next person. Her style is very unique and needs a little getting used to. Some love it and some hate it.

Now, this story was beautifully crafted, the characters felt very well developed, three dimensional and for me personally it was one of those swoon fests, where I sit in my reading chair, drinking my coffee -ignoring everything around me...while letting a little sigh slip every once in a while. I just felt like coming home.

The thing I liked the most is that Deacon and Cassie are the main characters here, and I mean it. There are very few side characters and even guest appearances by our former heroes, but they are all a side note. It’s very quiet out there in the mountains and beside the cabin guests there aren’t many people around.

I know what you’re thinking...shut up and tell us what it's all about, Flo! No problem here it goes:

“It's a beautiful war, baby." He dipped so close, the tips of our noses brushed but his eyes never left mine. "And I...just… won.”

Cassidy Swallow has had one dream all of her life. Ever since her parents took her on holiday in the Colorado Mountains the first time she imagined owning a few cabins and living her life filled with nature, breathtaking beauty and skiing.

At twenty-four she is finally living the dream. Right out of college she found some cabins for sale and with a little help from her dad she bought them and is now determined to fix them up.

Cassie is a hard working, independent and very kind woman. She knows what she wants and she is willing to sacrifice for her dreams and work hard. Her boyfriend Grant, who initially was quite fond of the whole moving to Colorado idea is not so hard working and more of a live your life on the girlfriend's dime kind of guy.

No surprise that a lot of fights and drama ensue. I think you can imagine that this relationship is doomed and dead in the water.

But there is hope...in cabin ELEVEN!

“Not easy, fightin’ your pull. Wantin’ to be right here. Knowin’ I was no good for you. Prayin’ you’d get a man so when I’d come back I’d have a reason to stay away.”

Deacon Gates is the definition of mystery. For starters, we don't know his real name until halfway through the book. Mister tall, dark and brooding goes by the name John Priest most of the time. You guessed it, there is a story behind it and you have to read the book to find out.

Deacon he has been visiting the Glacier Lily Cottages and cabin eleven, since before Cassie added the new name. One day he appears for one of his frequent visits and finds not only a new owner, but also said owner in a fight with her bastard boyfriend.

There is absolutely no indication as to what he thinks about that, since the book is written in Cassie's POV and he has the brooding-and-I'm-dangerous-don't-look-at-me mask down to a T. Only clue we get is that Deacon comes back...a few times a year, not saying much, spending time in his favourite cabin #11, occasionally helping Cassie out of a bind - or turning up on Christmas.

In fact it takes six years before the relationship turns into something else.

Didn't see that one coming did you? Yeah, patience is essential here.

“In this bed, out of it. Naked or not. No boundaries. All in. Nothin’ held back.” He pressed his hips between my legs and I drew in a sharp breath. “You’re all mine, Cassidy, every fuckin’ inch. And I’m all yours, just the same.”

It is quite obvious that this book is a slow burner, but in the best of ways. Excellent execution on the author's part and addictive like nothing else. Maybe coffee...but you know that already. ;D

I love the way Cassie and Deacon slowly feel each other out. Imagine Cassie trying to pet a wild animal and she makes a slow and careful approach. It takes a long time to get there, but eventually all the walls come down...a kitchen table may or may not be involved. And what happens after is incredibly fascinating to read and makes my heart go all mushy. It’s just a gorgeous and sometimes painful love story; about partnership, healing and trust.

Deacon is such a stunning character. He is broken almost beyond repair, has one hell of a difficult past, which forced him to give up on life and happiness a long time ago. Cassie is his silver lining...he just has to accept the fact and get his moves on.

“I’d been right all those years ago. His eyes had the power to make you feel what he was feeling. Cold to your soul. Or warm in a way you’d never again feel a chill. And that was how I felt right then with Deacon’s eyes smiling into mine. Like I’d never feel cold again.”

By now you know I loved this book and I'm sorry for rambling like a crazy person without giving too much away, but I wanted to write a long and hopefully fitting review, to a book I shall forever be happy to re-read. ;D

Also, and that's just for my kinky ones out there...once Deacon and Cassie decide to do something about the attraction they had from day one they also play a little...and sometimes they play a lot.

Wonderful book that hit all my hot spots. From start to finish something I would recommend to anyone who will listen.

Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,868 reviews2,243 followers
August 15, 2015
3.5 Beautiful war stars

This is when I really wish Goodreads had half stars. Because this book really is a strong 3.5 and not a 4 for me. But I wouldn't lower it to a 3. So I'll make do.

“Badasses know what they want, definitely know what they need, and don’t settle for anything less.”

At the age of twenty four Cassidy took out a loan and bought a small smattering of 11 run down cabins in the Colorado Mountains. This story takes place over the next 6-8 years and while Cassidy is slowly fixing up the place, she has one returning customer, and that's the brooding and mysterious John Priest. He's gruff, doesn't speak much, and a little bit rude. But there's a draw between John and Cassidy, and over the years as he keeps coming back to Glacier Lily (the name of the cabins), the two begin to give in.

Cassidy knew from the first moment she saw him he was dead inside, she just didn't know how far gone he really was. Can Cassidy save him from himself? Or will he break her in the process?

“Woman, if you don’t already know that you’ve been on my mind every day for the last six years, I got no clue how to communicate that to you. Now that I’ve had you, that shit has not changed. It’s just got worse.”

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I enjoyed this book I really did, but being The Queen of romance that Kristen Ashley is, this series is not my favorite by her. Yes, it's a little darker and has a lot more kinky sex, but her usual depth was missing for me with this one. Maybe because the plot was so centralized around these two characters? All in all this book is a great example of same formula and different character names with more kinky sex.

Plus, those of you who know me well know my golden rule: You fuck up, then you'd better fucking grovel. And I'm sorry but in my honest opinion, Deacon was forgiven for his actions WAY too easily. I understand how messed up he was and why, and he did his best to mend fences, but I lose all respect for the main female characters when they just give in and take a dude back. To me it makes them a little bit more of a doormat.

“You’re a vulnerability,” he ground out. “My vulnerability. I have no vulnerabilities. I spent years shavin’ every last one away from me so there was nothin’ left. Now I got one, a big one, and I do not give one fuck.”

Not to go on about what I didn't like so here are some positives: I love stories about messed up men. Cassidy didn't fix Deacon all by herself but she led him on the path back to a good life and back to being the good man he once was. Cassidy worked her ass off to succeed and she earned every little bit of success that came her way. I find that admirable. We as readers got to see her grow over the years, she just wasn't magically successful like some women in romance novels who pop out of college a ruthless business woman making millions. So nice to read about a hardworking woman.

So overall, I think KA fans who loved Knight would love this one. Being as Knight wasn't my cup of tea, I wasn't in love with this book either. But honestly, (in a not so eloquent phrasing) Kristen Ashley books are like chocolate, even if it's not the best or the most gourmet, it's still enjoyable and fun to consume.

“It's a beautiful war, baby." He dipped so close, the tips of our noses brushed but his eyes never left mine. "And I...just… won.”
Profile Image for Daeneryz.
74 reviews
October 12, 2017
Re-read october 2017. Still good,but not my fave KA though.

Withdrawal symptoms are getting stronger. ......I NEED A NEW KA BOOK FRIKKIN NOW!!!!
Dude, I'm in pain! Everythin else I've read lately is shit compared to a KA book and I can't wait till November (Colorado)...it's too long!! So dearest Kristen, show some pity on a poor soul and release this book soon...like yesterday. Ok, I'll shut up now.
Profile Image for Pam.
1,093 reviews1,027 followers
January 12, 2015
5+ make me happy stars
“Heart and soul, gut and balls, I love you. There’s no one I’d rather hold. Not until I’m eighty. Not until the day I die.”

John Priest. Deacon.
He existed. He did not live. He did not feel. He did not smile. He did not laugh.

Cassidy Swallow. Cassie
“Best lay, bar none. Funniest bitch, bar none. Finest woman, bar none. And all of that better every day.”

At thirteen, Cassidy dreamed up a plan to own peaceful cabins up by the river in the Colorado mountain, sitting on her porch and enjoying the peace that this place brings. Now years later she is finally ready to live that dream; she isn't scared or put off by all of the work that needs to be done, but it would be nice to not have to go at it alone. John Priest stumbled on this dream, and over the course of the years he's made it a sad excuse for a home. Never giving anything away, just content to be in the cabin in remote location fighting a strong pull for the beautiful owner.
“Not easy, fightin’ your pull. Wantin’ to be right here. Knowin’ I was no good for you. Prayin’ you’d get a man so when I’d come back I’d have a reason to stay away.”

He's tried all he can to stay away, not knowing when he would come, or what he would do, trying to find a reason to let her live her life without him in it. Cassidy knowns nothing about the stranger in Cabin Eleven, but from the very first day they met, she can't help but hope that this man she should fear, would sit and talk a while and possibly do a whole lot more...
"Why cabin eleven was home to me for a few days every year, the only home I had, ’cause you were there.”

Deep in her bones she knows, just as Deacon knows, that what this is, this burn they'd shared for years, is nothing to turn your back on. Risking the change to find what it all means, demands a whole lot of trust. Deacon doesn't share, she knows it's for the best, but how can she give her all to a man she doesn't know in the most basic sense. She knows the man he is inside but is that enough? For now it has to be...
The one. The world. The man made for me. The man I was going to fall in love with. The only man I’d ever really love. That was why I’d made my choice. That was why I would long for him if he’d decided to leave me.

Struggling with wanting to be happy, and wanting it all, Cassie has to decide if being with a man like Deacon is worth the lies and the heartache every time he goes away, hoping that one day he would stay and never leave...
“Love is trust, Cassie, you taught me that.”

Deacon was everything I hoped it would be and so much more... A alpha man that only KA can create, how he can be so strong, protective and controlling but do it with such tenderness. He earned his Hero title with all that he's been through and Cassie was the perfect woman for him to get him to come back to the world of the living. Cassie is an old soul, who never wanted much just a man to love her and to grow old with sitting on her porch and watching the peace of the river flow by. She is stubborn and is a total boss, no pushover here at all. Deacon was a man who drowned in his past but in Cassie found the breath brought back in him, making him smile, laugh and simply happy.

Their story was told from both their POV, which is a real treat, getting to see their turmoil, their happiness and their longing. Everything about them screamed too good to be true, always waiting for the last shoe to drop and when it did, holy hell, did it ever. A wonderful heartfelt tale of a man who lost his way and the woman who guided him back. It was HOT, smart, witty, funny and beautiful; just what anyone would expect from the great Kristen Ashley!

***The ending, holy shit, I am super excited for who's book is up next, because that bad boy has a lot to make right...and I have a feeling the entire gang will be back, full force!
Profile Image for Christie«SHBBblogger».
965 reviews1,248 followers
September 26, 2014
Full review now posted

Series:Unfinished Hero #4
Author:Kristen Ashley
Release date:September 23, 2014
Rating:3.5 stars

Well. Here I go again, rating another Kristen Ashley book...average?? Kristen Ashley is so much more than average. She's put out many of my all-time favorite books. So amazing that I'm stuck to those pages so hard you couldn't tear me away if my house was on fire. I would still be clutching my book saying in annoyance, "Hey! I'm reading here!" I've re-read some of her books so many times, I could probably recite long stretches of dialogue without pausing to think. This author has the ability to transport me into her character's minds, emotions, and lives and make me want to stay there for a good, long time. That being said, I feel like crying, but this book in the end, wasn't a spectacular read for me. I need a hug, guys.

It started out so fresh, promising, and SO exciting. I was absolutely positive this was going to be a 5 star read. And then something happened. The interaction between the hero and heroine started feeling less thrilling and more repetitive. It started to feel like I was dragging instead of racing. And the sex went from "Holy Mother-that's hot" to "What?!" And I was left wondering, what went wrong?

I'm breaking this book into two halves because I had a polar opposite reaction to both parts.

First half:

It started out with a bang. Kristen Ashley tends to stick with what she does best: Alpha heroes, sassy heroines, and lots of bantering and antics. Which is just fine because she does that to perfection. But this time around, there was a refreshing, distinctive feel to the story. It was just so different. And I was loving it.

Cassie bought some beautiful cabins in the mountains for a song with plans to fix them up and experience her simple dream of living in that beautiful peace of country and having a peaceful fulfilling life. Deacon is the mysterious, intense, and silent man that rents the same cabin from her off and on throughout the months and years. Her first impression of him was that he was intimidating and sexy in a really scary way. His look burned right through her-I felt the heat between them immediately.

I loved how they just had brief moments of interactions through a long period of time. They gradually fell deeper without having to say a word. The push and pull between them was perfection.

There would always be thoughts in the back of my mind plaguing me, haunting me, making me wonder, if he let me in, even just a little, how it could have been.

The anticipation that was built was a thick and tangible thing. It was crazy good! The moment Deacon's willpower to stay away finally crashed and burned, I was eating it up. It was delicious, sexy, and fierce.

When they finally get together, it's finally revealed what was behind his stoic, impenetrable wall. He never gave a hint of what he was feeling away out of protection for her, but now he can't hold himself back anymore. Just a taste of her has him addicted.

"Not easy, fighting' your pull. Wantin' to be right here. Knowin' I was no good for you. Prayin' you'd get a man so when I'd come back I'd have a reason to stay away."

They tentatively try to forge a relationship together. They both realize that this thing they have is special. Despite Deacon's inability to share about much of anything about himself and his need to leave for periods of time unexpectedly without warning for work...Cassie is blindly putting her trust in him and taking a leap of faith. When Deacon is with her, he's everything she's always wanted in a man-intensely passionate, supportive, and he seems to savor the peace that she's found on that side of the mountain just as much as her.

Second half:

This is pretty much where it got stuck for me. My genuine feelings were that everything I was enjoying before started getting stuck on repeat and I started to feel that the plot was slowing way down as the erotica was building in the sex.

The kink:
I already knew that this book was going to be kinky. I mean, it's her erotic series so I was already expecting it. But for me, the kink wasn't working. I wasn't feeling it, it honestly felt weird. You're warned in the beginning about the anal play, I knew it was there, and I was fine with it. I read erotic books so that's a non issue. But what I didn't care for was the scene with him trying to prove his total trust in her during sex at the end. I couldn't conceive of him ever being okay with letting her do that to him-he even told her earlier in the book that he didn't care for it and yet suddenly he was asking her to do it and then...enjoying it? It felt off and it felt like it was added purely for the sake of pushing the erotic boundaries. Maybe it's just me. Plus, Cassie's secret desires that were revealed didn't feel natural to the rest of the story. They kind of came out of nowhere and vanilla disappeared with a POOF.

Second thing I wasn't feeling:The serious repetition of them discussing how much of a badass he is. (There are 52 badass references in the book. 52.) At first, I thought it was cute and funny, but after a while, it was seriously excessive. The more they talked about it, the less badass he seemed. Do badasses actually refer to themselves as badass? Maybe if we were shown why he is one a few times, it would work better, but after they hook up the story pretty much centers around them building their relationship.

Lastly:It bothered me how naive and trusting she was of him after a while. She blindly believed his integrity based on....what? He was so secretive with her! And after

I wish I could have rated this higher given the fact that I insanely loved the first half, but I didn't end the book with a happy feeling. I felt conflicted and out of sorts. I loved the dynamic between Cassie and Deacon. I loved that there was a fresh originality to the plot that was so exciting to read. I loved this couple's passion and intensity. But as much as I loved those things, I didn't feel them all the way through. Kristen Ashley is cemented as one of my favorite authors however, and I know so many people won't agree with all my issues, so if you're planning on reading this, It could very easily be a huge hit for you. This has the potential to be a huge success.

**ARC provided in exchange for an honest review**


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Profile Image for *J* Too Many Books Too Little Time.
1,921 reviews3,458 followers
September 28, 2014

I'll admit, I don't read a lot of KA books! Frankly, they're just too damn long! This series is the only one I've been consistent with and it still felt like it took me forever to read this one!

But with that being said, every KA book I do end up reading I end up liking. It's just a matter of taking the plunge!

So....I don't have a lot to compare to, but I enjoyed this one! Even though honestly not much happened!

It's always been Cassidy's dream to live in the mountains if Colorado! In her early 20s, she buys a set of run down cabins and sets about making her dreams a reality!

Over the next six years, Deacon rents cabin 11. Deacon is a typical KA alpha male!

Most of the book Deacon remains a mystery. He pops in and out of Cassidy's life. They rarely speak but there's that underlying connection that burns between them!

“In this bed, out of it. Naked or not. No boundaries. All in. Nothin’ held back.” He pressed his hips between my legs and I drew in a sharp breath. “You’re all mine, Cassidy, every fuckin’ inch. And I’m all yours, just the same.”

You know from the other books in the series, that Deacon is involved in some unsavory activities. He can't and won't open up to Cassidy. But she's willing to take whatever Deacon will give her.

Deacon's resolve finally crumbles and he gives in to what he feels for Cassidy! He still leaves for periods of time to work but he always returns back to Cassidy! The more time they are together, the more Deacon wants to leave that life behind.

When Deacon's past becomes part of his present, Cassidy has to decide if the bits and pieces Deacon has given her are enough. And Deacon will have to let go of his past once and for all if he wants a future with Cassidy!

“It's a beautiful war, baby." He dipped so close, the tips of our noses brushed but his eyes never left mine. "And I...just… won.”

While the majority of the plot focused on Deacon and Cassidy and the development of their relationship, I was really never bored! Deacon was just as drool worthy as every other KA alpha hero I've read about. He was fierce, he was protective and he loved Cassidy hard! Cassidy was a strong heroine. She was sarcastic, she was stubborn, and she didn't let Deacon get away with anything!

The kink was a bit weird for me, but there wasn't an over abundance of it. The vanilla sex was off the charts hot though!

So yeah, I liked this one. I liked Deacon, I liked Cassidy and I especially liked Bossy and Priest!!

Profile Image for Ingie.
1,358 reviews168 followers
September 9, 2015
Written June 6, 2015

4.2 Happy Smiling Stars - Sweet story, great narrator and just the right length

The new KA audiobook published in April 2015. Only $6 for 11:20 hrs well written romance narrated by Stella Bloom.

~ My twentieth book by Kristen Ashley.... in two years. ~

A man who thought he lost everything found the woman who gave him everything. Yet another happiness pills from a contemporary romances master. Everything is here, just to soak up and enjoy.


Colorado Mountains
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“Badasses know what they want, definitely know what they need, and don’t settle for anything less.”

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‘The one. The world. The man made for me. The man I was going to fall in love with. The only man I’d ever really love.’

Deacon is the story about Cassidy "Cassie" Swallow who wants to fulfill her childhood dreams about the mountain (winter) land. Living a sweet life, skiing, owning some nice cabins and living in a house by a river surrounded by aspen and pine. She is still young and she has it.

One of Cassie's first guest tenants is the mysterious John Priest (aka Deacon Gates). He is soon a "steady" guest, comes a few times every years, stay a couple of days or a week, they don't talk that much but Cassie can't forget him. Cabin 11 is his, decorated for him. This big (dangerous? — but tempting) stranger becomes more interesting, awaited and important in Cassie's life.

Than one day something happens and Deacon stay. A grand steaming hot love story starts at last...
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Deacon has it all (...more or less). Some freaking sweeeeet tender moments, hot steaming bedrooms adventures, friends and family stuff, food and cake baking, heartbreaking scenes, grand lovely "speaks", a tough manly grunting KA-man and a super über nice talkative KA-woman. We get the usual as interior details, girls talk, guys talk, dirty talking, slightly strange words to give affection to the woman you love (this time 'Woman'), and a extremely sensitive but strong sexy alpha male (three-words) hero.

All in all another yummy sweet and heartwarming cozy Kristen Ashley tale. This time in the more (kinky) explicit erotic romances genre (as this "Unfinished Hero" series is expected to be).

There are parts with BDSM like kink, toys and playing. Not my favorite topic in romances but Ms Ashley tells it in a beautiful tender way. It never went to far —for me— it just felt like love making and ended as a romantic way of showing deep trust. For them both. I liked that. Jippie, for equality ...everywhere!
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Then he settled us in our customary going to sleep position. I listened to his breath even and I was relaxed, totally. Happy, completely. Fulfilled, undeniably.
But I still could talk.
“I loved that.”
“Got that when you came hard and loud, nearly bowing the headboard.”
I grinned against his chest.’

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Sometimes it becomes slightly tedious with this grunting cave-man talk, and very strange monosyllabic communication, but whatever, you can not but be charmed and enamored. ~ As always. Simply awesome.


This Deacon novel is #4 in the (standalones) "Unfinished Hero" series. My third read. ~ I liked the very kinky #1 - Knight (4 stars) and liked even more (loved) the easier and nicer #3 - Raid (4.2 stars).

The narrator Stella Bloom here does it great. She is perfect for a Kristen Ashley story on audio. Looking forward to hear her lovely voice again. (She is very good doing male characters too.) ~ Applause!!


As a VERY nice gift we get to meet the whole "series"-gang also. Just short but it was fun.

I LIKE - swoon-worthy men and sweet grand love

Deacon's song to Cassie:
Profile Image for ✦❋Arianna✦❋.
790 reviews2,530 followers
September 26, 2014


What makes Kristen Ashley’s books unputdownable? The fantastic storyline? The handsome, sexy alpha males? The smart, sassy heroines? The unique style? Or maybe the brilliant writing? Well,…all of the above, because nothing compares with KA’s books, at least for me. Every single book that I read by Kristen Ashley moved me in some way, every single book left me reflecting, every book warmed my heart.

I must admit, this book wasn’t my favorite by this author, (because for me, no book is more wonderful than “At Peace” ), but it was for sure a wonderful experience.

"Deacon” is book four in Kristen Ashley’s “Unfinished Hero” series. This is the story of a broken man, Deacon and the wonderful woman who will heal his heart, his soul and give him what he needs and more, Cassidy (Cassie).

"It's a beautiful war, baby."
He dipped so close, the tips of our noses
brushed but his eyes never left mine.
"And I...just won."

I’m not gonna retell the blurb, because I don’t want to give anything away..so..

I loved both Deacon and Cassie. Like any Kristen Ashley’s characters, they are strong characters and they are very well developed through the entire story. Cassie is your usual KA’s heroine. She’s smart, she’s strong, she’s sassy, she knows what she wants and she loves, with all her heart.

Deacon is dark and he has, let’s just say, an unusual job. He can’t escape the past and the memories are still haunting him.

“He was breathing.
But that was it.
He existed.
He did not live. He did not feel. He did not smile. He did not laugh.”

I really, really felt for him.

Cassie will change him and will affect him like no other. With Cassie he will feel alive, he will want to live, he will want a future, he will want to love again. Deacon is bossy, protective and most of all he loves Cassie. And when a KA’s alpha male loves, he loves…till the end.

“Anything. You want it, I got it in me to give it to you, you got anything from me.”


The story presents Deacon and Cassie relationship, the good and the bad, how they learn to live and love again. I loved all the beautiful and sweet moments between them. There are plenty of them and each one of them left me with a smile on my face. I loved how they get to know each other, trust each other and how open they are with each other.

The sex scenes are extremely hot, intense, passionate, sometimes vanilla and sometimes kinky...

“Baby, that pussy on my mouth, your ass in my hands, the noises you make fillin’ the room, knowin’ I get to drive deep in your wet, tight cunt while you’re still moanin’ for me. Then after I give it to you, and you give it to me, I get to bed down with you tucked tight. You don’t think that makes me happy, you’re fuckin’ crazy.”

...and their chemistry is so great.


The banter between Deacon and Cassie is fantastic and the funny moments hilarious.

“Fuckin’ beautiful, but a pain in my goddamned ass,” he muttered.
“Same here, Supreme Leader of the Badasses.”
“Case in point.”
“You’re messing up my hair.”
“Another case in point.”
“Are you gonna kiss me or just stand there, messing up my hair and annoying me?”

Loved the beautiful epilogue - all the lovely moments between Deacon and Cassie, between them and their friends, between them and their families. The story and the characters like in every book by this author felt real and their story relatable.

I expected more action, but the lack of it and the lack of drama didn’t bother me too much, maybe because I enjoyed so much the love story between Deacon and Cassie.

All in all, “Deacon” was a great story with an engaging storyline, endearing characters and like always captivating writing.

Can't recommend this one highly enough!!!

“Love is trust, Cassie, you taught me that.”

Profile Image for Jen .
804 reviews586 followers
October 1, 2014
3.25 to 3.5 Stars but I'm rounding up

I truly liked but didn't love this one. I've been disappointed in the post-douchebag reactions my KA heroines have been exhibiting as of late and I'm happy to say Cassie kinda, sorta in her own way stood firm. I also loved the fact Deacon never blamed Cassidy for his actions because his baggage was all on him. I think my overall mehness with this one comes from the fact that every KA book is indeed heavily laced with KAisms. I'm making that a word, by the way. Lots of "yeah" used as a question, whispered answers and men going deep.

My favorite part of this book, despite the KA cliches, was Deacon' s love of Cassidy and his backstory. My heart broke just a wee bit for this man and I loved how he gathered his shit and made his life work.

Yep, I liked it but I still miss the Kristen Ashley stories I first came to love several years ago. I need a brand spanking new Tate in the worst possible way!
Profile Image for Wendy'sThoughts.
2,658 reviews3,254 followers
April 16, 2022
4.5 Cabin 11 Stars
* * * * 1/2 Spoiler Free-Warning, Long Ass Review
Relationships; loving another person....how do we do it? Sometimes it can be so clear... so easy to just connect and know... he is for you, you for him, and the both of you figure it out from there.

Other times...it is much more complicated. You see there is something... a hidden sweetness or strength that will call to you... something so strong, it defies logic and you will commit whether you should or not; whether it will be returned with the same response... it just is your calling to love this person.... and you do.

This is a very difficult type of love to experience. You will sometimes receive equal or greater love back... but many times it is not felt day in and day out... it can disappear even when the other person is standing right next to you... they mentally go to other places. They need to do this ... you will either decide to cut your losses or if you are in it for the long haul; giving them the space to work things out and come back to you. Both choices are valid and real...and both choices can take place at any given moment in these types of loves/relationships.

But make no mistake... these types of loves are very powerful and strong... and when they are supportive at their core for each other... they find a way to work through everything...they come out stronger and freer in the end.

This was what I took away from reading Deacon by Kristen Ashley.
This was the fourth part of her Unfinished Hero series. This series is her darker erotic storytelling. It also has taken the same tone she has done in many of her more recent books; she focuses on the relationships rather than her trademark action.

Many of her long-time fans have commented on missing these parts of her stories... feeling without them, the reading can drag. As a huge KA fan, I see both sides of this. If you are looking for KA's suspense, chases and kidnappings then this book could be a disappointment for you. This is a snapshot of love between two people which developed over years. It finally is brought out into the open and then the two have to figure out how to compromise, learn from each other, and truly commit equally.

We have met Deacon in past books- he is that dark, hulk of a man- fearless, wearing pain and the acceptance of it like the thermal on his back. He doesn't talk much, his presence is enough... he's not a poser- he is the real deal. He is also a dead man walking; there is no light in his eyes...He may be a vision in maleness.. handsome with a face any company would want to pitch their products in magazine ads but there is no acknowledgment of it. He is a man off the grid... his life led him to his current calling; he works in a world that must be dealt with... so everyday people can live clean. To the government, he does not exist; no home, bank account, or job. He calls himself John Priest and when needing downtime, he has gone to a group of cabins off the beaten path in a small town in Colorado.

This time he goes to register and interrupts the new owner fighting with what looks like her man. He stands there taking it all in... not missing anything... the charged atmosphere, the attitude of the guy, and most of all, the beauty of the woman before him... he sees it all but none is reflected through his face or body. With brief words, the transaction is done... revealing he is a cash-only/not with the rules kind of guy. He asks for cabin 11- it being the most secluded on the property, takes his key, and leaves.

The new owner, Cassidy, has been hit by the moment. She saw it all in the brief look between Deacon and her. The existing not living in his eyes; the mask he wears and the possibility of what those eyes could offer if there was happiness and warmth behind them. He is a frightening man but she senses she has no need to fear him. She files this away and then needs to deal with her relationship with Grant.

Cassidy is a woman with a plan; with goals and isn't afraid to work for them. She was raised in a very functional family; it gave her a strong supportive mother and a father who was everything a girl could wish for. He taught her the worth of a day's hard work, the feeling of accomplishment. He was a man others looked up to in their community. But the best was he believed in her dream of owning and creating a place to live and work in Colorado.

When she was 13, the family did a trip there and she fell in love with the beauty of the mountains, streams, and nature. She held onto the dream and as she went through school, and later college, she worked to make the dream a reality. She also fell in love with a man, one who told her he believed in her dream, too. He encouraged her to find a place to make a home. He committed to doing all of the construction and renovation with her as his contribution to her purchase of the cabins she found on the market. She was buying them with her capital and her father's loan and he was going to contribute with sweat equity. They left Oklahoma together and embarked on this quest. But what Cassidy thought would be the dream; working side by side to make these cabins into something of beauty... quickly became a nightmare. Grant was more interested in playing, snowboarding, and meeting new drinking buddies in town than doing the necessities of getting the cabins ready for the season. Light fixtures needed installing, rooms painted and floors sanded. Grant never understood doing these things together was the pleasure, the dream.

This is how the story is set... and what happens is a slow burn and build for both Deacon and Cassidy. We live through the final straw with Grant and Cassidy kicking him out; we experience Deacon coming in and out of Cassidy's life over the years... her thoughts of him and her reaching out without scaring him off. Because between the two of them, unspoken rules have been established... and as long as Cassidy plays by them... Deacon will keep coming back.

A few specifics happen over the years bringing them closer but not as lovers... just as two people who have an undercurrent that both are aware of but don't dare address. A final occurrence takes place at the cabin with a group of teenagers there unsupervised by their parents. Deacon is staying in his cabin 11 but is not there in the evening when Cassidy must address crazy music and underage partying in one of her cabins. She has her baseball bat and flashlight; marches raps on the door and confronts 4 teenage boys in the midst of a possible assault on the teenage girls. The situation progresses ugly quickly and Cassidy is about the call the cops when the atmosphere changes in an instant... Deacon is standing behind her and from there he gives her the lead but also has her back. Things are handled...done right by the girls and the boys are taken to task with choice words from Cassidy and the presence of Deacon.

Once things are settled... Deacon and Cassidy have their life-changing confrontation...what takes place from there is the bulk of the story. It is a study of these people; their strengths, humor, their way of reacting to the uncertainty, and the realization of what is needed by each in order to be in this relationship.

This has all of the flavors of KA; the same phrases, the same alpha male quirks, and the same way of being in the gal's head. KA has a way of using words... stringing them together in a way where most of the time... they would make no sense... but she has trained us, her readers, to learn her language. We accept the sentence structure; we get the thought processes of the characters... we get it all and it actually gives us comfort. For it is unique to her- others have tried to create similar ways of writing... and without the same success.

She has also created IMO a very special type of woman for Deacon. No weeping willow- a strong mighty oak... a woman who is clear in all she wants- from her dream to reality to her sexual wants. Cassidy is a very strong woman... she does not roll over and just become passive when Deacon is set in what he has decided... she holds true to herself and has the intelligence to know when to pick her battles- and the very best- no baby talk, no nicknames for body parts and sex drive equal to Deacon. There is a running banter about what is appropriate for being a Badass... which is done throughout the book... I got it, understood the use but at times it could wear a little.

Deacon is developed as an everyman who experienced a life-changing event ripping him apart in ways that cannot heal. He is a man who has found a level of hell to live in on this earth. He has made his way; does what has been necessary and knows at some point, he will be able to walk away from what he is doing now. Cassidy stirs a want in him which had been dormant... he had set needs aside. Who she is; what he sees in her... he cannot turn away.

The attraction and chemistry between them are natural and flow. There is humor- dry...smart and cutting. There is stubbornness and then there is a level of Sweet...

I really don't know if men like this exist. Sometimes I think the classification of these stories should be fantasy/romance. Because with the dialogue, the level of honesty, the authentic love between the characters with them actually communicating this openly....and then to add the sexual freedom they have with each other...

it just makes me go hmmmmm, where do I find that... sign me up, please!

This is a love story with an end... but with also a cliffy for the entire series. KA has set us up for the next book and every one of the characters from Unfinished Heroes will be front and center. I will have my click-click finger poised and ready.

Knight (Unfinished Hero, #1) by Kristen Ashley Knight (Unfinished Hero, #1)
Creed (Unfinished Hero, #2) by Kristen Ashley Creed (Unfinished Hero, #2)
Raid (Unfinished Hero, #3) by Kristen Ashley Raid (Unfinished Hero, #3)
Deacon (Unfinished Hero, #4) by Kristen Ashley Deacon (Unfinished Hero, #4)
Sebring (Unfinished Hero, #5) by Kristen Ashley Sebring (Unfinished Hero, #5)

For more Reviews, Free E-books and Giveaways
Profile Image for Patrycja.
639 reviews3,793 followers
September 28, 2014

Title: Deacon
Series: Unfinished Hero #4
Author: Kristen Ashley
Release Date: Sepetember 22, 2014
Rating: 3.5 stars
Cliffhanger:. No

a while, I read one of her books and cannot seem to stop gushing and raving about it. It was that good. And then, I pick up another one of her romances and am like ‘meh’. That hurts. Badly.

Deacon is another example of me feeling all meh and okay. Yes, I did have fun (it’s KA’s book, how could I not have fun?), and I laughed, smiled and was turned on, but I didn’t loved it. It was just average. I expected fireworks, rainbows and action, but I got few sparks, one rainbow and tiny bit of action at the end. Not exactly enough to create a fire, but enough to make me like it.

So, three and half stars from me!


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Profile Image for Stacey.
1,446 reviews1,154 followers
July 25, 2018
I'm glad I followed the impulse...

It's like that feeling you get when you stand in front of your full wardrobe and complain of nothing to wear. I have heaps of books to read, an Audible membership that gives me discounts, even a credit to satisfy an impulse. So, what do I pick? A good old KA of course.

It's been yonky donks since I read or listened to Deacon. To be honest, I think this was my first listen, but I can't say that for certain because I have a shocking memory. I'm so glad I gave into the impulse though. I forgot how much I loved this one.

Unlike the other Unfinished Heroes, I felt like Deacon was the most...hero...ish?!?! I don't mean donning a cape and acting all heroic (which I'm sure he's quite capable of). I mean that he is the kind of book hero that I'd happily nominate for book hero of the year. Don't get me wrong, he's far from perfect and leaves Cassie for too long "protecting her from him", but, Oh, the words he says...

This man he has some MOVES!! This man has some WORDS!! Both his moves and his words are SEXY AND HOT!! There are some kinky scenes which I enjoyed but I admit to being surprised where KA went. Well, surprised the first time I read it. This time, and considering the Honey series, I guess not so surprising and more a confirmation that KA's a little kinky. 😉

Deacon is also sweet, caring, possessive and bossy. Sure, he was a twit for a bit, but I forgave him...and he brings cute puppies.

Loved my re-read/listen and now it will be hard to pick anything other than another KA audio. But, which one??? Heaven and Hell or maybe Play it Safe? Decisions...decisions...


Loved it


That was by far the hottest book that Kristen Ashley has written. Loved the storyline and the characters, loved the epilogue and loved what this book made me feel.

Not sure how I feel about her skimming over Raid and Hanna's conclusion to the dramas, but I'm getting the impression we'll get all the answers in Nick's story.

Loved how the backstory was told and that Cassidy wasn't willing to put up with Deacons crap.

Really enjoyed all of this one and loved that we got to catch up with Daisy. Kristen Ashley thank you for the experience.
Profile Image for destini.
239 reviews501 followers
September 30, 2014
It's a sad day when you realize that KA's book just isn't doing it for you. . .


Unpopular Opinion

KA lovers . . . I'm sorry. *ducks away from rotten tomatoes*

I really wanted to like this one. Really. I even tried to ignore the things that I didn't like because, you know, love is blind . . . and I f*cking love Kristen Ashley's books. But it just wasn't working for me.


• I felt like the characters were unoriginal. I feel like I'm reading about the same female MC I did in all her other books. And this wasn't a problem for me at first because I liked them. But there's only so many times I can read a different KA story with a similar female MC. They all pretty much think the same thing, and say the same thing, and act the same way. There were very few moments where I felt Cassidy was different. And I cried whenever those hints went away.

The constant repetion. For inflection? Emphasis? No. Just no.
On his knees on the floor, his mouth between my legs.
Oh God.
Not feeding.


Okay, apparently Milagros hand't read my mood, she'd read my mood.


Then I heard her say, "You sound good."
I grinned as I successfully settled the casserole dish on the rack in the oven. "I am good."
There was silence for [a] moment before she said "No, Cassie, you sound good."

One or two times, okay. But this was too much.

And it doesn't only happen in this book.

• I was waiting for things to turn around. It's Kristen Ashley, if anybody can change my opinion . . . it's her.

But even the storyline left me a little . . . meh. There was no action, nothing to really keep me going except Deacon's past. And not even I am such a heartless bitch that his past didn't pull on my heartstrings. But I wasn't connected to the story . . . so even though I did hurt for him, I didn't feel as much as I could have.

• Word count for Badass: 52

What saved this book a little, for me, was the first 15 percent, the last 20 percent, and the sex scenes. That's about it.

Rating: 2.5 stars
January 28, 2023
⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4.5 Big Alpha Submissive Stars!!⭐⭐⭐⭐

I've been intrigued by Deacon since his role in Raid and couldn't wait to meet him, get to know him, and find out about his tragic past which Raid eluded to in his book.

Deacon is definitely a tortured hero, his back story was heartbreaking and he took that burden upon himself, even though it was something way beyond his control. We see what made Deacon the cold isolated man we know.

Cassidy is an ambitious and fearless young woman. At twenty four she left Oklahoma to follow her dream of living in Colorado, which she fell in love with during a family vacation when she was thirteen. She took her savings and a loan from her parents and bought a resort with several (semi rundown) cabins, and is determined to make it a successful vacation spot for families. Her boyfriend Grant makes the move from Oklahoma with her, but soon gets tired of the "all work-no play" Cassidy. However, she is not to be detoured from her vision.

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Then a handsome mysterious visitor comes along, and continues to show up periodically, couple times a year for six years. He always requests secluded cabin #11 and stays a few days and than and disappears for months on end... when they lock eyes, something that she's never felt before settles inside her...the mysterious man in Cabin 11 that makes Cassidy's heart flutter when he's around. Each visit Cassidy tries to engage him in conversation, but always gets rudely and thoroughly shot down.

"Cabin eleven was home to me for a few days every year, the only home I had, cause you were there."

After 6 yrs of visiting her cabins, he shows one night and all the cabins are full and with foul weather, Cassidy offers to let him to stay in her guest room, at first he's chagrined that she would let a "stranger" stay with her until she points out that she has known him for six years. Needless to say that stay changes the dynamics of their relationship.

When they do finally give into their attraction their coupling is explosive and nothing will ever be the same! Cassidy becomes attached during his stay with her and realizes that he could possibly and completely break her heart.

"I was a cold motherfucker, off the grid, no life, no home, no ties, no emotions, everyone knew it. Until I came back to some rundown cabins I'd been to before that were off the beaten path....A place no one could find me. But when I come back, a beautiful woman with attitude, amazing eyes, and lips I wanted wrapped around my dick....lucky me, later, I found she was stubborn, ornery, funny, strong, spoke her mind....and gave it as good as she gets."

The question is can Deacon let go of the past, can he give his whole heart to this women who has managed to get past his cold exterior?

I love how KA always manages to intertwine characters that we know and love from her other series into each other, and once again she did that here. I’m not going to name names and spoil it, but it was a great treat!! On final note this was different than the rest of the books in the series, because Deacon was different. While the epilogue rocked in the usual KA style, it was not in keeping with epilogues we've read from her past books, it more or less tied up loose ends for the characters and gave the reader closure.

Although Raid is my favorite in the Unfinished Hero series, Deacon is a VERY close second. Deacon did not disappoint!

Say Something by Christina Aguilera:
Let Her Go by Passenger:
Beautiful War by Kings of Leon:

** ARC provided to www.sweptawaybyromance.com by Author in exchange for an honest review

Reread: 1/28/2023
Profile Image for * Meli Mel *.
856 reviews655 followers
September 29, 2014

♥♥♥ 4.5 STARS ♥♥♥

This is book four of the Unfinished Hero series. I had read the previous books in this series and had enjoyed them, not loved them, but enjoyed them nonetheless. Deacon, however, I really loved. It was different from the other books in the series, and that is was what I really liked about it. It was refreshing and really hot.

The book starts off with Cassidy, a.k.a. "Cassie", trying to make her dreams come true. She has bought some cabins named Glacier Lily that she wants to turn into a nice peaceful place people can rent. She is doing this with the help of her boyfriend. Unfortunately, her boyfriend ends up not helping much like he promised he would. This is what causes them to constantly bicker, and it's during one of their arguments that a mysterious cryptic man appears to rent cabin eleven. She knows something about him is dangerous, but still throughout the years, she allows him to continue to rent cabin eleven for a small period of time. It also didn't help that she found him very attractive.

Cassie was a good heroine. I am glad to say she did not drive me nuts with annoyance. I liked that she stayed true to herself throughout the book. She was strong, independent, and very caring. I really liked that she was a bit sassy and bad-ass. I also liked how hard she worked to make her dreams come true, maybe working a little too much and not letting herself have fun. So, it was great when after years of lusting over Deacon, the mystery man in cabin eleven, she had to learn to let someone take care of her.

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

“I’m away, Cassie, do not ever doubt this is precisely where I’d rather be.”

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

Deacon was a stoic man, with a job he could not say. He also went under the alias of John Priest. For years he had been coming back to Glacier Lily, he barely talks to the woman who owns it, but he can't seem to stop coming by when he was downtime. I freaking LOVED Deacon! He was not an overwhelming alpha, but he was still very alpha. He was also very yummy like all of Kristen Ashley's heroes. Deacon had some demons he couldn't seem to get over, but that changes when he lets Cassie into his heart.

This whole book was very much focused on the relationship between Deacon and Cassie. I really loved that about it. Usually we get some action and a lot of side characters in Kristen Ashley books. Sometimes, for me personally, it can become too much, so it was great that she decided to change things up a bit in this book. I loved seeing Deacon and Cassie's relationship grow and seeing each character grow individually. The steam in this book was really hot with some light bdsm! The only reason I didn't give it a five star, was because the kinky sex didn't start until very late in the book. Other than that, I really freaking loved this. I loved Deacon, he has become a favourite of mine. The ending was beautiful and I loved that she used one of the songs from one of my favourite bands. Now I look forward to what comes next.

October 1, 2014
Deacon is a man that has shut himself off from the world. He doesn't feel and he doesn't care. Cassidy loves life and wants to embrace it fully...and that includes Deacon whether he likes it or not.

Cassidy's dream has always been to buy some cabins in Colorado. She finally gets to do that and it's definitely a work in progress but she gives it her all and eventually things start shaping up. I liked Cassidy better in the beginning when she was more independent. It seemed when her and Deacon got together she lost some of that.

Deacon was intriguing, you just know there's a story behind that mask he puts on. I was surprised at how tight he had it in place...and how he almost lost everything again. Thank goodness for Raid! But Deacon's caveman speak was killing me!!

Well, let me just say that this book was just okay for me. It was really monotonous until the seventy-five percent mark. Luckily, we got some drama and action and things picked up! Phewwww!


Is this book steamy? C-R-A-Z-Y steamy with a whole lotta back-door-luvin on the side. And throw in some ropes and a few other toys and there ya go.

You know I just have to say it...What in the heck is with all the "honey" stuff? Honey when you're getting hot and sweaty is just not right! No, no and then some more no. No honeys and no sweeties in the down and dirty department...just no. And definitely NO to the fifty-three times it was used!


But definitely yes to the puppies. I loved Bossy and Priest...they couldn't be more adorable!

The last fourth of the book was wonderful and I even got teary-eyed (My son!). I loved the songs especially Beautiful War by The Kings of Leon. You gotta listen:

♥ Deacon & Cassie's song ♥

The epilogue was fantastic...as always KA does an epilogue like no other.

(Bossy and Priest)

Favorite quotes

♥ “You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve seen in my entire fuckin’ life.”

♥ “Woman, you’re naked on top of me in your bed. I just had you in this bed. This meaning I am not in cabin eleven. A place for six years that was a torture chamber but I kept comin’ back because I couldn’t stay away. Now, tell me, how’re you gonna make me happy when you already accomplished that feat?”

♥ “A truck that’s not dirty is not a truck. It’s a pussy wagon.”

♥ “The Badass Zone?”

“A zone you live in constantly. A zone I live in when I’m with you. It becomes capitalized and I visit it when you establish badass boundaries, so, FYI, it’s the zone we’re in right now.”

♥ “Yeah, though never did it with someone who matters so doin’ it with you, wildest dreams.”

♥ “Best lay, bar none. Funniest bitch, bar none. Finest woman, bar none. And all of that better every day.”

♥ “What’s in fuckin’ Antler, Colorado?” Knight asked.

Deacon pushed his chair back, stood, looked down at Sebring, and replied, “Beautiful war.”
Profile Image for ✿kawehi.reviews.
1,453 reviews419 followers
September 3, 2014
☆ I received an ARC from the author/her PA in exchange for an honest review. Thank you SO SO MUCH!! ☆

"What we have, that's beautiful war, Deacon. What you had...was ugly war. And in ugly war, things get ugly."


Deacon was definitely worth its wait. It tells the tale of a broken man with nothing to lose and a dreamer with EVERYTHING to offer...including her heart.

But how can you really build a future with a person whom you don't know anything really about? Or who holds simple trivia about himself tighter than a cookie in a cookie jar?

For Cassidy Swallow, the new owner of Glacier Lily Cottages, refurbishing these tarnished old lodges and living a simple life in this pristine wilderness getaway has always been her childhood dream.


But when an rugged, handsome visitor comes along, and repeatedly requests a secluded cabin in her Colorado Mountain terrain, Cabin 11, and disappears for months on end... something awakens within Cassidy's soul the moment they lock eyes. Something that she's never felt before and tells her that no man will ever compare to John Priest...the mysterious man named Deacon in Cabin 11 that makes Cassidy's heart flutter when he's around and yearn when he's gone. And the only force that could possibly break her, utterly and irrevocably.


"Huge. Dark. His face a cold, emotionlessness mask...There was nothing there. He was standing. He blood was coursing through his veins. He was breathing. But that was it."

Who exactly is John Priest/ "Deacon" Gates and what does he do that makes him feel so dangerous and yet unattainable? Why does he leave no trace of himself but always manages to come back and ensnare Cassidy's every thought, craving, and existence?

Will Cassidy ever unravel the mystery of this enigma of a man that is Deacon? What kind of distressing past or secrets could he be hiding? Can he be trusted? And will she be able to thaw Deacon's cold, ice exterior and at long last make him hers?

And as for Deacon: can he finally confront the ghosts of his past that had left him a hardened, shell of a man for over a decade, and find his HEA with the fiery, hard working brunette who makes him want to feel again and embrace the unknown?

One thing's for certain, no matter who hard he fights it (and Cassidy vice versa), what Deacon wants he will own and what he wants is Cassidy...now all he has to do is make that dream a reality.

"I was a cold motherf*#cker, off the grid, no life, no home, no ties, no emotions, everyone knew it. Until I came back to some rundown cabins I'd been to before that were off the beaten path...A place no one could find me. But when I came back, a beautiful woman with attitude, amazing eyes, and lips I wanted wrapped around my d*ck..Lucky me, later, I found she was stubborn, ornery, funny, strong, spoke her mind...and give it as good as she gets."

Nothing will ever be the same again for these unlikely lovers in this quiet, picturesque, Colorado backdrop!


#A sweet and sexy tale of finding love in the most hopeless and unseen circumstances. Kristen Ashley definitely lays down her patented chops of one hulky alpha male and one resilient and admiring female heroine!! I can't wait for more from this series and by the looks of it, all Unfinished men and women will be coming around full circle for the next book(s) perhaps!! So excited!!
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