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The New York Times and USA Today bestselling Marked Men series continues with this sizzling, sexy story of love, heartbreak, fate, and second chances.

After the only girl he ever loved told him that he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and set out to live up to his nickname. A good ol’ boy looking for good times and good friends, Rowdy refuses to take anything too seriously, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. Burned by love once, he isn’t going to let himself trust a woman again. But that’s before his new co-worker arrives, a ghost from the past who’s suddenly making him question every lesson he ever learned.

Salem Cruz grew up in house with too many rules and too little fun—a world of unhappiness she couldn’t wait to forget. But one nice thing from childhood has stayed with her; the memory of the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been head over heels in love with her little sister.

Now, fate and an old friend have brought her and Rowdy together, and Salem is determined to show him that once upon a time he picked the wrong sister. A mission that is working perfectly—until the one person that ties them together appears, threatening to tear them apart for good.

332 pages, Paperback

First published October 21, 2014

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About the author

Jay Crownover

96 books14k followers
Jay Crownover is the International and multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, The Saints of Denver Series, The Point and Breaking Point Series, and the Loveless, Texas series. Her books can be found translated in many different languages all around the world. She is a tattooed, crazy haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays. Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road.
GUYS!!! I finally have a newsletter, so if you want to sign up for exclusive content and monthly giveaways you can do that right here:
You can email me at: JayCrownover@gmail.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,523 reviews
Profile Image for Christy.
3,758 reviews32k followers
April 20, 2015
5 ‘First and last’ stars!

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I absolutely love the Marked Men series. Sadly, ever since Rule, none of them have measured up. Even though Rule is still, and probably always will be my favorite of the Marked Men- Rowdy sure gave him a run for his money! Out of books 2-5, this was by far the best for me!

Rowdy is the fun blonde in the group. He never has a girl for too long, he’s always having a good time and going with the flow. He doesn’t do relationships because he’s been left by every person he’s ever loved one way or another. One of those people is Salem.

Salem grew up in a household where too much was expected of her. She could never just be herself.

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The only person she was the ‘real her’ with, was her younger neighbor Rowdy. Rowdy and Salem just got each other as kids.
We might have been on the outside looking in at our own families and our own lives, but at least we could stand outside together.

Even though Salem was a few years older than Rowdy, they formed this bond, this friendship. Salem’s little sister may have caught Rowdy’s eye, but Salem was his best friend. When she turned 18 and had to get out, it devastated Rowdy. He was left, once again.

Fast forward 10 years and Salem finds her way back to the blonde boy she left behind. Only to find he’s grown up big time.

Salem is determined to get back in Rowdy’s life. Rowdy doesn’t make it easy. He’s not quick to trust. He doesn’t want to get hurt again. But he finds it impossible to fight the pull he’s always had for Salem.

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Salem works hard to gain Rowdy’s trust again. I really liked watching the two of them re-connect. Everything seems to be going great, then Salem’s sister comes back into the picture. The same sister that caught Rowdy’s eye as a child. It brings some insecurities from Salem. And confusing feelings for them both. Rowdy is quick to realize that firsts come and go, but it’s the lasts that really matter. God I loved that saying.

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“You are the last person I want to kiss. The last woman I want in my bed. I want you to be the last girl that touches any and all parts of me, Salem, and that means so much more than a first.”

Watching Rowdy and Salem’s love grow and develop, watching Rowdy learn to trust again and truly fall in love was a beautiful thing. Things came up, but no over the top drama so that was fantastic.

I loved both of the main characters. Rowdy was just fabulous. And Salem- she wasn’t annoying in the least. A very likable heroine! I loved how persistent she was in showing Rowdy she was there for the long hall and not going to leave. She was so patient and understanding with him.

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What's so wonderful about reading a Marked Men novel is not only do you get a great story, you get to see whats going on with the rest of the gang. Those other characters that are near and dear to your heart. I loved getting more Rule, Rome, Jet and Nash! And Cora of course- love her! I also liked the new characters introduced in this one. I know Asa’s book is next, but I see a lot of potential down the line for some books for the others!

Rowdy is one of those books that just makes you happy in the end. A sweet, sexy and romantic story. A story about second chances, learning to forgive and move on from the past, to trust again. I thought this one was really great. A favorite of mine for sure. I like how the book ended and looking forward to the next Marked Men book! Bring on Asa and Royal’s story! <3

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Profile Image for Rachel Reads Ravenously.
1,804 reviews2,159 followers
August 11, 2016
3.5 "It's not you, it's me" stars

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I wanted to love this book, I really did. It just wasn't meant to be.

Rowdy is the story of Rowdy (duh) a hunky tattoo artist with a sexy pompadour, and Salem a Hispanic pin-up type girl who comes to work for Rowdy's shop. Turns out Salem and Rowdy knew each other when they were kids, until Salem fled the restrictive home in a small Texas town and left Rowdy an abandoned kid in the dust. Ten years later they meet again, and Rowdy ain't happy about it.

I somewhat enjoyed this story, but it mostly fell flat for me. Both Rowdy and Salem were so indecisive, until they weren't and it gave me whiplash. First Salem is pursuing him, but Rowdy can't get over their past. Then Salem is pulling away and Rowdy is pursuing her. I was sitting there for most of the begining of the book like this:

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And then well, it didn't get better from there. I'm sorry to say I was bored for most of the book and was SKIMMING!! I was even bored during the sex scenes. This is a tragedy!!! Skimming a Jay Crownover book? I LOVE her books!

My biggest issue was I didn't feel how Rowdy and Salem were so connected. So yeah, they were friends when they were kids. I didn't see any of that when they were adults. All I saw was insta-lust/insta-love and I didn't like it!

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Overall, I liked the plot, the idea that two people can find each other and find themselves, but unfortunately I was bored for the majority of the book. I would put this at the same level as Jet which was my least favorite book in the series.

Hopefully Asa and Royal can redeem these books for me!!

(I still love you Jay! I just didn't love this one.)
Profile Image for Catarina.
896 reviews1,947 followers
October 24, 2014
4,5 Second Chance Stars.


Rowdy loved one girl in his life. And she broke her heart.
So now he only have relationships on his terms: physical and don’t plan on falling in love again.
But then Salem enters in the picture when she starts working with him. Salem is *that girl* sister and for a long time she was the only person Rowdy relied on, until she left, running from a little town that wouldn’t accept her and leaving Rowdy shattered.
Her returning opens new wounds and feelings between them that neither of them can stop.
They want to try a new future together… but how can them move forward, when their past keeps pushing them back?


Rating: 4,5 Stars
Storyline: This is one of those series where I can honestly say that there wasn’t a single book I haven’t loved. I will not say they keep getting better because Rule’s book will always be my favorite, but I can say they keep remaining equally awesome. So if you’re looking for a steamy and golden-hearted-bad-boy type of book, this is for you.
Writing Style: First person. Dual POV. Steamy and addictive.
Character Development: I loved Rowdy. He was loyal, sweet, strong and so, so sexy! Salem (Seriously, what kind of name is that?) was a little harder for me in the beginning, but she was nice and I eventually warmed up to her. As always, it was great to see more of the previous MC’s lives.
Steam: Some hot scenes.
Profile Image for Beverly.
1,005 reviews800 followers
May 23, 2015
4.5 Stars

Rowdy and Salem met when they were kids and formed an amazing friendship. Salem was the wild child, always looking to escape her parents strong religious values. Rowdy was in foster care, with no surviving family, and Salem became his family. While Salem was the girl he trusted, encouraged him, she wasn’t the girl he was in love with. No he saved that for Salem’s sister Poppy.

When Salem turned 18 she left her parents home and ran away with her boyfriend. While her focus was to just leave her parents, she also left a lost boy struggling with who he was and her sister. Rowdy and Poppy stayed friends, went to off to college together, but something happened and neither has ever shared all the details with Salem.

As you know from the end of Nash Salem is brought in to help open and run the store in LoDo. She is immediately taken back by the grown up Rowdy, and he is at loss now that Salem has returned to his life.

“There looking back at me was the grown-up version of the blue-eyed boy who was the one person in my entire life to ever make me feel accepted.”

At the beginning I was sure I was going to love this one, I struggle with guys going back and forth between sisters. However, this wasn’t what I expected, so don’t let that deter you. Crownover's take on the situation is unique and I really enjoyed it. Poppy was Rowdy’s first love, the heartbreak he never truly got over. So when Salem comes into town and he is attracted to her, it doesn’t feel right to him. In my opinion, this wasn’t a situation of Salem vs Poppy, it was more Rowdy feels like he already had his one great love.

Salem moves to Denver for Rowdy, and she doesn’t keep this a secret, but she has to decide if she can overcome the insecurities she feels about his relationship with her sister. I completely understood Salem’s feelings. They were spot on and I liked how she didn’t run away or hide, she owned how she felt.

I really liked how open the communication was between Rowdy and Salem. I liked the twists and turns, they provided drama and angst without being too much. I felt like the story had the perfect amount of drama, sweet moments, and sexy times.

I am not sure if any of the guys could ever take Rule’s place, but this is definitely my second favorite. Like all the Marked Men, Rowdy didn’t disappoint, the sex scenes were hot as hell…and I even learned a new piercing. Thank you google images.

If you are fan of the Marked Men series, I highly recommend. If you have never read the Marked Men…you need to read Rule!
Profile Image for Anna.
483 reviews375 followers
October 24, 2014

Welcome Rowdy, to #HolyEpicMarkedMenGreatness ❤️
Profile Image for Giorgia Reads.
949 reviews1,851 followers
June 23, 2020
2.5 stars

Skimmed A LOT. This story could have been told in half the pages.

Also, there’s a serious case of the dialog didn’t match the speaker in this one ... tbh, that happened in all of the books in the series but I think I reached my limit with this one.

Not to stereotype or anything but what kind of southern bartender with an ambiguous criminal past says things like (I’m paraphrasing - I only remember it was something about a tapestry) “She’s like a tapestry, a coming together of the past, present and future ... blah blah” I mean, the other dude in the convo voiced his women problems, and he gets this kind of reply.. it just didn’t fit. That’s just an example.

While the other books weren’t great, they were ok, this one.. didn’t make me feel anything at all.
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,809 reviews28.5k followers
October 29, 2014
4-4.5 Stars

I'm short on time, so this won't be a proper review, but anyway...

This was really good. Once again, Jay-she-who-cannot-possibly-use-a-normal-name-EVER-Crownover has delivered another awesome installment to this series.


I was really looking forward to Rowdy and Salem's book and this definitely delivered (whew!). Rowdy was a cutie and I really dug Salem. She was a confident chick - and after the self-esteem drain that was Saint from the previous book - Salem rocked my casbah.

But what I was most excited about was that the element in this story that I was worried about - the sister element - was totally addressed and completely conquered here - thank GOD.

Not gonna lie, I was a little worried that it would remind me of a certain other book...*cough* I'm looking at you Heaven's Sinners *cough cough*

Fans of the series will definitely not be disappointed.

And PS, we were introduced to some other ridiculous awesome new character names: Avett...and Sayer (WTF?)


Oh whatever self, it's like a name shit show and we are kind of loving it at this point!


1) I can't wait for this damned book!

2) That cover is heinous.
Profile Image for XxTainaxX Curvy and Nerdy.
1,473 reviews443 followers
July 21, 2016
Rowdy and Salem have a lot of history. She knew him as a kid and was there for him in ways nobody else was. He was in love with her sister. There was always a connection but when she left, Salem left a big hole in his heart. A heart that was then shredded by her sister in a different way. When a wise mutual friend brings them back together, the connection changes. They are attracted to each other as more than friends. They have quite a few issues to work through but as they do, their relationship starts to build a good foundation. The past clashes with the present even more when Poppy, Salem's sister, re-enters the picture. I'm really happy with how Rowdy handles it all and appreciative of how put together he is. Throw in some sexy and I didn't want to put this down. Salem was pretty awesome herself and found herself fitting in with the group seamlessly. The book's dramatic moments were done well. The characters had unique traits that kept me interested. The plot maximized their strengths and showcased growth. Their lovemaking was hot as hell! Safety: No OW/OM/Sharing. No rape. Yes to abuse.
Profile Image for Wendy'sThoughts.
2,645 reviews3,215 followers
November 7, 2020
4 Realizing Love Can Be Real
* * * * Spoiler Free
I happened on the Marked Men series by Jay Crownover... and never looked back. I was drawn into this self made family and became a distant cousin from afar. I was able to root for them, wish them to overcome all of the trials and hurdles to find their way to the women who held their hearts. The author created a flesh and blood world I could believe and I was there for every installment.

This book focused on Rowdy was no exception.
It was intense; layered with all the understandable damage bonding these people together. It had a symmetry to it... and we were able to see the hows and whys of the man. It could break your heart if you pondered it too much...Rowdy overcame much...and then was confronted with all he suppressed from his past...

Salem was a strong and wonderful love match for Rowdy... I got her right away and was in her corner. She confronted issues... stopped running and held her own through it all.

I appreciated how all of the characters from the past books united around Rowdy and how this family is always part of the story... it never feels forced or manipulated... it just feels right to me. The layering of secondary stories work well for the current flow and to lay the foundation for the next book revolving around others.

These books work for me but there is only one Major Complaint I have overall... All of the covers for this series are off the mark ...except Rome. I don't know who is making these decisions, but for me... The images for these men don't live up to the strong impressions I get from the detailed and explicit writing... Again... it could be just me and has Absolutely Nothing to do with the quality and level of writing.

I think we may see another Marked Man coming at some point... there is a bartender and sexy policewoman who seem to be fighting an attraction...
I will be front and center to see what happens with my Marked Men family.

Rule (Marked Men, #1) by Jay Crownover Rule (Marked Men, #1)
Jet (Marked Men, #2) by Jay Crownover Jett (Marked Men, #2)
Rome (Marked Men, #3) by Jay Crownover Rome (Marked Men, #3)
Nash (Marked Men, #4) by Jay Crownover Nash (Marked Men, #4)
Rowdy (Marked Men, #5) by Jay Crownover Rowdy (Marked Men, #5)
Asa (Marked Men, #6) by Jay Crownover Asa (Marked Men, #6)

For more Reviews, Free E-books and Giveaways
Profile Image for Geri Reads.
1,232 reviews2,029 followers
April 25, 2015
4-ish stars!

I liked this book much better than I did Nash. Salem is a kick-ass heroine and Rowdy is just delish.

I know some of you might have reservation about the fact that Rowdy was involved with Salem's sister before and that Rowdy considered Poppy the 'one' except that she rejected him. I have reservations too simply because I don't want my heroine to be the second best or the default choice for the hero, KWIM?

Well, let me put your fears and concerns to rest. Jay Crownover did a stellar job in convincing me that Salem was it for Rowdy and that she wasn't his second choice. First off, but he has his reasons. Reasons that made sense once everything came to light. I won't explain how exactly that worked in the context of the story but if you'll read this book, you'll know.

Second, Again, Jay added layers more to this story that I will leave up to you to discover. But I have to say, I was very satisfied with the whole 'I'm in love with the guy who used to be in love with sister' kind of scenario. Salem's apprehension and Rowdy's determination to convince her otherwise was wonderfully laid out. The drama wasn't forced, and as I've said, Salem was the bomb. She's my favorite next to Shaw.

Another fantastic thing about this book was the glimpse of the past characters and the things that are happening in their respective lives. And this story also builds the foundation for Asa's story, which is going to be the next book.

So why only 4-ish?

There were some elements concerning Rowdy's past that were introduced only to be brushed aside later. I was expecting more drama on that end but it didn't really pan out for me. It was good but I wish there was more of that.

Other than that, and the addition of more ridiculous names (albeit some of them are edgy and cool) drove me nuts. I mean, I could barely keep up with the name Shaw, Rule, Jet, Ayden, Rome, Cora, Nash, Saint, Rowdy and Salem, I now have to remember Asa, Royal, Zeb, Sayer, too? Who knows what name JayCrow will think of next?

On a serious note, I really liked this book. And yes, I'm definitely looking forward to Asa and Royal's book. :)
Profile Image for NiCoLeTa E. {Addicted To Books}.
1,322 reviews85 followers
August 25, 2016
***5 Big "First Last" stars for Rowdy & Salem***

I really envy those guys... All of them... Boys and girls...
They had build a strong and so powerfull bond between them that made me so jealous...
They had create their own family and every member of this family is loveable and made complete all the others...

I would give anything to have those kind of people in my life and i will say for once again that i 'm so happy that i discover that series and i adore every single story...
I'll keep saying that this series is an addiction for me...
Don't you believe me???

I swear to you that this is the first time that i read so many books from the same series in the row...
I don't think that it will be ever enough for me...
I have only one story left and i'm really wondering how i will protect myself from this intoxication!!!

Well, Rowdy's and Salem story was magnificent!!!
I enjoyed it so much and i loved it more than all the others...
Nah!!! And Rule and Shaw's story was awesome...
Nah!!! And Jet and Ayden's story was amazing...
Nah!!! And Rome and Cora's story was the very best...
Nah!!! And Nash and Saint were pretty good!!!
Fuck!!! And Asa and Royal's story i'm certain that will be fuckin' great!!!

Told ya!!! I'm an addict.... I love them all for different reasons... They are unique and every story had me on edge...
I don't want to ever stop reading about these amazing people!!! Never!!!
Oh!!! And Salem??? If you manage to persuade those boys to make that "Marked" callendar, i want one too!!!

But enough with that... I have so much to tell you about Rowdy and Salem...

Did i mention that i love them??? Yeah, i do!!!

Well, at the previous book, Phil told to Nash to hire a girl that he knew from Las Vegas for the new shop... Nash got in touch with Salem Cruz who didn't seem very hot about accepting the job, but when he mentioned her to check the staff's website as Phil told him to do, the things changed and Salem accepted.
So, at the end we discovered that Salem and Rowdy known each other very well... but there was a bitter background!!!

You see, Rowdy was an orphan that after the murder of his mother got to the care of a foster family somewhere in Mexico. He was so lonely and in some point the two girls from the next door tried to built a friendship with him and they succeeded. And from that moment the three of them were inseparable...
The one of those girls was Salem and the other girl was her sister, Poppy. Poppy was the only girl who Rowdy ever loved and she crushed his heart.
So, you probably wonder why the hell Salem jump like crazy to the opportunity to go back to Rowdy!!!
Yeah, i was having the same question.... But everything are pretty clear to me now...

Rowdy as we already know was one of the Marked men. Back in college used to be an athlete, but he always loved art and in some point Phil found him somewhere while he was wandering and took him with him in Denver and in the family.
He was very funny, kind and beautiful, as all those men.

The inks in his body was saying a big story as all the other guys inks. Once he fell in love with a perfect girl and he though that she was the one and only, until she shattered his heart and turned his world upside down.
He thought that the first girl that you ever love in your life will be the only person that you will love forever and if you can't be with that person, you will not have a second chance.

So, at this point, he change the women in his bed like a shirt and he is trying to have a great time...
Except his little "family" from friends, he doesn't trust anybody to come close to his heart because all the people back in his past that he ever relied to and loved,for one or another way, they left him alone.
So when Salem gets back into his life... his world turns upside down, because she was one of those who left him behind and that broke his heart.

Salem's life until she turned eighteen was bad and awful. Her father was a man of a God and he was very strict. All the time she was forced to follow rules and she was no good at this.
Her only sunshine in a grey life was Rowdy, the little boy next door who was so stuck to her that he could do anything to make her happy... and usually he managed to give her anything that she ever desire with only a drawing...

But when she turned eighteen, she couldn't tolerate anymore this kind of life and she run away... The only thorns inside her heart was that she left behind her sister Poppy and Rowdy. But they were having one another... This boy was always having eyes for her little sister.
From that moment, she never stayed in one place and she lived a full life, but always something was missing... Always she was thinking about the lovely little boy that made her smile...
And when she found out that Rowdy was in Denver, she didn't stop to think it twice.

So she left everything behind and she chased her second chance with him...
But the things wasn't good for a long time.
Rowdy refused to acknowledge her presence and made it clear that he didn't want her there. His biggest problem turned out to be that he's been afraid that Salem will leave him again and if he'll get attached with her, his heart won't haddle it if she bail on him for second time...
But Salem insisted and when they finally manage to get in the same page, the past came to hunt Salem this time and forced her to pull away from Rowdy...

Will they manage to overcome the ghosts of their past and to create something bigger that will be every last thing in their lives????
Will they realise that they loved each other from way back then but the circumstances tear them apart???
Will they manage to create new happy memories together???
And finally will they overcome all the new challenges that life thrown to their legs????

I loved, loved, loved, loved that story very much!!!
Rowdy was sweet and caring and funny... He was having a really big heart, he was just afraid that he got hurt... And Salem was fiesty, independent and self-assured.
I really liked the two of them when they were together and when they were not. Their love story was intense and made me drool...

And now, i can not wait to learn everything about Asa and Royal...
How the criminal and the cop will manage to fall in love with each other????

So, i will close this review with one of Asa's quotes from "Rowdy"!!!
The one that was a wake up call for Rowdy...

Profile Image for S.M. West.
Author 33 books1,053 followers
October 29, 2014

“I always thought it was the firsts that matter, but now I know that it’s the lasts that stay with you.”

Well, this was a great read! I really enjoyed Rowdy St. James and Salem Cruz. I knew I already loved Rowdy from all the other books and hoped I’d like Salem. She did not disappoint. She was a kick-ass heroine who was independent, strong-willed and has made her own way.

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These two were best friends and first loves, even though neither of them realized it. This was a great story of working through their past, their fears and learning to trust each other again. I also enjoyed that while Poppy, Salem’s younger sister, was certainly a hurdle; it was not what it seemed . The depth of Rowdy’s fear of being left and how he worked through this was well done, sweet, moving and realistic.

“You are the last person I want to kiss. The last woman I want in my bed. I want you to be the last girl that touches any and all parts of me. Salem, and that means so much more than a first.”

While I loved their story, I could give no more than 4 stars because there were a couple of things that were kind of thrown out there but never fully developed.

Again, being with the Marked Men of D-town is always a good time. I am really looking forward to Asa and Royal.

Profile Image for RJ.
652 reviews341 followers
April 21, 2015
There was nothing really remarkable here. I actually read a very similar book just last week.

IMO, Rowdy was a big whiny crybaby. He's still holding a grudge over something that happened over a decade ago, when he was fifteen! Damn son, that's a long time to be up in arms over something. It's is not like Salem did something unforgivable, she just moved out when she was 18 because she couldn't stand to live under her tyrannical father anymore. Understandable. Why is he still crying about that? His "everyone leaves me" spiel was repeated so damn much and just got annoying after the second time.

And then the whole thing about his "first love." So, he "loves" Salem's sister Poppy since they were young and he loved her so much that he had been whoring around and "pretty much run through the entire available town of Loveless by the time [he] graduated high school." Yep. True love right there.

I'm just glad it didn't turn into a love triangle when she came around. And what's up with all the corny heartfelt talks all these men have with each other? They seriously just sit around talking about their feelings.

Overall, this wasn't really my cup of tea. I have zero passages highlighted and that's a sure sign that I won't be coming back to this book.
Profile Image for Polly.
675 reviews251 followers
October 22, 2014
It's no secret I've felt this series has gone so down hill. I really didn't like the last 2 books at all.

I'm happy to say Rowdy was amazing!!

Perfect second chance romance with no over the top angst. Hot and steamy. I liked both characters! Finally a chick that didn't lose her self in these books.

Way to make a comeback Jay!

Profile Image for Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**.
1,380 reviews649 followers
June 6, 2016

***3.75 Stars***

"You sort of feel like where I always wanted to be."

I loved Salem and Rowdy.

The history that Rowdy and Salem share is felt from the very first page. Both of their childhoods broke my heart and I could see why they bonded and clung to each other.

Rowdy was the lonely boy next door, living with a foster family after the death of his mother. Salem was the girl next door burdened by the rules and strict church-going lifestyle enforced by her father. They found a comfort and ease with each other. Neither had expectations or passed judgment. They were allowed to just "be" when they were together.

I wanted to soothe him but I also wanted to watch what happened when someone with that much untapped potential was set free. I wanted to live through him and stand beside him so I could feel what finally being untethered from the chains of conformity felt like. I also wanted to hug him and tell him it was okay to be sad, to be angry, to be lost and frustrated. I wanted to tell him he was all right just the way he was, like I so desperately longed to hear.

At 18, Salem couldn't take her father's control any longer and blew out of town...leaving behind her parents, her sister and the boy who had her heart.

Rowdy felt her abandonment deeply, so he clung to the only safety net he felt he had...Salem's sister, Poppy. But Poppy ends up breaking his heart, just like her sister did. And now Rowdy has sworn off love and anything more than random hookups and one night stands. Why invest in someone when they'll eventually leave you?

But what happens when Salem shows up at his shop as the new manager? When his past comes crashing through his front door and refuses to leave?

It was so hard to keep the memories at bay once the door they had all been closed behind was flung open. One after another they chased me across all of my waking hours and danced behind my eyelids at night.

Salem is a determined woman, and she came to Denver with one thought in mind....Rowdy. She'll do whatever it takes to prove and show Rowdy that she's here to stay, that she's here for him and that she won't turn her back on him ever again.

For the first time in his life, Rowdy has to face his fears and trust his heart. He has to examine his true feelings for Salem, figure out where Poppy fits into all of that and dig deep to discover that maybe he is worth having someone stick around for. Maybe he needs to readjust his thinking about what it means to have your "one and only."

"There are a million first girls for a million different things. There's the first girl you slow-dance with, and the first girl you go to bed with. There's the first girl to give you a kiss, and then the first one you take home to your mama. There's the first girl you fight with and the first girl you fight for. There's also the first girl you have to let go of. There's the first girl you love, obviously, and the first girl to break your heart. There's always a first girl, Rowdy, but there is also the girl that is going to come after her until you get to the last girl. The last girl is the one that really matters."

Rowdy and Salem were uninhibited and passionate. Everything about them together was the perfect balance. It was plain to see, without a doubt, that they belonged together.

It might be wild, uninhibited, and a little dirty, but sex with him still felt like a safer place than I had ever been before.

We just fit. For every thrust, every tilt of the hips, every touch of a mouth on a needy body part, the other had the perfect response. She moved with me, held on to me, and used her body to make it more than sex. I felt her inside of me somewhere making a place for herself.

Unfortunately, the second half of this book began to lose me. It wasn't about Rowdy and Salem anymore but all of this outside drama. A plot involving Rowdy's past, crazy drama with Poppy's life and setting up Asa's book. Just too much outside crap. It wasn't as much about the two of them figuring things out as it was the two of them dealing with everyone else's shit.

Also, this book had a bunch of editing issues. Missing words, crazy long run on sentences and just weird sentence structure. I had to go back and reread sentences to figure out what was being said or what point was being made.

However, even though the overall book didn't quite meet my expectations, Salem and Rowdy certainly did. Their connection was rooted in friendship, acceptance, understanding and love. They're easily my second favorite couple in this series, behind Rule and Shaw.

"You always made me stronger than I ever was alone. I've always needed a reason to stay; with you that has never been the case. With you staying is the only option I have because the only place I want to be is wherever you are at."

"It might have taken me a long-ass time to figure out the difference between first love and real love, but, Salem, there is nothing more real than what I feel for you."
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,473 reviews122 followers
January 28, 2016
Luvd it luvd it luvd it

This book is just great I really enjoyed it I 've liked Rowdy from the beginning but I 've liked them al Ye I m just greedy ; ) but Rowdy never seemed to lose his temper or getting into arguments he is just so laid back until he meets Salem again no one really knows much about Rowdys life before Phil brought him to Denver but Salem was part of the past that he had forgotten he had to forget the Cruz sisters were his past an he needed to keep them there he didn't want his past come into his present or future he had built a great life for himself an he had his family Ye they weren't blood The Marked was his family an he luvd them al so much but Salem didn't seem like she was goin any where even if he tried to ignore her but she was workin in the new shop an would b around al his family but could he let her back in again after what she did

Salem as alway been a bit of a rebel she didn't like bein told what to do after dealing with her father who was so controlling an would let her or her sister do anything but her sister was alway the favourite but she didn't care so was leaving when she could an didn't care only when she left she left her sister an the boy who she luvd behind until she got a phone call from Nash Donovan about a job that would change everything an bring her back to the boy she left behind

The story was so good in this book I enjoyed it so much I hated putting it down I found its so sad in parts the things they both had to deal with but it made them into the amazing people they were I luvd both characters more an more as the story went on Rowdy is so caring he does have a few trust issues but that's cause everyone he cares about leaves him I still feel sad over this but Rowdy is so sexy an his style just makes him ever more hot Salem as this great style as well they just suit so much even if it takes them so long to get over certain issues but god once they get it down OMG they were explosive an super hot

I would highly recommend this series every book from this series as been great an this was just as good I luvd the characters an the way the story of other characters just flows through al the books is brilliant an can't wait for Asa I need to know more about this hot guy xxx

Profile Image for Sleepy.
358 reviews18 followers
Want to read
June 14, 2014
Are u fucking kidding me!!!! I just went through book 2, 3 , and 4 in 3like 3 or 4 days and now I have to wait 5 MONTHS for Rowdy!!! :( well this blows! But this series is definitely worth waiting for, so here I go.... just waiting.....and waiting.....

Still waiting.............
Love the cover, not quite how I pictured him but the guy is still cute..................... and I'm still waiting. ....... patiently. ....
Profile Image for Floripiquita.
1,353 reviews152 followers
November 4, 2017
3,5 Salem es todo un personaje y su relación con Rowdy -el vivo ejemplo de que se puede ser buena persona sin ser ñoño- muy bonita y entrañable, sin dejar de ser sexy, eh? Me encanta cómo se compenetran, incluso en la estética rollo años 50 que llevan los dos. La historia de los Cruz y Poppy es muy triste, espero que la hermana de Salem tenga su propia historia para resarcirse.
Cada vez me gustan más las historias de estos Marked Men y sus parejas, pena que no me acabe de convencer la manera de escribir de su autora: prima los pensamientos de sus personajes por encima de los diálogos y eso a veces hace más lenta la lectura.
Profile Image for Syndi.
2,838 reviews625 followers
June 20, 2020
Hmm..... not really impress by Rowdy. His story promising second chance romamce turns to be OK. Dragging little bit and too much drama.

I do not feel the chemistry between Rowdy and Salem is super hot. Instead it feels like warm. I was hoping for more dramatic reunion. The secondary characters do not help much with the story nor the character development.

What is good about this book is that I can catch up with everyone else in it. Like Rome and Cora and Rule and Shaw. The feeling of big happy family is real between these Marked Men.

3 stars
91 reviews12 followers
October 22, 2014

Sept. 29th



Jay Crownover... I. LOVE. YOU!!

No tengo palabras para describir este asombroso libro!
Rowdy es un libro poderoso, lleno de emociones e increíblemente intrigante. Todos los capítulos están increíblemente bien escritos y la trama no se pierde en ningún momento.
Estoy sin palabras con este libro y creo que es muy dificil superar algo escrito así de bien.
Profile Image for ✿kawehi.reviews.
1,453 reviews409 followers
Want to read
June 6, 2014
Coming October 21st 2014 by William Morrow Paperbacks...
**Eh, I still like NASH's cover the most!!*


After the only girl he ever loved told him he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and decided he was going to do everything in his power to live up to his nickname. Life was all about a good time, good friends and never taking much too seriously. Rowdy learned his lesson early on, when you care that much about anything it can destroy you, and he never wants to risk feeling like that again. Only now he has a new coworker, a ghost from the past who’s making him question every lesson he ever learned.

Salem Cruz grew up in a house with too many rules, too many regulations, and no fun allowed. That never worked for her so she left it all behind as soon as she could, but she never forgot the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been in love with her little sister. Fate and good intentions from an old friend have placed her right in Rowdy’s path and she’s determined to show him he picked the wrong sister all those years ago. A mission that is going along perfectly until the one person that ties them together shows up and could very well tear them back.
Profile Image for ✰ Liz ✰ .
1,348 reviews1,253 followers
October 26, 2014
"Dedicated to anyone who is trying to figure out where they are supposed to be. Don’t worry, friends, the universe has a plan for you; you just need to listen to what it’s trying to tell you and you’ll eventually end up exactly where you were always meant to be."-Jay Crownover

With an opening dedication like that from the amazing Jay Crownover, I knew this book was going to be amazing! Not only did I find inspiration in Rowdy and Salem's story but it was a personal reminder to me that life doesn't always go the way we expect it to. Sometimes life hands us pain. It is up to us to keep moving forward and believe that everything will fall into place the way it was meant to!


Rowdy has always been the "sweetheart damaged bad boy" of the bunch! We know that he has experienced loss and that's why he has never allowed himself to get attached to anyone. He lives life to the fullest and loves his friends with everything he has. Rowdy had loved and lost Poppy at a young age. Poppy isn't the only person he lost. Poppy's big sister Salem left him. Salem was running from an emotionally abusive prison.

"My parents wanted to squeeze me into a too-small box, painted white and tied with a bow of tradition. Me being me would never be good enough."-Salem

Salem leaving Rowdy pushed him to Poppy. Then he lost Poppy too! This loss shaped Rowdy to be the man that he is.


Salem befriends an old tattoo artist. She reveals her past about leaving Rowdy. The old man tells Rule and Nash they need to hire her. When they call her and offer her a job. Salem figures out that Rowdy is there in the tattoo shop. It is then that Salem has finally discovered her calling. It is to reclaim Rowdy. She has been living her life as a gypsy. Roaming from place to place. But now, the Marked Men are calling her to Colorodo. She is able to finally stare into the beautiful eyes of the boy she loved and lost so many years ago.

"It was like staring at everything that I suddenly wanted in the center of a crystal ball telling me that was what my future was supposed to look like."-Salem


Rowdy isn't crazy to see her at first. She is bringing him to a place that he isn't ready to go to yet. Now he is forced to admit the love that he has lost. It takes a good shove from his friends to realize that Salem doesn't want to bring him pain. She wants to bring him love and joy!

"There’s always a first girl, Rowdy, but there is also the girl that is going to come after her until you get to the last girl. The last girl is the one that really matters.”-Jett

Salem is clueless about what he has been through. She doesn't know what really happened between him and her sister Poppy! As she begins to discover how deeply he was hurt, she begins to doubt if Rowdy will be able to love her as much.

As always the Marked Men and Women surround these two! They offer them love and support and encouragement.

"None of us have any room to talk when it comes to figuring out what is happening with these guys. It was like walking across a shaky bridge with no handrails hanging over the steepest canyon trying to get from where we were to where we wanted to be with all of them, so lay off of Salem. Rowdy is happy, he’s not out sleeping with half of Denver anymore, so why doesn’t everyone just leave it at that?”-Shaw

Salem and Rowdy rekindle their friendship and found out they are perfectly matched in every way. When these two come together, it is HOT! Rowdy and Salem together is sweet and healing!

"When I touched her, when I put my hands on her tattoos, it looked like our colors just bled into one another. We became one giant painting of swirling colors and heated skin. She was a perfect work of art in more ways than one."-Rowdy


Things don't end here. Poppy shows up. She has been abused by her crazy husband. Salem starts to doubt hers and Rowdy's relationship. Things get intense. Rowdy refuses to let go of Salem. He is finally able to show her that HE WANTS HER and no one else!

“I’ve got you.” He did. He absolutely did and I had him. “I know you do. I’ve got you, too.” Now we just had to stay strong."-Rowdy

The way this story comes to an end was beautiful. In true Crownover fashion, we are transforming from Salem and Rowdy's story into the next Marked Man ASA!

Overall, I found Rowdy to be an excellent read. The angst is low. (Always a plus for my taste.) The steam is high. (SIGH!) The characters are real, damaged people just trying to find their way! If you haven't experienced the Mark Series yet you should check it out! It doesn't disappoint!



"Embrace the change, find your passion, know what your true joy really is about, and pursue it until the end of time. Live the life you were always meant to live. Honestly, nothing on earth will make you happier or more grateful for every single moment you have."-Jay Crownover

Thank you Ms. Crownover for inspiring us all to keep going....keep living....keep doing...until we find our way!
Profile Image for Tanya (Girl Plus Books).
973 reviews76 followers
February 7, 2019
2019 Re-Read
Re-Read: August 2017

This one is still my least favorite in the series. I love Rowdy but Salem... not so much. Or at all. She showed up in Denver with an agenda and what Rowdy wanted seemed immaterial. She pursued him hard (when previously there was zero mention of her having anything more than platonic feelings for him) so it felt like it came out of left field. And just when Rowdy is coming around, she suddenly pulls away. Gah! It makes me wish I could have Rowdy's story - but without Salem. Ha.
January 2017

3.25 STARS

While this was probably my least favorite of the Marked Men series, I still enjoyed Rowdy's story and the continued involvement of all the previous characters. I liked getting Rowdy's back story and it went a long way in explaining his lack of (romantic) attachments and his preference to just be a good-time guy. To be honest, I didn't connect much with Rowdy and Salem's story and I found myself getting most of my enjoyment from all the other Marked Men cast of characters. Seeing all the new developments with Rule/Shaw, Jet/Ayden, Rome/Cora and Nash/Saint did my heart good.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The female narrator almost ruined the whole experience for me. She spoke in a monotone and her voice had as much emotion as an automated telephone voice system. That probably didn't help me warm to Salem but even with the narration aside, I just never cared for her. I found her motivations confusing and it took me by surprise when I realized she was interested in Rowdy romantically. Any mention of their previous relationship (as kids) focused only on their friendship so her sudden desire for Rowdy felt completely out of left field. I felt like she really forced the relationship. Overall, I just wasn't a fan of Salem's addition to the group.

This review was originally published at GIRL PLUS BOOKS.
Profile Image for Nikki.
255 reviews37 followers
November 26, 2014
3 Dowdy Rowdy Stars

I will probably be in the minority here cuz...

I thought this was ok. I skimmed probably 30-40% towards the end as I could not for the life of me connect with these characters. This was much better then Nash, for sure, but I think this series just can not beat the 1st book for me. Which is probably why I throw up in my mouth a bit when we get the obligatory reunion with all of the other 200 characters from the other books ala a Samantha Young or Abbi Glines series I am trying to block from my mind.

Salem is definitely fiesty and Rowdy is definitely sweet and hot, but he was like pining for her sister for so long that I just didn't get the feels from them. So they reconnect years later, so what?? And then there was a ton of back and forth.

A bit of this...

A bit of that...

Commence skimming sequence...


And yeah, thats pretty much it. I felt the sex was tepid due to the above mentioned points lol but again this is probably just my deal as I should know better to read a series that has more than 3 books. So my bad, oops I did it again.

Profile Image for Dali.
1,772 reviews444 followers
April 29, 2015
A heartrending, seductively sweet and vibrantly charged story about first kisses, second chances and the one true and last love.
“I always thought it was the firsts that matter, but now I know that it’s the lasts that stay with you… I want you to be the last girl that touches any and all parts of me, Salem, and that means so much more than a first.”

When Salem Cruz was old enough she left her hometown of Loveless. Escaped her parents that ruled her life with tyranny. Left her beloved younger sister Poppy and the next door blue-eyed boy who from a young age made her smile and wanted nothing more than to make her dreams come true. Leaving behind a big gap in his young heart.
“Salem, however, had been my confidante, my confessor, and maybe most importantly she had offered a lonely and unwanted boy friendship and acceptance. She was my very best friend and I was lost without her.”

Rowland St. James was orphaned at the tender age of six. He had been abandoned by one Cruz sister at fifteen. And the one he thought was his first love shattered his heart when she told him he was not right for her. He left everything behind, but even though he believes his life is plagued by bad luck, with time he’s found a calling he’s passionate about and group of friends who he calls family, even when he’ll no longer trust women.
“I couldn’t trust myself not to fall back into caring about her, trusting her, being captivated by her, only to have her move on once again, leaving me empty and alone.”

Ever since Salem left, she’s been a gypsy, a nomad, wondering from one place to another without knowing that with each step she’s moving closer to her final destination. Once the opportunity to work at the same place as her sweet blue-eyed neighbor arises, she doesn’t hesitate to take it. Because resolute in showing Rowdy St. James, she’s always been the right sister for him.
“Rowdy and I had ties that bound us together, it was just proving more difficult than I thought to unwind them and tie them back up into a pretty bow.”

With the doors from his past open, he’ll soon be facing both Cruz sisters. Can Salem overcome her fears regarding Rowdy and her sister’s relationship? Will Rowdy be able to put his heart on the line and understand that it’s not the first but the last girl he falls for who is important?

Salem had been the one person who truly understood him. She had been his happy harbor until she left without a backward glance. She also serves to remind him of the hurt her sister had caused. And the fact that Rowdy thought he had loved and lost his one true love is a huge matter of concern for Salem.
"We are definitely doing this, we just might not be doing it right all of the time, and that road might have a speed bump or two."

I have adored all of the men in the Marked series. “Those boys have more love in them than they know what do with,” and Rowdy is no exception. I felt a fist around my heart for all his loss, but elated by how he had made his own happiness. He was charming and sexy and once he got over being mad a Salem, he knew exactly how to take care her.
“something was happening between us that had shades of the past and flavors of the future all mixed together in one giant ball of emotion and experience.”

Salem is strong and independent, warm and compassionate. Sassy and sexy and just perfect for Rowdy. She fit perfectly and seamlessly with the tight-knit Marked family.

Facing a past with so many sad memories is not easy. They both had to familiarize with the grownups they had become and come to the realization that what they had as teenagers was so much more.
“I just wanted to be around you all the time because it was like having the warm rays of the sun touch everything that was so cold inside of me.”

I loved that there was no incredibly angsty drama. Rowdy and Salem slowly and surely worked on the issues from their past in order to look forward to their future in a way I very much enjoyed throughout this story about letting go of fear and enjoying what life brings, laced with sweet tender moments as well as a hot, explosive romance.
“We looked good together naked. I liked the way our ink blended together into one giant mural.”

Add to that the wonderful secondary characters new and old that give so much heart to the story with their unquestionable loyalty and kinship. Because it’s not just about the main characters, all the other relationships are also highlighted and made to matter.

Since the first time I read a Jay Crownever book, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed her unique mostly narrative style of writing, which not only provides vivid imagery but also lends to wonderful character development where emotions are very much explored. I trust her to deliver a beautiful story that will touch my heart with the depth of feelings the characters have for one another. And that’s exactly what I got.

I’m sure I highlighted a good chunk of the book, from quotes that made me laugh to ones that made me cry, but most that made me swoon and fan myself and “sent warm and gooey threads of love and happiness” to my soul and make me wish I could share all of them with you.

One last note. I didn’t even look at the blurb for this book. So it didn’t occur to me that this might be a love triangle involving sisters. For those of you who might worry about this, rest assured it’s not the case.

I wish I was sorry for going overboard with the review, the teasers and the pics, but I'm not really :). Rowdy is book 5 in the Marked Men series by Jay Crownover. It can be read as a standalone. Written from both points of view. It has interconnecting characters from past books, with a beautiful happy ending. No cheating.

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Profile Image for Angigames.
1,229 reviews
June 27, 2018
Crownover regina del trash! È un dato di fatto!
Mi domando, ma la decenza?!?!?! Dov’è? Dov’è finita? Si è persa! No, forse non c’è mai stata, la verità è questa.
Adesso, io non pretendevo di leggere il saggio più bello e appassionante dell’anno. La Crownover la conosco bene, so cosa aspettarmi e non avrei desiderato altro che un libro leggero, anche se non accattivante, per poter staccare da ansie e problemi. Ma stavolta non ho potuto fare a meno di notare i troppi, enormi NO che mi rimbalzavano in testa mentre leggevo questo romanzo.
E lasciamo perdere la storia che è la stessa delle precedenti, così come l’ambientazione, le relazioni tra i vari personaggi… insomma, l’autrice con la fotocopiatrice ci sa fare!
Ma qui stonano tantissimo i protagonisti. Ma tanto, tanto, tanto. Lasciamo perdere i continui dettagli che ci vengono riproposti da 5 libri, come tatuaggi, piercing in posti molto particolari, in fatto che il bel tatuatore deve avere sempre un passato da far invidia al peggior incubo in circolazione, perché, ovviamente, un ragazzo di una famiglia media con un’infanzia nella norma e la passione per i tatoo non può esistere, ovvio che no! Sembra che per diventare ottimi artisti uno debba aver vissuto una vita di cacca sennò non vale… ok stendiamo un velo pietoso…
Dicevo, i protagonisti: Rowdy e Salem. Due parole per descriverli: ominide lui. Ominide lei. Almeno negli altri volumi c’era un filo conduttore che teneva in piedi la storia e guidava i personaggi verso una strada più sicura, potevano sbandare, ma poi si riprendevano.
Questi due sono lo sfacelo. Letto il prologo, già si sa come andrà a finire e si svilupperà il tutto, è proprio il loro modo di porsi di entrambi che non mi è piaciuto affatto, entrambi ragionano col neurone che non risiede nel cervello. Ci sono capitoli volgari e di una ripetitività assurda, banali fino all’inverosimile, la dolcezza (?) di Rowdy, che Salem declama dalla prima pagina, io non l’ho vista... a me è sembrato un macaco in calore, insieme alla sua degna compagna. Fortuna che è primavera inoltra!
Cioè sono delusa, tantissimo.
Speravo in qualcosa di un pochino migliore, sinceramente.
Adesso non so cosa aspettarmi dall’ultimo volume di questa serie!
Profile Image for KAS.
317 reviews3,130 followers
January 19, 2018
My first Jay Crownover read, and thoroughly enjoyed!
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