Rome (Marked Men #3) by Jay Crownover

Rome (Marked Men #3)

Marked Men is a NA series based around a group of friends working at the Marked tattoo shop in Denver. This is the 3rd instalment of the 6 part series featuring previously featured characters Cora and Rome.

Cora has been a steady character throughout the Marked Men series, a pint sized punk fairy that keeps the calm but equally causes the drama. All the way through the series I have imagined her as a blonde AJ Lee (WWE) and this book just solidified that.

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Rome Archer is back from the war in Iraq, injured in action and totally unprepared for civilian life. Still suffering from nightmares and feeling more distant from his family and friends every single day. As a reader who has always distanced themselves from war themed stories (ah, politics) how would I identify with a soldier? Surprisingly easily.

I’m always dubious of hate turn instalove in romance books, how can you suddenly change your opinion of someone if you feel so strongly against them? In real life how many times do you hear of couples that started out absolutely hating each other? Not many. In romance novels? Every other one!

Luckily this story progressed in such a way the blossoming romance didn’t feel false, there were still residual feelings of ‘ugh this guy/girl’ in some parts which is always nice (praise the realism!).
Rome is a proud man in the middle of an internal battle against PTSD, a subject I’ve read very little about. Cora also deals with her own issues of getting over a poisonous relationship and learning to accept Mr Right really doesn’t exist. Reading these two head strong people trying to help the other and prove that love can do amazing things is at times painful (in the ‘just kiiiiiss’ way) but mostly truly heartwarming.
“Relationships are not tailor-made and people are flawed. You have to work around that and love the other person anyway. Our flaws are what make us unique,”
(SPOILER BIT!)
The pregnancy in this book is dealt with so well, turns out if you have unprotected sex (even once) you’re at risk of pregnancy, who knew?! I’m so glad a NA has finally included an unexpected pregnancy and had the characters deal with it in a realistic way (pregnant lady speaking here). Seeing these two people who are so in love be equally terrified and excited was so lovely, added such a different dynamic.
The shooting I actually predicted, it was pretty easy to see it was coming. Rome had an ongoing feud with a rogue member of a biker gang including an armed robbery and the two main characters need something big to bring them together? You know what to do…shoot them dooooooown! It was a fantastic twist on the PTSD plot line too, dealing with a shooting as a civilian ex-soldier must be one of the hardest things to go through and reading those scenes was hard.
(END OF SPOILERS!) 
There are enough sexy scenes in here to appease those who like the naughtyness but in contrast plenty of plot twists and character development to make it great on its own. The ending is something else too, whew!
My rating... (1)

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