After eight years in prison, Levi Rush is finally out and back on the gritty streets of Detroit to claim the future he was owed. A future that includes the one woman he’s wanted for years—his former best friend Rachel. She’s the reason he went inside and if getting her to do what he wants means buying the building that houses her tattoo studio and using it as leverage, then that’s what he’ll do. Because if there’s one thing he’s learned inside it’s that if you want to win, you have to play dirty.
Rachel Hamilton is a tattoo artist and one hell of a tough girl. Detroit is her home, and she’s determined to make it a better place. But her plans are threatened when her old friend Levi reappears and gives her an ultimatum: she gives herself to him body and soul, or else she and her business are out on the street. Levi’s got no room in his heart for anything but anger and the lust he’s been carrying around for so long. But the only thing stronger than the secrets of their shared past is their fiery attraction to each other . . .
Praise for Jackie Ashenden’s Mine to Take
“The sex is dirty-sweet, with a dark lick of dominance and the tantalizing potential of redemption.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“Intriguingly dark and intensely compelling . . . sure to keep readers in suspense.” —RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars, Top Pick
“Ashenden twists and tortures her characters with impressive skill.” —The Washington Post
About the Author
Jackie Ashenden lives in Auckland, New Zealand, with her husband, the inimitable Dr. Jax, two kids and two cats. When she's not torturing alpha males and their stroppy heroines, she can be found drinking chocolate martinis, reading anything she can lay her hands on, posting random crap on her blog, or being forced to go mountain biking with her husband. Jackie also writes the dark, sexy contemporary Nine Circles romance series for St Martin's Press. Visit her at jackieashenden.com.
Read an Excerpt
Wrong for Me
By Jackie Ashenden
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2016 Jackie Ashenden
All rights reserved.
Rachel Hamilton came to a stop outside the battered metal roller door that was the entrance to Black's Vintage Repair and Restoration, the motorcycle repair shop owned by her friend Gideon Black. She took a breath.
The acid eating a hole in her gut wasn't from fear.
It didn't have anything to do with the fact that Levi was back.
It was only because she hadn't felt like breakfast that morning and hadn't eaten anything. Perfectly understandable and explainable. Nothing whatsoever to do with how sick she'd felt, how her stomach kept turning over and over like a gymnast doing a complicated floor routine whenever she thought about Levi getting out of jail.
Nope. Nothing whatsoever to do with that.
Her palms were damp, but that was because it was hot. Same with her dry mouth. She should have had some water or something.
But you didn't because you would have thrown it up.
Rachel closed her eyes.
No fear. None. That's what had gotten her through life so far, and that's what would get her through this. She just had to pull her armor on, pretend she gave no fucks whatsoever. It was the only way to protect herself. It was the only way to deal with the man who'd been inside for eight years.
The man she'd put there herself.
Her former best friend.
Oh Jesus. She was shaking.
Okay, so perhaps she shouldn't think about that. She should think about how many fucks she gave instead. Which was none at all.
But naturally all the pep talks in the entire universe weren't going to help, and, when she opened her eyes, the nausea was still sitting right there and she was still shaking like a leaf.
Get. Yourself. The. Hell. Together.
Mentally she put herself in her usual snarky, sarcastic armor, the one specially designed to keep the world at bay, as she dug her nails into the palms of her hands. Her nails were nice and long these days, so they hurt biting into her skin. But that was good, and she welcomed the pain. It helped her focus, helped her center herself.
Taking another breath, she pushed open the small metal door inset into the big roller one, and stepped into Gideon's garage.
For a second she paused, trying to normalize her breathing, letting the familiarity of the garage settle her. It had always been a safe place for her, somewhere to go when she needed company, a good friend, a sympathetic ear. Gideon had gathered together a small group of kids from the Royal Road Outreach Center years ago, kids who were alone in the world, and even now, a decade later, they remained close friends. Gideon, Zoe, Zee and Levi. They were still there for one another, still looked out for one another.
Except you didn't. You weren't there when Levi needed you most.
Rachel swallowed, ignoring the thought. She couldn't afford to be thinking that kind of shit, not now. Not when she was barely holding it together as it was.
The smell of engine grease and oil filled her lungs. It was a comforting smell. There was a big metal shelf and a classic Cadillac up on a hoist blocking her vision, but she could hear the sound of voices. Gideon's, deep and rough, and Zoe's lighter tones. And then someone else's ...
Rachel stilled, the sound going through her, painful as a sliver of glass pushed beneath her skin.
A masculine voice. One that used to be deep and rich, full of laughter and bright with optimism. A warm, encouraging, friendly voice. One that used to make her heart feel lighter whenever she heard it. But now ... now it sounded dark, with a roughness that hadn't been there before. Like the voice of someone unused to speaking aloud.
A shiver ran the entire length of her body.
He was here, only a few feet away. After eight years.
Come on. You have to do this. Stop being such a fucking coward.
She forced herself to move forward, past the metal shelf, heading down toward the end of the garage where a long workshop counter was positioned against the wall beneath a massive row of grimy windows, some with different colored panes of glass.
The summer sun was shining through those windows, illuminating Zoe, small and slender, her black hair pulled back in a ponytail, sitting on the counter with her legs dangling. Beside her was Gideon in his blue overalls, all shaggy black hair and heavily muscled shoulders, leaning back with his arms folded.
Another man stood with his back to her. He was as tall as Gideon, which was pretty goddamn tall at nearly six four, and built just as massively. The cotton of his black T-shirt stretched over shoulders that would have done a gladiator proud, while his jeans hung low on his lean hips. The combination of sun through the dirty windows and harsh fluorescent lighting of the garage drew out shades of tawny and deep gold in his shaggy dark hair.
Her heart twisted painfully hard.
She remembered those shoulders, that lean waist, that dark hair turning gold in some lights. Except he'd been ... not quite as built back then. He'd been thinner, more greyhound than Rottweiler, and his hair had been cut short.
Well, of course he had. No one went to prison for eight years and came out the same person.
Perhaps if you'd even gone to see him once in all that time ...
She blinked hard, digging her nails deeper, using the pain to focus once more.
And maybe she'd made a sound of some kind, an inadvertent gasp or the soles of her platform motorcycle boots scraping on the rough concrete floor, because suddenly, the man standing there with his back to her swung around.
She stopped dead, as if that sliver of glass had finally reached her heart.
Levi looked the same. Exactly the same. Still shockingly handsome with the strong line of his jaw, now rough with deep gold stubble, and high, sculpted cheekbones. Straight nose and long, deeply sensual mouth. Silver-blue eyes that ...
Her breath caught, glass cutting straight through her heart and out the other side.
No. She was wrong. He didn't look the same. Not at all. There were lines around his mouth and eyes, lines that hadn't been there before, and that wasn't due to age. That was something more. There was a ring piercing one straight, dark eyebrow, and beneath that it looked like his eye had turned completely black, his pupil huge, a thin ring of silver blue circling it.
She couldn't stop looking, couldn't stop staring, the shock of seeing him hitting her like a wrecking ball. And then there were more shocks, more blows, as the differences in him began to filter through her consciousness.
The piercing. That one dark eye. The width of his shoulders and the way his T-shirt molded over a chest and stomach ridged with hard muscle. And his arms ... Jesus, his tattoos. Around each powerful arm was a series of black bands, each one decreasing in width until the bands around his wrists were merely black lines. They were simple, beautiful, highlighting the strength of biceps, forearms, and wrists, and the deep, dark gold of his skin.
When the hell had he gotten those? Levi had never wanted tattoos, no matter how much she'd told him they'd suit him. She'd even teased him about being afraid of the pain, though she had known that wasn't the reason. Levi hadn't wanted the tattoos because he hadn't wanted anything to get in the way of his dreams of escape.
Escape from their shitty Royal Road neighborhood. Escape from Detroit.
He'd planned to get money enough to leave, get a good job in a high-flying company. Have an apartment that didn't have dealers lurking on the stairs and drunks on the sidewalk out front. Build a life that was about more than mere subsistence and struggle. A life that didn't include tattoos.
Looked like he didn't give a shit about that now.
You can't get a high-flying job with tattoos on your arms. You can't get one with a record either.
The acid in her gut roiled, and she had no idea what to say.
Levi didn't break the heavy, impossible silence, and he didn't smile. He just stared at her as if she were an insect he'd found crushed under the heel of his boot.
Say something, you idiot.
But her voice seemed to have deserted her entirely. All she could do was stare back at him, this man who'd once been her best friend. Whose dreams used to help her believe that there was more to life than existing on her grandma's Social Security checks and hiding from the child protection agencies that wanted to take her away and put her in a foster home. More to hope for than a crummy job in the local diner or behind the counter at the 7-Eleven.
But that friend had once been Levi Rush.
She didn't know who this man was, with his pierced eyebrow, tattoos, and aura of leashed violence and menace. A man like all the other thugs who seemed to infest Royal Road.
And then, as suddenly as he'd swung around to stare at her, the quality of his strangely asymmetrical stare changed. Became focused, intensifying on her the way a sniper locks onto a target.
It was unnerving. Frightening. And Levi had never frightened her before.
He looked even less like her friend than ever before. More like a general about to conquer a city. With her being the city.
Her protective mechanisms, ones she'd built up over a lifetime of being on her own, kicked in with a vengeance, and she'd lifted her chin almost before she'd had a chance to think about whether being prickly really was the best way to handle this.
Eight years ago she would have launched herself into his arms for a hug.
But it wasn't eight years ago. It was now. And she'd made so many mistakes already, what was one more?
"Hey, Levi," she said, her voice sounding pathetic and scratchy in the echoing space of the garage. "Long time no see."
* * *
Levi had waited a long time for this moment. Eight years to be exact. And it was happening just as he'd predicted.
He'd thought she'd stand there with her chin lifted, that guarded, fuck-you expression on her lovely face. Staring at him like he was a stranger, holding him at a distance the way she did with people she didn't know and didn't trust.
And sure enough, she was.
But even though he'd braced himself, the sight of her again after all these years emptied his lungs and killed his voice anyway.
He should have known. She'd always had that effect on him, even back when she'd been fifteen and still in school, and he'd been eighteen and feeling like a dirty pervert for wanting her so badly. Even when she'd been his best friend, the person he was closest to, and being near her had been such a goddamn torture.
But now he wasn't her friend any longer, and he'd spent almost a decade in jail.
Maybe that was why he felt like he'd been hit over the head with an iron bar. He had just been deprived of female company.
But no, it wasn't that. Because on the drive back from St. Louis to Detroit with Gideon there had been plenty of women all over the goddamn place. And then there had been the warm hug Zoe had given him. Yet none of that had inspired this kind of feeling in him. Only Rachel did. Only Rachel ever had.
She stood there now, not far away from him, with her long hair loose down her back and dyed a brilliant, electric blue. She wore a tiny, tight-fitting tank top that plastered over her full breasts like plastic wrap, a little black denim miniskirt that barely grazed the tops of her thighs, fishnet tights, and black platform boots that made her long legs look even longer.
Jesus, she was so beautiful. Snow White, he'd once thought, back when he'd been that dumb fucking teenager and in love with her. Back when her hair had been black and her dark eyes had looked at him with warmth and trust and friendship.
No warmth in those dark eyes now though. Or sweetness in that full, sulky mouth of hers. Her lovely face was hard, her expression as tightly closed as the door to the cell that had been his home for so long.
Anger, the simmering rage that had become so much a part of the fabric of his life that he almost didn't notice it anymore, tightened inside him.
He ignored it. There was plenty of time for that. Plenty of time for everything now.
Levi almost smiled. Because that expression on her face wasn't going to last long if he had anything to do with it. And he was most certainly going to have something to do with it.
After eight years inside he had some justice to claim.
And he was going to claim it from her.
Levi straightened and folded his arms. Stared at her. He could feel his dick begin to get hard, reacting to all the honey-colored skin revealed by her fishnet tights and the luscious curve of her breasts beneath her tank top. But he'd had a long time to learn how to control his bodily responses, and so he controlled them now. Effortlessly.
Something in her gaze flickered briefly, but he knew what it was. He'd become very adept at looking for fear in people, and he could see it in her right now.
She was afraid of him, and it didn't cause him any regret at all. Because she should be.
Rachel shifted on her feet, betraying her nervousness, which was hugely satisfying. "So, not even a hello?" Her husky, sexy voice was edged with a familiar sarcasm, yet even so, he heard the fear running underneath the sarcasm like a cold current in a hot spring.
Satisfaction turned over inside him, settling right down in his gut like a sleepy animal.
Nervous and afraid. Just the way he wanted her.
Slowly, he began to walk toward her.
Rachel's eyes widened, but she held her ground.
He didn't stop.
And when it became clear that he wasn't going to, her eyes widened even further, a momentary flare of fear lighting up the darkness in them. She took a couple of steps back.
He didn't stop, moving inexorably forward.
She cursed and began to back up faster, stumbling a little as his longer stride brought him closer, until she was walking backwards quickly, her breathing getting faster. "Levi, what the fuck are you —" Her words were cut off as she backed straight into the door to the garage.
And he kept coming, closer and closer, right up to her, putting out his hands at the last minute and placing them with great care on either side of her head, caging her against the door with his body.
She shrank back against the metal, obviously trying to pull away from him, but there was nowhere for her to go.
And this time, he did smile.
Because finally she was exactly where he'd pictured her for so many lonely fucking years. So many angry fucking years.
At his mercy.
"Hello, Rachel," he said softly, clearly.
She stared back at him for a second, the fear large and black in those wide, dark eyes. And then the actual fact of her nearness began to penetrate his consciousness.
They weren't touching, but he could feel her heat, smell the scent of her skin — sweet, like she was something good to eat, and yet not too sweet. Vanilla maybe or some kind of flower smell; he wasn't sure which. He didn't remember her smelling like that before, but underneath that there was a slight hint of feminine musk that was all Rachel, so achingly familiar.
Someone behind him was shouting at him, but he ignored it, as desire, want, need, rose up inside him, hungry and raw, desperate to claim her. Because she was so close, so fucking close, and it had been so fucking long, and he'd promised himself ...
But right at that moment the fear vanished from her eyes like a light turning off, and anger flared instead. "What the hell is wrong with you?" Her hands came up, and she shoved at his chest. "Get the fuck away from me!"
She was surprisingly strong, but he'd had eight years of resisting people who'd tried to push him in various different ways, and, if he didn't want to be pushed, he wouldn't be. Then again, he'd made his point, so he let her shove him back a couple of steps, putting some distance between them.
He heard his name being called again — probably Gideon getting pissed with him — but again Levi ignored it, his focus entirely on the woman in front of him.
Her cheeks had an angry flush to them, her chest rising and falling fast in time with her breathing. Anger glittered in her eyes and filled the space between the two of them, tight, hot, and dense as a neutron star.
Then she stepped forward, and this time it was her turn to get right up close, to get in his face the way he'd gotten into hers. "What kind of hello is that, Levi?"
As if she were the one who was justified in getting angry. As if she had the right to demand things from him.
His own anger, already simmering away, boiled over.
Excerpted from Wrong for Me by Jackie Ashenden. Copyright © 2016 Jackie Ashenden. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great and addicting story
Enjoyed the story of two people healing from their past. However didnt like Levis friends turning against him when he had great plans for slumland. Jealousy maybe? This book reminded me of Sophie Jordans works.
After eight years in prison, Levi Rush is finally out and back on the gritty streets of Detroit to claim the future he was owed. A future that includes the one woman he’s wanted for years—his former best friend Rachel. She’s the reason he went inside and if getting her to do what he wants means buying the building that houses her tattoo studio and using it as leverage, then that’s what he’ll do. Because if there’s one thing he’s learned inside it’s that if you want to win, you have to play dirty. Rachel Hamilton is a tattoo artist and one hell of a tough girl. Detroit is her home, and she’s determined to make it a better place. But her plans are threatened when her old friend Levi reappears and gives her an ultimatum: she gives herself to him body and soul, or else she and her business are out on the street. Levi’s got no room in his heart for anything but anger and the lust he’s been carrying around for so long. But the only thing stronger than the secrets of their shared past is their fiery attraction to each other . . . Review: This is a hard one for me. For 90% of the book I did not like or respect Levi as a hero. I get that he went to jail partly because Rachel did not speak up that he was defending her, but he does not own up to his responsibility for no self control. He basically emotionally blackmails Rachel into being with him. Rachel I liked but her guilt in what happened kind of makes her a door mouse. I liked the idea of the story and the emotional quality of it. I love Ms. Ashenden as an Author, but I just had a tough time with this one. I had not read the first book in the series and I really was not hindered by reading them out of order. I will continue to read this Author, just was Wrong for Me. 3Stars *I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book provided by the publisher.*
Hope, love and redemption Wrong For Me is the second book in the Motor City Royals series, and a great addition. Towards the end of the first book, Dirty For Me, we anticipate Levi’s reunion with his close group of friends in Royal. Nervous and guilt-ridden, Rachel finally faces Levi after his return from 8 long years in prison. Rachel is hiding a secret behind Levi’s manslaughter charges, and Levi is determined to get payback for all the years he has lost. Rachel Hamilton and Levi Rush had been close friends once. But that fateful day when Levi tried to protect her in a back alley from a drug dealer, killed the guy on accident, ended that friendship. The dreams the two friends shared are a distant memory. Now, the owner of her own tattoo shop, Rachel has picked up the pieces of her life. The best she knew how. But her shame, guilt and the humiliation of what she’s done weighs heavy on her soul, the reason she has never gone to visit Levi in prison. Levi Rush has always loved Rachel. But kept his distance to protect her. He wanted to offer a better future for her, but that all ended when he was sent to prison. Levi is determined to punish her first by leveraging her business, blackmailing her for pleasure. His focus is to claim her and finally live the life they should have had together. But Rachel holds herself back and Levi is determined to find out the truth. Levi also has plans to fix up the city of Royal, but Gideon, Zoe, Zee and Rachel feel the plans may not be the best thing for the local neighborhood. Wrong For Me was an interesting read. I’m a bit on the fence about it, the plot didn’t wow me. I liked how Levi and Rachel wanted to reconnect, but the way to finding it was hard for both of them. My heart ached for Levi and Rachel’s horrible pasts and painful memories. Lost dreams, mistakes and regrets. I liked Rachel’s strength and independence, and Levi’s determination, earning a business degree while in jail, and proving himself a savvy businessman. It’s a wonderful story of forgiveness, hope, and redemption. Finding love and creating a future together. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, Gideon and Zoe’s story. I received an ARC copy from Kensington Books via NetGalley. I voluntarily reviewed this book.
3,5 STARS Well, this sure isn't what I was expecting from this story. I though I would get, I don't know, something more dark or even more disturbing, since all the previous reviews led me to believe that there is some doubtful consent and unmoral doing going on between those two main characters. As far as I'm concerned when you are given a choice and you choose maybe not your liked choice but a willing choice nonethless then I don't see that as something you are forced into, since you could have chosen a different path. But if you really want something you have to play with the devil and that's what Rachel sure does. But if you think that's a dark and disturbing read then you have trully never read a dark and twisted tale before. Like Pam Godwin or Pepper Winters or so many other great 'dark' writers who know how to make you doubt yourself and your own humanity. It's safe to say that once you've done reading those books, your view on the world and yourself will change. You will either need some professional help or you will accept the fact that you just don't give a f*** and that you have some dark tendencies yourself. But back to this story. I honestly don't have that much to say, other that I was a bit dissapointed by how the ending turned out. Levi holds up the story, that's for sure. He's one hell of an angry guy with a sweet revenge plan for the one person who he thought was his sun but in the end turned the reason he went to prison. And eight years in the cell will definitely change a man and in this case not for the better. He's cold and his only goal is to make his home town a better place with everybody willing or not. And of course to get his revenge, no matter the cost. And boy, he does that all. The only problem? This little feeling called love. I guess it's hat time of the month again, where I have to be all smiles and butterflies NOT. Over more than the half of the story those two characters have a love-hate relationship that slowly, really slowly, starts to turn back to what it once was. I was really looking forward to something dark and twisted to read about but instead got a story about regret, love and forgivness. I guess that's OK, too but I would have enjoyed the story more had I not read the previous reviews. Learned my lesson (hopefully). All I can say is that this story is great for those readers who want a more emotional read that will maybe make them think about life mistakes and how people find the strenght to forgive and move on.
Wrong for Me is the second book in Jackie Ashenden's Motor City Royals Series. After reading the first book in thes series, Dirty for Me, I couldn't wait to dive into Rachel and Levi's story in Wrong for Me. Rachel is tough as nails, at least on the surface. She's a tattoo artist and has her own shop, but she's also an artist who when you get past her hard outer shell, is quite the caring and giving person. That's not to say she doesn't have her own tattered past, one that is filled with regrets, especially when it comes to Levi Rush, the man who spent 8 years in prison, the boy who used to be her very best friend, a friend that blames herself for his incarceration.....and Levi blames her for that as well. Levi is now out of prison, he's a different person, understandably, but he also has an agendand that agenda involves Rachel. Levi hasn't wasted his time in prison. It may have made him hard, but it also made him smart, and he's now quite the entrepreneaur. He wants to hate Rachel, but even though he really tries, he just can't, causing all his years of planning to somehow become skewed. Wrong for Me is a great second-chance romance as well as a wonderful second installment in the Motor City Royals Series. I enjoyed getting to know Levi and Rachel, and comed to love them both, because of and inspite of all their flaws. I also enjoyed the secondary characters, many of whom we met and became attached to in Dirty for Me, the first book in the series. Jackie Ashenden has also set the stage for Sin for Me, the next book, and I must say I am really looking forward to reading Zoe and Gideon's story. Overall, Wrong for Me is a great story and one contemporary romance fans would enjoy.
Levi is out of prison and plans of getting what he wants even if he has to play dirty and what he wants is Rachel. This is an edgy read with lots of drama and emotion. I liked the story as well as the characters even though Levi is pretty hard to like. Entertaining read.
Jackie Ashenden might be the only author who could persuade me to read a book about a convicted murderer who seeks revenge on the woman he loves but blames for his eight year incarceration. She has the ability to write very dark and unsettling storylines and make them palatable, optimistic and even sexy. I’ve read quite a few of her books; therefore, I trust her to tackle gritty subjects but still provide a satisfactory resolution. For this reason, I did not hesitate to pick up the second book in her Motor City Royals series – Wrong for Me. I am glad I took a leap of faith, because Ms. Ashenden did not disappoint and delivered a gut-wrenching story that was still tender and hopeful. Wrong for Me isn’t for the faint of heart, but I can recommend it with the assurance that somehow Ms. Ashenden has the power to make anyone redeemable and their actions forgivable, especially characters like Levi and Rachel who have experienced unimaginable pain and difficulties. ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley, but no one made me write this review and my opinions are honest and my own.
Levi Rush is a free man now, and on a mission to right the wrongs committed in the past, and get the girl he's wanted for the last eight years. The problem is she is a big part of the reason why he was behind bars, so there's a lot of anger there, and he's fighting an inner battle that's pitting his desire for her against his desire to get revenge for having to give up the last eight years of his life. For a long time he's tried to wrap his mind around how it was that they were best friends, that she could have came to his rescue, but instead she ran and left him high and dry. She could have helped lessen his sentence, came to visit him, but she did nothing... and he wants to know why, and he's determined to get his answers and get her into his bed!! Rachel Hamilton is a tough girl who doesn't take crap from anyone, she lives her life on her own terms, and doesn't answer to anyone... but that is all about to change! The minute Levi Rush walks back into her life, he turns her carefully planned life upside down, and make demands that she is not prepared to act on, the thing is he isn't really giving her a choice...and it pisses her off! Her past with him is filled with haunting memories, hurt, and a lot of regret that she isn't ready to deal with... but no matter how much she fights him and tries to push him away, he just keeps coming back for more! This dark and edgy story captivated my attention right from the start and had me flying through the pages and losing track of time, I found myself staying up til the well past my bedtime just to finish it! Despite their irritation and anger towards one another the characters had this amazing pull between them, and the anticipation of them finally getting together had me on the edge of my seat. One of my favorite tropes is second chance love stories and this one, definitely hit the mark!! While it was a little darker than my usual reads, I have to say I enjoyed it very much, both of these characters were tortured souls in need of healing and love and I thoroughly enjoyed watching their story unfold. If you if like your love stories a little on the dark side, and sinfully sexy then this just might be the perfect series for you!! No one does love stories quite like Ms. Ashenden, her books will give you a reading experience you'll never forget!! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this title.
3.5 stars---WRONG FOR ME is the second installment in Jackie Ashenden’s contemporary, adult MOTOR CITY ROYALS erotic, romance series focusing on a tight knit group of friends from Detroit. This is former inmate Levi Rush, and tattoo artist Rachel Hamilton’s story line. WRONG FOR ME can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Told from dual third person perspectives (Rachel and Levi) WRONG FOR ME is a friends to lovers/second chance storyline that follows the rekindling friendship between Rachel Hamilton and Levi Rush. Eight years earlier Levi was sent to prison for killing a man who had attacked his best friend Rachel. Fast forward to present day and Levi is an angry ex-con, h*ll bent on reclaiming all that he lost, and what he had lost were the eight years he could have been spending with the woman that he loves. Determined to renew his relationship with Rachel, Levi ‘blackmails’ Rachel for all of the wrong reasons ensuring Rachel remains by his side-one way or another. What ensues is an emotional battle between Levi and Rachel, and Levi’s dogged determination to prove he is worthy. WRONG FOR ME is a story of family and friendship; heartbreak and love; moving forward and letting go of the past. Levi and Rachel, along with Gideon and Zoe come from the mean streets of Detroit, and it is their backstory and earlier years together that make up the emotional and protective relationships that encompass the series premise. Years of suffering and feeling unworthy find Levi Rush trying to prove he is deserving of the life that has passed him by. The relationship between Rachel and Levi is one of emotional blackmail. Levi struggles with the loss of the previous eight years but more so with Rachel’s rejection and apparent lack of concern as it pertained to Levi and what happened years before. All of the previous story line characters including Zee and Tamara (Dirty For Me #1), as well as Zoe James and Gideon Black play secondary and supporting roles. Rachel’s co-worker and fellow tattooist Xavier is ever protective of his friend and colleague. Zoe and Gideon’s story is next in Sin For Me (March 2017). The world building continues to focus on five friends (Gideon, Zoe, Zee, Levi & Rachel) and the difficulties of growing up poor on the mean streets of Detroit. We are witness to the plans for redevelopment that may or may not have approval from the people who live and struggle to survive. WRONG FOR ME is a dark and gritty look at endurance; at existing one day at a time; at struggling to succeed in a world that is continually pushing you down. The premise is startling ; the characters are passionate but tragic; the romance is emotional and disconcerting. At times, Levi’s treatment of Rachel and his need to recover years of lost time is misguided, vengeful and questionable. I also had a couple of issues with questions that were never addressed and left unresolved.
To say this read is intense would be an understatement. Levi has spent the past 8 years in prison after he intervened while Rachel was being attacked and the man he punched fell and hit his head and died. Rachel didn't show up and give her statement and she did not visit or communicate with Levi while he was in prison. Now Levi is back and angry and ready to punish Rachel and let her know what it was like to be left. They were the best of friends prior to all this and unknown to each other they both were crushing on each other. Levi always wanted to take Rachel away from their neighborhood and give her the life he though she deserved and now he is making that happen (except in their neighborhood and he is working to renew the area). This story has so much angst, twists and turns, and sexy times it was a page turner. I recommend this one and even though I didn't read the first in the series I had no trouble keeping up with what was going on. **Received a copy of this from the publisher via NetGalley**
Levi and Rachel had been part of a group of friends that had rotten situations in their lives but managed to be friends and survived. Levi had been in prison for eight years as he had accidentally killed a man who was about to attack his best friend Rachel. Levi had changed while in prison. Rachel never gave her statement and never went to see Levi while he was in prison and she was the reason he was really there trying to protect her. Levi had wanted to be with Rachel not just best friends before he went to prison Levi is determined now to have Rachel no matter what it takes. Rachel is a tattoo artist and has a shop called Sugar Ink. but Levi now owns the building her business is in. Rachel must decide if she wants her shop enough to do what Levi wants or to give it up at least in the present location Sugar Ink is if she doesn’t go to Levi she will lose her business. I didn’t really like ths story guess it was to dark for me. I felt sorry for Rachel for what she had went through but she really should have gave a statement and at the very least visited Levi while he was in prison. As far as I am concerned there was no excuse for how Rachel did Levi wrong after he was there since he was trying to protect her and they were suppose to be best friends but she didn’t stand by Levi and she was wrong for that. I also didn’t like Levi using blackmail to get Rachel. Just didn’t care for this story.
Dark, edgy, and soooo good!! Emotions long pushed down come bubbling out as Levi returns after 8 years in prison. Eight years that he can never get back and possibly wouldn't have lost if it not for her. Revenge will be his though and he's been plotting and working toward that for all eight years she refused to come she him will he was away. They had once been best friends now he had no idea. How he could love and hate the same woman is hard to understand but that's exactly how Levi feels for Rachel. Which emotion eventually wins out is anyone's guess but one thing is for sure. The ride to their story's end will be a wild one! I loved this book and definitely recommend it to everyone.