I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Crimson Point #4
on March 26, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Purchase Links: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Barnes & Noble
ADD TO GOODREADS:
She’s been hurt too many times…
Single mom Tiana Fitzgerald has sworn off all romantic relationships to protect herself and her daughter. Her track record is disastrous and she’s done getting hurt. But a certain sexy Scotsman in Crimson Point has other ideas, and somehow manages to sneak past her defenses at every turn. As the hits keep coming and her life implodes, she begins to see he’s unlike any man she’s ever known. Now he’s become the greatest threat to her heart, because there’s no possible future for them. Not when he’s leaving the country in a few weeks. And when her worst fears are realized, she must risk everything by placing her trust in in his hands.
He’s determined to capture her heart.
Scotsman Aidan MacIntyre never saw the fiery, beautiful Tiana coming. The prickly redhead has gotten under his skin as badly as he wants to get under hers. But she’s determined to keep walls between them. Luckily the former Royal Marine doesn’t know how to give up. Someone from her past wants to hurt her, but Aidan will stand between her and any threat. He’ll stop at nothing to protect her and the little girl who have completely stolen his heart—and fight for them to have a future together.
First off, I need to warn y’all, Rocky Ground covers some dark terrain — and I’m not just referring to the rugged landscape of the Pacific Northwest. So many things happen in the novel that could send anyone’s heart racing (and not always in the OMG! *swoon* sorta way (but, yes there is PLENTY of that yumminess).
If you are familiar with the Crimson Point series, you are well acquainted with single-mom Tiana Fitzgerald and her delightful daughter Ella from their key roles in the series opener Fractured Honor. As Tiana struggles with everyday stresses of single-parenting, Ella is drawn to the protective kindness of their broody neighbor Beckett Hollister. Through their friendship with Beckett, Tiana and Ella meet and form a connection with his former military buddy and current co-worker Aidan “Mac” MacIntyre. Rocky Ground can be read as a standalone and is my favorite of the series, with Fractured Honor being a close second.
Through natural disasters, custody concerns, bureaucratic red tape, and vengeful, violent encounters, Tiana, Ella, and Aiden form an impenetrable bond of love and family. Through all the nasty, scary crap that happens they each learn to trust and lean on one another and also find, for Tiana especially, the strength that comes from sharing your burdens.
Aiden (aka Mac, as Ella calls him) is one of the good guys. He’s a wonderful father figure of Ella and always respectful of Tiana as a mother and as a woman. He doesn’t try to take over her problems but rather lets her find her way while remaining her anchor on some very Rocky Ground. (yeah, I made a pun, deal with it 😜). I enjoyed reading about a modern Scottish protagonist who is neither a cliche nor is his heritage irrelevant. Sexy accent, ginger, and at least one appearance of a kilt are all traits GREATLY appreciated by this reader.
My “rating” of this book was lowered over some pacing issues and I felt the external conflict keeping Tiana and Aiden from starting their HEA sooner strained some credibility for me (I think there were more logical obstacles that would have rang more realistic to me – but that’s a personal preference and no comment on Kaylea Cross’s skills as an author. Indeed, Ms. Cross does a wonderful job balancing vulnerability and hope against some harrowing experiences. I hardily recommend Rocky Ground and the entire Crimson Point series. Read the excerpt below and you’ll see what I mean.
The molten hunger in his eyes sent a torrent of heat rushing through her body even as her old fears bubbled to the surface again. “Aidan…” she murmured, dropping her gaze to his chest.
She’d done it. Given her unspoken consent. Now her heart was trying to pound its way out of her chest.
His hand came up to stroke her hair away from her face. She leaned into his touch, craving more. Craving this wonderful, incredible man that for some reason wanted her in spite of all her imperfections.
Her heart beat an erratic rhythm against her ribs. She’d never experienced anything like this before. Not with this level of intensity. This was…something she’d only read about before. Was it because of everything they’d gone through together? Because she’d relied on him for survival?
His fingers stroked against her scalp in a drugging caress that had her eyelids drooping. “What are you so afraid of?”
She looked up at him again. God, he was beautiful. And strong. And brave.
He was also going to rip her heart out when he left.
It wasn’t easy to voice her insecurities aloud, but she felt comfortable with him. Close to him in a way she’d never felt with another man. “Of making another mistake. Of getting my heart broken again,” she whispered.
He cupped the side of her face to run his thumb over her cheekbone. “I’ll not hurt you, lass.”
Her insides squeezed at the tenderness in his voice, the yearning in his eyes. No, he wouldn’t hurt her intentionally. “But you’re leaving soon. In another few weeks.” That was going to leave a scar, no matter how gently the cut was made.
“Aye,” he agreed, his gaze locked with hers. “But I’m here now.”
His words reverberated in the deepest recesses of her heart. He was right here in front of her, and he wanted her.
Any other arguments she had stored up vanished in the space of a single heartbeat. Before she could think herself out of it, she gave free rein to the need pulsing inside her, took his face in her hands and pulled him down to her waiting lips.