Note: This ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Rachel Blaufeld, who just happens to be one of my go-to authors, has just released The Crossroads Duet, which is a limited edition compilation of the two Crossroads novels, Redemption Lane and Absolution Road. The duet is about twin brothers Lane and Jake Wrigley, who may appear as if they want for nothing. However, behind their good looks and professional success, they're both very much broken, but one may find redemption, the other absolution, when they unexpectedly stumble upon love with two women who may seem very wrong for them, but turn out to be everything they could ever want or need. Will either man succumb to their demons or learn to embrace the love being offered to them as well as the realization they're worth of Bess Williams and Alyson Road?
Lane and Bess do not have the most auspicious of first meetings, not with Bess smelling rather, erm, undesirable and Lane being left with no other option but to take responsibility for her when she passes out in front of him. It does take four years for their paths to cross once again, only this time, Bess has overcome her addictions and is making the most of the second chance she's been given. Bess has no idea of the role Lane played the night everything changed for her, and his choice to remain mum may very well doom the relationship they're trying to make a go of. There's a major twist in their story, one that Blaufeld more than successfully pulls off, and it's a twist that ties in to the second novel. Lane and Bess, however, do get their own happy ending independent of book two.
Just like Lane and Bess before them, Jake and Aly don't exactly meet for the first in the best of circumstances, not with Jake needing a lawyer and Aly being the public defender that steps in for his case. Jake is done having his twin brother take the burden of covering for him. He's saddled with a great deal of guilt over the deaths of their parents, and even as he develops feelings for Aly, doesn't think of himself as someone worthy of her time, what more her love. These two have their struggles, and there's one hell of a twist that comes up when you least expect it. That's par for the course when it comes to this author, who has made it a habit of lulling me into complacency before tossing a grenade of sorts to check if I'm paying attention. How can you not when the writing is this great?
The books are in the order they're supposed to be read, and yes, I'm highly recommending that you do read Redemption Lane before even attempting to read Absolution Road. This isn't one of those box sets where you can read the last book first. There are spoilers in the second book and books one and two are tied together, so do yourselves a favor and read them in order. Blaufeld's writing is, as always, impressive and she mixes her angst with some lightheartedness and balances her romance with heated moments. I confess that I loved Lane and Bess's story just a teeny, tiny bit more than I did Jake and Aly's, but that doesn't mean the latter is far inferior to the former. The Crossroads Duet is one of the rarefied few that is consistently fantastic all throughout. It gets five stars. ♥
Date Read: 04 September 2017
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