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Series: The Complete Adventure, 1-10
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: 3/25/14
Rating: 5 stars
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The wait is over with this eBook bundle that includes all ten episodes of Ruthie Knox’s steamy, irresistible serial, Roman Holiday. Like all the greatest road trips, Ashley and Roman’s journey is full of unforgettable twists and turns. But what’s their final destination?
EPISODE 1: CHAINED
EPISODE 2: HITCHED
EPISODE 3: BLINDSIDED
EPISODE 4: RAVAGED
EPISODE 5: IGNITED
EPISODE 6: MISTAKEN
EPISODE 7: RENOUNCED
EPISODE 8: STRIPPED
EPISODE 9: TRANSFORMED
EPISODE 10: CLAIMED
Ashley Bowman has always been impetuous, but even she is a little shocked when she chains herself to a palm tree in the Florida Keys hours before a hurricane is due to blow in. It’s all with the hope of saving her childhood home from a heartless Miami developer. But the moment she meets Roman Díaz she realizes he does have a heart—it’s just encased in ice. Ashley’s determined to get Roman to crack . . . even if she has to drag him all over the eastern seaboard to do it.
Roman can hardly believe he’s been talked into driving across the country with this brazen wild child in a skimpy bikini. He tells himself he had no choice—Ashley insists he meets the elderly snowbirds whose community will be displaced by his career-making development deal. But in truth he knows that there’s something about Ashley that makes him want to get a little wild himself . . . and the closer they get, the more tempted he becomes.
Ruthie Knox is an author who's been on my radar for several months now. I've discover (or been recommended) towards a set of authors in the past six months, a set of authors whose works I have enjoyed immensely. One thing these authors all seem to have in common, besides huge talent, is Ruthie Knox. They thank her for her help and praise her work. But what made me fall in love with Knox's writing, despite having never read her books, was this post on Writing Reality. When I read this post, and all the comments, I thought "THIS is the type of romance I want to read." (also I'm not ashamed to admit that every time I've read the post, I love it even more) I've picked up several of her books recently, and when the Roman Holiday serial was released in one large collection, I decided to go for it.
When Ashley Bowman refuses to let Roman Diaz destroy her grandmother's home, the two are set up in a battle for control. An agreement places and continues to keep them in close proximity. Along the way, a fantastic array of secondary characters, friends of Ashley's and her grsndmother's, help us see Ashley, her grandmother and Sunnyvale, through their lens. I thought I knew what I was getting into with Roman Holiday. I was all "An angry man and a free-spirited woman, opposites attract. Yay!" And "A fun adventure story with loads of sexual tension. I want!" Roman Holiday was all of those things. But it was also an insightful story of two people who didn't know they were lost until they found each other.
Roman Diaz is a controlled and calm man. Perfectly put together, mannered, respected. This appearance is his armor. As the story unfolds, we begin to see cracks in that armor, glimpses of the former Roman he's worked hard to put away. The boy no one wanted with a tragic childhood, fthe young man who remade himself to earn respect and a place in the world. There's a latent anger to Roman. It's so barely contained at times that he can hardly hold back. No one has picked at that control, ever, like Ashley.
He wanted to take her by the wrist and pull her out of the store, flatten her against the succo outside and press right up against her, get right in her face and insist, insist, that she tell him everything about the trip she had planned. That she stop teasing him and taunting him and leading him around as though he were harmless as a pony on a rope.
He wasn't a fucking pony. He was a tiger. He would claw her and eat her. He'd rebel against her, and she wouldn't even see it coming.
And at the same time, Ashley intrigues Roman. He admires her passion and conviction.
Ashley seems to be Roman's direct opposite, and for a few reasons. She is messy, uninhibited, prone to rambling chats, and I identified with her in a way I rarely do with heroines. Ashley appears to be a free spirit, and to a large extent she is. But as you get to know Ashley, it seems that instead of being free, she's directionless. She's the child of self-centered, distant parents. Her greatest comfort was her grandmother, who's actions before her death have left her feeling confused and betrayed.No one takes Ashley seriously, believes in her strength. No one taught her how to love, how to accept only the best for herself.
What kind of friends--what kind of family--had allowed that to happen? Someone should have stopped it. Forced naïve Ashley to come home, sleep in her bed, act her age. But no one had.
Not her father, who'd sent her to live with his mother because he couldn't figure out any other way to handle her.
Not her grandmother, who'd liked to say, Live and let live. Everyone has to make their own mistakes.
Ashley made plenty. That's why she was here. Her whole reason for this detour to Ohio was to draw on Nana's strength. But when Nana gripped her shoulder and Carly touched her knew, their touches made Ashley want to curl in on herself.
"It's not supposed to be funny," she said. It's my life."
As they go on this quest, Roman and Ashley seem to drive each other crazy. Roman's distance and cold remarks hurt Ashley, though she tries to hide it well. Her free nature and refusal to play to Roman's control issues drive him make him insane. His loss of control, at her hands, humiliates him, makes him angry angry angry. But the thing is, it only makes them crazy or hurts because it makes them feel so much, when they've both closed down to the hurt they've lived with for so long. The trip is full of problems and roadblocks, often hilarious and cringe-worthy. These problems break them down, and the vulnerabilities come out, allowing Roman and Ashley open up. They give each other so much, and as they get to know each other, Roman begins to believe in Ashley. In her strengths and passions. Ashley gives Roman acceptance of his bizarre and sad past. She gives him erratic conversations and laughter, smiles.
"You know I like you, right?"
Her smile turned into a grin. Sunlight and gold, and those bluer-than-blue eyes looking up at him. "Yeah, but I could stand to hear it again."
He couldn't help it. She made him grin. He'd never met another woman who could do that--who did it as effortlessly as she pulled air out of her lungs.
And of course, there is a heavy, achy sexual tension between these two. I loved the rawness Knox gave to these moments. I could see the corded tension in Roman's body, the grit in his jaw as he tried to resist fantasizing about Ashley in the next room. Roman Holiday is definitely a slow burn on the physical front, but it was so worth it.
Roman and Ashley together, it's kind of magical, in that way only love can achieve. For the first time in their lives, each is truly being seen. It is so, so very uplifting and happy-making when you have a love story with two people who bring each other pieces so vitally needed, who make each other feel stronger, valued, and seen.
Roman Holiday was a quest story, a quest honestly, for both Ashley and Roman. And yes, their destination is ultimately a wonderful place to land, but like all good quests, the journey, the discoveries along the way, are the real story.
"Right. Turn over, then." His mouth caressed her cheek, the rasp of his skin sweet and intimate. "I want to see your face."
She turned, surprised because her eyes were misty, tears close. She felt as though she'd spent every day for years and years in layers of padding, gauze-wrapped, and Roman had just yanked hard on the loose end and sent her spinning around, a dizzying whirl that left her bare, her skin tender, her heart open.
I want to see your face.
Who had ever said that to her before? No one, her mind whispered. No one but him.
About the author
USA Today bestselling author Ruthie Knox writes contemporary romance that’s sexy, witty, and angsty—sometimes all three at once. Her debut novel, Ride with Me, is probably the only existing cross-country bicycling love story. She followed it up with About Last Night, a London-set romance whose hero has the unlikely name of Neville, and then Room at the Inn, a Christmas novella—both of which were finalists for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award. Her four-book series about the Clark family of Camelot, Ohio, has won accolades for its fresh, funny portrayal of small-town Midwestern life. Ruthie also writes New Adult romance as RobinYork. She moonlights as a mother, Tweets incessantly, and bakes a mean focaccia. She’d love to hear from you, so feel free to drop her a line.