Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “You don’t need anyone to show you how to be good; you’re so much better when you’re bad.”
Shane ‘Bax’ Baxter has just been released from prison after doing a 5 year stint for grand theft auto. Back in town and more dangerous than ever, he is looking for his best friend, Race, who he thinks set him up to take the fall. Bax doesn’t know what happened or why, but he’s going to find out even if he has to burn the town and everyone in it to do so. Unfortunately, there is another person looking for Race and she refuses to get out of his way.
Dovie Pryce is also looking for Race but for different reasons. A good girl born on the wrong side of the tracks, she does her best to keep her head low and herself off the radar. She needs Bax’s help though and dogs him till he gives in.
Bax doesn’t need or want the responsibility for Dovie’s safety but when she dragged into the war brewing in The Point, Bax will have to lay aside his visions of vengeance in order to keep her safe. But who will save Dovie from Bax?
Welcome to the Point is a new series by Jay Crownover. Different from her Marked Men series, this one opens up a world of crime, drugs, violence, and death with a ‘hero’ who is anything but a good guy. Dark and gritty, Better When He’s Bad is a bleak look at life on the streets where only the strong can survive. Teeming with deception and betrayal; no one is exempt from judgement. A cast of interesting and dangerous characters who casually walk the line between good and bad and demand you pay attention as they help to lay the framework for the story. Fast pacing intermingles with various subplots, creating a well rounded entertaining book. Alternating viewpoints between our two protagonists allows us to see both sides of the events taking place, overlapping just enough for comprehension but not reiterating the same scene over and over.
Bax is over six feet of dark, intense, alpha delicious, tattooed sexiness. He is the bad boy your mama warned you about. The one you’ll give everything to and when it’s all over and you are left with nothing, you’ll steal to give him more. Growing up with an alcoholic mother and an absent father, Bax was forced to take the role of provider at an early age. Thus, his career in thievery began. Starting out small, he eventually caught the eye of the local crime lord and began to pull bigger jobs, leading to more trouble. Having spent a majority of his adolescence in and out of jail, Bax knows deep inside that with his last stint, he only has two choices from here on out-get out of the game or let himself be submerged fully into it.
“Sacrificing five years of his life for a bunch of bullshite has a way of leaving a mark on a guy…”
Crownover doesn’t sugarcoat Bax to make him more presentable or appealing. Rather, she uses his experiences and relationships to slowly peel back the layers and reveal the potential in him. He has issues that foreshadow his actions though he isn’t immoral. He has a set of rules he lives by and won’t compromise to appease anyone…that is until he meets Dovie Pryor. Dovie is a hard working college student trying to keep her head above water. Born to a drug addicted mother, she was thrown into the foster care system only to be saved A picture of innocence with her curly red hair and pale freckled skin, Dovie is far more street savvy than anyone gives her credit for. She needs to find Race and will do whatever it takes, forcing Bax into the protector role against his will.
“Having Bax act like a buffer between me and all the bad things in the world was a potent aphrodisiac…”
Bax and Dovie are a classic example of “opposites attract” A criminal and a saint who are forced into reluctantly helping one another. Dovie is the perfect match for him. Someone who is intimately acquainted with the harsh demands of life and family. She is seemingly his direct opposite but her own issues mirror his in ways, she is able to understand his motivations but still questions his choices. Not looking at Bax with lust struck eyes or as a future meal ticket, Dovie gets to know Bax and from there learns there is so much more to him then what he shows the world. I really enjoyed that she doesn’t roll over for him. She holds him accountable for his words and actions.
“I never trusted their motivations and I had seen too many girls abandoned because of pretty words rattled off a talented tongue.”
The romance and the main conflict build slowly, outlining the tension and fear our couple live with everyday. Bax struggles trying to keep everything separate and compartmentalized, only to lose it all when his past and present collide and all his secrets are revealed. Bax is forced to take matters into his own hands and commit the unexpected if he wants a life beyond the expected.
“Heroes have no place in this kind of fight. It takes nasty to fight nasty…”
This entire book is a speeding out of control roller coaster filled with twists and turns that will keep you clinging to your seat. An intricate game of cat and mouse that ends with some shocking answers that left me blinking in surprise. Better When He’s Bad is sure to appeal to lovers of bad boys everywhere. I look forward to the second book in this series, Better When He’s Bold, slated to release in 2014.