Audio Review: Golden Trail by Kristen Ashley

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Title: Golden Trail (The ‘Burg #3)
Author: Kristen Ashley
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Narrator: Brian Pallino
Length: 21 hours 20 mins, 664 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis

Tanner Layne and Raquel Merrick fell in love young, hard and fast and both of them knew a beautiful life they thought would be forever.

Until Rocky left Layne, no explanation, no going back.

Layne escapes The ‘Burg only to come back years later because his ex-wife has hooked herself to the town jerk and Layne needs to make sure his sons get raised right. Layne manages to avoid Rocky but when Layne gets three bullets drilled into him while investigating a dirty cop, he can’t do that because Rocky stops avoiding Layne. They make a deal to work together to expose the dirty cop but they have no idea the strength of their enduring attraction or the sheer evil at work in The ‘Burg.

As Tanner Layne and Raquel Merrick play their game and dance around the pull that draws them together, Layne has to discover the dark secrets buried so deep in Rocky’s heart she doesn’t even know they’re there at the same time untangle a sinister web of crime so abhorrent it has to be stopped… at all costs.

And to do it, Layne has to enlist everyone, including his ex-CIA mentor, Rocky’s detective brother, the town’s unpredictable informant and Layne’s two teenage sons all the while stopping Rocky from doing something crazy and keeping their game secret so Layne won’t get himself dead.

Grace Review
Story: 4 stars
A sweet second chance romance about healing and moving on.

If you haven’t noticed, I’m addicted to the ‘Burg.  Who knew some much drama would take place in a small Indiana town.  This book, like the previous two in the series, has a TON of drama, most of it being criminal.

There are heroes in books and then there is Tanner Layne and Raquel “Rocky” Merrick.  These former sweethearts join forces to take down some evil men/women, and fall back in love along the way. While reading, I kept thinking they were taking on too much.  A dirty cop.  An abusive football coach.  And then the BIG ONE, a church youth group that was far from holy.

Unlike the Grinch, these Layne and Rocky seemed to have hearts two sizes too big.  These two give everything they have to protect their family, their community and its children.

Like all of her books, KA slowly rebuilds the foundation for this couple who were separated for years.  While the attraction between them burns bright, there reunion is not instant, even though Layne wanted that all along.  But knowing how things ended before, he doesn’t rush her.  He careful removes the wall that drove them apart.

I was a bit nervous on the reasons Rocky left Layne years prior.  I thought it would be a misunderstanding.  So I wasn’t truly prepared for what her reasons for when they came out.  How it came out was so heartbreaking, I was shedding tears for her and her pain.  And I totally understood why Layne got upset with her brother and father.  They made bad choices and made everyone, Rocky especially, because of it.  But she gets closure and some help to move past her pain, finally.

There’s so many layers to this story, each layer bringing Layne and Rocky back together, while protecting those they love from harm.  The strength of the family and friends, all coming together to do the right thing is the ultimate reward.

Performance: 3.5 stars
I was a bit apprehensive about having a male narrator for this book, but with a male POV in the story, I get that it was necessary.

My thoughts on the male narrator:
For Laine, I looooooved his voice.  So freaking sexy.  Seriously, this guy’s voice alone could make a woman purr.

For any female character, not great.  I’m not a fan of males speaking the female voice, it always comes off wrong, kind of whiny.  With that said, given his deep voice, he did better than others I’ve heard.

What he does a great job of, as do all of the other narrators I’ve heard for this author’s audio books, is give each character a distinct voice.  I especially loved the voices of Devon and Ricker, who came across as the bad asses they are meant to be.

Overall: 4 stars
There are a ton of romance books out there, but what keeps me coming back to Kristen Ashley is the full story she creates.  Her books are so much more than just a love story, which it goes without saying is full of Alpha testosterone and swoon-worthly moments.  What she does better than a lot of writers is build the perfect life.  If you could dream up how you want to spend your years as a adult, this author takes you there.  The road is not clear.  The path is not easy.  But ultimately, she takes you there.  To the man that will do ANYTHING for his woman.  To the family they build together and nurture.  To the friends they have for the tougher times.  Layne takes Rocky there, and in return, she leaves a Golden Trail of complete love and happiness, that will last a lifetime.

– Grace

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