Happy Friday, bookworms! So, today, I had to deal with typical end-of-month craziness at the office, but I was super thrilled to arrive home to book mail of sorts… my Central Jesse Cloud Nine hoodie from the lovely Jodi Ellen Malpas. I’m obsessed, but can you blame me? If you’ve read this beloved romance, you’ll know precisely what I’m talking about, and if you don’t, then I can’t suggest this sizzling trio fast enough!
In my unwrapping excitement, I realized a crucial thing; that I’ve read and reviewed every single one of this talented author’s books, except for the series of hers I adore the most. The This Man series is easily in my top five of ultimate romances, and since I’ve just finished my 4th re-read, I figured that now would be an opportune moment to tell you guys all about Jesse Ward. Are you ready to meet The Lord of The Manor?
The series begins with This Man. We meet Ava O’Shea. She’s is a promising, young interior designer who is running late to a consultation with a wealthy client in the English countryside. It’s when she arrives at the gates of the illustrious manor… and meets the mysterious owner, that her world is flipped on its axis. Jesse Ward is not the elderly or stuffy estate owner Ava had pictured in her mind. In fact, he’s quite the opposite. Sludgy green eyes, messy blonde hair, a tall muscular frame, and impeccable taste in dress is what she encounters when they come face-to-face for the first time. Yes, he affects her, but she won’t let him have the satisfaction of knowing just how much. Luckily for him, he knows exactly the reaction he elicits from her right at their first meeting.
Unfortunately for Jesse, Ava is not as compliant as he’d wish her to be. She presses all of his buttons and he can’t help his controlling manner when it comes to what he wants with her.
Be prepared as you journey through this story. This pair is off-the-charts sexy, but man, will they infuriate you to no end. No matter how many times I re-read this story, it never ceases to amaze me how batty they continue to make me as I turn page after page.
The tension in this book is just enough to make you crazy, but in the best way possible, so just take deep breaths, and enjoy the ride!
The second book in the series, Beneath This Man, is where the story begins to get juicy, and you really delve into the depths of Jesse and Ava. This installment opens on an absolute wreck. Jesse is a complete bull in a china shop when some of his secrets are revealed to Ava. It’s up to her to stay strong and weather the storm, or turn her back and risk Jesse’s demise, on top of shattering her own heart.
It was at this point that I became attached and completely invested in this series and these two characters! Jesse and Ava are infuriating as all get out, so don’t get me wrong there, but I always route for them to find the light at the end of the tunnel…… Together.
This book has a lot of “heart in my throat” moments, and as their relationship progressed in intensity, so did all the skeletons in their closets. No matter how many times I bring myself back to these books, I always hold my breath during numerous particularly tough moments. A first read, or a fourth, I still had teary eyes and just had to hope they’d make it through their challenges, even if I knew what was coming.
Three… Two… One…. Zero, baby. This.freaking.series!!! On my first read of the third and final book, This Man Confessed, I remember almost giving up half way through, settling for chucking it across the room in frustration rather than deal with the roller coaster relationship of Jesse and Ava. They are the most infuriating people on the planet!! So help me, I love them anyway, which is why I keep returning to their lives.
The more I read other reviews, both before and after I encountered this series, I realized that this pair had their own version of normal, and their behavior with each other got down right scary a few times (okay, a LOT of times) because it was how they attempted survival and happiness. The more Jesse’s past fought to the surface of their turmoil, the more sense their behavior made. It’s wondering if they’re strong enough to make it to the end, as one, that’s a whole other story.
I can’t help it, when it comes to my fiction and my big, dominant, alphas.. I love when they’re completely tormented and come with excessive baggage. If they’re slightly unhinged, that’s okay too. I want them to heal and find happiness because I see how pure their hearts really are. Maybe because I feel while we’re all on this earth, at some point, we deserve to be blissfully euphoric.. So I cheer for it despite the pain it sometimes takes to get there. I’m continuously proud of Ava for being the strong woman she is. She never backs down from Jesse, not once. She gives him as much as she gets, and while my heart breaks for her on every visit we have together, I’m forever on her side when it comes to her man’s neurotic ways and colorful past.
The ending of this series was absolutely lovely. I will not spoil anything for you guys, but I’m elated that in the past, I didn’t have to toss this book away from me in an emotional rage, and on my most current return, that I smiled as big as I did the first time I closed the last chapter. The difficulties Jesse and Ava endured together and separately just tied the whole ending in the most bittersweet, little bow.
As for me, I think I’ll forever remain on central Jesse cloud nine… end of.