Pardon me. I’m still blowing my nose out, wiping my reddened eyes dry, crumpling wet tissues together, and hugging my pillow closer to my chest. “Sebring” was, as you can see, not what I expected.
Kristen Ashley wrote a magnificent ending to her “The Unfinished Hero” series. When I first started reading it, I felt really uncomfortable with the first and very abrupt sexy scene between Nick Sebring and Olivia “Livvie” Shade. They were in a sex club, watching a man flog/beat a consensual woman. They got off on it, and Livvie, being the cool cat that she was, just walked away. But only after silently writing down her cell number for Nick, who had asked for it. It wasn’t that the heroine literally took what she wanted; my discomfort came due to the nature of what I thought their type of kinky sex was going to be. At this juncture of my reading life, I’ve had enough of Dom and submissive play. It’s just a theme that’s been hashed, re-hashed, and re-re-hashed ad infinitum, and I was bored with it. I’ll admit I committed a reading crime: I skipped to the end after reading that scene. I KNOW. Bad Kim. Super bad. Well, spank me, honey. I did it, and I regret it now, because I… um… wanted to DNF it.
Well! It’s a good thing my inner self banged my head on a proverbial walnut coffee table, because I pursued and persevered with Nick and Livvie from start to end. And, OMG, I cried. Buckets and buckets of tears I shed. The way he… and then she… Sniff.
But I digress. Simply put, Nick Sebring found his redemption and his peace. Her name just so happened to be the amazing female character named Livvie Shade. Livvie is not one’s typical Kristen Ashley heroine. While Ms. Ashley typically writes in monotonous, repetitive, girly, squealy POVs, Livvie, thankfully, did not have this. Her inner thoughts are her pain, laid out plainly for all to see/read in a non-cliched way. The strength of her character, as portrayed in Ms. Ashley’s words, is precisely what we need in today’s “bash-one-another-online-and-in-person” world. Likewise, Ms. Ashley gave us an extremely flawed man as our book hero. Nick Sebring played the bad guy in “Knight,” and a not-so-heroic dude in “Creed.” His 180-degree turnaround here is, in a word, romantic. If only human beings can indeed crave and achieve such a change in their lives and in how they deal with others, then we’d all be living in Kristen Ashley’s 5-star world.