Series: The Saints of Denver #3
Author: Jay Crownover
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 14 Feb 2017
Source: Review Copy
Synopsis from Goodreads
Everyone else in Dixie Carmichael’s life has made falling in love look easy, and now she is ready for her own chance at some of that happily ever after. Which means she’s done pining for the moody, silent former soldier who works with her at the bar that’s become her home away from home. Nope. No more chasing the hot as heck thundercloud of a man and no more waiting for Mr. Right to find her; she’s going hunting for him…even if she knows her heart is stuck on its stupid infatuation with Dash Churchill.
Denver has always been just a pit stop for Church on his way back to rural Mississippi. It was supposed to be simple, uneventful, but nothing could have prepared him for the bubbly, bouncy redhead with doe eyes and endless curves. Now he knows it’s time to get out of Denver, fast. For a man used to living in the shadows, the idea of spending his days in the sun is nothing short of terrifying.
When Dixie and Church find themselves caught up in a homecoming overshadowed with lies and danger, Dixie realizes that while falling in love is easy, loving takes a whole lot more work…especially when Mr. Right thinks he’s all wrong for you.
Jay Crownover slays me with her introductions and her acknowledgements, I love the glimpse into her life and how her experiences shape her writing. Every single story holds even more significance because of the personal connection jay allows with her readers.
Riveted proves over and over again that happiness is a choice we can embrace or risk each opportunity because of fear. Church and Dixie are the embodiment of both of these aspects, and their personal journey is one of over coming the fear of emotional pain for the reward of true love and fulfillment.
Church has spent the past ten years running from all of the emotional trauma he endured at a tender age. Church internalized his grief and pain at the loss of the two most important women in his life. Taking that pain and manipulating it into his own form of self-loathing and using it to justify his distance from the people who love him the most. As the time slips away the distance grows between Church and his family until the point that he is terrified to open himself to anyone for fear of further loss. While Church is somewhat content with his life, he isn’t truly happy.
Dixie, on the other hand, is the embodiment of happiness, because she chooses to be. No stranger to tragedy herself, Dixie has taken her experiences and pushed for the silver lining in all the situations she encounters. A people pleaser at her core, Dixie is like a ray of sunshine in the lives of everyone who encounters her. I absolutely adored Dixie and believe it would make the world a far nicer place if everyone tried to be a little more like Dixie.
On the surface it would appear Dixie and Church are polar opposites, when in fact they have a lot in common apart from the way they have dealt with the life experiences that have shaped them.
Dixie has grown-up believing in soul-mates and insta-love based on her parents relationship. A positive believer in fate, she wants that fairytale for herself. On her first meeting with Church, Dixie is aware on a deep level that this is the man meant for her. Unfortunately, the happily ever after she so desperately craves isnt’ that simple to achieve due to Church’s myriad of emotional barriers. Dixie battles with her feelings for Church which only deepen the more she gets to know him, while he firmly friend zones her in the belief he is dong what is best for her.
Although fate has other plans in store for Church when he is given the push he needs to return to his family when a close friend/neighbour/guardian is injured. Attempting to explain his drawn out absence requires Church to take Dixie with him to his southern home town. I adore the use of a road trip in stories as a way of mirroring the characters metaphorical journey with the physical journey they are undertaking. With each mile that passes on the way to Church’s hometown more insight is gained to both Church and Dixie and the incidents that have shaped them. There has always been chemistry between Church and Dixie but the openness they gain paves the way to a deeper connection. Their feelings for each other grow creating Church to feel conflicted as to his relationship with Dixie when he is controlled by his fear, whereas it serves to increase Dixie’s longing for Church to see the potential they have as a couple.
Circumstances and the addition of thriller elements within the narrative serve to as a catalyst in Church and Dixie’s relationship. It is better to seize your opportunities for happiness when you have them than merely exist due to fear paralysing you and preventing you from moving forward.
Jay Crownover has ingeniously paved the way for Wheeler and Poppy’s story in Salvaged with a massive revelation at the end of Riveted. As always it’s a joy to catch-up with some of the other characters from Jay’s Marked Men series.