4.5 stars!Oh, Pastor Ben. You have my heart! An opposites attract romance that is both fun and emotional, and so damn sweet! This is such a beautiful story, and I loved it!This is the third book in the Love, Hate, Rock-n-Roll series. It’s the story of Ben and Ashleigh, both introduced in book #1, Playing by Heart (Ben is the brother of rock star, Jesse Lee, and Ashleigh is the best friend of Jesse’s now wife, Bethany), but this book can be read as a standalone. Ben is the pastor of a church and 4.5 stars!Oh, Pastor Ben. You have my heart! An opposites attract romance that is both fun and emotional, and so damn sweet! This is such a beautiful story, and I loved it!This is the third book in the Love, Hate, Rock-n-Roll series. It’s the story of Ben and Ashleigh, both introduced in book #1, Playing by Heart (Ben is the brother of rock star, Jesse Lee, and Ashleigh is the best friend of Jesse’s now wife, Bethany), but this book can be read as a standalone. Ben is the pastor of a church and a widowed single father to an adorable five-year-old daughter. His beloved wife died giving birth to Elliot and he has never been able to move on, holding tight to her memory and to the vows he made to her. But temptation comes in the form of wickedly crude and sassy Ashleigh. His ex-babysitter’s best friend is a sexually liberated wild girl with a filthy mouth and a flair for flashing skin. Sitting in the front row of his church week after week and flirting shamelessly with him whenever she has the opportunity, Ben is unable to resist Ashleigh’s light and liveliness, and he begins to feel something for her. Ashleigh has crushed on Ben from the moment she first saw him. She knows that she is far from the woman that a man like him would typically go for, and she also knows that he is committed to the memory of his wife, so she doesn’t ever expect anything to happen between them. But when she begins to spend more time with him and Elliot, things begin to shift.This is such a fantastic relationship. Ben and Ashleigh are so different, but they just don’t care. Their feelings for each other are strong, and though they are from completely different backgrounds, living extremely different lives, it doesn’t matter when it comes to their attraction. Instead, their hurdles come from their own personal issues. They have both had trauma in their pasts, and they are both still struggling to deal with it, and they are also figuring out who they are and where they want to be. There are big decisions to be made, and it’s a bit of a journey for them, and I loved watching them work through it all. I don’t want her to see me as a married man. I don’t want her to see me as a pastor. I want her to know I’m a warm-blooded male who has his eyes set on her and I’m capable of being the kid of man she needs.
The story is written in dual POV so we get to see all that they are feeling up close and personal, and my heart ached for them and all they were going through. The emotion is beautifully written, and the drama brings so much depth to the story, bringing feels, angst, and a wonderful intensity that had my heart pounding. “I opened my fucking soul to you. I held my heart in my hands and offered it to you, broken and battered and so demolished, but I gave it all to you. And you…” he shakes his head. “You give me nothing. Your walls are firmly in place while I’m bleeding out at your feet.”
It’s a heartwrenching read at times, but it’s balanced by sweet and funny moments with Elliot, hilarious and outrageous outbursts by Ben’s brother, Jesse, and by the sweet and flirty relationship that develops between Ben and Ashleigh. It’s a slow burn, with plenty of chemistry and steam, and it’s beautifully heartfelt as they figure it all out. “There is nothing you could tell me that I won’t love you through.” … I continue to hold her eyes. “There is nothing you could say or do that I won’t love you through.”
Swoon!Ben and Ashleigh’s story isn’t an easy one, but I loved their journey, and it’s worth it for the happy ending that left me grinning and swooning yet again. There is one member of the band left to have his story told, and with that little hint dropped at the end, I’m really looking forward to Ethan's book to round out the series.Loved this one – 4.5 stars. An Advanced Review Copy was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review more