Princess Emma Reviews: Built by Jay Crownover

Princess Emma Reviews: Built by Jay CrownoverBuilt (Saints of Denver, #1) by Jay Crownover
on January 1st 1970
Buy on Amazon
4 Stars

From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes an electrifying new spin-off series,Saints of Denver, featuring all the characters fans have been dying to read about.
Sayer Cole and Zeb Fuller couldn’t be more different. She’s country club and fine-dining, he’s cell-block and sawdust. Sayer spends her days in litigation, while Zeb spends his working with his hands. She’s French silk, he’s all denim and flannel.
Zeb’s wanted the stunning blonde since the moment he laid eyes on her. It doesn't matter how many smooth moves he makes, the reserved lawyer seems determinedly oblivious to his interest—either that or she doesn't return it. Sayer is certain the rough, hard, hot-as-hell Zeb could never want someone as closed off and restrained as she is, which is a shame because something tells her he might be the guy to finally melt her icy exterior.
But just as things start to heat up, Zeb is blindsided by a life altering moment from his past. He needs Sayer’s professional help to right a wrong and to save more than himself. He can’t risk what’s at stake just because his attraction to Sayer feels all consuming. But as these opposites dig in for the fight of their lives, battling together to save a family, the steam created when fire and ice collide can no longer be ignored.Sayer Cole and Zeb Fuller are as different as two people can be. She’s country club and fine-dining, he’s cell-block and kill it and grill it. Sayer spends her days in litigation, while Zeb spends his working with his hands. She’s French silk while he’s denim and flannel.
The differences between the two of them don’t stop Zeb from dropping every hint he can think of that he would like to get to know her on a more personal level, but Sayer seems oblivious to his interest or is just too nice to tell him to take a hike. To Sayer, a guy like Zeb could never be interested in someone as reserved and boring as she is. She’s never been with anyone that was hot enough to melt the icy exterior she’s had wrapped around hera since her awful childhood. But what if Zeb is the one who might finally thaw her out…?

Series: Saints of Denver #1
Also by this author: Retreat (The Getaway Series Book 1)

4.25 Crowns

Built is book 1 in the new Saints of Denver series. I say book 1, but the series actually kicked off with a standalone novella, Levelled; you do not need to read that book to enjoy Built. For fans of Jay Crownover, this series is a spin-off of the hugely successful and bloody brilliant Marked Men series. Once again you don’t need to have read this series to enjoy the Saints of Denver, but if you have you will enjoy the connections and of course the cameo’s that look likely to appear in each book as the series moves forward.

Sayer has moved across country after finding out, following her father’s death, that she had a half-brother. A family lawyer, she was desperate to meet and bond with Rowdy, leaving behind her life in Seattle without a backward glance. However, it isn’t so easy for her to walk away from the insecurities and expectations that were drummed into her by a father who only cared about image. It has given her a cold and hard exterior that she uses to protect herself, but one man is making lose walls crack. Can she finally free herself from a life that is lonely, bland and without any colour?

Zeb has had it tough. Growing up in a single parent family, he adores his mother and his older sister Beryl. He is a family man at heart and because of his need to protect, he made the ultimate sacrifice when he found himself doing a 5 year prison term. Now years later, he still gets the expected “Once a criminal, always a criminal” treatment, but Zeb hasn’t let that stop him from building a successful life for himself. Having met Rowdy through his love of tattoo’s he soon found himself renovating the new Marked branch for the boys, and his house flip business grew from strength to strength. When he meets Rowdy’s sister, he is blown away. Smart, beautiful and uncaring of his past, he eventually transforms her rundown Victorian house into a palace fit for a Princess. He is determined to scales Sayer’s walls and make her his, but when an event from the past comes back to surprise him, he may need Sayer a lot more than he thinks.

This is a great read and a brilliant start to this spin-off series. The Marked Men series is really special to me. Some of the books in that series are up there with the best I’ve read; in particular Rule. His story is one book I could read over and over again. For me, Jay has really found a niche that works for her, and this book really does carry on the Marked Men flag. What I particularly like is that it looks likely to feature characters very much on the periphery of the original series, you know, those characters that you couldn’t help thinking could have an interesting story themselves. That being said, this can also be read independently of the original series and you will still enjoy it to its fullest.

I won’t lie, Sayer is a difficult character. Her past is so complex, but it is also very much her present. The decisions and lack of warmth at times had me wanting to slap her, but the chinks of pure kindness were visible throughout. Zeb, well what can I say. Jay Crownover writes men WELL. He is the absolute bomb. Patient, loving and determined, unlike Sayer he doesn’t let the past define him. I could say more, but that would give too many spoilers.


If you are a fan of good old romance, but with a characters that have depth, light and shade this is a great read. I loved the Marked Men and I think I am going to love the Saints of Denver just as much.


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