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Justified

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The New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men series delivers a romance about a rugged Texas sheriff who must protect the woman who was once his sworn enemy... Case Lawton comes from a family of criminals. So as the sheriff of Loveless, Texas, he's determined to do everything by the book--until he's called to Aspen Barlow's office after a so-called break-in. The l The New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men series delivers a romance about a rugged Texas sheriff who must protect the woman who was once his sworn enemy... Case Lawton comes from a family of criminals. So as the sheriff of Loveless, Texas, he's determined to do everything by the book--until he's called to Aspen Barlow's office after a so-called break-in. The last thing he wants to do is help the woman who cost him custody of his son. But Aspen isn't the heartless lawyer Case remembers, and he starts to question his long-held grudge... Aspen is scared for her life, and Case is her last hope for protection. But to get him on her side, she'll have to reveal the painful truth from all those years ago. Now, as they work together to track down a dangerous criminal, Case and Aspen learn to trust each other. And as the threats escalate, it becomes clear there's a thin line between love and hate... because there's nothing Case wouldn't do to keep her safe. Includes It's All About That Cowboy, a bonus novella by Carly Bloom!


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The New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men series delivers a romance about a rugged Texas sheriff who must protect the woman who was once his sworn enemy... Case Lawton comes from a family of criminals. So as the sheriff of Loveless, Texas, he's determined to do everything by the book--until he's called to Aspen Barlow's office after a so-called break-in. The l The New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men series delivers a romance about a rugged Texas sheriff who must protect the woman who was once his sworn enemy... Case Lawton comes from a family of criminals. So as the sheriff of Loveless, Texas, he's determined to do everything by the book--until he's called to Aspen Barlow's office after a so-called break-in. The last thing he wants to do is help the woman who cost him custody of his son. But Aspen isn't the heartless lawyer Case remembers, and he starts to question his long-held grudge... Aspen is scared for her life, and Case is her last hope for protection. But to get him on her side, she'll have to reveal the painful truth from all those years ago. Now, as they work together to track down a dangerous criminal, Case and Aspen learn to trust each other. And as the threats escalate, it becomes clear there's a thin line between love and hate... because there's nothing Case wouldn't do to keep her safe. Includes It's All About That Cowboy, a bonus novella by Carly Bloom!

30 review for Justified

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾

    4 STARS She was the last woman I should have my hands on, but she was the only one who could make me lose all sense of reality. I love a good enemies to lovers romance, and boy did this book bring it. I will admit, it's been a hot minute since I've read a Jay Crownover book and I'm not even sure why. I forgot just how much I missed her writing until I dove into this one. Having said that, while there's some carryover from her other series, I had no problems diving right in. This starts 4 STARS She was the last woman I should have my hands on, but she was the only one who could make me lose all sense of reality. I love a good enemies to lovers romance, and boy did this book bring it. I will admit, it's been a hot minute since I've read a Jay Crownover book and I'm not even sure why. I forgot just how much I missed her writing until I dove into this one. Having said that, while there's some carryover from her other series, I had no problems diving right in. This starts out with a real bang with Aspen representing Case's ex wife in their divorce settlement. She's a phenomenal lawyer, but she can barely stifle the guilt over her skill at her job being responsible for the woman getting full custody rights from the man that's devoted to his son. It's been years since that moment, but Case has never forgiven her and the animosity has only grown. You can't help but feel for Aspen. She was the awkward new girl that fell for the town's golden boy in high school. Only to be the object of his anger years later. A lot of things have changed over the years. Case now has full custody of his 17 year old son and Aspen is dealing with a divorce of her own supposed perfect. But when her office gets trashed and her life seems to be in danger, none other that sheriff Case can get to the bottom of it. But protecting her also forces them to finally deal with all the years of pain and anger between them and to finally give into the passion that's been brewing right along it. The beginning is a bit of a slow build and there's a lot of backstory that fills the pages, but I really enjoyed that part. I loved seeing Case's anger slowly defrost and the cloud of judgement begin to dissipate until he sees Aspen for the woman she really is. There's a lot of story that's set up here for some secondary characters that I'm already chomping at the bit to get books for (especially one particular MC). There's plenty of action and suspense to play along with the evolving romance, and I devoured it. The only quibble I had was with the ending. There's a certain twist that happens that seemed just way too OTT and grand for be to fully buy into it, especially taking all the other dynamics into account. It felt more like shock value rather than a true twist to me, and it took away from my engrossment of the story a little bit. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed it immensely and can't wait for book two, I just could have done with a different twist. But this is an entirely subjective thing and I'll probably be in the very minority with my thoughts. Either way, I can't wait for the next book! ARC courtesy of author in exchange for an honest review Find me on:

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melanie A.

    3.5 STARS Ooops, this one is all on me: romantic suspense does not equal happy Melanie I KNOW this and I usually do my due diligence before starting a book . . . but so many of my friends loved this one . . . and since Jay Crownover has joined the big publishing world, it was available at my library . . . plus, an enemies-to-lovers premise? Resistance was futile, I swear. Anyway, it started out so well. I was totally digging the first half. There were big smiles all around. I knew how to fe 3.5 STARS Ooops, this one is all on me: romantic suspense does not equal happy Melanie I KNOW this and I usually do my due diligence before starting a book . . . but so many of my friends loved this one . . . and since Jay Crownover has joined the big publishing world, it was available at my library . . . plus, an enemies-to-lovers premise? Resistance was futile, I swear. Anyway, it started out so well. I was totally digging the first half. There were big smiles all around. I knew how to feud with him. I wasn't sure I was ready to learn how to play nice after all these years of animosity. The writing may have been heavy on tell, rather than show, with very little dialogue, but it was top notch. There's no denying that Ms. Crownover is a great writer. Minor spoilers ahead But then I tripped over two grenades, back to back around the 60% mark. (1) The classic TSTL move: heroine goes off on her own despite knowing someone's trying to kill her. (2) The author managed to push my rather rusty feminist buttons: I get that the hero's 'gesture' was supposed to be taken as uber-romantic: "I'm not going to fuck another man's wife, but I will wait for her." But I was like, Oh, HELL NO! since (view spoiler)[the heroine's husband has been refusing to sign the divorce papers for a year. (hide spoiler)] Is the hero really saying that the ex's consent is more important than the heroine's? Ugh. Then, from there, the plot devolved into an action/suspense groove that most will love, but I found silly. HOWEVER: If you're a fan of this author and romantic suspense, I can't imagine that you won't like this one.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    Justified by Jay Crownover is the first full length novel in the contemporary romance Loveless, Texas series. The series opened with Unbroken, a prequel novella, which featured different characters so each could be read and understood as a standalone if choosing to do so although there will be mentions of previous characters. Justified is also being published with a bonus short story, It’s All About That Cowboy by Carly Bloom however my review/rating is strictly for Justified as the review copy Justified by Jay Crownover is the first full length novel in the contemporary romance Loveless, Texas series. The series opened with Unbroken, a prequel novella, which featured different characters so each could be read and understood as a standalone if choosing to do so although there will be mentions of previous characters. Justified is also being published with a bonus short story, It’s All About That Cowboy by Carly Bloom however my review/rating is strictly for Justified as the review copy did not include the bonus to read. Aspen Barlow had always been an outsider in Loveless with Case Lawton being the only one to welcome her in school leading to a crush she’s never forgotten. As the two left high school they went their separate ways and began completely different lives. When Aspen and Case finally crossed paths again it wasn’t on good terms as Aspen was assigned to be Case’s wife’s divorce lawyer and won the case. Years have passed since then with Case holding a bit of a grudge but when Aspen’s life is threatened the two are forced together with Case currently acting sheriff. Starting out reading Justified I was happy to know the characters shared a past so the romance wouldn’t be coming out of left field but learning their animosity I began to wonder. It soon became clear though that while these two were opposites in every way things should have been worked out sooner and I got behind their relationship. What really made me love this though and give it 4 1/2 stars was the author added a lot of suspense and threw in a twist or two that surprised me so two thumbs up on that one! I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/

  4. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    I love a good "enemies to lovers" story and this one definitely hit the right spot. It has been a long time since I have read anything by this author, I believe "Charged" was the last book. I don't have a specific reason as to why, but I do know that I will be checking out every book in this series ;) I also really liked the side-characters in this book, and since some play a part in a previous series, I will have to check those out as well. So looks like I'm gonna be busy. Aspen and Case have kn I love a good "enemies to lovers" story and this one definitely hit the right spot. It has been a long time since I have read anything by this author, I believe "Charged" was the last book. I don't have a specific reason as to why, but I do know that I will be checking out every book in this series ;) I also really liked the side-characters in this book, and since some play a part in a previous series, I will have to check those out as well. So looks like I'm gonna be busy. Aspen and Case have known each other since high school. He was de sweet, yet popular jock and she was the new kid...the weird girl. Despite their differences Case was always kind to her and she never forgot. But people grow up and life doesn't always turn out as expected and when Case's wife wants a divorce and custody of their child...Aspen is the lawyer that represents her...and wins the case. This pretty much cements the future (hateful) relationship between Case and Aspen... Things aren't always as they seem though and these two are about to find out....especially Case.  When Aspen is the victim of vandalism and violence, Case has no choice but to get up close and personal with his nemesis. He is the town sheriff after all, and not wanting to be like his corrupt dad...he will have to do his job, even if he hates the victim.  But nobody probably told him that love and hate are only separated by a very fine line... ....Don't worry, he is about to find out himself. I really enjoyed reading this story but I have to admit that the ending threw me a bit. I have read other reviews of people who feel the same way, so I know it isn't just me. This book is already pretty heavy on the drama and I think that last bit was just a bit too much, at least for me. That said, it was still very good.  I'm really looking forward to the next story...I hope it will be Kody's ;) An ARC was provided to in exchange for an honest review  

  5. 4 out of 5

    Wendy'sThoughts

    4.5 The Power of Words and Actions Stars * * * *1/2 Spoiler Free How to address this book and themes...Jay Crownover has taken the pain of a "Son Bearing the Sins of the Father and Righting These Wrongs and mixes it with the "One Who Worked to Protect Him" be the one he thinks hurt him the most. And that is just the tip of the iceberg of this tale. In Loveless Texas, there were a couple of things to know. Years ago, you never crossed the Sheriff if you knew what was good for you. Especially if you 4.5 The Power of Words and Actions Stars * * * *1/2 Spoiler Free How to address this book and themes...Jay Crownover has taken the pain of a "Son Bearing the Sins of the Father and Righting These Wrongs and mixes it with the "One Who Worked to Protect Him" be the one he thinks hurt him the most. And that is just the tip of the iceberg of this tale. In Loveless Texas, there were a couple of things to know. Years ago, you never crossed the Sheriff if you knew what was good for you. Especially if your skin was a little too different or if he thought you were a good target for his ire. Don't be a woman looking for protection from an abusive husband, good ole boys rules applied. Don't complain if drunks started to take advantage, you were begging for it...And please, please do not be the woman who gave him his three kids because she got pushed, struck and hurt in her own home. Case worked to erase everything his father did when he was a kid. Polite, good, and looking out for others like his mother taught him, he was the golden boy of Loveless. Soon to be Top College pick as the star football player on his high school team, school hero and good guy others wanted to hang with, and girls wanted him to be theirs. He had his girl, her sights set to be the Classic football girlfriend and then-wife with all the perks expected. But life doesn't turn out exactly how one plans. Football scholarships disappear when Case was injured during a game. Girlfriend's sneaky pregnancy got Case to marry her but she didn't get the perks she expected. Instead, she was married to a man who went off to war to support his new family and country. When Case returned, he thought he left hell back in the desert...but no, he had just another type here in Loveless. As part of the sheriff's department, he had to deal with all the crap his father did to the people of the town. He had a disgruntled wife who blamed him for all her lost dreams. The only light in his life was his son who he would do anything for... Aspen Barlow was brought to Loveless Texas as a young teen and it was traumatic. Coming from Chicago to small-town Texas would blow anyone's mind let alone starting high school and knowing no one. Her tastes, looks, and thoughts were nothing like the kids at school. There was only one person who was actually nice to her. Case was that one person who made sure the new girl felt welcome. And that was all it took, Aspen crushed on Case and it never went away. As I said, life happened and Aspen went to law school back in Chicago and became a savvy attorney, sharp and very astute to the needs of her clients. She had returned to Loveless with the idea to help the helpless in the system, put there by the corrupt Lawton Sherriff. She was wooed by another Loveless Social High School Star, found herself in the in-crowd for the first time, and married the man. It turned her head a bit, making her lose focus on her original legal goals. She was brought in to the family practice, did the country club stuff, and handled cases she had no passion for. It was the ugly "Perfect Storm" when these two people cross paths again. Case is served the divorce papers at the station when Aspen is there for another client. He is furious and Aspen makes the critical error of acknowledging what is happening and suggests he get a good lawyer. In his pain and fury, Case lashes out and addresses Aspen's comments with the taunt his wife's crowd use to say during those horrible high school years. Says he knows what he is doing and doesn't need her type of advice. With pain and a bruised ego Aspen turns away. And as the "Perfect Storm" continues, she is forced to represent the witch during the divorce. The crux of the relationship these two have becomes this: Although Case's words had hurt Aspen, she always believed in him. She knew in her core, he would never be anything like his father. The witch was determined to hurt Case and having full custody of his son would do the trick. Hearing all of the venom spewing from this woman and what she was determined to do, Aspen took it on to do as best as she could to protect Case and his son. From Case's view, it didn't look that way when he lost his rights. All he could see was Aspen being an accomplice in his pain. His family hated her and this was the way things were left. Over the years, Aspen worked to make the visitations the best she could and when the son was of age to request he live with his dad, Aspen was finally released from the torture of representing the woman. She was fired. Aspen took a good look at her life and wanted to be released from her marriage as well. She filed for divorce, pushed for her ex to finalize the papers, and left the family practice. She found a cute little home to fix up her way, opened her own practice to help the people her original goals encompassed. She would have a fresh start and finally be in control of her own life. Time doesn't stop and children grow. Case was finally able to kick his father out of the department and took over the head position with a vow to do right by the people. Case's son is now getting ready to go away to college. Case still holds the pain and grudge of all the time he missed with his son and anytime he can make things difficult for Aspen he does. His son tells him to cut her a break because she tried to always make things better for him and his dad. With all this backstory, the meat and potatoes of this tale started with Aspen's office destroyed and vandalized. Cruel ugly words are written across the front for all to see and all of her files, furniture, and windows are broken and shattered. As the Sheriff, Case comes to investigate. He is taking everything in; she is being strong as she can waiting to hear him make some comments like usual but it doesn't come. Instead, he is steady for her and as he is walking her out he is there when her ex comes and demands Aspen return back to his home so he can watch over her. Aspen says hell no, sign the papers and the ex gets pushy. Case, stepping forward tells the ex to let go of her arm and move away. This story takes this love/hate relationship between Aspen (past crush/pain/caring) and Case (hate, pain, and confusion) and creates something alive and pulsating. Aspen is in danger and the cause needs to be found. There are too many possibilities. Case is drawn into this situation, sees more of Aspen as a person rather than this evil idea he has carried for all these years. With the threats becoming more dangerous, the chemistry and care for each other surfaces and they finally see what should have been clear from the start. This story had many layers and worked to keep the intrigue vital. The other family members were a concrete part of the story and added the extra flavor Crownover is known for. I know another entry must be coming, as Kody the sister and another lawman have a history that begs to be told. Unbroken (Loveless, Texas, #0.5) https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Justified (Loveless, Texas, #1) https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Unforgiven (Loveless, Texas, #2) Blacklisted (Loveless, Texas, #3) ~~~~~ Before Reading ~~~~~ Leave it Jay Crownover set up a doozy of a ride... We have a woman who never fit in at her new high school in Texas... The only person who treated her as if she was normal was the beloved football player... Only natural for a Crush of the Ages happened for her... He was nice to everyone, so she knew she wasn't special to him... Fast forward, now these two are adults; he the deputy sheriff for the town... She an accomplished attorney, married into a family which erases her outsider status... or so she thought... She was instructed to be the divorce lawyer for this man's ex... The woman was vicious, wanting to destroy this man... The only way to try to help her old crush was to represent the witch... She tried her best with damage control but he lost his rights to his son... Something he will Never Forgive... Years pass and now this divorced woman needs to reach out and have this man help her... Someone is out to destroy her, she is in danger... He wants to hold onto his anger from years ago but what he is experiencing doesn't match up... His feeling for her have changed, he wants to figure all of this out and it seems he feels... Justified (Loveless, Texas #1)-June 25th 2019 A gifted copy was provided by author/publisher via NetGalley for an honest review. For more Reviews, Free E-books and Giveaways

  6. 5 out of 5

    Natalie ✩★ The Biblioholic ★✩

    A small quiet town, devastated by gunshots, vandalism, high speed chases, and fire. Aspen is the target and the killer doesn't care about collateral damage. Who's out to get her? Why do they so desperately want her dead? And why is it the only person she can turn to, the only one she can trust, is the man who hates her guts? At one point, Aspen was the new girl in town. She was from the city and she was different and ended up being an outcase. Case was the only person who saw her and went out of A small quiet town, devastated by gunshots, vandalism, high speed chases, and fire. Aspen is the target and the killer doesn't care about collateral damage. Who's out to get her? Why do they so desperately want her dead? And why is it the only person she can turn to, the only one she can trust, is the man who hates her guts? At one point, Aspen was the new girl in town. She was from the city and she was different and ended up being an outcase. Case was the only person who saw her and went out of his way to include her. It was easy for her to fall a bit in love with him and treat him with hero worship. But life goes on and they grew apart. Nine years ago, Case's marriage disintegrated and he lost the one person who meant the most to him - his son. Unfortunately for Aspen, she was his ex-wife's attorney, robbing Case of time with his son. Right then, right there, she became his nemesis and he treated her to his anger from that day forth. When Aspen's office is vandalized, she calls the Sheriff, who happens to be Case. Forced circumstances and close quarters lead these two to unravelling the tension between them, discovering what they could mean to each other, and finding love in the most unlikely of places. It's been awhile since I've read a Crownover novel and it was like slipping into comfy clothes. The plot was intense, fast-moving, and entertaining. The characters were endearing and even the side characters were a delight. How can I resist loving a story with a whodunit plot and charming people? If you like your romance suspenseful, your characters to work hard for their happy ending, and brilliant writing that will have you enchanted right to the end, you won't want to miss out on this one!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina

    NOW LIVE! US: https://amzn.to/2Fzspsq UK: https://amzn.to/2FztsZo Case and Aspen are enemies in the town of Loveless. Case swears he'll never forgive Aspen for her part in him losing custody of his son, and Aspen won't forget the way Case treated her when she became his ex-wife's lawyer. But when an unknown enemy sets out to hurt Aspen, these two have to learn to tolerate each other long enough to keep Aspen out of danger. This book starts out with the suspense right away and from there the intrigu NOW LIVE! US: https://amzn.to/2Fzspsq UK: https://amzn.to/2FztsZo Case and Aspen are enemies in the town of Loveless. Case swears he'll never forgive Aspen for her part in him losing custody of his son, and Aspen won't forget the way Case treated her when she became his ex-wife's lawyer. But when an unknown enemy sets out to hurt Aspen, these two have to learn to tolerate each other long enough to keep Aspen out of danger. This book starts out with the suspense right away and from there the intrigue never died down. It felt really fast paced with everything happening so close together but I enjoyed that about the story. It made it easy to get sucked right into everything happening around these characters and had me fully immersed into their lives. I was rooting them on from the beginning to get past what had happened all those years ago, but all of that sexual tension they brought to the book was almost too good to want them to ever actually get together. I loved the chemistry that was between them and it made this book super enjoyable. The bottom line is that Loveless, Texas will most definitely be a town I'll be visiting again soon. I'm already dying to get my hands on the next book. ARC kindly provided in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Pavlina Read more sleep less blog❤❤

    4 stars I am a huge Jay Crownover fan ,whatever she writes I'm going to read it.Even though I don't read often romance with cowboys. I was so into the story from the first pages, I felt connected and I couldn't put it down. I have read almost all Jay's books and I can tell you that this one is a little bit different I find it refreshing and I liked the set up of the small town.Aspen was a little bit complex and I didn't like her immediately.She has some good in her she was strong but sometimes she 4 stars I am a huge Jay Crownover fan ,whatever she writes I'm going to read it.Even though I don't read often romance with cowboys. I was so into the story from the first pages, I felt connected and I couldn't put it down. I have read almost all Jay's books and I can tell you that this one is a little bit different I find it refreshing and I liked the set up of the small town.Aspen was a little bit complex and I didn't like her immediately.She has some good in her she was strong but sometimes she frustrates me.Case and Aspen had great chemistry.with a lot of push and pull between them. Overall, it was a great read.     

  9. 5 out of 5

    ♥Rachel♥

    Jay Crownover writes the best heroes, especially the ones that start off as kind of a jerk, rough around the edges, but have a big heart. Case Lawton, the Sheriff of Loveless is exactly that type of guy. When we’re introduced to Aspen and Case, he’s a full-on jerk to her, he thinks she’s a heartless lawyer after she represented his ex-wife in their divorce and custody battle. There’s a whole backstory as to why Aspen cooperated, it’s a good reason, but Case doesn’t know the details. There’s a wh Jay Crownover writes the best heroes, especially the ones that start off as kind of a jerk, rough around the edges, but have a big heart. Case Lawton, the Sheriff of Loveless is exactly that type of guy. When we’re introduced to Aspen and Case, he’s a full-on jerk to her, he thinks she’s a heartless lawyer after she represented his ex-wife in their divorce and custody battle. There’s a whole backstory as to why Aspen cooperated, it’s a good reason, but Case doesn’t know the details. There’s a whole unrequited love situation too, as Aspen fell hard for Case upon moving to Loveless as a teenager and he was one of the only students who took an interest and didn’t treat her like the new “weird girl”. Because of that, the animosity he carries toward her hurts all that much more. I was all on Aspen’s side, indignant for her when Case treated her with open disdain in the beginning. Aspen and Case must work together when her office is trashed, and it becomes apparent her life is in danger. As much as Case dislikes Aspen in the beginning, she’s a citizen of Loveless and as Sheriff, Case is dedicated to keeping his people safe. Forced to “be in each other’s pocket” as they’re faced with so many threats the animosity between them starts to melt away. There was definite chemistry and desire, even when they were snipping and snapping at each other. I was eager to have all the details about the divorce to come to light so that the attraction Case felt for Aspen wasn’t an unwanted development, and things finally do come to light. I loved Justified! Aspen and Case together were electric, and when they let go it was wicked hot! You know how some books it takes a while to warm to the story? Definitely not a problem here! I was glued to the story, engaged from page one. Trying to figure out where the threat was coming from, and on edge from the dangers presented made for an exciting read. Aspen and Case’s story wraps up satisfyingly, but there’s another romance to come with Case’s sister Kody and his good friend, Hill Gamble, a Texas Ranger. A storm is a-brewing between those two, and I can’t wait! A copy was kindly provided by Forever via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Syndi

    Oh how i miss Jay Crownover books. I love Rule. Her other books are hit and miss with me. Now I get my hands on Justified. A handsome brooding cowboy. I am not particulary enjoy cowboy hero for my romance books. But i give this book an exception. In Justified, Miss Crownover packing up romance and thriller. The romance is hot hot hot steamy. The character introduction to Case and Aspen is just epic. We see how different they are, but yet they complete each other. I am so addictied to complicated Oh how i miss Jay Crownover books. I love Rule. Her other books are hit and miss with me. Now I get my hands on Justified. A handsome brooding cowboy. I am not particulary enjoy cowboy hero for my romance books. But i give this book an exception. In Justified, Miss Crownover packing up romance and thriller. The romance is hot hot hot steamy. The character introduction to Case and Aspen is just epic. We see how different they are, but yet they complete each other. I am so addictied to complicated romance. I can see more characters will have their own books. And I hope I can get a pleasure reading their story. 4 stars

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dali

    Jay Crownover returns to Loveless, Texas with “Justified,” a suspenseful and drama filled romance between Case Lawton, the sheriff of Loveless and his sworn enemy Aspen Barlow, the attorney who cost him custody of his son. When Aspen moved from Chicago to Texas, she was the weird high school girl who didn’t fit in and the only person who made her feel like she belonged was golden boy Case Lawton. She had a crush on him, but his life was set on a different course. Years later when they crosse Jay Crownover returns to Loveless, Texas with “Justified,” a suspenseful and drama filled romance between Case Lawton, the sheriff of Loveless and his sworn enemy Aspen Barlow, the attorney who cost him custody of his son. When Aspen moved from Chicago to Texas, she was the weird high school girl who didn’t fit in and the only person who made her feel like she belonged was golden boy Case Lawton. She had a crush on him, but his life was set on a different course. Years later when they crossed paths again, Case’s life was falling apart and Aspen had a hand in the destruction when she represented his soon to be ex-wife and took away custody of his son. Almost a decade later, Case’s life had turned around. He had his son back and was actively working to correct the wrongs the former sheriff – his prejudiced, corrupt and abusive father – had done to the town of Loveless. He’s reluctant to help Aspen when he’s called to investigate a felony at her office, but as the town’s by-the-book sheriff he’s compelled to protect her from the threats she’s facing. As the two are forced to work together to find her would be assassin, Case is forced to reassess his resentment towards her in the face of her strength and resilience especially after she reveals distressing past secrets. While houses are set on fire and bullets are flying, they both learn to trust each other and explore the new feelings that bloom between them. I’ve been a longtime Jay Crownover fan. She expertly writes stories with the perfect blend of drama and romance with complex characters and a suspenseful, well-paced plot. Justified was no exception. I was instantly hooked when I read the prologue. I couldn’t fathom how two people who hated each other could find love together. I loved how their story developed and transformed into what had seemed like an impossible happy ever after. Even though he was a bit of a douche canoe in the beginning, Case was a good father and a good man and Aspen came into his life to fill the cracks with happiness they both deserved. I loved reading about Crew and Della from the past book, and getting to know Kody Lawton – Case’s younger sister – who will hopefully be in the next installment of this series. Justified is book #1 of the Loveless, Texas series by Jay Crownover. It’s a standalone, cowboy romance, told from both points of view with a happy ending. My super quick review/recap: ➵ Cover: 4 ➵ Hero: 5 ➵ Heroine: 4 ➵ Sexiness: 4 ➵ Feels: 5 ➵ Plot: 5 ➵ Overall rating: 4.5 * I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via NetGalley. The excerpts are from that copy. I am voluntarily reviewing this title. * Amazon -> https://amzn.to/30T5hhH Stalk me on FaceBook * Instagram * More reviews

  12. 4 out of 5

    WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker

    3.5 stars I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. If there was anyone I didn't expect to lean on when my own house of cards went up in flames a few years later, it was the newly appointed sheriff of Loveless, Texas, Case Lawton. When Aspen moved to the small town of Loveless, Texas, her pale skin and black clothes had kids calling her “weirdo girl”. The one bright spot was Case Lawton, a popular joc 3.5 stars I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. If there was anyone I didn't expect to lean on when my own house of cards went up in flames a few years later, it was the newly appointed sheriff of Loveless, Texas, Case Lawton. When Aspen moved to the small town of Loveless, Texas, her pale skin and black clothes had kids calling her “weirdo girl”. The one bright spot was Case Lawton, a popular jock who Aspen had a big crush on and treated her with kindness. Nine years later, Aspen is back in Loveless, married to the town rich boy and a lawyer trying to fight for women and children usually ignored by the system. She gets pressured by her father-in-law to represent Case's ex-wife in their divorce, any sweet high school memories are in danger of getting wiped away. Case was the town golden boy who had circumstances work against him to finally be able to leave Loveless for good. His corrupt sheriff father was a nightmare to live with and as his boss, Case does all he can to limit any damage his father can do now. Even though its been nine years later, he still blames Aspen Barlow for helping to take away his son. When it looks like her life is in danger, as the new sheriff, he won't act like his father and let personal grudges dictate how he does his job, so he puts himself in charge of her safety. From high school friends, to enemies, to forced proximity, Aspen and Case might finally end up where they belonged all along. There were worse things in the world than being the focus of Case Lawton's concern. I just had to remind myself not to get used to it. After all, he was only doing his job. The first full length novel in the Loveless, Texas series, we are introduced and reacquainted with some characters from Crownover's other books. I wish I had read the starter novella to this series, as I felt like I was missing out on some introduction to this town and to the Lawton family. Case's sister Kody was a developed secondary character and we got some scenes that provided insight into their sibling relationship but I felt that lacking with Case's younger brother Crew, who was the star of the novella. The Lawton siblings seem to have a tight knit relationship but Crew remained in the shadows too much for me to fully feel this, helping to fill out insights to Case's character and personality. The trauma filled childhood these three seemed to have had, felt emotionally removed here; this could have been more addressed in the novella. The same could be said about Aspen's relationship with her parents, I had troubles fully grasping her background. I was missing some emotions from her childhood and relationship with her parents (this becomes even more important as it plays a big role in the ending) and an understanding and feel for her relationship with her ex-husband. They're not the core of the story but they are a foundation for Aspen's character that I felt was missing and caused me to not fully grasp her. My hands tightened into fists in front of me, and I lifted my head so I could look at her in the mirror. Her dark eyes met mine with a mischievous gleam. “What exactly are you doing, Counselor?” She laughed, and the puff of air was warm against my shoulder. “I honestly have no idea, but it's the only thing that's felt right in a very long time. You said no kissing. This isn't kissing.” Her thumb traced the delineated lines on my lower abdomen, and her fingernails dragged through the thin trail of dark hair that arrowed below my belly button. For the most part, I believed in the journey Aspen and Case went on from friends, to enemies, to hot and heavy for each other. I thought there was enough relayed to see why Aspen liked Case growing up, how Case placed blame on Aspen (I thought there were too many scenes of Aspen mentally playing martyr over being the ex-wife's lawyer), and these two had sexual chemistry. I can't say I totally bought into their “I love yous”, though. Whether it was missing some background foundation to their characters, not enough scenes hashing out, growing together, or depth, I thought they both got to love too quickly. Some of the sexual situations felt awkward, as they were immediate fade to black, leaving a feeling of “what happened now” and others were deliciously drawn out, bathroom scene, anyone? As I mentioned, Crownover brings over some previous characters seen in her other series, Sons of Sorrow with Marine Shot and even Case is a character featured before. I enjoyed how she utilized these secondary characters, creating an “oooh I know him!” and helping out to fill and broaden this story. I do wish some were filled out more, the villain of this will make you gasp, but while there is shock, there wasn't as much weightiness to the reveal as there could have been. The villainy plot gets a bit convoluted in the whos and whys. Overall, the story wasn't completely rounded out or had depth in some areas to my satisfaction but there's charisma to Crownover's writing and magnetism to Loveless and the residents she has created. I'm completely locked into wanting to see Case's younger sister Kody and her deceased fiance's brother, Texas Ranger Hill Gamble, fight to deny their chemistry in the next book. One second, we were staring at each other as I held her like she was the most precious thing on the planet, the next my mouth was all over hers, and I was kissing her the way you kissed someone you loved and hated at the same time. A little sweet, a little mean, and with enough passion to make us both forget we had a long, twisted road paved with mistakes and memories running between us.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Leila

    4 Sheriff stars! This was a suspenseful friends-to-enemies-to-lovers romance with lows and highs and everything in between. I really enjoyed the ride! Case is the local Sheriff and trying to come out of the shadows of his crooked predecessor, who also happens to be his father. He’s spent so many years trying to make things right and proving that he’s nothing like his father. I loved his strong moral compass, his love for his son and his willingness to sacrifice himself to protect those that he lo 4 Sheriff stars! This was a suspenseful friends-to-enemies-to-lovers romance with lows and highs and everything in between. I really enjoyed the ride! Case is the local Sheriff and trying to come out of the shadows of his crooked predecessor, who also happens to be his father. He’s spent so many years trying to make things right and proving that he’s nothing like his father. I loved his strong moral compass, his love for his son and his willingness to sacrifice himself to protect those that he loves. Aspen was the new, quirky girl back in high school, always looking at life from the outside and always feeling alone. She’s now finally coming out into her own after a failed marriage and leaving a company that she didn’t always agree with. I loved that she fought so hard to make sure that Hayes (Case’s son) was taken care of as best as she could and that she wanted to help fight for those that couldn’t fight for themselves. I loved that we got to see into their past and how their relationship changed (good and bad) through the years and what they had to decide to embrace and let go. She filled up all the empty spaces I hadn’t realized were there until she broke through all the barriers that I had put in place to protect my heart… I hadn’t read the excerpt to this before reading and I really wasn’t expecting the suspense and action that happened in this story. From looking at the cover photo I was expecting a lovely cowboy story and what I got was much more of an adventure. There was one twist in the story that I actually didn’t see coming until it was too late. :) I’m really looking forward to Kody and Hill’s story, can’t wait!

  14. 5 out of 5

    My Pink Fairytales

    My poor heart ⭐️ The previous book I read was expected to be an emotional rollercoaster that should have made me go through a boxes of Kleenex. Never in a million years, would I expected to cry my eyes out at this one. Actually, I have a confession to make: due to its horrible cover, I didn’t expect to like it. At all. I requested the ARC on Netgalley by default, just because it was Jay Crownover we were talking about. I should have known she was going to break my heart. Here’s the thing. There My poor heart ⭐️ The previous book I read was expected to be an emotional rollercoaster that should have made me go through a boxes of Kleenex. Never in a million years, would I expected to cry my eyes out at this one. Actually, I have a confession to make: due to its horrible cover, I didn’t expect to like it. At all. I requested the ARC on Netgalley by default, just because it was Jay Crownover we were talking about. I should have known she was going to break my heart. Here’s the thing. There was this weird girl, moved fresh from Chicago to a small town in Texas during her high school freshman year. The only person who was nice to her and tried to feel her welcome, was the town’s Golden Boy, future NFL player and the Sheriff’s son. Of course, she developed a major crush on him, but fate had other ideas. Instead of going away on a football scholarship, his mother died and he broke his leg, plus his girlfriend wanted to tie him down by getting pregnant. Our heroine, on the other hand went to study Law school and returned town and married the richest boy Loveless, Texas had to offer. Fast forward almost a decade and let the drama begin. They meet in the worst moment possible, when he was served with divorce papers and she was forced to be his future ex-wife’s lawyer. Since the judge gave the custody of his son solely to the mother, imagine the hate our hero had for our girl. There’s more to this story, but I’ll let you discover it for yourself. unFortunately, some attempts on the heroine’s life, put her right under the hero’s protective care. There weren’t just sparks flying with all that hate and chemistry, fear and frustrations. There were 4th of July fireworks between them! Jay Crownover made me cry and broke my heart, by making our hero a huge asshole (at least until he pulled his head out of his ass). The things he said were pretty cruel and I couldn’t help crying. Plus, the whole drama surrounding the heroine, her own divorce to go through, her house being set on fire, bullets flying everywhere and much more, of course I got the emotional whiplash i didn’t expect. In case I wasn’t clear, YOU DEFINITELY HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK! Especially if you’re in the mood for some romantic suspense, a happy ending, action, drama and strong characters. Oh, and please don’t judge this book by its cover, like I did. 😉 It would be an absolute honor to have you as my guest on my blog too. Stop by anytime you want :) ”ARC provided through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.”

  15. 5 out of 5

    book bruin

    3.5-4 stars This was a great weekend read! I was sucked in right from the start and didn't want to put it down. I was hesitant to pick it up because I don't often read cowboy romances, but this one felt more small town romance more than anything and I just appreciated the cover for the eye candy it was ;) Justified is an enemies to lovers, forced proximity, suspense, and single parent romance rolled into one. I loved the sparks and sexual tension between Case and Aspen and how the gruff and grumpy 3.5-4 stars This was a great weekend read! I was sucked in right from the start and didn't want to put it down. I was hesitant to pick it up because I don't often read cowboy romances, but this one felt more small town romance more than anything and I just appreciated the cover for the eye candy it was ;) Justified is an enemies to lovers, forced proximity, suspense, and single parent romance rolled into one. I loved the sparks and sexual tension between Case and Aspen and how the gruff and grumpy sheriff slowly opened his heart. Case is exactly the loyal, protective, alpha hero that I love. I wouldn't have minded a little more groveling on his part though and I did feel that Aspen forgave him very quickly. Also, her strong feelings toward him made sense considering their time together in HS, but Case's feelings seemed to go from hate to love in the blink of an eye. The suspense kept things interesting, but did feel a little over the top at times. I'm really intrigued by Case's little sister, Kody, and a certain Texas Ranger and loved the mysterious vibe. I'm hoping their story will be next! This was my first book by Jay Crownover, and I'm excited to see where this series goes. *I voluntarily read an advance review copy of this book*

  16. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    Wow! A really good enemies-to-lovers romance packed with way more action and suspense than I thought it would have in it. I seriously enjoyed the book. This was the first Jay Crownover book I've ever read and I will definitely grab a few more to see what else there is. From looking at the cheesy cover photo I was expecting a boy-meets-girl second-chance cowboy story and what I got was much more. I ended up connecting with the characters within the first few pages. There was a twist toward the en Wow! A really good enemies-to-lovers romance packed with way more action and suspense than I thought it would have in it. I seriously enjoyed the book. This was the first Jay Crownover book I've ever read and I will definitely grab a few more to see what else there is. From looking at the cheesy cover photo I was expecting a boy-meets-girl second-chance cowboy story and what I got was much more. I ended up connecting with the characters within the first few pages. There was a twist toward the end that I actually didn’t see coming. There definitely seems to be a thin line between love and hate.

  17. 4 out of 5

    TeriLyn

    **Justified generously provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.** 5 "I just had to be as brave as she was." Stars I just absolutely loved this. I devoured it and keep thinking about Sheriff Lawton and Counselor Barlow. Striking all my favorite romance chords, I engulfed Jay Crownover's newest series start in one sitting. Justified is an enemies-to-lovers, slow burn romance between a small town Texas Sheriff with a chip on his shoulder and a local attorney with a fi **Justified generously provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.** 5 "I just had to be as brave as she was." Stars I just absolutely loved this. I devoured it and keep thinking about Sheriff Lawton and Counselor Barlow. Striking all my favorite romance chords, I engulfed Jay Crownover's newest series start in one sitting. Justified is an enemies-to-lovers, slow burn romance between a small town Texas Sheriff with a chip on his shoulder and a local attorney with a fiery attitude and big-time crush. When danger keeps finding the local Counselor after some major life changes it's the Sheriff who can't seem to stop wanting to personally protect her. This one just felt really good. Like I said if you're in the mood for just good old fashioned romance between a grouchy alpha male who derives great pleasure from pushing the buttons of a quirky female who holds nothing back this book is a perfect fit for you. I loved how they came to be enemies and the morals behind it. I loved the subtle secrets and unrequited attraction. I loved that the story revolved around the growth and understanding of these two magnetic characters. Crownover's writing flowed flawlessly, the plot was as fun as it was dangerous, the secondary characters provided many bright spots that I can't wait to further explore in the series, and the chemistry between the two mains was off the charts. As the story between these two characters evolves so does your interest in this town and the rest of the characters we meet. That might be my favorite part. I felt as though I was a small, intimate part of the Loveless, Texas landscape while reading. Like I could sit around with all these people, be relaxed, and have a really great time. Jay Crownover pieced together a wonderful, low-angst, romantic story with a wonderful slow burn that keeps you engaged from beginning to end. This kind of story is why I love the romance genre so much. I can't wait for more from this author in this series!

  18. 4 out of 5

    FMABookReviews

    3.5 Stars! One of my favorite tropes is enemies to lovers. I love a good fight scene and a good grovel. Throw in angst, and a good mystery, I'm giddy with excitement! When Aspen Barlow moved from Chicago to small-town Loveless, Texas, Case Lawton was the first to befriend her. When other high school kids teased her about her appearance and called her weird, Case stood by her and protected her. They both had dreams about life after high school, he was going off to college on a football scholarship 3.5 Stars! One of my favorite tropes is enemies to lovers. I love a good fight scene and a good grovel. Throw in angst, and a good mystery, I'm giddy with excitement! When Aspen Barlow moved from Chicago to small-town Loveless, Texas, Case Lawton was the first to befriend her. When other high school kids teased her about her appearance and called her weird, Case stood by her and protected her. They both had dreams about life after high school, he was going off to college on a football scholarship, and she was going to save the world. Aspen went on to study law. When she came back to Loveless, she not only got a job one of the most prestigious law firms in the city, but she married one of the richest boys in Loveless. Unfortunately, fate had other plans for Case. With the death of his mother, his broken leg, and his girlfriend getting pregnant, his plans of leaving Loveless were sidelined. Instead of heading to college on a football scholarship, he joined the military and married the girl who shackled him to the town he hated. When Aspen returned with her law degree, it wasn't long before her reputation as a great lawyer got out to everyone, everyone that is except the one person who needed her help the most. Case didn't give much thought to the girl he'd known in high school, in fact, he didn't care much about Aspen at all. That is not until Aspen was hired to defend his soon-to-be-ex-wife in their bitter divorce and custody battle. Years after later, Aspen finds herself needing Case to protect her again. The problem though is getting Case to release the anger and resentment he's carried toward her for years. I had a few issues with the story 1) I felt like Aspen forgave Case too quickly; I wanted him to grovel, to earn his place in her life. Which leads me to 2) While I understood Aspen's desires toward Case (a little anyway), I had issues with how quickly Case made an about turn and suddenly wanted to have a life with Aspen. 3) The mystery. Or should I say the who-done-it? Because it was who done it that had me side eyeing my kindle. The good? I have never read this author before, and I really enjoyed her voice. The way she told the story was entertaining and held my interest despite the issues I had. I will definitely read more from her and CANNOT wait for one Texas Ranger to get his story! I was provided a review copy by Forever; this did not influence my opinion of the book nor my review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Wendy ⏃: ✦Cheeky Chicks Blogger✦

    4 STARS! We're back in Loveless, Texas and this time we have the pleasure of reading Case Lawton's book. When I first met him in Unbroken I knew he would be trouble, and trouble he was! Justified is a full length novel in Jay Crownover's brand-new Loveless, Texas series. The Lawton siblings bring so much angst to their small little town that I cannot get enough of them! Aspen Barlow has crushed on Case Lawton since her formidable teen years. He was the only one to show her any kindness and off 4 STARS! We're back in Loveless, Texas and this time we have the pleasure of reading Case Lawton's book. When I first met him in Unbroken I knew he would be trouble, and trouble he was! Justified is a full length novel in Jay Crownover's brand-new Loveless, Texas series. The Lawton siblings bring so much angst to their small little town that I cannot get enough of them! Aspen Barlow has crushed on Case Lawton since her formidable teen years. He was the only one to show her any kindness and offer her friendship. As adults, Aspen is a pitbull in the courtroom and she is assigned to be Becca Lawton's lawyer in a custody battle for Hayes, Case's nine-year old son. When Case loses Hayes, his entire world implodes and he could never forgive Aspen. Eight years later, there is still bad blood between Case and Aspen. The animosity and tension between the pair is so strong you could cut it with a knife. "It seemed like with everything else we did, it was all or nothing. We either loved or hated. We were either in or out. There was no middle ground." Case is now the new sheriff after overruling his father's corruptive reign. With someone in the little town of Loveless wanting Aspen dead, Case must work with her to figure out who is behind it all. Justified had everything you love about a small town. Bonus was the plethora of secondary characters which I need books from ASAP, especially Hill Gamble and a feisty someone I will not name... Also, let's not forget about a certain MC president #drama. Suspenseful and action-packed, Justified is the perfect mix of enemies-to-lovers with a second chance feel. Beyond intriguing and completely captivating, I started and finished this novel in one day. Hands down, it's a must read! *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Forever through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.*

  20. 4 out of 5

    Heroesinbooks

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3.5-4 Case and Aspen Stars I enjoyed this book and it got off to a positive, strong start. Aspen is a lawyer who was the girl on the outside when she was younger and moved to Texas with her parents. At the age of 14 she had had a huge crush on the most popular boy in school , Case Lawton. He was kind and funny and looked out for her. The other kids were mean but Case was a sweetheart. And then when he was 18 life happened and Case became sullen and hardened. Aspen grew up & got on with her life 3.5-4 Case and Aspen Stars I enjoyed this book and it got off to a positive, strong start. Aspen is a lawyer who was the girl on the outside when she was younger and moved to Texas with her parents. At the age of 14 she had had a huge crush on the most popular boy in school , Case Lawton. He was kind and funny and looked out for her. The other kids were mean but Case was a sweetheart. And then when he was 18 life happened and Case became sullen and hardened. Aspen grew up & got on with her life too. Fast forward 18 years and they cross paths when Aspen is in danger and Case has to step up as Sheriff , even if he now hates her. This book is very small town America , which I love. There isn’t much OW drama from Case’s ex wife. Aspen is in the throes of a divorce and all the time danger is looming. The secondary characters are strongly written & I am looking forward to Kody and Hill’s story. This is the first book in the series and it sets the story well for future novels. Case redeemed himself in my eyes after he had said some cruel things to Aspen. At the 53% mark he finally swooped in and I finally believed in him. Up to then it felt very one sided in that Aspen never stopped being attracted to him but I wasn’t feeling it from the hot Sheriff. He’s a single dad- his son is almost 18 & their relationship is gorgeous. Aspen is a great heroine & I liked her very much. This isn’t quite Friends to lovers nor is it quite Enemies to lovers. They were kind of loose friends as kids and then Case hated Aspen but she still cared about him. Overall this was an enjoyable read. Good pace , fairly hot and interesting characters. HEA? Hmmm.... more HFN. CHEATING? No (Not between H/h) Note this finished at 70% on my Kindle. I want you, Case Lawton. I’ve always dreamed of loving you. I just never thought you would consider loving me back.”

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

    He was her high school hero and friend until she got his son taken away from him while repping his ex-wife in a nasty divorce, but now she has to rely on a man who hates the sight of her for her very life. The blurb on Justified grabbed my attention as soon as I saw the situation and I just had to read this book that combined enemies to loves with smalltown cowboy protector romance. It also factored in that I've been wanting to try this author's books since the first blazing reviews came out on He was her high school hero and friend until she got his son taken away from him while repping his ex-wife in a nasty divorce, but now she has to rely on a man who hates the sight of her for her very life. The blurb on Justified grabbed my attention as soon as I saw the situation and I just had to read this book that combined enemies to loves with smalltown cowboy protector romance. It also factored in that I've been wanting to try this author's books since the first blazing reviews came out on her older series. Justified opens in the past with Case Lawton losing nearly everything he cared about when his ex-wife won full custody of his son and he'll never forgive the lawyer who made it possible. Over the years, everyone in town knows how he feels about legal eagle Aspen Barlow. Now, her law office has been vandalized and it is soon evident that someone is out to kill her. Case swallows back his bitterness to do his job as sheriff of the county and protect one of its citizens while figuring out which of the many hostile exes of her clients wants her dead. His dad was the rotten, dirty-cop, former sheriff who picked and chose who would get justice and Case has spent his whole life living down his dad's reputation and cleaning up the mess. He will be impartial and do his job no matter what. At least that is what he tries to tell himself when uncomfortable feelings and the sense that he needs to get over his past anger that he directed at someone doing their job instead of the people really responsible for the situation. Aspen was the fish out of water when she came to Loveless in high school and popular, good looking Case Lawton was the only kid to befriend her. It tore her up to represent his mean girl ex wife and see him lose his son and she has tried to stay out of his way as much as possible over the years to avoid the cold hatred and disgusted look on his face whenever he sees her. She had to take that case back then when her father in law assigned it, but now she has separated from her husband with a pending divorce and hung up her own shingle so she can take only the cases she wants. It is terrifying when two attacks leave her brutally wounded and vulnerable, but it is surreal when it is Case whom she must trust to keep her safe until he can get to the truth. He has to let her inside his home, see him with his son who grew old enough to choose the parent who cared, and to see him and his siblings have each other's backs. If she's not careful, she'll fall for a man who sees her as only his unwanted duty. As I said, I was intrigued by this blend of elements that made this story crackle with tension and energy from the start and that was aside from the build of taunt danger. It made a regular cowboy romance seem so flat- just kidding, I will always reach for those. But, yes, it was sizzling with the reluctant romance and the crazy situation of someone out to get Aspen. I liked that the romance took a slowburn approach with all that had to be worked through. The attraction is there as well as the connection, but they both have to get beyond the past. One would think it would all be on Case to let what he held against Aspen go, but Aspen isn't exactly clear of resentment either. She feels she had good reason to do what she did and is tired of Case not appreciating that even though he has no clue that he owes her. Call me odd, but I like that they both have issues to get past so that both characters have some work to do on the relationship. As to the attraction, whew boy, it was sweltering. These were two people who knew what they wanted and didn't hesitate. Case may have shared a shocking kiss with her, but Aspen took things in hand just as assertively. I liked this pair together even when Case was still in denial and I enjoyed the confrontations that never crossed the line into annoying. Their adults and they act like it. Now, the suspense... who was after Aspen and why. Some was easy to work out, but the twist. Yowsers, that was good stuff. This was no tame romantic suspense and the danger was eminent with attempts on their lives. I enjoyed seeing both in action and particularly Case since he was trained. Aspen pulled a stupid move once, but she owned it and understood that she nearly got others killed which didn't detract from her being a strong and intelligent heroine. Beyond the romance and the suspense, another fabulous layer of good stuff to this story was Case's family. This book introduces the Lawtons- Case, his brother Crew the cowboy and sister, Kody a fiery bar owner, and Case's son, wise and responsible beyond his years, Hayes. They made an already good book shine more. I can't wait to see feisty, angry, shotgun toting Kody and Hill, Cases's Texas Ranger friend, in the next book. This copy of Justified came with a bonus novella, It's All About That Cowboy, by Carly Bloom. I didn't read it yet, but it looks fun. All in all, this first time with a Jay Crownover book knocked my socks off. I'll be back for more from this series and her backlist to get those loosely connected older series stories because Case got some cameos and I wants them. Those who enjoyed a sizzling hot, contemporary western small town flavored romantic supense should definitely pick this up. My thanks to Forever for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    B.E.Love

    4 1// stars, this is great even better than book .05 I have fallen in love with Loveless Texas and all its residents(well not all of them lol) I loved this book and the storyline as well as the hero and heroine. This was a book I didn't want to put down. After reading this book I can't wait for book two. It seems like I have several books from Jay Crownover now that I am just waiting to release so I can read them.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Steph's Romance Book Talk

    4.5 Stars / 3 Steam Fans I love a good romantic suspense story, and this story has all the right parts. Case and Aspen have a history. When Aspen starts to get harassed in their small town, it is up to Case to set aside their differences to protect her and their home. I am sending a huge thank you to Forever Publishing for sending me a finished paperback copy. Video review available in Week 3 Jan 12 – 18 weekly book reviews. For other video book reviews check out my YouTube Channel: Steph's Roma 4.5 Stars / 3 Steam Fans I love a good romantic suspense story, and this story has all the right parts. Case and Aspen have a history. When Aspen starts to get harassed in their small town, it is up to Case to set aside their differences to protect her and their home. I am sending a huge thank you to Forever Publishing for sending me a finished paperback copy. Video review available in Week 3 Jan 12 – 18 weekly book reviews. For other video book reviews check out my YouTube Channel: Steph's Romance Book Talk.

  24. 4 out of 5

    ☕️Kimberly

    I love romantic suspense. It’s one of my favorite subgenres of romance. Add in the “enemies to lovers” troupe with snark, wicked chemistry, and loads of danger and I am lost to the outside world. The tale begins with a prologue explaining the animosity the hero feels towards our heroine and her thoughts on him. Fast-forward nine-years and someone has broken into Aspen Barlow’s new law office. Case Lawton always upholds the hold and despite his feelings he investigates. Case has worked hard to prot I love romantic suspense. It’s one of my favorite subgenres of romance. Add in the “enemies to lovers” troupe with snark, wicked chemistry, and loads of danger and I am lost to the outside world. The tale begins with a prologue explaining the animosity the hero feels towards our heroine and her thoughts on him. Fast-forward nine-years and someone has broken into Aspen Barlow’s new law office. Case Lawton always upholds the hold and despite his feelings he investigates. Case has worked hard to protect the town and overcome the crooked Sheriff’s department his father ran. Aspen, has been separated from her husband, and is awaiting his signature to end her unhappy marriage. I loved the snark and tension between Aspen and Case. She is all fierce and independent; he is all law and order. Things quickly escalate and it becomes clear someone wants Aspen dead. Case enlists his sister’s help, and another lawman enters the picture to aid. Near misses, active shooters and twists kept me flipping the pages. Amidst all the action and suspense a slow-building, tension packed romance begins. We learn about Aspen and Case’s high school years, his stint in the services and more as the characters confront their past. Healing, forgiveness and acceptance were key themes. The author delivered plenty of feels and I became invested in the characters and small-town. Some smoking hot sizzle, family, snark and plenty of suspenseful twists offered a delightful tale. I laughed, swooned and cheered even as I wiped a tear and swore. We get hints about the next novel, as Case’s sister Kody and a lawman exchange heated snark. I cannot wait. This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Reviewer

  25. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    A hate-to-love romance about putting aside past mistakes and creating something special for the future. Following a severe downturn in his life, Case Lawton has one focus for all of his hate - Aspen Barlow, the lawyer who represented his wife, Becca, in their divorce. Was this hate misguided? Yes, but given that he lost what was most important to him, his son, Hayes, I could understand the anger. Years later, Case has proven to be the better parent and regains custody of his son. Yet the hate remai A hate-to-love romance about putting aside past mistakes and creating something special for the future. Following a severe downturn in his life, Case Lawton has one focus for all of his hate - Aspen Barlow, the lawyer who represented his wife, Becca, in their divorce. Was this hate misguided? Yes, but given that he lost what was most important to him, his son, Hayes, I could understand the anger. Years later, Case has proven to be the better parent and regains custody of his son. Yet the hate remains. However, Case is forced to put that anger aside when Aspen becomes the target of a series of crimes. As the Sheriff of Loveless (interesting town name, lol), he has a better moral character than the former Sheriff and knows that he must do the right thing to protect Aspen. With the crimes escalating day by day, he makes a decision no one expected, including himself, and that puts him in daily contact with the woman he has sworn to never forgive. And that decision leads to an interesting development. . . . I was kissing her the way you kissed someone you loved and hated at the same time. A little sweet, a little mean, and with enough passion to make us both forget we had a long, twisted road paved with mistakes and memories running between us. I'll be honest, I wasn't 100% convinced of the romance that followed the drama. I understood Aspen's attraction; it was always there. But through Case's POV, there is never a hint that he finds her attractive, in any way. So, the intense connection they felt later didn't make sense to me. I wouldn't have thought he would have hinted at an attraction, despite his hatred. However, I liked seeing Aspen as the aggressor in the relationship, it was nice to see her take chances and put her past marriage failure behind her. "I guess some people are made to stand out rather than fit in." There is a lot of drama in this book. Break-ins, shootouts, road rage, all directed at Aspen. As a small-town Sheriff, Case definitely had his hands full, and it made sense that the Texas Rangers were called in to help. With a growing support team behind her, Aspen makes it out of this one alive, along with a much more promising relationship than she had at the beginning of this story. "I couldn't see much beyond my own miserable circumstances for so long. But I see it all so clearly now. I see you now." Overall, this was an entertaining read, and a good start to a new series from the author. Given what goes down with Kody, Case's sister (who I adored, btw) and two men in this first installment, I'm really hoping she gets her own book in this series. Lots of potential drama! *An ARC was received via NetGalley for an honest review. For more reviews, visit

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carmen Rae

    So I think this is one of those times I need to confess that I only preordered this book so I could get Boy In Luv. And I have zero regrets. I read Crew's book and it really felt like it was more an intro to Loveless and the Lawton family. And I went in to Justified with pretty high expectations. Honestly I think I read it wanting or expecting the story to play out a certain way and I was so far off the mark. And although I was a little disappointed I did enjoy the book I just would have loved So I think this is one of those times I need to confess that I only preordered this book so I could get Boy In Luv. And I have zero regrets. I read Crew's book and it really felt like it was more an intro to Loveless and the Lawton family. And I went in to Justified with pretty high expectations. Honestly I think I read it wanting or expecting the story to play out a certain way and I was so far off the mark. And although I was a little disappointed I did enjoy the book I just would have loved it more if I hadn't gone in expecting something else. I think I would have liked Aspen better if she didn't come across as so desperate for Case's love. I know she crushed on him forever but he was with his ex for most of that time and she was married to someone else. So I felt like she didn't move on from being the smitten teenager. Case was a different story. He disliked her for the things he believed she had done but he didn't hold onto it once he saw it for what it really was. He could have been a little more alpha for my liking but overall he was a pretty good character. That all said I am dying for Kody's book. The two guys who have been hinted at in this book both sound like my kinda book crush and I can't wait to see where Jay is going with this one. Either way I am going in with my mind empty and a lot of anticipation.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dali

    Jay Crownover returns to Loveless, Texas with “Justified,” a suspenseful and drama filled romance between Case Lawton, the sheriff of Loveless and his sworn enemy Aspen Barlow, the attorney who cost him custody of his son. When Aspen moved from Chicago to Texas, she was the weird high school girl who didn’t fit in and the only person who made her feel like she belonged was golden boy Case Lawton. She had a crush on him, but his life was set on a different course. Years later when they crossed pa Jay Crownover returns to Loveless, Texas with “Justified,” a suspenseful and drama filled romance between Case Lawton, the sheriff of Loveless and his sworn enemy Aspen Barlow, the attorney who cost him custody of his son. When Aspen moved from Chicago to Texas, she was the weird high school girl who didn’t fit in and the only person who made her feel like she belonged was golden boy Case Lawton. She had a crush on him, but his life was set on a different course. Years later when they crossed paths again, Case’s life was falling apart and Aspen had a hand in the destruction when she represented his soon to be ex-wife and took away custody of his son. Almost a decade later, Case’s life had turned around. He had his son back and was actively working to correct the wrongs the former sheriff – his prejudiced, corrupt and abusive father – had done to the town of Loveless. He’s reluctant to help Aspen when he’s called to investigate a felony at her office, but as the town’s by-the-book sheriff he’s compelled to protect her from the threats she’s facing. As the two are forced to work together to find her would be assassin, Case is forced to reassess his resentment towards her in the face of her strength and resilience especially after she reveals distressing past secrets. While houses are set on fire and bullets are flying, they both learn to trust each other and explore the new feelings that bloom between them. I’ve been a longtime Jay Crownover fan. She expertly writes stories with the perfect blend of drama and romance with complex characters and a suspenseful, well-paced plot. Justified was no exception. I was instantly hooked when I read the prologue. I couldn’t fathom how two people who hated each other could find love together. I loved how their story developed and transformed into what had seemed like an impossible happy ever after. Even though he was a bit of a douche canoe in the beginning, Case was a good father and a good man and Aspen came into his life to fill the cracks with happiness they both deserved. I loved reading about Crew and Della from the past book, and getting to know Kody Lawton – Case’s younger sister – who will hopefully be in the next installment of this series. Justified is book #1 of the Loveless, Texas series by Jay Crownover. It’s a standalone, cowboy romance, told from both points of view with a happy ending.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jessica *The Lovely Books*

    I neeeeed the next one!! Wow. So I’ve been in a HUGE book funk lately and nothing has caught my attention. Then I decided to go ahead and see what Justified was all about and ended up connecting with the characters within the very first page. Now I’m done and don’t know what to do with myself while I wait for Unforgiven to come out next month. I guess it could be worse; I could have had to wait much longer if I read this when it first came out. Justified kind of has a enemies to lovers trope to i I neeeeed the next one!! Wow. So I’ve been in a HUGE book funk lately and nothing has caught my attention. Then I decided to go ahead and see what Justified was all about and ended up connecting with the characters within the very first page. Now I’m done and don’t know what to do with myself while I wait for Unforgiven to come out next month. I guess it could be worse; I could have had to wait much longer if I read this when it first came out. Justified kind of has a enemies to lovers trope to it but that quickly changes when our heroine, Aspen, life’s endanger. We’ve got a hot-shot attorney and a sexy-as-sin sheriff who will stop at nothing to make sure the woman whom he loves to hate, is safe. I’ve been a long time buyer of Crownover’s books. But I’m sad to admit I’ve never read any of them. That’s about to change fast. I loved Aspen and I equally loved Case. I liked how the two had so much history, that the next logical step was to get together. Even if they did sort of loathe each othe. This is a start of a new series and while the couple from this book have an ending romantic storyline, there’s still a bigger picture to the story as a whole. I, for one, am mighty excited to get Kody and Hill’s story next. I was able to read a preview of their book, and oh man, I already know they’ll break me! Readers of romantic suspense and on going storylines will enjoy this. Sidenote: I seriously thought I was broken. I’m a lifelong bookworm and for the entire month of December I was able to fully immerse myself in a good book. I’m glad Jay has finally taken me out of that funk! *Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy for an honest and unbiased opinion. All thoughts and opinions are subjective but my own.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen (About That Story)

    Enemies to lovers is one of my all-time favorite tropes and this one was fantastic. I devoured it! I loved the characters, their fiery barbs and underlying passion. There is a wonderful suspense element that was happening and I loved the build to it all. The prologue had me so hooked with all the tension and emotion, I was all in. I loved Aspen and how tough she was, standing up for herself and what she wants, fighting to stay strong in the middle of a very hard situation. I freaking loved Case, Enemies to lovers is one of my all-time favorite tropes and this one was fantastic. I devoured it! I loved the characters, their fiery barbs and underlying passion. There is a wonderful suspense element that was happening and I loved the build to it all. The prologue had me so hooked with all the tension and emotion, I was all in. I loved Aspen and how tough she was, standing up for herself and what she wants, fighting to stay strong in the middle of a very hard situation. I freaking loved Case, understood why he didn't like Aspen and admired how hard he worked to be a better man. These two together, oh my! I loved learning their history, understanding that fight in them and the simmering passion that was building between the two as the story evolved. It was all just so exciting! I loved all the characters introduced and the foreshadowing for what I hope will be the next couple featured in the series. That tension between the Case’s sister Kody and his best friend was palpable. The Lawton siblings are great. I loved the relationship Kody formed with Aspen. It was just so well thought out with all these great details, I was hooked. I loved the romantic suspense vibe happening and had a million questions throughout. Some things I didn't see coming, which is always awesome. There was a good amount of drama, an awesome action-packed ending, and a totally sweet epilogue too. This was just fantastic. The writing is wonderful. I can't say enough about the build as all the histories were learned and details unfolded. I loved the secrets, the element of mystery, the tension, and this animosity and fight between the main characters. It was exciting and passionate! Complimentary copy received for honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bookgasms Book Blog

    I am a huge Jay Crownover fan and was so excited to start Justified. I read the prequel, Unbroken, and saw a glimpse of Case's backstory and was even more excited to read his story. Justified was sexy and emotional and the chemistry between both leads was fantastic. Aspen gave as good as she got and wasn't hesitant to handle Case, the Sheriff of Lawless, if needed. She was a great match for Case! Aspen Barlow and Case Lawton have a long and acrimonious history. But it is now nine years later and I am a huge Jay Crownover fan and was so excited to start Justified. I read the prequel, Unbroken, and saw a glimpse of Case's backstory and was even more excited to read his story. Justified was sexy and emotional and the chemistry between both leads was fantastic. Aspen gave as good as she got and wasn't hesitant to handle Case, the Sheriff of Lawless, if needed. She was a great match for Case! Aspen Barlow and Case Lawton have a long and acrimonious history. But it is now nine years later and these enemies are forced to deal with one another as Aspen is now being targeted and victimized by an unknown threat. Overall, I really liked this story. It had great back and forth banter, sass and showed an emotional depth in both characters from years ago to the present. I also loved that it was filled to the brim with good old fashioned suspense. It was an added zing to an already awesome story.  Overall, I loved seeing how Case and his feelings for Aspen slowly thawed as the tension between them heated up. All in all, this was a fast paced story that was another Jay Crownover win! 4 stars! ~Ratula 

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