I've read a good number of books by Kristen Ashley -- some I've really liked and most recently, some that I didn't. Because of the latter, it's been more than a year since I've read anything by Ms. Ashley. I was intrigued by countless 4 and 5 star reviews for Deacon, so against my better judgement I broke my KA fast.
We've met Deacon in the previous books in this series, so we know he's involved in some illegal shit with the rest of the Unfinished Heroes; Knight, Creed and Raid. Cassidy owns/rents cabins in the Colorado Mountains. For six years, every few months Deacon aka John Priest rents Cabin 11 from Cassidy when he takes a break from his "work". There's not much conversation between Cassidy and Deacon but there's definitely an attraction brewing under the surface. One night, things change.
“After last night, we changed,” he responded immediately. “And that change can go two ways. Either I drive away and we never see each other again or I don’t and we find out what that change is gonna mean. Read down to your bones, woman, and do it now. Which way do you want that change to be?”
Deacon is a stereotypical KA alpha hero. He's got major secrets that he refuses to share with Cassidy, yet he's sweet, protective, and sexy. Of course, per KA's formula, Deacon rarely speaks in full sentences. Deacon calls Cassidy, "woman" (instead of KA's usual "babe") and when he's feeling particularly loving he growls, "here" at her to express that he wants her up close and in his arms NOW.
I liked Cassidy at first; she was strong-willed and sarcastic until Deacon's magical peen starts to addle her brain. From that point on, Cassidy spends the rest of the story in awe of Deacon, how great he is and how happy he makes her. Minor details like knowing a man's full name, what he does for a living or anything about his past are just not important, especially when you're having unprotected sex with him.
Deacon concentrates completely on the relationship building between Cassidy and Deacon so there's not much action and excitement here that readers like myself are used to in KA novels. No one gets themselves kidnapped. The Commandos don't swoop in and save anyone from danger. While the vanilla sex scenes were hot, I found the kinky "play" between Cassidy and Deacon unnatural and forced. As I felt with Knight, kink just isn't KA's lane and she needs to steer clear, IMO.
Overall, Deacon was signature KA, even without the excessive drama, which I've decided isn't my cuppa anymore. Sadly, the best things about Deacon were Boss Lady and Priest; a couple of adorbs German Sheperd pups.