Strings of the Heart (Runaway Train Series, Book #3) by Katie Ashley

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Strings of the Heart (Runaway Train Series, Book #3) 

I kinda feel as though the first books in this series have been setting us up for this one book. Now, you could, in theory, read this as a stand alone, but I don’t really believe that doing that is what the author intended. Here’s the thing, the books in this series all intertwine and if you decide that this is where you want to be a rebel, DON’T! You need to read the preceding books first. I’m doing you a favor, trust me. On a side note: this book will tell the story of Rhys and Allison and will be told through both POV’s.

Like I said, the previous books have somewhat set us up for this one. If you remember from book #1 when Runaway Train went to play at the sweet sixteen party of Jake’s little sister? Well, that little sister is Allison and Allison has been in love with Rhys since she was 13. This book will actually begin (prologue) at that sweet sixteen party, but told through the POV of Allison, so as the reader you are able to grasp her affection for him. The book will then fast forward 4 1/2 years, Allison is on tour with Runaway Train and is the nanny for Jake and Abby while completing an internship for her degree.

While the book may start with Abby on tour with Runaway Train as a nanny/apprentice, the relationship between Rhys and Allison began three months prior to the tour. Think back to book #2, when Jake asked Rhys to check in on Allison while he was visiting his parents in Savannah, that is where “Rhys and Allison” kick off. During that visit, things eventually get heated and after an emotional night and lots of tequila, well, things happen. Unfortunately, it was making love for Allison and Rhys wasn’t really able to come to terms with the emotions he was feeling at the time and being a man, he does what men do, pushes her away.

A good chunk of this book will take place during those several weeks in Savannah and honestly at first, I wasn’t too excited about the flashback. I really wanted to focus on the here and now, but after reading those chapters, I really love the way the author wrote the time in Savannah. We really get to see Rhys and who he is during this time. You not only understand, but you support his disdain towards his parents. Trust me, he will eventually have his asshole moments, so you will need that understanding so you can continue to fall in love with him.

During the moments in this book that take place in Savannah, there are no visits from the characters that we have grown to love. You will be briefly introduced to some other supporting characters, that were really well written, but we don’t get back to the ones we love until they are back on tour. Even though we only get a glimpse of Gabe and Eli from Jacob’s Ladder, it is really a good glimpse and the author is setting us up for their own stories to be told. CANNOT WAIT FOR THAT!

As much as I hate to write this part, the only thing that disappointed me in this book (and this may be a bit of a spoiler) is this: when we meet Rhys’ family in Savannah, one of the members we are introduced to is Ellie, Rhys’ sister. She is autistic and the love Rhys has for her pours off of the page. She is not someone that Rhys talks about often, because he is very protective of her, which is understandable. Allison explains to him how unfair that is, especially considering that Lily and Brayden have a daughter, Lucy, who is on the Autism spectrum. Rhys seems to get it and agrees with her. However, once on tour, it is not brought up again and I was really looking forward to seeing Allison’s relationship with Ellie grow.

It’s that part of the review where we must talk about the sex. I know, it’s such a chore. While there may not be a ton of sex in this book, there doesn’t need to be, because it is so sensuous and if I’m honest, a little vulgar (in a good way, of course). So ladies, just leave the panties off for this one.

Prepare yourself, this book isn’t as light-hearted as the first books in this series. It’s a bit more impassioned. I didn’t think that I would enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Jake and A.J.’s stories, but Ms. Ashley proved me wrong. She wrote a very moving story, one that I think you will fall in love with. The next book in this series, Melody of the Heart, will actually feature Brayden and Lily and since they are high school sweethearts, it is going to be very interesting at how Katie Ashley tells this story and I am so excited to read it. Stay tuned.

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