He’s only a friend.
Those words had haunted him from the moment Jessie James had heard them muttered from the girl who held his heart, and whom he thought had his back.
Fourteen years later, he still feels those words like a brand on his soul.
Lucky for him he has a son to focus on, a full-time job that demands his attention the rest of the day, and not a single moment to spare for a woman who won’t stand up for him when he needs her the most.
He’s only a friend.
The words had slipped out of Ellen’s mouth, and before she could recall them, or better yet, explain them, Jesse is gone from her life for good, taking her heart with him.
She tries to move on, to climb her way out of the pit of despair, but not one single person – regardless of how badly she wants to make it work – can fill the void that was left in his wake.
Time heals all wounds.
Or at least that is how the saying goes.
It’s a crock of crap, though.
Fourteen years pass when Jessie and Ellen see each other again without the influence of the town and bad memories surrounding them, and it’s as if not a single day has passed.
Ellen knows the instant that her eyes see her old love that she’s still just as in love with him today as she was all those years ago.
The problem is that Jesse wants nothing to do with her. Or at least that’s what he keeps telling himself.
Lani Lynn Vale does it again, bringing the heat with another steamy installment of the Dixie Wardens
The Beard Made Me Do It
By: Lani Lynn Vale
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 Star Review by Kristie K
Lani Lynn Vale does it again, bringing the heat with another steamy installment of the Dixie Wardens Rejects MC…
The Beard Made Me Do It is the fifth installment of the Dixie Wardens Rejects MC series by Lani Lynn Vale, and follows the swoon worthy Jessie James. As a single father since the age of 16, Jessie has worked hard, and sacrificed everything to make it where he is today. Leaving behind the girl that held his heart was the hardest thing he ever had to do, but he couldn’t let his lot in life bring her down. Walking away was his gift to her…even though it killed him to do it. But now, he’s back in town and a chance encounter puts him face to face with the girl he walked away from…
No-one had ever held her heart but Jessie James. The day he walked away from her, was the worst day of her life and the day her heart shattered forever. Now, fourteen years later Ellen is trying to move on with her life…until she sees a familiar pair of eyes watching her from across the room at a Dixie Wardens party. As her whole world tips on it’s axis from seeing Jessie again, she must figure out what she feels, and what she’s willing to do about it. Having never gotten over him, Ellen is bombarded with feelings that she isn’t prepared to face. When more secrets come to light, and danger stalks their every step, a decision must be made.
Aaaahhhhh!! I love MC books!! So, let’s start at the beginning…the cover for this book is totally sexy. Simple, gorgeous, and sexy. The blurb is heartbreaking, tantalizing, and offers the hook needed to get you to delve a little deeper. The characters are awesome. I fell in love with all of them, but especially the main three…Jessie, Ellen, and of course the son, Linc. Each one is their own person, unique and separate from the rest. Jessie and Ellen hold a depth and realism that grabs you, and their hearts are so warm that you can’t help but want to be near them. The plot and storyline are well developed, and executed wonderfully. All in all, this was a wonderful book to read, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I look forward to what Ms. Vale has in store for the Dixie Wardens next.
Jesse and Ellen's Story
After being introduced to Jesse and Ellen earlier in the series, their reactions to one another seemed more than just lust at first sight; their connection seemed deeper and the only way that could have been is if they’d known one another before they met because of their association with the Dixie Wardens. So going into The Beard Made Me Do It, I knew Jesse and Ellen’s past must have been left open-ended, and I was anxious to find out how they truly knew each other and how the nature of their relationship and consequent falling out shaped their future selves - individuals who definitely need closure on their past in order to move forward.
For fourteen years, Ellen’s been trying to come to terms with Jesse’s unexplained exit from her life, comparing every man to her high school love and being unable to settle down with anyone else because her heart still belongs to the man who destroyed it when he left and never came back.
Jesse James has been a single father since the day Linc was born and with the shitstorm that always seems to surround him, he thought letting Ellen go, setting her free to achieve all of her goals was what was best for both of them because Jesse didn’t want to bring Ellen into his maelstrom, especially with how unpredictable it was.
But what neither of them truly understood, until they re-entered one another’s lives all these years later, is that his leaving actually destroyed both of them, breaking them in ways that would only mend with a clear understanding of why Jesse left and then a open-mind as to what a future might look like for them as a couple…as a family of three who share an undeniable connection and an overwhelming amount of love.
I love how Lani Lynn Vale introduces future main characters as supporting characters in the other books in her series because just when readers think they have a handle on who these characters are, forming opinions about them, Vale reveals much needed insight into those characters’ back stories, giving the reasons behind their actions and allowing readers to look at the big picture and understand that these characters really don’t have a choice sometimes because the heart wants what it wants and it does the things it needs to in order to get the happiness it so desperately craves. And this idea is illustrated perfectly in The Beard Made Me Do It.
Ellen and Jesse’s book was an amazing read about sacrifice and the importance of finding a home and a family that truly has your back, even though you’re not blood related. And, Linc’s supporting role added such depth to the story line because the way that he acts and loves is all because of the way Jesse raised him, even when they were dirt poor and only had each other to rely on.
Once again, Ghost makes his presence known multiple times within the story, adding to the mystery of who he is and how he has become a man so skilled at getting information and finding people who truly don’t want to be found, and with Ghost’s story hopefully coming soon, there is a lot of information to sort through in order to truly understand a man who doesn’t want to be known.
4.5 Poison Apples (The Fairest of All Book Reviews)