Review: Absolution Road

Author: Rachel Balufeld
Release Date: September 28, 2015
Series: Crossroads, Book 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance

For Jake Wrigley, the future is bleak. Some people are survivors, but he’s getting by on his bad-boy looks and charming smile. He owns a gym, gets into bar fights, and wrestles his demons with rough workouts—both in and out of the bedroom.

For Alyson Road, the future is bright. Life can only improve from where she grew up. She graduated at the top of her law class, cares for her ailing mom, and in her job, she defends those who can’t afford anyone else. Her work is thankless but honest. 

Jake’s twin brother has been covering his ass for as long as they’ve been alive, but that all changes when Jake finds himself in front of the fiery public defender, his future in her hands. For the first time ever, he doesn’t want to involve his brother, finally realizing he needs to stand alone, be his own man.

Even if Jake’s never absolved of his past wrongdoings or his heart is never scrubbed of the blackness that resides there, he can do one good deed—protect the beautiful lawyer who touched his soul—until helping her nearly becomes his own undoing.

Amazon US

4.5 Hearts

Rachel Blaufeld is a new to me author.  I had the pleasure of reading Absolution Road, book 2 in her Crossroads series.  It can be read as a stand-alone although characters from the first book do pop up in this one.  There was no confusion with story line but I will happily go back and grab book 1 now! 
Jake Wrigley considers himself the ultimate bad boy.  He fights. He has various s3x partners with no promise of commitment.  He has dark thoughts.  He sees a psychiatrist to help him try to get a handle on his life.  He mentally and physically punishes himself any chance he gets. 

Aly Road grew up a geek in a lower class home.  A shy young lady, no one other than her mother paid any attention to her for much of her life.  With her ailing mother out of the picture, Aly ties herself to her job as a public defender and tries to spread goodness to people who have been given the bad luck of the draw. 

The two meet as Aly is called to get Jake out of a mess of his own doing.  He forgoes a call to his twin this time and meets the beautiful red head with fire in her eyes.  Jake tries to push his badass self on her and Aly does allow it.  After several more chance encounters, Jake decides her need to make Aly his.  Jakes POV is humorous at times as he tries to figure out how being in a relationship is supposed to work.  Aly continues to be wary of his intentions.  Protecting her heart. 

The title of the book is perfect for the two main characters.  There is love and lust and suspense.  But ultimately the story is about absolution.  This is Jake’s journey to find the softness inside him and to find himself worthy of the love that Aly so willingly wants to share.  It is also Aly’s fight to feel like a whole person again, worthy of the love that Jake wants to share.  It reminds the reader that there is goodness in everyone if we just look carefully enough.  Forgiving ourselves is sometimes the biggest step in the healing process.  It’s ok to put up the tough guy image as long as we allow those closest to us see our true selves. 

“You know I’m tough, right?”

“Yeah, babe.  You’re big and tough on the outside, but neither of us were survivors until we met each other.  We’re our own little fairy tale, meant to be together.  Beauty and the Beast.”

I look forward to reading more by this author!  Grab this one up as a great contemporary read with some suspense elements.  


The metal door clanked shut, the sound of its lock slamming into place echoed off the cold wall I currently leaned up against. As I pressed my back against the coarse cinderblock, reality hit me smack in the chest like a bullet train barreling through my heart.
Christ. Look at where I fucking landed after a whole goddamn year of trying to get my life in order, to heal past wounds and move forward.
Did they hold mass in the slammer? Not that I was religious, but I would need someone like God on my side, because there was no way in hell Lane was coming to get me. Actually, for the first time ever, I told myself I wasn’t calling him. I’d leaned on my twin brother for two decades too long. I’d only deserve whatever wrath he served up if I called him from the clink.
Forget it being fucking Christmas, he’d finally gotten his life together. He had a gorgeous wife, cute little baby daughter, a big house in the country, huge career, and lots of cash. He deserved to be left alone.
Me, I deserved this. I’d get to make one phone call, and it looked like it was going to be to that little wench—the same woman who landed me behind bars.
My frayed jeans tightened around my thick thighs as I slumped to the floor. I tilted my head back against the wall, rolling my neck. Taking a long breath, I noticed the guy opposite me—he was big, tattooed, hairy, and snarling at me.
I could fucking take him. Let him just try to approach me. I own a gym, for Chrissake.
“Jake Wrigley?” the guard yelled as he approached the holding cell. “Which one of you fools is Jake?” he asked as he shoved his key in the keyhole, eyeing me up and down. Nothing like a big-as-fuck black dude with his biceps bulging through his polyester uniform looking at me like he was thoroughly pissed.
Who shit in his eggnog?
I stood. “That’s me.” I ran my hand along my buzz cut and smoothed out my beard. “Time for my phone call?”
“Nah, man. DA’s here to see you.”
“Oh, good. Maybe he wants to go home to his family, and I’m gonna get out of here in time for the holidays,” I said, then chuckled to myself.
“I wouldn’t hold your breath, my man,” the guard said, shoving me toward the next set of locked doors.
“Thanks, Paul, I got it from here,” a soft feminine voice called out from behind us.
Sweet . . . a female guard.

“That’s okay, Ms. Road. I’ll make sure he gets to the interview room. This one here’s a live wire,” he said, keeping his hand on my arm as he escorted me forward, not allowing me to turn around.

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Rachel Blaufeld is a social worker/entrepreneur/blogger turned author. Fearless about sharing her opinion, Rachel captured the ear of stay-at-home and working moms on her blog, BacknGrooveMom, chronicling her adventures in parenting tweens and inventing a product, often at the same time. She has also blogged for The Huffington Post,Modern Mom, and StartupNation.
Turning her focus on her sometimes wild-and-crazy creative side, it only took Rachel two decades to do exactly what she wanted to do—write a fiction novel. Now she spends way too many hours in local coffee shops plotting her ideas. Her tales may all come with a side of angst and naughtiness, but end lusciously.
Rachel lives around the corner from her childhood home in Pennsylvania with her family and two dogs. Her obsessions include running, coffee, icing-filled doughnuts, antiheroes, and mighty fine epilogues.
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