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My dick never got me in half as much trouble as my heart...

We were high school sweethearts. I was head over heels for her and no one could tell me we weren’t going to last forever. College? Going pro? My family’s money? None of it mattered. She was all I needed.

Then she ripped my heart out. But I’m not going to let that happen again.

She’s back. Invading my life and acting like she was the wronged one. The pain is still there, but I can’t keep my eyes off her. I can’t stop thinking about her and how much was left unsaid between us. Being this close is making me question everything I thought I knew about her.

This time everything will be on my terms. Everything…

First published January 2, 2019

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About the author

Maya Hughes

41 books6,133 followers
Maya Hughes is an Amazon Top 20 author of swoon worthy, laugh out loud, and emotional new adult and contemporary romances.

Add Maya's next releases to your Goodreads Shelf!

The Art of Falling For You (Falling, #1) by Maya Hughes The Sin of Kissing You (Falling #2) by Maya Hughes The Hate of Loving You (Falling, #3) by Maya Hughes

The Art of Falling For You (Falling, #1) by Maya Hughes The Sin of Kissing You (Falling #2) by Maya Hughes The Hate of Loving You (Falling, #3) by Maya Hughes
The Perfect First (Fulton U, #1) by Maya Hughes The Second We Met (Fulton U, #2) by Maya Hughes The Third Best Thing (Fulton U, #3) by Maya Hughes The Fourth Time Charm (Fulton U, #4) by Maya Hughes


The Perfect First (Fulton U, #1) by Maya Hughes The Second We Met (Fulton U, #2) by Maya Hughes The Third Best Thing (Fulton U, #3) by Maya Hughes The Fourth Time Charm (Fulton U, #4) by Maya Hughes

Shameless King (Kings of Rittenhouse #1) by Maya Hughes Reckless King (Kings of Rittenhouse, #2) by Maya Hughes Ruthless King (Kings of Rittenhouse, #3) by Maya Hughes Fearless King (Kings of Rittenhouse, #4) by Maya Hughes Heartless King (Kings of Rittenhouse, #5) by Maya Hughes

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 796 reviews
Profile Image for Cristiina♡Reads.
574 reviews3,303 followers
January 8, 2019
➳A second chance romance that has passion involved with history that is filled with emotions that are so in depth with each character, once you read their love story there is no going back...

➳There is no denying that my love for Maya's writing is one that will diminish any time soon. When it comes down to sports romances I am weak in knees because the fact is that I love me a good rugged guy who properly knows how to work it in the field (or ice rink in this case) and also knows how to properly function in the sheets. Emmett is no exception when it comes down to my previous statement. Man! He seriously knows how to bring the sweats to you down my face whenever I read his intimate scenes with Avery. The sparks and all the fiery chemistry that they both had in high school when they first started dating, is one that sparked more after so many years apart and not knowing the truth. That built up and pent up energy that sparks from them both is one that as a true sports romance reader enjoys thoroughly in every aspect.

➳If you have read the first novel of this series, you will know the background story that is of Emmett and Avery's. After being apart for four years, and finally seeing each other for a long time during a summer vacation, Avery and Em have to first learn how to be in each other's presence for the sake of their mutual friends. After two weeks of being near each other and their friends, Em and Ave learn that their chemistry is one that has not diminished even after being so many years apart from each other. Even though Emmett considers her as his enemy, Avery knows the truth about what happened so many years ago, but Em is not one who has had the time to listen to her side of the story;
"Avery Davis had dismantled me and left me as a shell. Even knowing the pain she'd caused, every night I closed my eyes, it was her I dreamed about..."

➳Once they are finally together, Emmett and Avery have to also learn how to trust each other once again. Because though that physical attraction is there, their emotions run through every corner of insecurities when it comes down to trusting one another and opening up once again to learn and want to know each other's secrets. Once the walls are down and broken, the passion that Em and Ave have is one that I haven't read in such a long time, making this novel one of my favorites from this year and one that will have every single one of you wanting more of the Rittenhouse Kings.

➳Overall, Maya Hughes has once again stolen my heart with her writing. Once you enter the world of the Kings, there is no turning back because you will instantly be drawn for more of their stories. For sure, in this story amongst the previous ones, we get to see characters in which we fall in love with. Maya has made it certain that she will continue this series and my hands are already itching for Ford's and Olivia's story filled with the forbidden in a relationship. Something that I have always been drawn to. I know I am not the only one so I just have one more thing to say, Maya... HURRY UP!

➳ARC kindly provided by Maya in exchange for an honest review...

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Profile Image for Carol [Goodreads Addict].
2,349 reviews24.7k followers
December 23, 2018
Ruthless King is book three in the Kings of Rittenhouse series by Maya Hughes. You can definitely read these as stand alones but I do recommend that you read the little prequel novella, Kings of Rittenhouse, first. It introduces this group of friends and sets the stage perfectly for the book!

It’s been four years since the night back in high school that Avery Davis ripped out Emmett Cunning’s heart. For four years he has lived his life, achieved his dream of being a professional hockey player for the NHL. For all four of those years, he attempted to convince himself he had gotten over Avery, even though he could never stay in a relationship for over three months. The anger still burns inside of him over what happened. He and his friends rarely get to spend time together anymore so Emmett convinces everyone to spend the summer together on the shore. It will be the perfect summer, spending time with the friends who were more like family to him.

hockey player

Emmett’s entire childhood, his parents barely registered his presence. It was like he didn’t exist. No sooner did he make his plans with his friends, out of the blue, his parents started showing interest in him, acting like they wanted to finally be a family. He can’t help but to get his hopes up, that after twenty three years, they might actually want to get to know him.

pretty woman baking

After four years of being more of her mom than her big sister, Avery’s little sister is graduating from high school and going off to college. She’s finally going to be able to figure out what she wants to do with her own life. She is still working at the same bakery she has worked at since she was fifteen years old, Bread and Butter. Avery still lives with the ache inside of her every day of what happened four years ago. Emmett had been the center of her world until everything blew up.

Avery’s closest friend convinces her to come to the shore for a vacation. She’s never really had a vacation before. They assure her that Emmett decided not to come after all. That he was spending time with his parents. So she decides to go for it. Only on her first night there, who should walk in but Emmett himself.

For the first week Emmett and Avery don’t do much more than glare at one another. But, two people that loved each other as much as they did can’t escape the return of those feelings for long. Anger gives way to affection. Avery has so many secrets, though, so many things she doesn’t want to tell Emmett that could hurt him. She is so hesitant to hope that there is really a chance for them again but Emmett’s persistence wins her over. You know what they say about secrets, though. They always seem to come out eventually.

“Everything was so familiar and so new all at once. The past and present were colliding into a new vision, and it scared the crap out of me.”


This book had my heart in turmoil from the beginning to the end. Emmett was so in love with Avery. But even with all the love they shared, they had manipulative parents against them as well as Avery’s dysfunctional father. She couldn’t bear for Emmett to know the truth of what her life was like, so different than the life he had. But those secrets worked against them in the end.

The depth of Emmett’s feelings for Avery was a beautiful thing. He would do anything for her. But that’s not what she needed. She had sacrificed so much to get where she was. She needed a partner, not a savior. This was a harder lesson for Emmett to learn.

This is told in dual point of views and mostly takes place over a two week period of time. We also get a perfect epilogue which also gives us a hint of what might be in store for us in the next book, Fearless King, which is Ford’s story.

In this one, though, once you start the book, prepare to settle in because you’re not going to want to put it down. And, prepare for all the feels. I feel like I lived the whole thing right along with these two, every single emotion, and I loved every minute of it. I fell in love with this group of friends who were more like family. And I definitely fell in love with Avery and Emmett. I hope you do too!

For more about this book and so many more, come and visit me at Carol's Crazy Bookish World.

Profile Image for Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾.
2,017 reviews12k followers
January 6, 2019
I never stopped loving you. Even when I hated you with all of my being, even when I hated myself for it and wished I could carve my heart out of my chest, I still loved you.”

The second I read the blurb to this book, I knew this would be my first Maya Hughes read. I'm a sucker for a good second-chance romance, and this one checked all of my boxes.
Avery Davis had dismantled me and left me as a shell. Even knowing the pain she’d caused, every night I closed my eyes, it was her I dreamed about.

I dove into this book without having read the previous two in this series, and while I had absolutely no problem enjoying it as a standalone, I'll definitely be reading the other books if only because I'm intrigued by the characters and loved the author's writing style.

As for this book? It was a mildly angsty read with plenty of feels that I fell in love with from the very first pages.

Emmett and Avery were high school sweethearts. They were everything to each other, and even though they were young, their love was one that should have been a forever kind. The reader doesn't know what happened to rip them apart, but you know it was enough to plant a seed of resentment into Emmett that even years later he can't get over.

When fate and circumstance throws them together once more, they are forced to acknowledge everything that happened between them, though it's certainly not a smooth road. I'm not typically a fan of the continuous misunderstanding plot device in my books, but it actually worked here. I understood why Avery was hesitant to shed light on everything that happened in high school. And while I wanted to smack Emmett for his reaction to the bumps on their path to a HEA, I also couldn't help understanding him either. These characters are both flawed in their own way, but in a very endearing way. Avery is extremely loyal to her family and I loved her fierce protectiveness and care for her sister. I understood why she did what she did.

Emmett, while being a successful pro-hockey player and having his pick of any woman he wants, is like a lost boy when it comes to Avery. She was the only woman he ever loved and he never got over her breaking his heart. I loved this vulnerable side to him.

I really enjoyed the secondary characters and the pacing of this book. I wished there was a little more angst beyond the constant misunderstanding between Emmett and Avery, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Maya Hughes is a new to me author that is now going straight to my auto-buy list and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

ARC courtesy of author in exchange for an honest review

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Profile Image for Wendys Wycked Words.
1,557 reviews3,814 followers
December 17, 2018

I have read and enjoyed the first book in this series "Shameless King". For some reason, I forgot  skipped the second book "Reckless King"(<-I will fix this mistake soon) ...This is the third book... Avery and Emmet's story, and it can be read as a stand-alone.

Now even though I skipped the second book, I still remembered Avery and Emmett from the first book, and I really wanted to read their story. I do things ass-backward all the time so I will just read Heath's story later ;)

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The first book was an "enemies to lovers" story and the second book a "forbidden love" story. This time we get a "second chance love" story...which happens to be one of my favorite tropes ;)

Avery and Emmett were very much in love in high school, that is until secrets and accusations rip the two of them apart.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor accusations gif

I fell in love with Emmett the moment I met him in the first book and this love only grew throughout the book. Now I am known to be a bit harder on the heroines, but Avery could hold her own, so I was very impressed with her ;)

What I wasn't so happy with, was the way everyone was treating Emmett. I can understand Avery having reservations about him,  but the whole "vacation" thing and how they all ganged up on Emmett really had me seeing red !! I felt like everyone was picking Avery's side (when she wasn't even supposed to be there) while Emmett stood all alone...

It broke my heart a bit Afbeeldingsresultaat voor sad emoticon

The good thing about this "screwed up vacation", is that things finally got out in the open, and Emmett and Avery can have their second chance... Now they will just have to start trusting each other again...Which is easier said than done !!
Afbeeldingsresultaat voor second chance love gif

I really enjoyed this story and so far it is my favorite in the series. I could have done with some more hockey though, I could always do with some more hockey !!!

Now I will just have to go back and read Heath's story ;)

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My reviews are posted on DirtyBooksObsession

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Profile Image for Beatrice Masaluñga.
1,137 reviews1,662 followers
January 10, 2019
ARC kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Ruthless King is about former high school lovers Emmett Cunning and Avery Davis. Emmett is wealthy and privilege but his parents are never preset. Avery cannot rely to her father as he succumb into addiction. She had no choice but to step in as the breadwinner of the family. In spite of their socioeconomic differences, it didn't matter for these two. They're both young and in love but one incident ripped their relationship apart.

For years later, Emmett and Avery reunited for the summer with their friends. There's an unresolved tension between them and it's obvious both haven't move on from their breakup. So much has changed over the years. Emmett is now a professional Hockey player and Avery still works in a pastry shop and plans to go to college after two weeks. One thing remains the same: their love for each other.

This book has two of my favorite tropes: enemies to lovers and second chance romance novel. It's also my first Maya Hughes novel and I like her writing style. It's pretty engaging and I was hooked with the story. I like the characters; Emmett is such a gentleman. He's charming, thoughtful and sometimes overly generous. Avery is hardworking, independent, responsible, selfless and loyal. I love how protective she is for her love ones even if she has to sacrifice her plans. The chemistry between these lovebirds is great. It's palpable and intense.

However, my main issue was the conflict. Avery should've spilled the whole truth from the beginning instead of revealing it by pieces. It unnecessary prolonged the novel due just to add drama. The miscommunication got on my nerves and I wish it focuses more rebuilding their trust with each other. Though it's the third book in the series, it can be read as a standalone. I am definitely reading the previous books and I can't wait for Ford's book.

Final rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
Profile Image for Syndi.
2,898 reviews634 followers
June 19, 2020
I do not like Ruthless King. It is ruthless bad book. Reading some of Miss Hughes books, I am disappointed that Ruthless King does not meet my expectation. Second chance romance is usually my go to romance book. Because it has all of that sweet swoon dramatic groveling.

What does not work for me is Emmet. After knowing the reason why Avery done what she did, he still being so mean and kicked her out. He is so rude. Not a romantic hero as I imagined. He is demanding, childish and brooding. He should be the bad guy in the story. Avery deserves a better hero.

That's all I have to say.

2 stars
Profile Image for  Sonya ♕Chatterbooks book blog♕.
965 reviews1,091 followers
January 3, 2019
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I’ve been wanting to get my hands on Emmett and Avery's story from the minute I read Shameless King and this was more than what I could’ve hoped for. I have a weakness for second chance romances and when we were given a little bit of the background in book 1, I knew that this story was going to be filled with drama, heartache, and redemption and I was so on bored for this journey!!

Good looks, women, endless wealth, you name it and Emmett Cunning has it. Life is not too bad for this twenty three year old who has the world at his feet, or so it seems. Four years ago his world was ripped apart by the one person he trusted and loved whole heartedly only to get torn apart in the process. Not only did he lost the woman he loved from an unforgivable act, but his heart was never the same again. But what happens when the one woman who’s inflicted so much pain, suddenly comes back full force?

“I never stopped loving you. Even when I hated you with all of my being, even when I hated myself for it and wished I could carve my heart out of my chest, I still loved you”.

Avery Davis has spent the last four years doing everything for her little sister and making sure she goes off to College. From paying all of the bills, working twice as hard, and providing the best emotional support, she has done it all. Now that her sister is safely away at school, Avery can now focus on her own career and personal life with her friends. When a trip is suggested to help her relax and have fun with her old friends, she takes it. Unbeknownst to her, that trip is going to change her entire life and reunite her with an old flame who wants nothing to do with her.

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This was a nice second chance romance and I loved that this Author showed not only a strong heroine who had no problem standing up for herself, but she made the Hero likable and showed his vulnerability when it was necessary. Emmet was extremely successful in his Hockey career but that was not the most important thing to him. He cherished his friendships, wanted a close knit family relationship, and the one girl who he’s loved for a long time to be back in his arms. He was one of a kind and his strength and generosity knew no bounds and I really liked that about him.

If you’re like me and you love second chance and sports romance, then this book needs to be on your list.

*Teaser used is from the author's site

Profile Image for Melanie (mells_view).
1,710 reviews331 followers
February 17, 2019

I liked the plot of this second chance romance. It is mainly misunderstandings, lack of communications, and then some shady shady things from outsiders. All in all it’s a decent read. I skimmed a bit, because some things felt like filler. I didn’t read the first two books or the prequel novella, but it was still easy enough to catch on to what was going on here. Not sure if I will continue the series, because I mainly just wanted to see how this couple panned out (the blurb enticed me), but after the ending of this one the next books plot sounds pretty good too. We shall see
Profile Image for Sarah.
1,631 reviews1,254 followers
January 10, 2019


Maya Hughes has captured my heart. She has created an angst filled, emotional second chance romance that killed me in the best way

Ohhhh, boy! Let me tell you about Emmett. You may have seen glimpses of him if you have read the Kings of Rittenhouse series by Maya Hughes, but you don’t even know what you are in for with Ruthless King! This is Maya’s best book to date!! I was enthralled with this second chance romance.

Emmett is so much more complex than I ever thought. His insecurities, the desire to be loved, his motivation for paying for everything just tore at my soul. The way Maya describes his pain tore my heart to shreds. I wanted to weep for Em and Avery and all they have lost. Because he has been hurt, he is an a**hole of epic proportions. He is outright mean and hurtful with Avery, but once these two begin to hash it out, readers get to see his heart. Like the Kings before him, the bedroom skills are on point, the way he makes amends is the epitome of romance, and the end of this journey I was a mess in the best way, messaging Maya with my ranting over my love of Emmett and his whole journey! You need this book!

Beta read
Profile Image for Betül.
986 reviews238 followers
April 4, 2020
**ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review**


Ruthless king is the first book I read by Maya Hughes. Second-chance romances are one of my favorite book tropes, so I was excited about this story. It started really good, and I couldn't wait to see what happened that broke these two apart in high school. When I finally got bits an pieces of the past, it kind of lessened my enjoyment for this story. One thing I hate in second-chance romances is when the couple breaks up because of a misunderstanding and that neither of the characters do enough to explain the situation. It is just the easiest way to break up a couple in books, and I am kind of tired of it. Because of this I just couldn't enjoy the book as much as I wanted to. I know they were teenagers, and that they make rash decisions, but if you love someone you would want to try to figure out what happened or explain what happened.

"It hurt to look at her, but I couldn't avert my eyes, like staring into the sun during an eclipse-you knew you were doing damage, but how could you look away from something so rare and spectacular."

I blame Avery more than I do Emmett, she could've told him what was happening. Also I found some inconsistencies in the story, which resulted in me getting confused who was to blame for the whole situation. Avery in the beginning is mad at Emmett, because he didn't believe her and probably never loved her. Then she is admitting that she didn't want to hurt him so she kept a lot of things to herself. I admit Emmett could've done more to try to figure out what was going on, but Avery dropped the ball as well. This made it harder for me to connect to the characters. I think if I read the previous two books, I would've had a better connection with them. At 60% I was considering DNF'ing this book, but decided to put it down and try again later. Which I am happy I did, because after that I got more into the story. The writing was good, it had a nice pacing, but the story for the majority took place in one location, which I didn't like. Also I didn't think there was enough character development, I wanted more from them as a couple. I loved the side characters, and I am especially intrigued by Olivia and Ford.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
748 reviews12 followers
January 10, 2019
This installment is about Emmett and Avery… They were high school sweethearts, crazy in love, and Emmett wanted nothing more than to spend his life with Avery. Until everything suddenly changed, and the young man became broken and unable to move on. Fast forward seven years and they are suddenly thrown together again. He tries so hard to stay angry, but thankfully, he starts losing that momentum.

First, I have loved this series so much! However, this one is by far my favorite of the series. Why you ask? Because I completely fell in love with Emmett! This beautiful man has a heart of gold, has only ever wanted a connection with family and loved ones, but also attempts to put up this tough exterior. In a word, he was just, swoon-worthy! Don’t get me wrong, he screwed up several times throughout the story because he reacted passionately and didn’t think things through. After living such a financially privileged life, he struggled to understand that he didn’t need to use money to gain friendship and/or love. He couldn’t get past his past with Avery, and he couldn’t understand why his parents never wanted a relationship with him and then suddenly wouldn’t leave him alone. The guy was going through some issues…

Then there was Avery who is the epitome of a survivor. A strong and selfless character that devoted her life to caring for her sister because her Dad was too wrapped up in his own issues. I wasn’t sure how I felt about her initially, but once I knew the whole story I completely loved and respected her character.

Ruthless King’s plot is way too in-depth for me to go more into without giving away spoilers. However, I can say that this book has so many good themes, messages, and just happy feels. It doesn’t feel that way for a lot of the time reading because Hughes” does an excellent job at keeping the reader guessing, but this was just a fantastic book. She touches on family, especially the not-so-pretty sides of family, she addresses trust and communication, second-chances, romance, love, and hope.

But for me, I’m left with the overall feeling that sometimes people are just meant-to-be, despite everything else on the planet, they are it for each other. Outside forces and betrayals can be handled, if you believe in each other and what you know to be true in your heart.

Amazing novel! I can’t recommend this one enough.

*Thanks to GMB and the author for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review!
Profile Image for Rejane.
1,341 reviews63 followers
Shelved as 'not-interested'
January 3, 2019
It's so nice to read a honest review for ARC. Most of the time they are just generic essay talking about the author’s competence with words and how feelings are brought to the pages followed by 4 or 5 stars rate.
Misunderstanding and miscommunication are big pet peeves for me in my books. I don't care what age the characters are, just don't like it used as reason for separation. I agree with the reviewer whos says it’s one of the laziest conflict to break up a couple.

Profile Image for book bruin.
1,139 reviews282 followers
December 22, 2018

I have been dying for this story from the moment I was introduced to Emmett and Avery in the prequel novella, Kings of Rittenhouse. Second chance romances are one of my very favorite tropes and Maya Hughes really delivered! Though this is book 3 in the series, it can be read as a stand alone. It will be most appreciated, however, if read in order/if the prequel is read first.

This book hurt my heart in the best way. The angst and anguish were high in Ruthless King and there were times I didn't think my heart could take it. Emmett and Avery's love burned brightly in high school for 3 years and just when their future should have been opening up before them, things came to a screeching and gut wrenching end. Secrets and circumstances outside of their control drove a wedge right between them. 4 years have passed, and though they still share mutual friends, the pain and anger is so strong that they cannot tolerate being around each other. An epic summer reunion at the shore, however, throws these two back in each other's orbits and past and present come crashing together. You could cut the tension with a knife between these two and so many hurtful words were voiced, especially by Emmett. It becomes clear though that not everything was as it seemed and when the truth explodes between them, readers should hang on tight to their hearts.


I loved Emmett and Avery. Yes, they acted rashly and immaturely at times and made mistake after mistake when they skirted the truth instead of being open and honest, but they both truly only wanted the best for the other. They were so dependent on each other, however, that I felt they needed to be apart so that they could truly grow. Emmett is without a doubt my favorite King. I swooned so hard at how fiercely and deeply Emmett loved. Chapter 14 shattered my heart and pieced it back together at the same time. My chest squeezed so tight reading that chapter.


Emmett's toxic relationship with his parents broke my heart and explained a lot of his insecurities and reactions. I admired Avery's tenacity and the lengths she would go to for her family and those that she loved. Even though I anticipated the drama at the end, I was still upset and annoyed by Avery's inability to come clean until forced. This was a time when I found both sides in the wrong, however, and that made the situation easier to understand and forgive. The story comes full circle in the epilogue and left my heart so full. It also set up Ford's story wonderfully and I cannot wait to see how that unfolds (and how Colm reacts!) Really loved this one and I will ALWAYS be ready and wanting more of Emmett and Avery!


*I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book*
Profile Image for Jo Reads Romance.
834 reviews51 followers
January 2, 2021

Wow! The feels.
5 stars

This book. Wow! This book hit me right in the feels.

I was hooked from the very first page and even when I wasn’t reading - which I did at any and every opportunity - I was thinking about it. Thinking about Emmett and Avery and worrying over them. Would they ever get their happily ever after?

Ruthless King is a new adult romance. The characters are all in their early 20s. This isn’t usually my kind of book as I feel like I wouldn’t connect with characters in such a different stage of life to my own. I’m so, so glad I didn’t let that mentality stop me from reading this book because it was such an enjoyable book with characters that I not only rooted for, but keenly felt for and believed in.

This is the first Kings of Rittenhouse novel that I’ve read - it’s number 3 in the series so far - other than the free prequel story, Kings of Rittenhouse. Each is a standalone but there’s heavy character crossover. The books centre around 5 guys who were all part of the ice-hockey team at Rittenhouse Prep - a (very posh) private school in Philadelphia. They remain friends after school - many going on to play hockey professionally - and are all, including the girlfriends, very much a part of this book. At first it was a little confusing trying to figure out who’s who and what their relationships were to each other - but I got there quite quickly. And the book is richer for this supporting cast. I loved seeing the relationships between these guys (and girls) and how they interacted. Definite friendship goals right there.

But onto Emmett and Avery. Wow - the emotional rollercoaster that these two put me on was intense. I’ve always love a second-chance romance as well as an enemies-to-lovers romance and this deftly intertwines the two with the tale of Emmett and Avery - high school sweethearts whose young love turned to hate due to meddling and misunderstandings.

Avery is a well-rounded character. A girl who had to grow up fast and take control over her life and the life of her family. Coming from a poor-as-dirt background, you feel her conflicting emotions as she first falls for her prince charming, then loses him, then finds him again. The things that Avery has to deal with made me admire her immensely.

But it was Emmett that I completely and utterly fell in love with. He did everything fiercely and with his full heart and soul. He wanted so badly to hate Avery but he just couldn’t deny his ultimate feelings. Seeing him fall apart and be so vulnerable with his emotions had me welling up right along with him. If anyone deserved his happily ever after, it was him.

Together - I loved the pair. They rubbed sparks off each other - both physically and emotionally. There were quite a few sex scenes - they hadn’t been together for 4 years and had some catching up to do! - but it was the more domestic scenes that really showed me they were made for each other.

I think the best compliment I can give about Ms Hughes’ writing is that I didn’t even notice it. I was too busy devouring the story - meaning that it flowed so well, so instantly, that it swept me away. Can you ask for anything better than a story that you can get really lost in?

If I have one teensy weensy sort of complaint - it’s that I just wish the revelation - and subsequent fallout - about the parents was drawn out a bit more. I felt Emmett’s revelation came quite quickly afterwards. But perhaps he’d just matured and now knew what he really wanted.

This book really sucked me in and I couldn’t stop thinking about the story and the characters even after the story was done. I’ve just gone back and ordered the first in the series (Shameless King) and after that one’s done I will start on Reckless King. I’m also waiting patiently for Ford and Olivia’s story which hopefully will be coming next. Even if a new adult romance isn’t usually your thing, I urge you to give this a try. It’s got everything you need if you love romance - second chances, betrayal, forgiveness and true love. A well-deserved 5 stars from me.

946 reviews17 followers
May 14, 2021
Must disclose that I didn't read the previous books, this is the first of this author's that I've read. I found the H so unlikable, the opening of the book is him dumping a woman because he can't date past 3 months. He's spoiled, entitled, and not in a sexy way. He lords his wealth over his friends in an odd way; another unlikable quality. She was okay, this is one of those books where a miscommunication caused the 4yr separation. Fine, I can accept that but then when they reunite, guess what? She doesn't give him all the details of everything that's happened, again, these are adults. He's literally giving away his millions in hockey money to fund charities but they can't have a conversation about what happened; and this is the tone/drama created for the last part of the book. Meh
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Brianna at Renee Entress's Blog.
3,690 reviews114 followers
January 11, 2019
4.5 Stars!

Maya Hughes is back with the third standalone installment in the Kings of Rittenhouse series and what a story this was y'all. And while I've not read this others in this series (though I plan to rectify that soon), I had no issues falling right into the lives of every character I met in this book and the storyline laid out.

Ruthless King was a sexy, angsty, intense second chance new adult romance that had my heart beating a little faster and me glued to the pages, not stopping until the very end. Emmett and Avery were quite the pair, even if they had quite the complicated, uneven road ahead of them riddled with lies and secrets from the past. But what's meant to be is always meant to be, finding a way, and well these two are about to get a crash course in real life consequences and a second chance at love.

Great book. Interesting people. An unforgettable  journey.  One vacation that is going to change everything... for Avery and Emmett.

I look forward to more in this series and this author.

I highly recommend this book. 

Reviewed for Renee Entress's Blog
Profile Image for Rochelle ♡.
381 reviews204 followers
January 30, 2019

I have been dying to read Avery and Emmett’s second chance romance since starting Kings of Rittenhouse. Once having experienced an enviable, near perfect romance, only to have that dream shatter, ending tragically, Avery and Emmett’s relationship started to be filled with undeniable animosity. And many questions started swirling in my head, piquing my interest, about this couple’s reasons for separating.

Ruthless King was overall more enjoyable than Shameless King and Reckless King. However, I seem to have an issue with each installment. In Shameless King, Declan’s virtually non-existent relationship with his dad was pointless; in Reckless King, the forbidden relationship came too late and wasn’t worth being a point of contention.

Avery Davis had dismantled me and left me as a shell. Even knowing the pain she'd caused, every night I closed my eyes, it was her I dreamed about.

Complete, utter disappointment consumed me when we finally received details about the separation. I understand that sometimes a situation appears worse than it is, but unless you really saw something, or find definitive proof, having a smidge of maturity really saves a person from experiencing unnecessary heartache. Miscommunication is my least favourite reason to separate a couple for prolonged periods of time.

Avery could have been honest, saving herself being subjected to bullying by an ex-boyfriend, but instead remained quiet about everything that happened. She didn’t trust herself, nor her relationship. I experienced inconsistencies with her less than fabulous personality—one minute, she’s angry at Emmett for not believing her; the next, she admits she didn’t want to cause issues by upsetting Emmett. You can’t be annoyed at someone over a situation you’ve been secretive and dishonest about.

"I never stopped loving you. Even when I hated you with all of my being, even when I hated myself for it and wished I could carve my heart out of my chest, I still loved you.”

I started enjoying this more towards the end, because the narrative moved forward and the characters developed some. However, relationship development felt stagnant. I have some very good feelings regarding Ford and Olivia (that ending!) in Fearless King. If you love second chance sports romance, I recommend reading this series!

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Profile Image for JewelsyGoolsy.
565 reviews93 followers
January 11, 2019
4.25 stars.
Skipped book #2 cos I really needed to know how this couple got their crap together. I only wished that the HFNs in this series weren’t so rushed and heavy on the next book’s prep. Ah well, guess I’m gonna need to read the next book to try catch a glimpse of this couple’s HFN continuation.

Told in dual POV and book #3 in a series.
Profile Image for Elisa ♡.
652 reviews1 follower
October 9, 2021
Lately, I've been reading a lot of meh books, but this one was AMAZING!
that was perfect, idk one thing before i heard that, and i think this is the best way. just know that the hero loves the heroine!
idk what else do i have to say to make you read this, just read it!
Profile Image for Lacey (laceybooklovers).
2,019 reviews10.1k followers
January 1, 2019
3-3.5 stars! This was my first Maya Hughes book and I think I’ve discovered a new NA author to read (I’m always on the lookout for them)! While I had some problems with the second chance romance and why it didn’t work out for the main characters the first time around, I really enjoyed getting to know this cast of characters and will definitively be going back to read the first two books in the series.

Full review to come!

Thanks to the author for generously providing me an ARC to review.
Profile Image for Carolina Batista.
215 reviews66 followers
January 11, 2022

This book is so well done. There is such a improvement from the last two books it’s insane. Emmett and Avery had the best chemistry and connection and their book did not disappoint.

I gave it 4.5 because there was some information that I already knew because of the previous book and it felt repetitive. Nonetheless, I read this is one sitting. I love it so much and it’s one of my favorites.

If you like:
Second Chance Romance
Lovers to Enemies to Lovers
High School Sweethearts
A little bit of Hockey?
Profile Image for Tee loves Kyle Jacobson.
2,474 reviews170 followers
January 11, 2019
OMG this book is named righteously because Emmett is RUTHLESS in his pursuit of the woman he loves with all his heart Avery. I am not going to say to much because I don't want to spoil it for anyone because this is one book I am going to recommend this book to EVERYONE!

Emmett has it all family, friends, and hockey but the one thing he wants more than life he does not have and that is Avery. Emmett and Avery are high school sweet hearts and have everything planned out until one day Avery walks away from Emmett. She leaves and doesn't come back until four years later.

Emmett sees Avery and everything he has held in comes rushing out and he pursues Avery like a wolf hunting his prey. Emmett is determined to get Avery back and find out what happened four years ago. The more time Avery spends with Emmett the more she can't keep her secrets in. So she tells Emmett the truth and Emmett is determined to rekindle what they once had.

Is Emmett to late or will his Ruthlessness pay off?
Profile Image for Sophie's Reading Corner .
809 reviews328 followers
January 10, 2019
4 Ruthless Stars

“I never stopped loving you. Even when I hated you with all of my being, even when I hated myself for it and wished I could carve my heart out of my chest, I still loved you.”

Emmett and Avery used to be high school sweethearts and the lovey-dovey kind of until something happened and drove them apart with some bitter feelings hanging between them years later. Somehow they are forced to spend some time together and that won't be easy for anyone. Will they kill each other or clear the air between them?

The moment I read the synopsis I knew I had to read this book! Didn't matter if that author was new to me or that I hadn't read the previous books in the series. I read the prequel as a preparation for this one and Emmett and Avery were the cutest couple and reading the scene of their break up left me shell shocked! I was in denial and I couldn't wait to read this book to know exactly what happened and how their story would continue in the future.

The past and present were colliding into a new vision, and it scared the crap out of me.

The angst was real on this one and the constant misunderstandings. However I understood the hesitance and the wariness from the hero and the heroine and why things happened in the way that they happened. What I really enjoyed in this book was the friendships between the guys, between the girls, all together, I just couldn't stand them because they were funny and so adorable! I don't know, romance is fantastic and I loved their romance as well, but the friendship element is also important to me! Now I need to go back and read the previous books because I'm invested in these guys and their stories. One thing is certain. I'm so ready for the next couple in the series!!! :D

ARC was kindly provided in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Caitlin.
331 reviews2,738 followers
May 8, 2021
Emmett and Avery were made for each other! This series just keeps getting better
Profile Image for Travelogged Blogs.
732 reviews69 followers
August 13, 2021
*****4.5 stars*****
I love sports romance and this series has just become one of my favourites after reading this book in the genre. The book was such a huge serve when it came to the second chance trope! I loved the angst, the secrets, the history, the tension and their longing for each other. I've always hated miscommunication but in this one, it's execution made me love the plot even more.

"Avery Davis had dismantled me and left me as a shell. Even knowing the pain she’d caused, every night I closed my eyes, it was her I dreamed about."

Avery Davis and Emmett Cunning were highschool sweethearts with the same friend circle. Only Emmett was this charming, rich and handsome hockey player and Avery was the girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Her dad was a drug user and all her life, she was the only responsible figure in her family. She had to work a lot to provide for her little sister Allyson's education and at some point, she even had to give up her college plans so that she can save up money. She was full of love, care, strength and selflessness.

"If he’d listened, heard, and trusted me, he would have understood. He would have been mine forever. But he hadn’t, so now I was only left with the dreams of what we’d once been."

Emmett's life might look perfect from the outside but in reality, he was just so lonely. His parents- the two people who were supposed to love him unconditionally, often abandoned him. In short, they were just selfish pieces of shits. I hated them and their manipulations. The only person that kept him living his life was Avery and his group of friends- Declan, Heath, Ford and Colm and their little group they had formed with the girls- Mak, Olive and Kara. Seriously, I loved their friend group. They were so supportive, helpful and definitely gave Emmett & Avery the push they needed to get back together!

“I never stopped loving you. Even when I hated you with all of my being, even when I hated myself for it and wished I could carve my heart out of my chest, I still loved you.”

After being apart for four years because of an incident that happened because of a big misunderstanding, Emmett & Avery finally face each other on a summer vacation that their mutual friends had tricked them into attending. The forced proximity makes both of them realise that their feelings have intensified even after years apart and the spark in their relationship is still present. But they have to learn to trust each other first and it won't be possible untill Avery blurts out the truth about what caused their breakup.
I'm glad that it all finally worked out fine for Emmett & Avery in the end. Emmett was so smitten with Avery and I was so surprised with the depth of his feelings from the very first time I read his pov. Avery had sacrificed so much of herself and she needed someone to take care of her and prioritise her for once. Their feelings for each other and the cute and wholesome glimpses of their past had me hooked!

“We weren’t over. This isn’t over. We’re not over,”

Overall, the book was flawless even with the miscommunication thrown into the mix. I read this one first without reading the first two books in the series. I'm so curious about the next couple in the series so I might read their book next. The writing was perfect, it was the reason why I understood both Emmett & Avery's point of views and no matter what happened, I couldn't get mad with either of them. Both of them were flawed, vulnerable but they were meant to be together. All I can say is that, if you patiently read this book and try to understand the reason behind why the characters did what they did, you would definitely like the book.
Profile Image for Wendy'sThoughts.
2,650 reviews3,233 followers
December 22, 2020
4 Always You Stars
* * * * Spoiler Free-Don't Miss, LIMITED TIME FREE!!!
This is part of a series, yet can be read as stand-alone. A heartwrenching couple, high school love, who for some reason broke apart and each think it was the other that caused it. They are grown now but still have the flame burning low only to reignite.

Kings of Rittenhouse - A Shameless King Prequel by Maya HughesKings of Rittenhouse - A Shameless King Prequel (Kings of Rittenhouse,#0.5)
Shameless King (Kings of Rittenhouse #1) by Maya Hughes Shameless King (Kings of Rittenhouse,#1)
Reckless King (Kings of Rittenhouse, #2) by Maya Hughes Reckless King (Kings of Rittenhouse,#2)
Ruthless King (Kings of Rittenhouse, #3) by Maya Hughes Ruthless King (Kings of Rittenhouse #3)
Fearless King (Kings of Rittenhouse, #4) by Maya Hughes Fearless King (Kings of Rittenhouse,#4)
Heartless King (Kings of Rittenhouse, #5) by Maya Hughes Heartless King (Kings of Rittenhouse,#5)

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Profile Image for Na.
755 reviews108 followers
January 17, 2019
3.5 stars
"You're the constant in my life, in my heart, my everything."

Even though Ruthless King is the third book in this series, it was my first. It's also my first by Maya Hughes and I must say, I'm quite surprised and impressed. Don't let my 3 star rating blind you. This book is a great entertaining read. It's filled with drama and heartache. A very likable, damn hot and vulnerable hero and a strong, admirable heroine give this second chance sports romance the right drive.

"It had only taken almost losing him again to see that I'd rather he saw all the imperfections than be without him."

Although the writing was good and nicely paced, I wished for more character development and seeing more of the couple Emmet and Avery. Furthermore I had some trouble with the reasons for separation, from both sides. But that really is a matter of opinion.

Nevertheless this book got me intrigued to give the other books in this series a chance and I hopefully find the time soon to continue reading this series.

Ruthless King is an emotional enemies to lovers - second chance sports romance, I really enjoyed reading!

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