Until he realized he would do anything, fight anyone, tear the world apart if it meant saving her.
I have a habit of going into books by authors I’ve never read before with skepticism. I’ve been let down too many times to hope too much. Hope is a dangerous, dangerous thing. But in this case? I was totally blown away. (In the best possible kind of way)
The writing is strong, the pacing is good, secondary characters are interesting...blah, blah, blah. It’s all true, but that’s just mechanics. What really shines in this story are the characters.
First, there’s Uma, the heroine. She’s been beaten down by life and her ex, but she’s far from broken. She’s a survivor. Sure, she has her moments of doubt and self-loathing and fear, but she overcomes them, taking back her life in a way that is truly inspiring to read about.
Then, there’s Ivan. He, too, has been somewhat beaten down by life, but he overcame circumstances that could’ve shaped and molded him into a cold, hard man and instead became the kind of guy who looks out for his crotchety old neighbor lady (even though she’s often fairly hard to like), as well as Uma and a menagerie of homeless and abused animals. Ivan’s actually just a big, loveable teddy bear. (A huge, sexy, muscle-y, MMA-fighting, blacksmith sort of teddy bear, but still…)
The romance between Uma and Ivan is believable, and the sex scenes are emotional and raw and as hot as the forge where Ivan does his blacksmith work.
And I won’t spoil the ending, but let’s just say that by the last chapter, Uma is no damsel in distress. (It’s awesome!)
Long-story-short, this is a gritty, realistic, sexy, emotional romance that celebrates the strength it takes it survive and move past the worst kinds of traumas and betrayals.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
Crushes it on every front!
Other reading suggestions
This one caused me to immediately download the other books in the series, and I haven’t been disappointed yet. For another read about a sexy, introverted hero and a strong, survivor heroine, check out Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan. (And if you don’t love Archer Hale, check to make sure your heart's still beating!)