Reviewed by Kini
Blurb: Battered by a life determined to tear him down
This quiet ex-con’s scarred hands may be the gentlest touch she’ll ever know.
…if only life were a fairy tale where Beauty was allowed to keep her Beast
Ivan thought the world was through giving him second chances. Who’d want a rough ex-con with a savior complex and a bad habit of bringing home helpless strays? Everyone in Blackwood, Virginia knew he wasn’t good enough for the fine things in life; they knew he was too damaged to save. He just needed to keep his head down, work himself to the bone, and pretend he was content with the lot he was given.
Until she came into his life. Until she changed everything.
Until he realized he would do anything, fight anyone, tear the world apart if it meant saving her.
I met this author at a reader/author luncheon last year and she seemed lovely. I was excited to see her debut book and doubly excited to see it featured an ex-con hero. I LOVE books with ex-con or reclusive heroes. I had high hopes for this story and I was not disappointed in this book.
Uma ends up in Blackwood, Virginia and she’s got secrets, lots of them. She takes a job working for a cranky, reclusive woman. The best thing about the job is the sexy, yet grumpy neighbor next door. Uma is trying to reclaim her life after having left an abusive relationship. She’s jittery around men yet quickly develops a friendship with Ivan.
Ivan is the neighbor and he is growly and kind of awkward and spends more time in his shed than he does his house. Ivan also has a dog as his trusty sidekick. Uma describes him on first site like this,
“He looked like something you’d see stamped into an ancient coin- hard and noble.”
I really enjoyed this author’s voice. She wrote a story filled with emotion, yet it didn’t feel overly angsty. It felt like she did a fantastic job of writing the tension between Ive and Uma. They both struggle with their worthiness to be loved. This was a story of broken and flawed people finding the love they deserve. I have many highlighted sections, here are some of my favorites that show the emotion happening in this book.
When she finally worked up the courage to look him in the face again, he was smiling. A real one. Wide mouth and big white teeth, And just like that, it was back- that image of Ivan the warrior, fueled by bloodlust, his mouth open in a battle cry. Her pulse ratcheted up a notch.
Tonight, now…he was a timeless magician whose body bent iron and sparked fire. Or was that the moonshine talking? Maybe, she swore he was than handsomest man she’d ever seen: hard and sweet-looking at the same time. Tonight, although he’d unveiled another piece of his puzzle, he sat before her a mystery she desperately wanted to solve.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s a little dark and messy but it all comes together, with appropriate amount of obstacles for this couple. There is some dark humor thrown in to kind of balance the heavy. This is book one in a series and I am definitely looking forward to reading more.