Ryan Moore forged his own path when he defied his wealthy family’s expectations by joining the United States Marine Corps as an enlisted man. After a period of service that’s cut short by an IED explosion, the lingering physical and mental effects of war result in an isolated struggle to exist in the civilian world. He throws himself into competitive MMA fighting – the one thing he’s still able to excel at, even if every match is a risk he can’t afford to take.
His first encounter with amateur female fighter Ally Rivera ignites a spark of desire he hasn’t felt since before a bomb left its marks on his life and his body, but his flirtation with her turns out to be anything but harmless. She’s struggling to hold together a family ravaged by violence – a feat that isn’t easy when her father has been imprisoned, leaving her vulnerable to relatives who run a local gang. Can two unrelenting fighters overcome challenges they couldn’t defeat alone, or do the wounds of war and crime run too deep for even love to heal?
First off....I LOVE this cover!! The book starts off with a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the characters. I wasn't really sure what Ally or Ryan's story was~especially Ryan. Then there was Ally's father that was in prison and the mention of her estranged brother. As the story progressed these questions were answered and an interesting and entertaining story unfolded with a hero and heroine that I wanted so desperately to get their HEA.
I loved the concept of this story with both Ryan and Ally being MMA fighters. But it was so much more than MMA fighting. It was a story about a heroes struggle to adapt and maintain some sort of "normal" life after returning from war with mental and physical injuries. And a heroine who was struggling to hold her family together while still living her own life. Both the hero and heroine were battered by life in different ways but found peace and love and safety in each other.
I have a soft spot for stories featuring soldiers, especially wounded soldiers. I also have a soft spot for heroines that stick by their heroes and offer support and comfort when their heroes need it the most but don't make it easy. I just loved these two together. Ally was such a great character and I loved how she was with Ryan. And...Ryan *sigh*. They were another couple that I just wanted to wrap in a hug. Ryan and Ally both had their demons but remained loving and strong. Just perfect for each other. I loved how Ally didn't hide her feelings for Ryan or what had happened to her in the past from him. I also love how she tried to protect him and worried about him and genuinely cared for him and wanted to take care of him, even though it was hard for him at first. I thought that it was sad to read Ryan struggling with his injuries and being so alone before meeting Ally. I just love when Ally told Ryan that he was not broken but battered. *sigh*
Just a wonderful book that hooked me from the start. The story was told strictly from Ally's POV and I wish there was just a little of Ryan's POV. Oh...and the sex...on the kitchen counter, on the couch, on the bathroom sink and in the bed. *shivers* I was so happy with the ending but wished the epilogue was a few years later to see the progression of their relationship and find out about what happened with Ally's dad.
I think that this is my favorite book from Ranae so far and I definitely continue to be a fan. Definitely a keeper. 4 out of 5 rating!!
***ARC provided by Ranae Rose~Thanks!!