by Kinsey Taylor
Release Date: August 25th, 2015
Have you ever lost the will to fight?
Kennedy Anderson has continually struggled with the crummy hand life has dealt her. A failed, abusive marriage has left her worn, yet relieved that the past is finally locked away. Unfortunately, the past has a way of repeating itself. Once again faced with tragedy and despair, Kennedy’s anguish is multiplied by the fact that she doesn’t suffer alone; she now has a two-year-old daughter, Ashlynn.
Love has only served to complicate Corbin Nash’s life.
He’s focused, hardworking, and dedicated to regaining his middleweight title until the unlikely duo of Kennedy and Ashlynn enter his life. While trying to help her fight her demons, Corbin finds his own resurfacing, steadily revealing the secrets he’s worked so hard to keep buried the last eighteen years.
Two beaten and battered souls, desperate to break free of the misery...
Will they cower to their plagued pasts, or will they fight through the despair and finally find the happiness that has evaded them their entire lives?
Through clenched teeth he demandingly asks, “Did you think I wouldn’t notice? You were eye-fucking the dude across the table from your brother, Kennedy. You cheating on me, whore?”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Troy. I was looking at him listening to him talk,” I whisper.
Just then, the atmosphere changes, goose bumps spread covering every part of my body. No! Not now! Not here! Glancing over my shoulder, I spot Corbin, his fists tightly clenched, moving in our direction.
“Is this guy bothering you?” he asks.
I shake my head no, and plead with him using my eyes.
“Mind your own goddamn business, asshole. This is my wife, and we are having a discussion, so piss off,” Troy says.
“Then why, as her husband, do you have your hands forcefully placed on her? When did it become okay to talk that way to your wife?”
Troy whips around to fully face him, and I have to move fast to get myself wedged between the two of them. Troy moves against me pushing me back to face Corbin.
Placing my hands up I plead softly, “Tonight is my brother’s night, and I won’t have either of you ruining it. Please.”
“You don’t deserve to be treated like this,” Corbin says sternly looking up into Troy’s eyes.
★✩★✩★ 5 – Broken, Battered, Bruised, and Still Fighting Stars ★✩★✩★
~this review may contain minor spoilers~
Anyone I have ever loved brings pain upon me, until the Finley's. I would be lying if I weren't afraid he will do the same over time, but the truth is I know Corbin is hiding a past full of darkness, too. I see the same torment shadowed in the depths of his eyes, recognizing it instantly as the same pain that lingers beneath my own.
Kennedy Anderson has been dealt a shitty hand in life. Having already been through more than any one person should be able to survive, she finds history repeating itself – only this time, she doesn't suffer it alone. Now she has her two year old daughter, Ashlynn, to think about too. When she runs into her high school crush for the first time in years, her reaction to him shocks the hell out of her. Having just come out of an abusive marriage, she is in no place to get involved with someone else – especially someone with a reputation for crushing female hearts, hers has been battered enough thank you very much.
Corbin Nash has spent the last eighteen years of his life finding ways to keep himself numb – with ghosts from his past continually haunting him, it's necessary for his survival. Fighting, fucking, and living life on the edge helps, but nothing keeps the pain away for long. Now that he is determined to win his MMA title back, training is all he really has time for and he must focus on the end goal – which isn't a problem, until two blonde beauties set his world on fire.
Two broken and damaged souls find their match in one another, but can Corbin keep Kennedy safe?
Does he have enough of his heart left to let anyone else in?
Can Kennedy find it in herself to trust someone else, considering how many times she's been let down in the past?
Do they have what it takes to help each other heal and can they find the strength to fix themselves enough to finally find the happiness that has been evading them their whole lives, or are they stuck in their own misery?
“I can't take the chance of bringing you down with me, Corbin. If something were to happen to you, I-I know I wouldn't survive it. You and Ashlynn are everything to me; you're the constant that brings me any kind of happiness, and if I lost that, I'm not sure I could go on. The world without you in it isn't a place I want to live. Can you understand that?”
First things first, if you download the sample of this book before buying it – please take note of the authors warning in the beginning: this is NOT a sunshine and roses romance, which is immediately evident from the prologue alone. Sure there are bubbles and skittles, lots of laughs and hilarious banter, but at it's core this book is about loss, abuse and violence of all kinds – towards women AND children – and the long term effects it has on it's victims. It's sometimes ugly and brutal, it even has a few moments where it's extremely hard to read – but above all of that, this is about the healing process and finding someone who accepts you for who you are, scars, baggage and all. I feel weird saying I enjoyed the book, considering all the shit that goes down, but I can honestly say I loved it – even when it was pissing me off – and that is, in large part, due to the characters. I cannot even imagine going through a lot of the things Kennedy has gone through and be left standing in the end. It is a miracle she didn't lose herself underneath it all, though she kinda does for a while. The only thing that kept her going, kept her pushing through the day to day, was her daughter, Ashlynn, but even then she was drowning. Until Corbin comes slamming into her life. He forced her to take her life back, even if he may not have realized he was doing it. He showed her what friendship, and relationships are supposed to be like, even as he was fighting some pretty rough demons of his own. They really were kindred spirits whose battered and damaged souls recognized the pain in one another and wanted nothing more than to help each other heal. It was as uplifting and beautiful, as it was harsh and heartbreaking. Ashlynn and the Finley's were a complete joy to read, Riggs cracked me the hell up, Troy made me wanna commit murder, but the real stars of this book were Corbin and Kennedy. Corbin was simply amazing. That's not to say that he didn't have his asshat moments, the mans scars ran deep and his feelings for Kennedy were totally unfamiliar to him, which left him making stupid, rash decisions – but they were few and far between. The man had a huge heart, even if he didn't realize it – it may have been shattered, but he still knew how to use it deep down. It just took that special someone – or in this case, TWO special someones – to bring it out of him. He was sweet, funny, loyal, fiercely protective, sexy as hell, strong and vulnerable. Just amazing. Kennedy was an enigma. She was stronger than she realized, but clearly broken – which was completely understandable. Even with all the shit life has dealt her, she still had an amazing heart with lots to give. She cared deeply for her family, and Corbin, she went out of her way to make those she loved happy, she had an endless amount of love for her daughter – if only she would have shown herself the same love and respect she gave everyone else, but all things considered, I even understood that about her. That's not to say I didn't yet all my kindle more than once to 'GET THE FUCK OUTTA THERE!', and the timing for her epiphany kinda sucked, but I still loved her like crazy. The sexy times were crazy hott, and the laughs helped to keep you from drowning under the misery of what these two were dealing with. And if all of that isn't enough, Ms. Kinsey throws a few twists in there to really knock you on your ass. It was an amazing journey, heartfelt, emotionally draining, addicting, impossible to put down, and held my total attention from start to finish. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that this is a DEBUT novel, she came out swinging and I cannot wait to see what she brings us next.
“Every heart deals with pain differently. Mine numbs me in a way, and I just kept sinking deeper until you and Ashlynn came along. You girls lit my world on fire, smacking me with everything I never wanted, only to realize you're the only thing I've ever needed.”
Author Kinsey Taylor lives in the beautiful state of Washington. You'll find her running after her three crazy minions, two food-loving dogs, and a moody cat who believes he's the King of their castle. Her inspiration for her books comes from deep in her heart, inspired by her soul mate and husbands adoring support. The everlasting romantic, Kinsey's writing is sure to give twists, turns, and plenty of drama that will leave you breathless.
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