I’ve been reading a lot of more lighthearted books lately, and I thought it was time for a change. An emotionally damaged cage fighter and a college student grieving the deaths of her parents seemed like a nice walk down a different road, so… Oh, and yeah, there’s that cover. Like I could pass that up!
Lorrie’s returned to college after taking time off to deal with one hell of a tragedy. Not only did her stepfather murder her mother, but her father committed suicide a short while later, and after a sensational trial, she’s just trying to get back to a somewhat normal life. Hunter is a college student slash cage fighter with demons of his own, but there’s something about Lorrie that just pulls him in. He’s used to one-night stands, while she’s more of the lonely nights type, but despite her reservations, they strike up a comfortable friendship.
Once this story veered off in the wrong direction, it just kept on going, taking so many wrong turns that I’m not even sure where it lost me. While it started with Lorrie mourning the loss of her parents and wishing she could escape the unwanted fame of the trial, all of that is quickly forgotten once she meets Hunter. Her resulting reluctance to enter into any kind of relationship would make sense if the story made any effort to explore her grief, but since it doesn’t, her melodramatic reactions only serve to make her more and more unlikable. It’s as if the whole thing about her parents dying is just a prop used to justify her childish behavior toward him.
Then there are the kittens. I completely understand the whole tough guy showing a sensitive side thing, but that’s pretty much all Hunter showed. Two-thirds into the story, and we’d only seen one cage fight, followed by Hunter being alternately flirty and silly, and then pouring his heart out whenever Lorrie pitched a tantrum worthy of a twelve-year-old. The kittens took center stage for far too long, as if overemphasizing was the only way to convince dense readers that Hunter had a softer side. By the time the long-awaited sex scene played out, I had little interest in either of them.
And about that sex scene… It was like it was plucked from an erotica novel and thrown into this one. The whole story went from virtually no sexual energy at all to a play-by-play. There was no build-up, no tension, no wishing they would just hurry up and get to it. It was a lot like watching an after school special, only to bump the remote and end up in the middle of a Skinemax movie.
Absolutely not for me. I was looking for something with some angsty romance, a case of two troubled characters finding salvation in each other. And based on the synopsis, that’s exactly what this story was going for. However, it read more like a teenager’s first attempt at a romance novel, complete with the random moodiness of a pubescent teenage girl and her overly idealized love interest. I hung on until the end, hoping it would eventually get better, but I should have gone with my gut and quit reading halfway through. The story idea was great, and for that, I’ll give the author some credit. But the execution was a trainwreck.