Kaiya Marlow has always been cautious, precise in every decision she makes. When her dark past threatens to resurface, she decides to take precautions to protect herself by enrolling in self-defense classes at her gym.
Her instructor, Ryker Campbell, is the tattooed womanizer everyone warns about. Kaiya deliberately avoids Ryker outside of their classes together, but the more time they spend training together, the harder it is for Kaiya to resist him.
Ryker’s view on relationships is simple: strictly sex, nothing more. Haunted by demons from his past, he never allows himself to become attached to any woman. No attachment means no weakness, no vulnerability, no pain. He doesn’t realize that his whole world is about to be turned upside down when the stunning Kaiya enters his self-defense class. Determined to have her, at least for one night, Ryker sets a plan into motion that will change both of their lives forever.
Will love be able to heal their scars, or will they be too deep to overcome?
I don’t even know where to begin telling you how much I adore this dark love story!
Im excited that this is a dual POV so that you have a full understanding of what the characters are thinking or their feelings for one another. This is a gritty, heartbreaking, sexy, real, ugly cry, emotional, soul healing kinda novel.
The story begins with Kayia, a girl who has lost herself and almost everything else with the exception of her brother Kamden and best friend Nori. She has gone through a huge life altering traumatic experience which has left her scarred (see what I did there). She has HUGE trust issues and has not only emotionally but physically shut herself off for the most part.
“I believed love could heal all wounds, but only if you let it, only if you trusted it. I couldn’t trust anyone, at least not completely. The one person I was supposed to be able to trust unconditionally ruined that for me. Now, the only person I could trust was myself, and even that was questionable most days.”
Until she meets Ryker . . . .
“I told myself that my enthusiasm wasn’t because of a certain sexy-as-sin trainer, but the knots in my stomach expressed otherwise. What the hell is wrong with me? I never get like this”
She finds out some terrifying news regarding her past, and as a result finds herself taking up a self defense course at her gym taught by Ryker. She has this instant attraction to him and tries to stay away. No matter how hard she distances herself tho, she finds she can’t. Through the time of the course he teaches her not only ways to protect herself physically, but also how she can protect herself emotionally and take back control of her life.
Ryker is delicious, confident, charming and persistent. He is also damaged in his own right. Betrayed and violated by those he loves, He can’t forget the past and does not trust easily which is why he may come off as quite the Cassanova or womanizer in the book. That is until he meets Kaiya, and even he cannot understand why he feels this connection to her. He’s willing to move heaven, earth and even her brother Kamden to have her and make her happy. He is so sweet and thoughtful towards her and her feelings.
“I’ll help you pick up the pieces if you let me, Warrior. I want to be the one to make you whole again”
Through to book they slowly discover each other and build that trust. I love how they lean on each other to work through their demons. Kaiya finds its easier than she thought it would be with him and slowly reveals the abuse that has put her in this state. Ryker realizes as more time goes by, this undying need to protect her from her skeletons and herself.
“I’ll always save you, Warrior. You just have to let me.”
I think Kaiya and Ryker are wonderful together and I love their interaction through the whole book. They are a perfect fit. Its easy and carefree and even during the sad parts you can appreciate the fact that they aren’t going through it alone. I love that this book doesn’t shy away from the ugliness and actually shows how Kaiya gains her strength and confidence back blow after blow after blow, and how Ryker is right there beside her, supporting her through it all.
“His strength made me feel safe, and I knew he wouldn’t let me fall”‘
There are numbers WTF moments that you don’t see coming. I enjoy when a book can throw you for a loop and keep your attention. Its hard not to speculate in a romance novel whats going to happen and I like that even as a beta reader for it, Nikki still surprised me and had me dropping my jaw straight to the floor.
This book had me ugly crying for Kaiya for all that she has gone through and happy crying for them finding themselves and each other. It also had me full of warm fuzzies and butterflies. Don’t even get me started on their physical connection and how HOT the love scenes are. Ryker is total book boyfriend material!! Never mind that the cover model Andrew England is smokin hot and fits the description of Ryker to a capital “T”
So out of 5 stars this book gets a solid 10 from me. I’m doing my best begging to Nikki for a 2nd book on Kamden ladies. Keep your fingers crossed!
Nikki I’m so proud of you and this book, and I feel honored that I got to be even tiny part of it. You are a brilliant author with a great imagination. This book deserves to be on very Kindle, Nook, Kobo, e-reader, tablet and bookshelf!!!