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Beautiful and tragic Emily (Em) just wanted to be left alone, she is living in fear of being found by her violent, cruel and physically abusive Step-Father so she keeps her head down, does her work at the Coffee Shop, studies and goes to College part-time to further her Qualifications. The timid little mouse is afraid of everything - everything except the elderly gruff man who regularly comes in for breakfast and Em instinctively knows that he would never hurt her.... but he is, in a roundabout way, going to change her life.
Because he is the Trainer/Owner of an MMA Gym and O'Connell (Con), who's handsome, tattooed, sexy as sin and one of his best Fighters, has joined him and he stirs something inside Em that she never knew she was capable of feeling. But little did Em know that Con was just as nervous, just as turned on and just as aware of her too... because this fierce, bold and besotted Fighter has been secretly watching her from afar.
The fight to win Em's trust, devotion, support and love will start with a very tentative friendship and slowly grow into undying love.... but it is going to be a difficult road for these two damaged characters because Em doesn't trust easily, a Mother's greed will become toxic and a Step-Father's obsession will prove to be dangerous, bloody and life-threatening.
Em and Con are very different and yet they also have a traumatic and heartbreaking childhood in common, a childhood that shaped who they are, but in one another's arms and with each other's support and love, they each blossom and change to become strong individuals. There is a roomful of loveable secondary characters, there's humor, teasing witty banter, raw emotions, sex, passion, romance, tragedy and heartache but despite all the angst that life throws at them, love does conquers all. And, in the end, the Fighter becomes a Winner and the Mouse becomes a Survivor.
Although the storyline was set mainly in a gym with Fighters it wasn't a 'fight' based book and there's only intermittent Chapters relating to training, upcoming fights and the Championship. Personally, I like my Fighters to be a bit more Alpha and be more 'in your face' pumped up with sexual testosterone fuelled desire than Con was but I do understand that that's the last thing Em needed and that Con toned down his attitude, but not his jealousy, for her. Told from Em's POV except the Prologue and the Epilogue which was Con's POV, I think it was set in London, most of the characters were Irish, I'm sure Em was 20, it did have a NA feel about it and the narrator did a good job.
Worth a credit? This was an enjoyable listen, different because the Hero wasn't all Alpha to his woman but instead he was kind, thoughtful, considerate, understanding and patient, the secondary characters were like one big family and were at the forefront of the story as Con wooed, won and wed the woman of his dreams. A good story, a good listen and, if you want a much 'lighter' Irish Fighter, then you too will find this listen creditworthy.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful
This love story was intense, sweet and fulfilling. It wasn't overly dramatic and angst-filled. More than that, it had a sense of family and/community along with the romantic love that made the whole experience satisfying.
Emily McCarthy was a strong heroine who amazed me with her growth in the story. I was proud of her. Cormack O'Connell "Conn" grew a lot too and I was proud to see them give each other space as well as support.
While I loved this book, I didn't feel like this story was unique. The storytelling was interesting enough that I wanted to know more about everyone from the main characters to the supporting characters like Danny, Kieran, Tommy, Nikki etc. That's a sign of a good writer, when you weave the supporting characters in so that we care about them too.
Pearl Hewitt added to my enjoyment of this audio. Her accent really brought home the character's background as well as their environment. Her various tones elucidated the emotional states and kept me engaged the entire time and I listened to this book straight.I will definitely listen to book 2.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful