Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Review: The Scars of Us (The Scars of Us #1) by Nikki Narvaez

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 attempts to resist Ryker's advances, 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 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 are they too deep to overcome?

Kaiya has a pretty damaged past. Wait, that’s an understatement. She has a horrifically, damaged past. For years she was tormented and abused by someone you’d never suspect. Someone that should be your protector, not your abuser. Eight years after the monster has been locked up, she’s still picking up the pieces, holding herself together as best as she can. Honestly though, you can’t put a piece of scotch tape on a hole in a dam. And that’s basically what she has been doing. It’s not until Ryker enters her life that she starts to awaken, starts to realize that living in fear is not living. She wants more, out of life in general and for herself, but she doesn’t know how to be that girl.

Ryker is a womanizing man-whore. He never sleeps with the same girl twice, most of the time he doesn’t even care if he catches their name. He has his own past demons that have turned him into the man he is today. But once Kaiya enters his gym, things drastically change. He can’t explain the attraction he feels toward her or the possessive need to protect her. She gets under his skin, not something that he welcomes at first. He thinks maybe just one taste of her will be enough to rid her from his system. Unfortunately for him, Kaiya isn’t an easy conquest and Ryker will actually have to put in some work to win her. A lot of work.

My heart breaks at the things Kaiya went through. The nightmares and fear she still lives with. She believes she’s damaged beyond repair, keeping everyone, including those closest to her, at arm’s length. She doesn’t fully trust anyone. I really can’t blame her. With what she’s endured, trust would be a huge issue for anyone in her situation. Ms. Narvaez must have had to go to a very dark corner of her mind to conjure the scenes she did. It chills me. When Kaiya is left with the possibility of her tormentor being freed, she finds the courage to learn to defend herself. To her surprise and his, Ryker, of all people, is her self-defense instructor. Over time, Ryker not only builds up her courage to fight, he strips away the walls she’s erected over the years meant to protect herself. Layer by layer, he uncovers and falls hard for the vulnerable girl beneath it all. Piece by piece, she learns to trust someone other than herself.

Kaiya and Ryker bring out the best in each other. They both start to relax the guard around their hearts. Of course things aren’t that easy. And by the time both their heads and hearts are on the same track, it’s almost too late.

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