4 star

Beautifully Damaged

Beautifully Damaged, Book #1

By L.A. Fiore

ISBN #  9781477817506

Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi

beautifully-damaged-l-a-fioreAspiring writer, Ember Walsh, moved to the city after college for the opportunities it would afford her.  But so far, she hasn’t gotten her big break in writing.  Instead, she is waitressing at a restaurant, Clover, and living with her best friend, Lena.

Lena has a new boyfriend that she wants Ember to meet so they go to a local club.  But shortly after she meets Todd, the couple disappears and Ember doesn’t see them for the rest of the night.   But while sitting at the bar Ember sees an amazing specimen of a man, one that is completely out of her league.  But when a drunk gets a little handsy with her and won’t take no for an answer, Mr. Hunk steps in to help.

After that night in the club, Ember keeps seeing Trace, and is crushing on him hard.  But unfortunately he’s always surrounded by hordes of women.  But there is an instant attraction between them, one that Ember is sure is one-sided.  Everybody warns Ember that Trace is a player, and she sees the evidence with her own eyes, but she just can’t seem to stay away.

Trace has a dark past that haunts him, one that makes him think he isn’t good enough for anybody, especially Ember.  So, he does the only thing he can do to protect them both … he pushes her away, by any means necessary, even if it shatters her heart.

Ember is determined to not give up, but when Trace does the one thing that Ember said she could never tolerate, will he finally push her too far?

I honestly had pretty low expectations of this book.  Not because of the book itself because the synopsis and cover sounded and looked great, but because I got this book free on my kindle.  I thought the odds of liking one of the free books weren’t very good.  But boy was I ever wrong!  This book sucked me in and I didn’t want to quit reading it!

If you love tortured heroes, then look no farther than Trace Montgomery!  He’s dark and brooding, gets his rage out in the ring as an amateur fighter, and even has a scene from Hell tattooed on his arm!  Trace and his sister had a horrible childhood, with a perverted and evil father.  And, Trace blames himself for not being able to save his sister from all she went through.  He has also taken the weight of his father’s sins onto his own shoulders.  Instead of dealing with his past, he keeps it buried inside himself, where it festers.  He loves Ember, but when she gets too close, he just doesn’t feel like he deserves her, and finds ways to try and sabotage their relationship.


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Ember starts this book out a bit on the naive side, letting her friend walk all over her and not seeing her for the self-serving person she is.  But once her eyes are finally opened, she sees what everybody else does.  By the end of this book she is a confident woman that goes after all she wants in life, even our tortured hero!

I really liked Trace, but I’m not sure I could have ever forgiven the way he shredded Ember’s heart.  It was pretty cruel.  But then he also has moments that make your heart melt too.

“It isn’t every day a wish comes true and you, Ember, are the answer to my wish.”

I guess that’s the only way that Fiore keeps us readers liking him!  He definitely had his demons to fight!  I also found some of what he confessed to Ember and her family to be a little stalkerish/creepy.  I was amazed at how easily everybody accepted it, like it was a non-issue.  They all turned it into being a sweet gesture that showed what kind of character he had.

This book isn’t just about Trace and Ember’s romance.  There is also a couple mysteries to be solved.  Who killed Ember’s mom in a hit-and-run, and who murdered Trace’s parents the night he tried to escape.  This is where the book can get confusing with several new characters are introduced, and the two mysteries overlapping.  I had to stop reading to mull it over for a bit, but after doing that I was able to follow it and understand what happened.

I really enjoyed this book, I loved this extremely damaged man and the woman that eventually saves his heart and soul. I can’t wait to delve into the second book of the series, Beautifully Forgotten, about Trace’s sexy friend, Lucien!  I think I may have just found a new author to love!