Title: Beautifully Damaged
Author: L.A. Fiore
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 28 2012
Ember Walsh is a trusting soul with the quiet beauty of her late mother, who perished in a mysterious car crash when Ember was three. A little tomboyish from being raised by her father, Ember packs a punch when a stranger gets pushy with her in a bar, catching the steely blue eyes of a tall, gorgeous tattooed man—Trace Montgomery. Still damaged from her last disastrous relationship and warned off the bad boy by friends, Ember fights the smoldering heat that Trace sparks in her when he begins shadowing her like a dark angel.
Burdened by a lifetime of horror and heartbreak, amateur fighter Trace doesn’t want to want Ember. His deep self-loathing keeps him from having any meaningful relationships, but Ember is an itch he can’t scratch. The two push and pull, slowly crumbling their walls, seemingly brought together by fate, because the turmoil that haunts their pasts is interlinked in undeniable ways. But can these two fighters finally lay down their arms?
In Beautifully Damaged, L.A. Fiore delves into deep scars and lets love and forgiveness uncover redemption.
“I couldn’t imagine loving someone with that kind of intensity, and knowing that the one you’re with is the only one you’ll ever want.”
I realized that I was rambling so I stopped talking as Trace just looked at me. His expression was completely unreadable. He wrapped his hands around my face as he looked deeply into my eyes before he whispered, “I can...”
I went into this book not really knowing what to expect seeing that the reviews are all over the place. Beautifully Damaged is more than your typical shy girl meets bad boy and they both fall hard for each other. The story does start out with a pretty introverted heroine meeting a tattooed, womanizing bad ass; however, it quickly veers into dark and stormy with some twists along the way.
Ember Walsh is a shy and quiet girl who frankly does not think much of herself. She moved to New York to pursue her career in writing and is sharing an apartment with her best friend, Lena, who really isn’t much of a friend. One night, while out at a club with her best friend and her boyfriend, Ember finds herself being rescued by a man that is dangerously mysterious and delicious. Despite not being able to stop thinking about her knight, she realizes that Manhattan is a massive city and the chances of running into tall, dark and gorgeous are slim to none. Ember couldn’t have been more wrong. She runs into her handsome champion a few more times. Unlike her quirky, shy and reserved self, Ember boldly pursues Trace Montgomery and the two become close. Ember is quickly falling for Trace and she is bound and determined to discover his deep and dark secrets that have him feeling so unworthy of her love. Can Trace open up and let Ember in?
“The real Trace Montgomery was far more complicated and I feared that underneath his seemingly put together and beautiful outer package existed a damaged soul.”
The first half of the book dealt with Ember’s pursuit of Trace, them getting into a relationship and Trace doing all that he can to turn Ember away. Needless to say, this part of the book left me frustrated beyond belief. Trace is truly broken and he simply does not comprehend how someone as wonderful as Ember can want to be with him. Rather than risk further hurt in his life, he pushes and pushes until Ember walks away. Ember ends up being stronger than he realizes and she fights back with more force that he can go up against. Trace is left with no choice but to let Ember in and allow someone else into his world of self-loathing and darkness. He’s left with no choice but to allow someone else to help carry his burdens. What Trace does not expect is just how strong Ember is and how deeply she loves him. She is not going to turn away when she discovers his past secrets.
“Trace, I love you truly, completely and hopelessly. You don’t have to suffer in silence anymore and I swear to God I will never let anyone hurt you again.”
Despite the author attempting to have Ember come off as this shy and quiet mouse, I never truly saw Ember in this light. To me, she was a funny, strong and loving woman. She sees something special in Trace and knows he is worth fighting for. Her resilience and determination were admirable. She definitely had to exude a lot of patience to deal with the hot and cold messages that Trace sent her way. Ember never gives up on Trace. She recognizes that her relationship with Trace is exceptional and it is worth experiencing the rough patches. Ember knows that Trace is damaged and is determined to prove to him that he is a good man and indeed worthy of love.
The second half of the book quickly turns the book from a simple romance to one that is full of mystery and suspense. At times I did find it hard to keep all the players straight in my mind with the multiple story lines playing out and I found myself having to stop and think about what was going on. Essentially you have past secrets, intersecting pasts that begin to surface, a dangerous stalker, rapist and questionable familial ties and a great romance unfolding all before your eyes. As the book progresses and certain revelations come to light, I was left both surprised and heart-broken. Trace truly did have a sordid past. I really wanted to reach out to that little boy that was still inside Trace and hold him. In the end everything is sorted and what I loved the most was how Trace and Ember come out stronger because of all the strife and difficulties. They have cemented their relationship and love and know that they have a love that will last and endure.
“That was what I wanted: someone who knew me better than I knew myself, someone who knew all the worst parts of me yet still loved me.”
Beautifully Damaged is a great story that allowed me to experience an array of emotions. I went from disliking Trace because of his decisions and attempts to push Ember away to understanding him and wanting him to desperately have his HEA. As Trace finally decides to allow Ember in and relays his story, it is heart-breaking and shocking. The twists and turns will keep you reading and L. A. Fiore provides a wonderful secondary cast of characters. To sum up, if you are in the mood for angst and suspense with a lovely romance mixed in, give this one a go!
“I’ll tell you what real love is. It is blind devotion, unquestioning self-humiliation, utter submission, trust and belief against yourself and against the whole world, giving up your whole heart and soul to the smiter.”
“It isn’t everyday a wish comes true and you, Ember, are the answer to my wish.”
Book 2 in the Beautifully Damaged series…….
Beautifully Forgotten – due for release July 29 2014
Successful restaurateur Lucien Black’s blue-green eyes and unattainable attitude drive women wild. But his abandonment issues and criminal past have left him emotionally closed off. When a familiar face shows up for a job interview at his nightclub, the ache he has tried to forget tears at his heart—it’s the girl who once healed him…and then abandoned him.
Darcy MacBride still remembers Lucien’s delicate touch when they were both wildly in love teenagers. His gorgeous eyes had soothed her hurt after she’d been dumped off at the orphanage where Lucien lived. Darcy felt his jagged edges fit perfectly into her own, and she’d planned to spend the rest of her life with him—until a mysterious man warned her away. Now, fourteen years later, she’s ready to endure the torture of Lucien’s indifference and having him as her boss…just to be near him. But when it seems that they might finally take up where they left off, a devastating secret buried in their past threatens to tear them apart again.
L.A. Fiore’s story of smoldering love recaptures the tormented romance of Beautifully Damaged.