Sunday, July 21, 2013

Scarred Love Book Tour: Review + Excerpt

Welcome to my post for the Scarred Love book tour! I have a review and excerpt of this book coming up. But, first, allow me to introduce the book:

Date Published: 6/6/2013

Darcie Claiborne spent several years of her young life living with a monster, always fearing what he would do next. Clasping onto her last ounce of hope, Darcie releases a scream. It’s her final attempt to live; to survive the villain of her reality. Sweeping her up in his arms, Darcie’s knight in shining armor rescues her from the hell she’s been living; from the stepfather she's feared for all those years.

Reggie Evans has been forced to grow up before he’s ready when his mother dies of an overdose, leaving him responsible to raise his younger brothers. One fateful night, Reggie jogs by an old, run down house and discovers a young girl clinging to life as she screams for help.

Three years later, Darcie is healing and always protected by the man who saved her, but now she's fighting with something she isn't prepared to face. The growing love for the man who saved her life three years ago, the same man who’s nine years older. All the while, Reggie fights to protect Darcie from the demons of her past and new ones of her present.

My Rating: 4 Roses

Dark, emotional, and full of intense romance, this book was a heavy read. And I really enjoyed it. Scarred Love is the kind of book that makes you feel for the characters and get drawn into their world. It was a wonderful read.

This book isn't for the faint of heart. The themes of abuse, mental and physical, and rape play huge roles in this book. I thought it was treated with respect and was incorporated smoothly into the story, instead of seeming like the elephant in the room. So, I appreciate that.

Darcie was an okay heroine. On one hand, she was incredibly strong. She was a survivor and determined to thrive, no matter the odds. On the other, she had a tendency to make really stupid decisions and it was kind of irritating. For example, after seeing Reggie was a woman (because it's totally strange for a 27 year old man to hook up with women), she throws a fit and decides to go out with a guy who gives her the creeps just to spite him. This is totally wrong for several reasons. Reason 1: Does she really think that a relationship between her, a minor, and Reggie, can happen easily, considering he's almost a decade older and her guardian? There are laws against that. Reason 2: Her reaction was possibly the most childish thing I've ever seen. Reason 3: What in god's name made you thing going out with a guy that you have a bad feeling about was a good idea. A guy who continually harasses your adopted brother and who everyone is warning you away from? It had bad idea written all over it, inside it, and stamped into it. And Darcie seemed to make these kinds of decisions a lot. After a while, it got on my nerves.

I still liked Darcie's character because I think she had a lot of depth and a lot of strength. But, I did get annoyed with her frequently.

Reggie, on the other hand, was great. He's had to take care of his brothers, giving up his promising career, for almost a decade. And, after he rescues Darcie, he adds even more to his plate. But, considering his age and the tendency of the people in his care to be difficult, he deals with it all remarkably well. He never shirks the responsibility and does his best to care for everyone. He was so sweet, intensely protective of his loved ones, and determined to do what was best for them. I thought he was wonderful.

The romance was intense. There was a lot of built up longing between Darcie and Reggie and, when it finally exploded, it was hot. Both in regards to the deep emotion between them and the sparks that were constantly flying when they were together. To anyone who is squeamish at the thought of a 17 year old and a 27 year old in a relationship, you have to remember that age is just a number, particularly in this case. After everything that they've been through, these two are more mature than their age gives them credit for. If you measure age by life experience, then they're the same age. So, it didn't bother me at all. And I though the romance was brilliantly done.

I liked that all the brothers were treated as individual characters, and not just side notes. Each of them had depth and personality and I was actually interested in them as their own people.

I have to say that I had one other complaint about this book. It was a little unrealistic, in several ways. For one, the way high school portrayed was almost like a twisted parody. I don't know what high school actually includes behavior like this. All the girls dressed like sluts, all the guys acting like total pervs about said girls, and everyone getting in fights on a daily basis. I don't know if there are actually high school like that, but mine definitely wasn't. Also, the way Darcie and the boys acted  was out of the ordinary for teenagers. At least, from what I've seen. Yeah, teenagers party and drink. But, getting drunk at a bar every night is what I would consider odd behavior for high schoolers. And last, I didn't think it made sense why none of any of the abuse that Darcie suffered was ever reported. Not just after Reggie found her, but before. Didn't ANYONE notice something? Just something small enough to warrant a call to the police? It just didn't sit well with me.

The plot was fast paced. The prologue was brilliant. It started the book off with a bang and got me totally hooked. And I was kept interested the entire way through. The thrill of danger was constantly there and had me on the edge of my seat. Despite any issues I had with the book, I really enjoyed the story. And the ending was perfect.

Though I had my problems with this book, in the end, I really liked Scarred Love. That I still liked it despite my complaints shows how much I truly enjoyed this book. It was absolutely wonderful. If you want a darker read with intense emotions and hot romance, then you definitely have to read this book.

*I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review

It’s about one in the morning when we pull into the driveway and park next to Reggie’s Camaro. I am wasted. Unable to walk, shitfaced, wasted. I can’t form a single thought and my lips are numb. All the guys are pissed at me. Apparently, I was running my mouth to Vanessa during the entire race and ended up chucking my empty tequila bottle at her head. I can’t remember if it hit her or who won the race for that matter.

Jeremy runs around to the passenger seat and hoists me out of the car. I climb onto his back and he carries me up the back steps into the kitchen. I’m attempting to sing “Creep” by Radiohead, but butchering the song with every syllable when Jeremy sits me down on the counter. Jake avoids me as he makes his way down to the basement. Screw it! I could care less right now. I achieved my goal; I’m drunk as hell and it’s amazing!

I swing my feet back and forth while singing the lyrics to “Creep.” “I wish I was special. So fuckin’ special...”—a little louder now—“…but I’m a creep!” Jeremy’s hand comes across my mouth, quieting me. I jerk my head back smacking it on the cupboard and shout, “Hey! I’m singing, Jer!”

Jeremy hands me a glass of water and a couple of Advil. I swallow the pills and let out a loud burp. He rolls his eyes, trying to hide the smile across his face.

“Do you want me to help you to bed, Darcie?” he asks.

“Ahh, Jer. That’s so sweet. Where’s Presley? She can help me. It might be weird seeing your sis in her underwear.” I laugh obnoxiously at my strange comment. God, I’m wasted.

Jeremy blushes. “She’s with Drake and I’m not going in there. If you need help, then I’ll help you.”

To Jeremy’s relief, Reggie walks around the corner, glaring at both of us. He looks sexy as hell, wearing only a pair of black basketball shorts that are slung low on his hips. I’m practically drooling as I look at the slight trail of blonde hair below his belly button and the defined V of his abdomen. His hair is loose and tousled from sleep. Oh shit. There go my hormones again. I want to rip his clothes off and suck on his…lips? I let out a small giggle followed by a hiccup from my dirty thoughts.

Jeremy’s angry as he looks over at me. “She’s fucking wasted, Reg. She drank a pint of tequila and started running her mouth to that girl she beat up at school. Everyone else bailed on me. I’m trying to get her to bed.”

Reggie rolls his eyes and shakes his head in disgust. “I’ll put her to bed.”

Relief passes over Jeremy’s face. He smiles then sprints out of the kitchen and flies down the stairs, heading for the basement. Man, I didn’t think I was that much of a pain in the ass.

Reggie walks over to me and puts his hands on either side of my thighs. My breath hitches at our closeness and flashes of last night play in my mind.

I press my forehead to his and whisper, “Always my knight in shining armor.”

“Always.” His lips stay close and I’m hoping he will crash them into mine, but he doesn’t.

“I’ve had a bad day.”

He lets out a small sigh and says, “Yeah… I know.”

Reggie slides his hands behind my butt pushing my core against his waist. Butterflies are swarming in my stomach as I wrap my legs and arms around him. I plant my face in the crook of his neck and that familiar smell of salvation engulfs me. It’s divine, a combination of soap and Reggie. Lifting me off the counter, he walks down the hall toward my bedroom. I look into his eyes where I find fierce, ocean blue pools, drowning me in desire. My body is warming with pleasure as I feel his hard muscles constrict with every movement.

Reggie kneels on the bed hovering over me. I let go of my grip and push myself to the top, lying on my pillow. He lifts one of my legs and pulls off my leather boot. It drops to the floor and he repeats with the other. He’s sitting up on his knees between my legs and my body is rushing with excitement. His hands slowly slide down the zipper of my jacket. I can’t believe this is going to happen. I don’t want anything more than to give him the innocent part of me.

Now, I wish I was a little more sober.

“Sit up.,” Reggie demands, never taking his eyes off mine.

I comply. His hands skim over my shoulders, moving my jacket down and the heat from his touch is sending me over the edge. Reggie tosses my jacket to the floor and then he leans down and puts a faint kiss to the cigar burn on my left shoulder. My breath hitches from his gesture and I wish he could take all of it away. Using a gentle touch, his hands guide me to lie down.

I’m panting with want. All the familiar feelings of our storage room make-out floods my body.

Moving off the bed, Reggie pulls the comforter over my body then leans down and places a gentle kiss on my forehead.

“Goodnight, Darcie.”

Wait. What? He’s leaving me?

The door clicks shut. Embarrassed and rejected, I roll over onto my side and cry for the second time in twenty-four hours.

About the Author:
M.S. Brannon was born and raised in the Midwest. She still resides there today with her wonderful husband and son. When she is not writing or reading, M.S. Brannon spends time with her family, watching movies, and discovering new music. She writes romance because she believes love and heartache is the rawest emotion one can experience.


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