The first sexy, captivating, stand-alone novel in the brand-new FIGHT FOR ME series from NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author A.L. Jackson...
Rex Gunner. As bitter as he is beautiful.
The owner of the largest construction company in Gingham Lakes has been burned one too many times. His wife leaving him to raise their daughter was the last blow this single dad could take. The only woman he’ll let into his heart is his little girl.
Rynna Dayne. As vulnerable as she is tempting.
She ran from Gingham Lakes when she was seventeen. She swore to herself she would never return. Then her grandmother passed away and left her the deed to the diner that she once loved.
When Rex meets his new neighbor, he knows he’s in trouble.
She’s gorgeous and sweet and everything he can’t trust.
Until she becomes the one thing he can’t resist.
One kiss sends them tumbling toward ecstasy.
But in a town this size, pasts are bound to collide. Caught in a web of lies, betrayal, and disloyalty, Rex must make a choice.
Will he hide behind his walls or will he take the chance . . .
From its emotionally intense prologue to its tale of overcoming the past, Ms. Jackson has crafted an unforgettable romance that will keep readers on the edge of their seats while wiping tears from their eyes. Two people find a connection despite past hurts and betrayals in a romance that took unexpected twists and turns to keep me rooting for them every step of the way. By the turn of the final page I’m left exhausted but immensely satisfied for all that came before and excited for what’s yet to come.
Rex Gunner’s childhood was a tough one with only his mother and two best friends to support him throughout the years. Those years were full of pain and betrayal though when it came to love as the death of one girl and the vindictiveness of another has hardened his heart. The only bright spot from that time is a daughter, a daughter who he’d do anything for. Known in town as the grumpy one who’s devoted to his daughter and work, it’s no surprise when he acts less than neighborly towards the new girl next door. Her spirit and kindness, along with the love she shows towards his daughter, soon breaks down the walls of his heart as she becomes a temptation he can no longer ignore. Just when they’re on the cusp of HEA their pasts collide in an unexpected way that breaks their hearts as well as ours. Jealousy and betrayal once again tears apart Rex’s life in a suspenseful conclusion that had me furiously turning the pages as the power of love overcomes all. Rex is an immensely appealing hero. He’s sweet and sexy, but flawed. His love for his daughter Frankie is endearing and their scenes together were joyful and heartwarming. It’s clear early on how jaded he’s become when it comes to matters of the heart as he sees all women as the enemy due to the manipulations of Frankie’s mother. Behind that angry veneer though is a protective man, a man who wants just one thing for himself instead of always doing what’s best for others. He’s tired of self-sacrificing, tired of letting fear over what might happen hold him back, which has him giving into Rynna’s tempting body and kind heart. It’s an angsty romance due to their painful pasts weighing on them still, but together they find joy and lots of scorching interludes. Their time together leads to heartfelt talks that fully immersed me in their lives, but Rex’s one omission frustrated me as it coincided with Rynna’s past and contributed to a lot of unnecessary heartache. Despite that I still adored Rex for his loving interactions with his daughter and his support and numerous romantic words and deeds directed towards Rynna. He says what every romance reader wants to her in their book boyfriends and I look forward to getting more glimpses of him in future books.
Rynna Dayne grew up in the idyllic town of Gingham Lakes with her grandmother her sole caretaker. The town was pretty but some of her classmates were not and they made her childhood a rough one as they made fun of her weight, took advantage of her kind heart, and ultimately used her crush on a boy against her in the most hurtful way. Embarrassment and heartbreak had her running away from the pain and the unwavering love of her grandmother. With her grandmother’s death she’s returned to find the support of her grandmother still alive in letters scattered throughout the house and the deed to the diner she’s always loved. The past is never far behind as she still feels like that chubby girl when she finds herself falling for the guy next door, doubtful of the attraction he seems to feel for her, and fearful that what happened on that one night years ago will hurt her again. One sweet word at a time she works her way into Rex’s heart, believing in their HEA, until her fears come to fruition and she has to decide what’s truly worth fighting for in a fast-paced nail-biting conclusion. Rynna’s a heroine you can admire for many reasons as she’s always tried to do what’s right. As a young girl she was seen as the goody two shoes which led to brutal mocking and being used by those who pretended to be her friend in incidences that broke my heart. She still has moments of self-doubt as an adult when it comes to her body and Rex’s feelings which is understandable, but it didn’t hold her back from going after what she really wanted once it’s almost taken away from her.
This was an emotionally intense romance from start to finish with some sweet and gentle moments that gave me the chance to breath from the unrelenting painful pasts of Rex and Rynna. They were both let down when it came to matters of the heart but they saw something in the other that had them putting their hearts on the line one more time. Their relationship started out a bit rough but Rynna’s sweetness led to a friendship that quickly became more in sweet moments as well as erotically-charged ones. Times spent with Frankie showed them as the happy family they could be in scenes that were heartwarming. As a reader who doesn’t usually care for children in romances I have to admit that Frankie won me over. She was a ball of energy and joy and brought out the softer side of her father, a side that endeared him to me. I also enjoyed the interactions between Rex and his longtime friends, Ollie and Kale. The foundation laid here has me excited for the future as all three men have a tragic past. They’re supportive of each other, point out the obvious to help them find happiness, but don’t hold back on mocking when needed as best friends do. Ultimately this was a hard-fought HEA that took some unexpected turns at the end that felt a bit soap opera-ish but kept me glued to the pages. It was a heart-pounding conclusion that cleverly entwined Rex and Rynna’s pasts to finally lay them to rest in an ending worth cheering. It’s an engaging start to Ms. Jackson’s Fight For Me series and I’m eagerly anticipating the next installment.
My rating for this is a B+/A-
*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.