Sunday, December 30, 2018

Book Spotlight on The One You Fight For by Roni Loren (Review & GIVEAWAY)

The tragic pasts of two people make for a complicated yet combustible relationship in this story depicting the long term fallout of a school shooting.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of The One You Fight For by Roni Loren, along with my impressions of it, then add this emotionally intense read to your bookshelf.  In honor of this third installment in The ones Who Got Away series make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win 1 of 5 copies of this book too!

How hard would you fight for the one you love?
Taryn Landry was there that awful night fourteen years ago when Long Acre changed from the name of a town to the title of a national tragedy. Everyone knows she lost her younger sister. No one knows it was her fault. Since then, psychology professor Taryn has dedicated her life’s work to preventing something like that from ever happening again. Falling in love was never part of the plan...
Shaw Miller has spent more than a decade dealing with the fallout of his brother’s horrific actions. After losing everything—his chance at Olympic gold, his family, almost his sanity—he’s changed his name, his look, and he’s finally starting a new life. As long as he keeps a low profile and his identity secret, everything will be okay, right?
When the world and everyone you know defines you by one catastrophic tragedy...
How do you find your happy ending?


Lucas was waiting for her when she stepped inside the main part of the gym. The skylights flashed with the lightning outside, and the rain battered the roof, making it sound like they were inside a huge barrel. Lucas had changed into different clothes—a snug, black T-shirt and a pair of gray track pants. She worked hard not to stare.
Definitely failed.
Lucas smiled, clipboard in hand. “All ready to go?”
She shrugged. “As ready as I’ll ever be.”
He didn’t seem deterred by her lack of enthusiasm as he looked down at the clipboard. “All right. Let’s walk or jog a few laps around the track to get warmed up and then we’ll try The Wall.”
He said the last two words as if they were capitalizedand should be followed by of Doom. “Wait, hold up.” Taryn lifted a finger and pointed to the giant curved wall off to the left behind Lucas. “Surely you don’t mean that wall over there.”
He glanced over his shoulder. “The very one.”
“You’ve got jokes, Lucas.”
He gave her an amused glance. “No jokes. You’re trying that wall tonight.”
Yeah, and ice-skating in hell would follow that event. “You’re nuts.”
“Maybe.” He grinned and set aside his clipboard. “I said you’re safe with me. I never said I’d be easy on you.” He clapped his hands. “Now get moving, songbird.”
“Yep.” He started running in place. “A talented singer. But also a lady who’s doing a lot of crowing right now.”
She lifted a brow, affronted. “Did you just call me a crow? Don’t make me throw my shoe at you again.”
He jogged away. “You’ll have to catch me first.”
Well, that did it. She hadn’t been a runner in a long time, but that old competitive spirit from track fired up at the challenge. She jogged after him toward the narrow indoor track and poked him in the arm when she caught up. “I’m out of practice, but not slow.”
“Getting cocky already, songbird,” he said, keeping pace with her.
She picked up her speed a little to pass him and put her arms out to flap them like wings. “Caw-caw.”
His deep laugh was a balm to the nerves she’d felt coming in here tonight. This wasn’t so bad. Lucas was easy to be around, and it actually felt good to be moving. She jogged ahead but didn’t push it too hard, still wary of what had happened at the race, and soon Lucas caught up and kept a steady pace with her.
“I want you to stay at the level of effort where you can talk but it’s a bit of a challenge to hold a conversation,” he said, his feet pounding the track next to her. “And never be afraid to ask for a break. I’ll push you because that’s what you’re coming here for, but I need to be able to trust you to tell me when it’s too much.”
“I’ll tell you,” she promised. “I’m not known for keeping my mouth shut.”
“Good. Now let’s sweat.”
Half an hour later, Taryn was warm from the inside out and dripping with sweat. Lucas looked like he was barely glistening. She hated him a little in that moment.
He handed her a bottle of water and a towel and then took a towel for himself. He wrapped it around his neck and nodded at her. “That was good work. Feeling okay?”
“I’m feeling out of shape.” She took a long sip of the water. “But okay.”
“Out of practice. That’s all,” he said, his tone reassuring. “But that’s why you’re here. Today will be the worst day. The only place to go from this point is up.”
“And by up, I mean up that wall.” He cocked his head toward the ridiculous obstacle.
She dried her face with the towel and groaned. “Still with the wall?”
“I keep promises,” he said, a wicked gleam in his eye. “You and I have a date with that wall.”
“I thought you didn’t date,” she teased.
“I make an exception for Wally. We’re in a steady relationship. And we’re about to invite you in.”
“That sounds dirty.” She tossed the towel aside and set her water bottle on the floor next to it. “And is it a requirement for all trainers to be sadists? Do they screen for that? Because I feel like you’re enjoying this a little too much.”
A dimple appeared in his left cheek. “Yes, it’s the third class in trainer school…How to Make Your Clients Hate You Before They Love You.”
“Uh-huh. Gotta be honest. Not loving you so much right now.”
“You’re not supposed to.” He turned. “Let’s get started.”
She frowned, his tone sounding different from the playful one he’d been using, but she followed him to the obstacle course area anyway.
Taryn put her hands on her hips and stared at the giant curved wall in front of her. The thing had to be twelve feet tall, and the rope she was supposed to capture near the top seemed to be miles away. It might as well have been hanging off the side of a ten-story building. “Shouldn’t I have, like, a skateboard or something to get up this thing? A rocket booster?”
Lucas picked up his clipboard from where he’d set it down before their run and then dug around in a gym bag near his feet. He handed her a set of kneepads. “Nope. Butdon’t freak out. Day one, I just need to see where you are so I can track your progress. It’s a benchmark. I expect you to suck at this one.”
“Well gee, thanks, Coach,” she said as she strapped on the knee pads. “Good speech. Very motivating. You should do a TED talk.”
He smirked, blue eyes crinkling. “Would you rather I lie to you?”
She groaned and bounced on her toes, trying to rev herself up like she used to do before a race. “No, but a little positivity wouldn’t hurt.”
“Okay.” He swung his arm out. “The mat at the bottom is soft, and you’re wearing knee pads so it probably won’t hurt that much when you fall.”
She gave him a droll look. “Are you supposed to want to hit your trainer?”
He set the clipboard aside and crossed his arms over that broad chest, looking like a Greek god with a mean streak. “You should take off the sweatshirt. The bulk is going to make it even harder to build momentum.”
“Right.” She wet her lips and, after a moment of panicked hesitation, nervously tugged off the shirt. When she dropped it to the side, leaving her in what amounted to a skintight tank top and leggings, she felt more than a little exposed and the cold air was probably making things even more visible, but she tried to keep her expression neutral. This was a gym. These were gym clothes. Lucas’s gaze darted down her body and then quickly shifted to a spot over her shoulder.
He cleared his throat. “I’m ready when you are.”



The four strong-willed women who bonded over their mutually tragic pasts after a school shooting find themselves standing in solidarity once again in this third installment in Ms. Loren’s timely and engaging series.  This one takes an even more emotional twist though as readers get to see the effects of that long ago shooting on the brother of the shooter, creating a character that had me aching for him as it’s he who’s been living like a prisoner for his brother’s actions.  Two people living their lives according to others is what ultimately binds Taryn and Shaw together in a steamy relationship that takes some painful turns to reach a hard won conclusion.

Taryn’s a woman dedicated to her career as a psychologist, trying to right the wrongs of a school shooting that took the life of her sister.  Where she once was drawn to music as a teen she now spends all her time analyzing school shooters.  Her life is no longer her own as familial pressures keep her focused on her work as well as her mother’s guilt and fear keeping her living close to them.  It’s clear she’s wound up tightly and cracks soon start appearing.  Luckily fate intervenes though by introducing her to a sexy man with a kind heart and lots of secrets that changes the course of her life irrevocably.  Taryn’s a likable character just trying to do what she thinks is right, trying to make her sister’s death mean something, but she’s left little for herself.  It’s all work and no play for her which is why I cheered her on in starting a friends with benefits relationship with Shaw that quickly turned more serious.  He encouraged her to start living, take chances, and find fulfillment for herself which saw a weight lifting off her.  She became happier as the story progressed, reconnected with who she was before the shooting, and it made her even more likable.  Taryn’s the kind of character you can see yourself hanging out with in real life.  She’s caring, supportive, and doesn’t hide behind subterfuge.  The scenes with her girlfriends reflect that and are entertaining in their realism.  These interactions are some of the best parts of this story and showcase Ms. Loren’s many talents.

Shaw Miller once had a promising Olympic career in gymnastics, was once seen as the star of the future...until his brother killed others in a high school shooting.  Shaw then became a pariah and his world quickly imploded.  Feelings of guilt led to an infamous act of rage and the perception that he was just like his brother.  He was seen as a criminal by connection and it forced him into hiding under an assumed name.  Not wanting to be in the public eye ever again has him living like a monk, cutting himself off from friendships and love.  Like Taryn, he’s not living life to the fullest and it made my heart ache.  The condemnations and betrayals of others broke him, have him feeling endless guilt, and it’s Taryn’s acceptance of him that finally broke him out of his self-imposed prison.  I adored Shaw and ached for all he’d been put through.  I ached even more for the self-loathing that led to his being so closed off as he was a good man with a kind heart.  Taryn’s love took the weight of self-hatred off him and led to a sweet and sexy connection that had me rooting for them every step of the way.

This was another satisfying installment in Ms. Loren’s timely series revolving around a school shooting.  The main couple is strong-willed and realistic in their imperfections and I found myself completely consumed with their journey to HEA, a journey rife with painful pasts and guilt that made for a rocky journey too.  With a romance that’s a slow burn readers will be left waiting with bated breath for things to turn hotter...and when it finally happens the scenes are scorching yet playful.  My only frustration concerning this couple happened late in the story in a discovery that felt unnecessary and melodramatic as it played on Shaw’s fears.  Minus that speedbump I thoroughly enjoyed Shaw and Taryn and cheered them on from the first page to the last.  Surrounding this likable main couple was an equally appealing cast of secondary characters that left their marks.  Among my favorites are Kincaid, the bold friend of the group who tells it like it is.  She’s protective of her friends and pushes them to be the happiest they can be and I look forward to her story being told.  Shaw’s friend Rivers is another unexpected delight.  Closeted for most of his early years Shaw was one of the few people to accept him and he supports him right back by dragging him back into the land of the living.  Bar owner Kaleb caught my attention as well in the brief glimpses we got of a sexy yet caring character.  On a whole this was another solid installment in the series, though I wish the epilogue had been fuller.  Despite that, I continue to look forward to seeing these characters again as they take another step on their emotional journey of recovery.

My rating for this is a B+

*I got this book from NetGalley for review in exchange for my honest opinion.


Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. She holds a master’s degree in social work and spent years as a mental health counselor, but now she writes full time from her cozy office in Dallas, Texas where she puts her characters on the therapy couch instead. She is a two-time RITA Award winner and a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.



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