by Cecy Robson
Series: Shattered Past #2
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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He’s the campus golden boy. She’s picking up the pieces of her broken past. But in Cecy Robson’s scorching novel of second chances—perfect for readers of Monica Murphy and J. Lynn—their differences only make their connection more explosive. Every memory Lety Tres Santos has from her childhood comes with a scar—some emotional, some physical. Her father is an abusive drug addict, and her mother enables his destructive behavior. College offers Lety a fresh start . . . until her father finds a way to ruin that, too. Now, after losing her scholarship to kick off junior year, Lety must somehow stay in school, pay tuition, and turn a deaf ear to the whispers that follow her. And she intends to do it all without Brody Quaid’s help. Brody is a lacrosse star, a 4.0 student—and as a freshman, he fell hard for the beautiful and spirited Lety. But their relationship crashed and burned because he couldn’t break through the walls she’s put up around her heart. With Lety hurting more than ever, Brody strives to win her back and make her believe in real love and true partnership. That will mean opening up secrets locked away in his own past—and trusting someone more than he’s ever dared. Lety knows how painful it can be to depend on the wrong man. She also knows how much Brody wants to do this the right way. But it takes more than sizzling desire to move on and build a future together.
Once Loved is the second, book in Cecy Robson’s Shattered Past series. While it still follows the same formula of your typical NA novels, I felt this was stronger than Once Perfect the first book and offered more depth. We see family, growth and our heroine is one tough little cookie who says, “Enough, is enough”
We met Lety Tres Santos in Once Perfect. As Mateo’s younger sister, she has dealt with the baggage that makes up their family. Lety is in her junior year of college for nursing and determined to succeed. She will not be dependent on anyone but herself. Unfortunately, her past has long tentacles and keeps interfering with her dreams. Lety is a strong female and I instantly connected with her. She has a million reasons to cry wolf, but instead she picks herself up and moves forward. She is still damaged; despite how unjaded she is at times. She has this wonderful ability with her patients and others. If only she would follow her own words of wisdom.
Brody Quaid is the sexy lacrosse star, that she cut ties with last year and both are still recovering from the break-up. Letty loves our boy Brody but does not want him to be tangled up in the chaos her family creates. After the horrific scene in Once Perfect, she broke up with him. I really liked Brody and his back-story had me shed a tear. I love that he is not your typical bad-boy. He has some hang-ups but his strengths far out way them.
The romance is sweet, and I have a soft spot for second chance romances. Robson allowed them both to grow, trust and bloom. Their chemistry felt genuine and I loved the banter as much as the tender moments. The romance brings a little heat but it does not swallow the storyline. Letty and Brody are a couple the reader can root for. I love when two people together are better individually.
The story has a lot more depth and offers more than a romance. I loved the unexpected family interaction and smiled during most of the interactions with Brody’s family. It was heartwarming and bittersweet. Edward Moore and little Tommy stole my heart. We also spend time with Mateo, Evelyn and their sister. The madness that is their father has an impact on this story as well. This thread was intense, and I was happy with the direction Robson took it, even as I bit my nails as the tension mounted. We see more interaction with Sophia and Killian. Despite Mateo’s concerns about them I am excited for their story. While I still felt the characters were culturally cliché’ Robson added depth and I saw them more as individuals, which notched up my enjoyment.
Once Loved was delightful with characters, you cannot help but root for. I cannot wait for Once Pure and Sophia’s story.