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We all play victims to our pasts, to the choices we make and the lives we create.
They define who we are.
And sometimes if we’re lucky enough, the past stays where it belongs: in the past.
Kyler Parker is not one of the lucky ones.
He has never been.
Abused and neglected until he was sixteen, Kyler needed an out. A way to escape. And he found it in the most unlikely friendship.
But at seventeen, tragedy struck, and he made himself disappear.
Now, at twenty-four, Kyler’s past is knocking on his door, offering a deal he has no choice but to take… a deal that will help bring justice—not just for him, but for his brothers.
He’s distracted by the girl across the hall.
Madison comes with her own past, her own secrets… and her own deal.
And those deals?
They’re ticking time bombs.
Ones they didn’t know existed.
I really enjoyed this, I went in blind not really knowing what the storyline was, which added to my enjoyment I think. Turned out to be a good read, different from what I thought it might be having read previous Jay books, this is a tad darker and more suspenseful, but still very good!
Kyler Parker is back from Afghanistan having completed 4 tours of duty. He had a bad upbringing with an abusive father, he ended up being taken in by a neighbor and growing up in their family, with their son Jackson. He was a little wild and ended up with some deep regrets and guilt, which is why he joined up, not wanting to face these.
He ended up in a bar fight, his ‘brother’ Jackson is now a Detective and offers him a get out clause, if he helps with their investigation. He must go undercover as an underground fighter and get to know the leader, Nate, a drug dealer. Doing this may also give his some revenge and retribution for something in his past, as well as an outlet for his anger.
All is going well until he meets a new neighbour and their mailbox. Madison captures him like no one else. She in also unlike anyone else he has ever met, she seems unworldly, very childlike in her existence, and takes pleasure in the slightest of things. He fears that if he pushes her too hard for answers about her past then she will just run, so he doesn’t. Their relationship is unusual, but they fall hard for each other. Kyler opens up himself to Madison, having eventually found someone he can talk to and confide in. But Madison is an enigma, we end up knowing next to nothing about her.
I really enjoyed this, all the mystery about Madison and the secrets she obviously has!
It’s said that your life flashes before your eyes when you die.
It must only happen to those whose lives are worthy.
Clearly, Bailey’s life is not.
Unwanted from the day she was born, and then discarded, Bailey’s only plan in life is to make it through to the next day.
But one hopeless night, one wrong decision, and one pull of the trigger changes everything.
Not just for her, but for Nate DeLuca too.
Born into a world of crime, he had his entire life planned out for him.
He wasn’t supposed to find her that night.
He wasn’t meant to capture her, either.
And he sure as hell wasn’t meant to save her.
Sometimes villains are born.
And sometimes… heroes are made.
Book 2 in this Combative trilogy, and boy this was nothing like I expected! I was expecting this book to carry on from the first, but that’s no what we get at all. What we get is a completely different story from completely different people!
We go back in time six years, and learn about Bailey (who turns out to be Madison in the first book, but that will be in her future) and we learn about Nate. So no Kyler in this one.
So in this one we find out about Bailey’s past, which we had no clue about in the first book, and definitely got more answers from this one. Then we learn more about Nate! OMG these two!!! If I felt the connection with Madison and Kyler was slightly missing in the first book, then Bailey and Nate are the complete opposite and are off the charts!! These two characters blew me away!!! Their connection is just beautiful, that they found chemistry and love and such an incredible bond in such threatening and dangerous situations, just wow!!
Nate is such a different character, an anti hero, but he was just so perfect in many ways, sweet, caring, protective…. I loved him from the beginning. Such a layered character with a broken past, but his situation with Bailey was so complicated, their love grew but under the conditions they were in it was always going to be tainted.
I really felt for Bailey in this one, once we learned her background and what she’d been through, the puzzle pieces started to fall into place and connected slowly back to book 1. This girl has been through the wringer and still managed to come out the other side.
The whole situation with Bailey and Nate just smacks of desperation, and there’s not a fat lot anyone can do about it, it’s just circumstance. Their desperation is a tangible thing in this, it really got to me at times. Their love and connection was undeniable, what they felt for each other was real, but was this due to their circumstances and the dangers?
Brilliantly written, I was completely engrossed in this story line and can’t wait to see what the last book has to offer. Highly recommended reading.
Some villains are made. Some villains are born. And some villains aren’t villains at all.
Nate DeLuca was born into a life he didn’t want.
Forced to walk a path that was already chosen for him.
Grandson to a mob boss, he’s forever torn between his duty, his honor, his legacy, and the truth.
But the truth is never simple, and it’s not at all what it seems.
In a world full of secrets, heartache, and betrayals, Nate only has one thing on his mind: redemption.
But with redemption comes destruction.
And that destruction might cost him his heart.
One ticking time bomb…
Just WOW!! I’ve binge read the whole three books so not had to wait as long as a lot of the readers to find the answers to all the questions from the first two books, which is an epic bonus for me, not sure if I could have waited 2 yrs to see the end of this. Just an absolutely outstanding epic read, seriously not one to be missed this!!
Nate is one of the best characters I’ve read by Jay and this last book just confirms that, such a wonderfully layered character, not perfect by any means, but he did his best with what he had, I loved him. Bailey is just awesome, such a strong character for getting through everything she has and still being able to pick herself back up.
Tiny was an absolute star in this also, always there for Nate no matter what, such a loyal and caring character.
This third book ties in all the questions, puzzles, plots and twists from both books from different timelines and puts them all together and ties them all up, such a brilliant piece of writing, so much going on, but in the end it was just brilliantly done, it will leave you full of emotions. Such a spectacular trilogy this, angsty and suspenseful, heartbreaking and redeeming, a real triumph and one that will be hard to beat.
The twist in the plot at the end had my heart breaking, I wasn’t sure I wanted to finish the book!! But thank goodness I did, as the ending we got was just perfect.
Not a series to be missed this one, highly recommended.
About the Author:
Jay McLean is an international best-selling author and full-time reader, writer of New Adult and Young Adult romance, and skilled procrastinator.
When she’s not doing any of those things, she can be found running after her three little boys, investing way too much time on True Crime Documentaries and binge-watching reality TV.
She writes what she loves to read, which are books that can make her laugh, make her hurt and make her feel.
Jay lives in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, in her dream home where music is loud and laughter is louder.
Writer • Reader • Mom • Wife • Master of Awkward Sarcasm.
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