Review: Going into this book, I wondered how new-to-me author Kele Moon would handle the pairing of a woman who escaped a physically abusive marriage with a man who makes his living in Mixed Martial Arts fights.
My take? Well-done Kele, well-done. 🙂
There’s some old fashioned sweet romance and humour mixed in with lusty thoughts; from Melody Dylan and Clay “Powerhouse” Powers. We meet the pair in Hal’s Diner on Thanksgiving, when Clay is eating alone while Melody is on duty.
She may be near broke, having left her abusive husband with the clothes on her back several months ago, but Melody is a kind woman who wants to make the hot yet lonely guy smile on a day that’s all about family.
Too bad for Clay it’s pumpkin pie. He hates it and wants to “gag” but not wanting to hurt the feelings of “the attractive blonde” who’d just served him the pie, Clay focuses on “the warm feeling in his chest” and takes a small bite.
Aww. Clay’s a sweetheart underneath all those big, beefy muscles.
Just as he tries taking another bite; he’s loathe to hurt Melody’s feelings or waste her money since she’s paid for the pie, in walks the Sheriff of Garnet and Clay’s best friend, Wyatt Conner.
Through Wyatt, and later on his sister Jules, we get our first insight into what makes Clay ‘tick’.
“Did you just smile at the new waitress?”
…Clay scowled. “I ain’t sweet.”
“I heard you say both thank you and sorry in less than a minute. Not to mention those pearly whites you were flashing,” Wyatt argued, grin still wide and shrewd. “Forget pralines, I think ya wanna bite of Miss Dylan’s pie.”
…Broad shouldered, massive arms, Wyatt was one of the biggest, toughest men in Garnet, and that was saying something. The only guy who’d probably get better odds in a fight just happened to be sitting across from him.
“How ’bout I take a bite outta you,” Clay shot back in a low and vicious voice.”
“Nah, I don’t swing that way.” Wyatt took a long drink of his coffee, seeming undisturbed by the fury directed at him. “Thanks for asking, though.”
(I loved the camaraderie between these three and am looking forward to reading their stories in the rest of the BATTERED HEARTS series.)
Clay’s decision to accept a piece of pumpkin pie from Melody was the first step toward their unique HEA but the journey was not without bumps.
DEFYNG THE ODDS may be listed under erotic romance, and yes there are hot sex scenes, but Melody and Clay take their time working up toward a physical relationship.
This makes sense, given her past and his reluctance to scare her off because of his job as a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter.
Kele Moon doesn’t go into too much detail about the physical abuse Melody suffered in the past but you get a very good idea of what she suffered through something as simple, and chilling, as when Melody tells Clay she used to take lots of baths with an herbal remedy because it made bruises fade faster.
Clay wanted to go find her scumbag of an ex-husband, Justin, and beat him up. That’s one fight the UFC heavyweight champion would really enjoy wining.
Knowing her ex began stalking her after the divorce, you’re wondering if and when Justin will show up in Garnet.
There’s a scary moment that sends Melody running away from her budding relationship.
Clay is left baffled and hurt and it’s not until he has championship fight out of state that Melody realises running away won’t solve anything.
The specter of Justin the ex is still there but you’re lulled into thinking he just might not show up at all…when suddenly, Melody finds herself face-to-face with him.
This is a book with a HEA, so you know Melody survives Justin’s clutches but not without blood being shed by more than one person.
Title: Defying the Odds
Series: Battered Hearts, book 1
Author: Kele Moon
Rating: 4 stars
Publisher: Loose ID
Publication date: June 2012
Synopsis: A woman running from an abusive past. A famous UFC heavyweight fighter who relies on his fists for a living. A slice of pie on Thanksgiving brings these two unlikely lovers together.
The stranger ends up being Clay Powers, a famous UFC heavyweight fighter. Clay’s large build and dangerous fists have always intimidated. People in his hometown keep their distance and Clay is fine with that. Everything changes when a new waitress at the local diner buys him a piece of pie on Thanksgiving. Touched by the gesture when it’s obvious she can barely afford to survive, her warm smile and lush body churn up powerful feelings that leave Clay wanting more from her than pie.
Melody is running from her past and the small, country town of Garnet is the perfect hiding place. With an ex-husband after her and scars from her abusive marriage etched deep, the last thing she expects is to fall for a man who makes a living with his fists, but she can’t resist Clay or the tender connection they share.
Finding love in the most unlikely of places, the passion is undeniable, but Clay and Melody know their haunted pasts and unpredictable futures leave the odds stacked against them.
Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: violence.