Thursday, February 11, 2016

Fighting Solitude (On the Ropes #3) by Aly Martinez @AlyMartinezAuth

4.5 Stars
After reading the synopsis, I could not wait to get my hands on Quarry’s romance and seriously kicking myself for not reading the first two installments - something I plan on rectifying real soon, because I simply fell in love with all the Page Brothers, as well as the emotional way Martinez pens her tales. Regardless, the story told in Fighting Solitude flowed effortlessly, as I was fully absorbed into the lives of two extremely damaged children, their life long friendship, and the true love that blossomed. This read was heart warming, tearfully heart wrenching, filled with nail biting angst and loads of drama as Quarry fought to claim the heart of his true soul mate, while Liv struggled to move beyond her hang-ups and believed unrequited love.
Liv and Quarry have a special bond. I adored seeing their interactions, the funny banter, their innocence, and the way each calmed the storms that raged within. As children, they were both plagued with demons – Quarry battled rejection from his parents’ abandonment, while Liv’s life was riddled with fears. Trust was the foundation of their relationship, as Quarry sensed Liv’s need for protection against her vulnerabilities while Liv was the force that fed him strength and comfort. Best friends until Quarry was shaken by a family trauma that left him defeated. I felt all his anguish as he foolishly decided to push Liv out of his life in a way that left her devastated. Their connection was severed for years until Liv made the effort to reunite, when discovering Quarry was losing his hearing. But things changed while they were apart. Quarry was bigger, stronger, a powerhouse of a boxer who has matured beautifully…and unfortunately in love with a girl named Mia March. Poor Liv, even during the separation, she could not deny that Quarry (aka Q) was her one true love. My heart ached seeing Liv bury her amorous feelings. He was always at arms length, but never more than a friend, even years after Mia’s death. 

Reading second chance romances can be very tricky.  The author is faced with the responsibility of convincing me that both the hero and heroine share a genuine love. I had some mixed feelings for a great portion of this read mainly due to Mia’s character. The prologue introduced her death and Q’s despair.  The aftermath left both Q and Liv shattered from her loss and me wondering… would this couple find their way to true love? It was a great hurdle for me to overcome. However, this author created such a beautiful image of Q, I had no choice but to believe his sincerity. He was the quintessential flawed hero that was patient, determined, loving and most importantly sexy.  Liv was eternally imprinted within his heart, but it took years after Mia’s death to realize her true place in his life. He may have loved Mia, but Liv was his soul mate and his future. I swooned when seeing the great lengths he traveled to regain Liv’s trust and finally claim what was his all along.  I adored the sweet little boy who shouldered the responsibility to guard Liv, and the sensual man who proved his undying love.
Liv was a witty, spirited sweet girl who was a great friend and beyond loyal…in fact too loyal at times.  She had my sympathies during the aftermath of Q’s reckless actions, and all the years spent masking her feelings. Yet, she frustrated me with the constant guilt over loving ‘Mia’s man’ and the endless inability to move beyond the past. It was maddening. Q has proven his remorse, love and trustworthiness repeatedly. She was just too stubborn to let it go and it worked on my last nerve at times.  But once Q tore down her defenses, tenderly showering her with affection, Liv’s character came to life and I grew to like the woman she became.
Although this romance is by no means a love triangle, Mia played a major part of this story, as her presence and memory overshadowed this couples’ relationship in every way. Honestly, I did not like her at all and found her to be cunning and manipulative. Sure, I felt bad when she died, but resented how she controlled their lives. As bitter and cold as it sounds, I was happy when Mia was finally out of the picture, so I could feel the love that Q and Liv shared without any obstruction.  It was exhausting seeing her memory dragged throughout the story and yet another struggle for them to overcome.

Phew…glad to get my Mia vexation off my chest…
In the end, I loved this story and cherished all of their sorrows and joys. From early beginnings, to their undeniable love, this couple had a tight hold on my affections. Quarry was ridiculously hot, and his sexiness made this read even more pleasurable. Aly Martinez scripted a memorable tale with just the right amount of chemistry, sexual tension and passion. I always savor a read layered with plot twists that have me on edge, and there was certainly no shortage of drama. Fighting Solitude was a well written, emotionally driven friends turned lovers romance that is a must read.

Arc received in exchange for an honest review   

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