★ SYNOPSIS ★
All things, when placed under pressure, eventually break or leave a mark.
Tattoo artist Brody “Cujo” Matthews knows how to keep things simple. In life and in love. Abandoned as a child by a mother who refused to stick around to raise three boys she didn’t want, he’s intent on staying clear of complicated women. The only things complicated in Cujo’s life are the killer tattoos he designs and inks. That all changes when he’s asked to help organize his best friend Trent’s engagement party, which means working with Trent’s fiancée’s best friend, Drea, the definition of high maintenance and sizzling curves. And the one woman he doesn’t want to walk away from.
Andrea “Drea” Caron is broke and tired. After years of caring for her ailing mom, she’s at the end of her rope trying to manage the piling medical bills, two jobs, and a life placed on hold. She certainly doesn’t need the added frustration of a sexy playboy tattoo artist messing up her best friend’s engagement party or her carefully balanced life. But when Drea witnesses the abduction of a woman from the café she works at, she can’t help but turn to Cujo who’s determined to prove to Drea that he’s someone she can count on forever…but as they attempt to bring the truth to light, someone is working to bring that forever to a sudden, deadly halt.
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★ MY REVIEW ★
The Fractured Heart is the second novel in the “Second Circle Tattoos” series by Scarlett Cole. I’m going to throw out the technical information, before anything else, because I know I’m going to gush over this book. The story is told from a dual third person point-of-view between the main to characters, Drea and Cujo (Brody). There is no cheating, no cliff hanger, and there is an HEA. The Fractured Heart can be read as a standalone novel, you won’t miss anything if you read it as such, but I would fully recommend and suggest reading the first book in this series if you haven’t.
I’ve gone back and forth in my head so many times about how I want to write this review, because I don’t think anything I say could do this book justice. You’re in for a long review! It is one of those books that you have to read for yourself, to understand the impact of it. That leads me to now, sitting here on the day the book releases and still trying to figure out what to say to best review it. The right words to even put out there how much I loved it.
Drea and Cujo’s story is hinted at, at the end of the first book in the series, The Strongest Steel.** Since then, I waited with what felt like baited breath for this book. I stalked the author on Twitter, I stalked NetGalley, and it’s one I even told my mom about! What happened at the end of this one? Oh, I just want the next book… again.
As with the first book in the series, I’m not going to go into detail on the characters. I don’t want to inadvertently give spoilers. I feel as if I’m mimicking my first review by saying that these characters are perfect for each other, however they are not perfect themselves. It is like seeing two pieces of a puzzle click into place. Two very stubborn pieces, at that. You know there could never be a better fit for them, they line up seamlessly and yet with these two characters, they almost fight it.
You would think it was the worlds end because Drea and Brody had to work together. It ended up creating a catchy edge between them. You could feel the chemistry, and the attraction between them, even when they fought. They had to figure out how to work together though and these characters were determined to make things work for their friends. It is conveyed so well that at times I didn’t feel like I was reading a book. I felt like I was watching it unfold all on it’s own. To that point, I didn’t put the book down even once.
Who did I like over the other? I couldn’t choose, once again! So I’m going with both. Drea stole my heart with her catchy attitude in the first book. She didn’t come off rude, or any such thing but she has plans, and she likes what she likes. Brody’s (Cujo) bond with Trent from the first book was so apparent and strong that it was one of those things you just knew. He came off as the funny guy, he made me laugh. Even though he was meant to be this big, bald, intimidating guy. I loved how he and Drea butted heads. In The Fractured Heart you get to see so much more depth with both of these characters. You learn their struggles and hardships, you encounter the danger with them, you learn their fears, and if you’re like me, you’ll cry with them too. I didn’t think I could like either of them -more- than I did when I started this book… it’s been proven that I can.
Overall rating, an obvious 5 stars. There are so many reasons to list for this. The writing, the character connection, depth, the plot and story line. Second books in a series can be hit or miss. They can compliment the first book, or completely derail the series. Sometimes you sit and bite your nails waiting for the next book, hoping it’s just as good as the first one!
I loved the way the author wove this story. I loved that while it was just as strong as the first book, that it was completely different too! Ms. Cole gave these characters their own book, while still connecting it. Words fail me for ones strong enough to describe how much I enjoyed it, so I’m going with, “Holy wowza! I loved it.”. 😉
**If you’re curious, you can find my review of The Strongest Steel, by Scarlett Cole here.