** 2 out of 5 Stars **
**WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD**
When struggling waitress Melody Dylan gives a handsome, lonely stranger a simple gift she has no clue her life is about to take a drastic turn.
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.
I was looking forward to this book. I read all the positive reviews and I thought, "Great! Here's a quick read that I'll enjoy." Ummm...not so much. Honestly, I HATED the writing style. The way the characters talked drove me nuts. I get it...southern slang. Look, I'm from Alabama. Born and bread here. I live in a little hick town by the water. Down here southern is a state of mind. But I mean come on! They were even to southern for me. We don't all talk like that! We do say ya'll and stuff but not to this extent. The story was ok. I felt like I connected with Melody because we had in depth background but I didn't get the same vibe from Clay. I honestly got to about the 50% mark and just skimmed through most of it.
Clay is a UFC fighter, the best. Has several national titles. He makes his money by beating the crap out of other people. He's strong and passionate. He's in great shape and he's just a big guy.
Melody is a waitress at the diner he eats at in his hometown. She just moved to town. She is running from an abusive ex husband and has serious trust issues with men. She small and blonde.
She offers him a piece of pie on Thanksgiving because he's eating alone and we start with their story. It moves pretty fast. They are very flirty and they talk at the diner. He is there every day that she works. After an issue with her car he ends up taking her home. The sleep together and all is right with the world. Within 12 hours of the sex she realizes she's in love with him (have they known each other longer than a week?), recieves a foreclosure notice that sends her into a panic about her ex husband, tells Clay she can't see him anymore and then proceeds to cut all contact. Yeah...all of this within 12 hours.
Anyway, Clay has a huge fight coming up and he can't get his head or heart into the game because he is miserable without her. He's as much in love with her as she is with him. His best friends make a move and talk Melody into coming with them to the fight even after she flat out refused when Clay asked her. He won the fight when he realized she was there. Of course this gave her national attention because she is after all the girlfriend of a UFC National Champion.
Care to guess what happens next? Yep, you guessed it. Her ex finds out where she is and comes after her. He fully intends to drag her out of the hotel but the guy Clay had his fight with steps in and intervenes and saving her life. Her ex has a gun and at one point Clay shows up and charges the guy (yeah charge a guy with a gun...really smart, that one) and he's shot. It's not serious though, it's a through and through shot. He still somehow manages to beat the guy within an inch of his life though.
The book ends with the ex in the hospital headed for jail. Clay has moved into Melody's house and they are talking about doing a few more fights to start a charity for abused women.
Overall this story did have a good plot. I just had trouble getting it to hold my attention. Mainly because I couldn't stand the way they talked and because the timeline for falling in love just wasn't realistic to me. If you want a quick read that has very little drama and a happy ending then this is the book for you.
I hate leaving negative reviews because I know the author spent a great deal of time and effort on it. This book just didn't do it for me. If it had been a freebie then maybe I wouldn't be as upset but since I paid for it i'm disappointed.
Here are my Clay and Melody
“I thought I was broken too, that I’d never trust women, but I had it all wrong. I wasn't broken at all. I was just waiting for you. It’s always been yours; even before we met, it belonged to you.”
He hadn't spent a lifetime pushing women away only to be taken down by a piece of pumpkin pie.