Once Perfect (Shattered Past #1)
By Cecy Robson
Published October 7th, 2014
Loveswept / Random House
New Adult | Contemporary Romance
Source: received from Loveswept in exchange for an unbiased review (Thank You!)
About the book:
His life was never easy. Hers wasn’t supposed to be this hard. They come from different worlds, but fate lures them together in a way neither expected in Cecy Robson’s raw, steamy New Adult debut—perfect for fans of Monica Murphy and J. Lynn.
Evelyn Preston’s future once looked perfect—until her wealthy father was caught in an embezzlement scandal and took his own life. Alone and struggling to pay her college tuition and bills, Evelyn finds a job as a waitress at the ultra-hip nightclub Excess, where she used to have more in common with the privileged private-school clientele than her fellow staff members. But something attracts her to the sexy six-foot-four bouncer and underground MMA fighter Mateo Tres Santos. Although they’ve led different lives, their troubled pasts bonds them in both survival and love.
Mateo is ex-army who wound up in prison for assaulting the man who harmed his sister. Now he’s feeling the same protective impulse for this petite blond waitress. When Evelyn experiences a panic attack at the club, Mateo comes to her rescue. And when Mateo is wounded shielding her from a brawl, Evelyn returns the favor and comes to his aid.
As their attraction intensifies, Mateo is determined to find out what nightmares are lurking in Evelyn’s past—even if that means tackling his own to save her.
Once Perfect is Cecy Robson’s first story in her Shattered Past series, a new adult romance series. It’s Ms. Robson’s unique spin on the old story of the good girl and “bad” boy from the wrong side of town. It’s a story where ultimately our heroine, Evelyn (Evie) proves to Mateo that they have more in common than one would believe looking in from the outside. I really enjoyed getting to that ultimate lesson at the end of the story, it made the ride worth it.
The story is told from Evie’s POV and we meet her as she’s getting ready to start a shift one night at the nightclub she works at. Mateo is the head bouncer at the club but because of the demands of his job, he’s always appeared more scary to her than friendly. Because he’s so easy on the eyes, she sometimes just can’t help herself from checking him out. He’s still scares the crap out of her, though!
It’s not until an incident in the club’s storage room where Mateo comes to Evie’s aid that she realizes that Mateo actually has a soft, gentle side… possibly for her? Oh, yes he does.
What starts out as a regular romance turns out to be the best and hardest thing Evie has ever gone through because it brings back memories of a past she’s been trying to move forward from.
What I liked about this story was the focus on the Latino culture and family customs and how they can impact relationships outside the family. This was an underlying tone throughout the entire book but only came front and center towards the last half of the book. I kind of wish it was the entire focus of the book. But I believe it will be the crux of the next book, Once Loved. But besides the cultural slant to the story, there were so many other issues going on in the story that I kind of think too many were in the kitchen cooking, as the saying goes. I understood the need for it all but I think some of it made the story kind take a while to hit it’s stride in the first half of the book. I’m not too sure. I’m still puzzled over this one.
You see, for the first half of the book, I was meh… then when I got to about 80% and I was all like, “Now we’re talkin’!” I couldn’t put the book down to save my life. A lion could have come up and nibbled on my calf and I wouldn’t have noticed.
It was also about this time that Ms. Robson started setting up the next books in earnest. She brought out the background characters to play and hoo-wee! Mateo’s sister Lety is awesome! And Brody? He about stole the show right out from under Evie and Mateo. Can you tell I’m excited for their book, which is next?
So yeah, I liked Once Perfect but I wasn’t bowled over like I ALWAYS am by Ms. Robson’s UF series, Weird Girls. I do love you, Cecy, and this was a hard review to write but I’ve got to be honest. I more than just liked this book because the ending rocked. It was just the beginning that had me a bit all over the place wondering where we were going.
Did I mention I love you, Cecy? Ugh…. I hate when I can’t write awesome reviews all the time….
About the author:
Cecy Robson is the New Adult author of Once Perfect, Once Loved, and Once Pure and the award-winning author of the Weird Girls urban fantasy romance series. A self-proclaimed professional napper, Robson counts among her talents a jaw-dropping knowledge of useless trivia, the ability to make her hair big, and a knack for breaking into song despite her family’s vehement protests. A full-time writer, registered nurse, wife, and mother living in the Great Northwest, she enjoys spending time with her family and silencing the yappy characters in her head by telling their stories.
Other books in the series: