As the story opens Ms. Walker gives readers a look at what “Quinn Rafferty’s”, life was like as a frightened child who lived with a physically and verbally abusive alcoholic and drug addicted mother. Trapped in the depth of poverty and despair he seeks refuge from time to time at the local youth shelter for an occasional meal and a place to sleep. When his mother dies of an overdose, Quinn’s father is finally contacted and he goes to live with him and his twin brother Luke on a ranch. Patrick Rafferty is a good man and does his best with his very angry, at times belligerent, and emotionally damaged son.
Fast forward 20 years and Quinn is an Army Ranger on a mission in Columbia dealing with the tragic loss under horrific circumstances of a woman he loved. Quinn blames himself for the circumstances surrounding her death. When he finishes his tour with the military he settles in St. Louis for a time and takes work as a bail bondsman with a private detective agency. Quinn has tremendous emotional baggage, he doesn’t trust people easily, has difficulty communicating and after losing the woman he loved in Columbia has not become involved in a relationship. He has however been befriended by Theresa Kingston, a lovely older woman who owns a house in a decent part of town with a basement apartment that Quinn rents.
“Sara Davis’s” life is in chaos, on the run for 2 years from “James Morgan” a wealthy, despicable, violent man who takes pleasure in controlling, beating and threatening the women in his life. Sara has nothing but the clothes on her back and the cash she earns from a job waiting tables. She is constantly on the move, living from day to day waiting for the call from a ‘mystery caller’ who gives a ‘report’ and signals it’s time to move on again. Theresa befriends Sara too and after some impassioned discussion persuades her to rent the upper flat in her house. This is where Sara meets Quinn and there is an instantaneous sexual attraction that flares and combusts between them.
Neither of these people give their trust easily nor are they looking for a relationship. Quinn is a member of humanity’s ‘walking wounded’, and Sara is constantly wary, ready to take flight from her tormentor at a moment’s notice. Quinn finds communication about himself or his feelings a painful exercise, but something about Sara makes talking easier for him.
Quinn and Sara cannot resist their mutual attraction and after some awkward first ‘chats’ and encounters they become intimate. I found both of these characters to be very lonely and in need of the company and warmth of another human being as much as a physical relationship. The sensuality that Ms. Walker pens into the love scenes between Quinn and Sara is intense and lovely. Neither of these people share their secrets but they connect through touch, a look, quiet conversation and making love. Their relationship intensifies and just as Quinn feels ready to admit his strong feelings for Sara her phone rings signaling that she must flee once more, forcing her to leave him behind.
Sara doesn’t know what Quinn does for a living and right at the time of her call, he learns something unexpected and devastating about Sara, a woman he has come to love. This leads to a heartbreaking scene where both suffer loss of trust in the other. I was left wondering how Ms. Walker was going to resolve what seemed like insurmountable issues and bring the hero and heroine of this story together.
Ms. Walker pens a surprising plot twist and climax to Quinn and Sara’s story that was thrilling as well as suspenseful. At the end of the day, I wasn’t disappointed.
I found “Broken” to be an emotional, sensual, suspenseful contemporary romance about two lost and quite tortured souls who find each other and happiness. If you enjoy Shiloh Walker’s work or a novel with this type of theme you may like to give “Broken” a try. I know I will read this book again and can’t wait to read “Fragile”.
Heat Level: Explosive. Sensual and sexually explicit.
My Rating: A Keeper – 5+ stars, I loved this novel.
I won this ARC of Broken at Shiloh Walker’s blog and am very grateful.