I have no space or need for it.
I’m perfectly happy with my little girl being the only lady in my life.
Then Zoe Carlisle comes waltzing into my town looking sinfully sexy and troubled as hell.
Although my mind warns me
that this woman and her secrets will ruin me, my heart is yelling that I need to protect her
—no matter what the cost.
Cait Sidhe’s Review
Ruined is the third book in the Willow Creek series, but like all the books in this series, it can be read as a standalone. I would highly recommend reading the series from the start simply to better appreciate the cast of characters.
I love the world that A.K. Macbride has created in this little small town, where everyone knows everyone and nothing happens by accident! Zoe, fleeing the city after arson burns her gallery to the ground, comes to Willow Creek for safety and refuge. Unfortunately, that puts her running smack dab into Eli again. After she kissed him at Kenzie and Brett’s wedding, he’s been unable to get her off of his mind, and now here she is, showing up unannounced with fear in her eyes.
There’s so much chemistry between these two right off the bat but they each have their own traumatic pasts and secrets that they don’t immediately act on it. Eli, being an amazing father to little Molly, was simple to love right from the start. I don’t typically choose to read romances with children involved, having none myself, but Molly, being the precocious child that she is, was absolutely adorable. It’s obvious that Molly’s mom did a number on Eli, though you have to delve a little deeper to find out exactly what happened. The same goes for Zoe. While we know that she is trying to outrun her demons, it’s only later that we find out the whole extent. Their attraction is instantaneous and inescapable, yet they face enormous odds if they are going to be together.
There were a few things that distracted me from enjoying Ruined as much as I would have liked. There are so many side character arcs in Ruined that it felt a tad unfinished. There are side stories of Zoe’s brother, Adam and his battle, Adam’s friend Griffin’s disappearance, Eli’s mom’s frightening news, and even Molly’s grandparents wanting to be in the picture. None of these were really resolved and they just didn’t add much to the read for me. The other was how Eli “handled” Zoe’s stalker. It just didn’t sync with the nice guy image that Eli cultivates.
A.K. Macbride excels at writing beautifully, broken people who have given up on love, only to have love come knocking at their door, and Ruined is a perfect example of that. Her stories are consistently heartbreaking and yet, heartwarming all at the same time. The love she creates is two people who are imperfect, finding out that they are perfect together. And isn’t that what we all hope for at the end of the day?
I give Ruined 3.5 out of 5 propellers!
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The Wickedcoolflight Crew
Author of romances that leave you with ALL the feels.
She likes her coffee big and strong and her chocolate sinfully dark.
Living in a small town in South Africa, she’s afforded the luxury of being surrounded by mountains and waking up to birds singing their morning songs.
In addition to her coffee and chocolate obsession, she can’t say no to cheesecake or pastry.
When she is not creating emotional reads that tug on heartstrings, she’s busy being a wife to her best friend and a mom to a sassy little girl (whom she wouldn’t want any other way).
She just so happens to love stalkers, so don’t be shy and get your stalk on.
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