Fighting Redemption by Kate McCarthy
on December 2, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Romance
Amazon • Goodreads
Ryan Kendall is broken. He understands pain. He knows the hand of violence and the ache of loss. He knows what it means to fail those who need you. Being broken doesn’t stop him wanting the one thing he can’t have; Finlay Tanner. Her smile is sweet and her future bright. She’s the girl he grew up with, the girl he loves, the girl he protects from the world, and from himself.
At nineteen, Ryan leaves to join the Australian Army. After years of training he becomes an elite SAS soldier and deploys to the Afghanistan war. His patrol undertakes the most dangerous missions a soldier can face. But no matter how far he runs, or how hard he fights, his need for Finlay won’t let go.
Returning home after six years, one look is all it takes to know he can’t live without her. But sometimes love isn’t enough to heal what hurts. Sometimes people like him can’t be fixed, and sometimes people like Finlay deserve more than what’s left.
This is a story about war and the cost of sacrifice. Where bonds are formed, and friendships found. Where those who are strong, fall hard. Where love is let go, heartache is born, and heroes are made. Where one man learns that the hardest fight of all, is the fight to save himself.
I often wonder what makes some books stand out more than others. It’s not always the writing. I can read a book with a great plot and amazing characters, but terrible sentence structure, and be happy. Then there are books that that only have a great plot, and yet for me they’re fantastic. I see reviews all the time for books I’ve read that I’ve given a mediocre review for and others just rave about them. I’m often left wondering “what did I miss?”. I know that when a reader picks up a book they often look for characteristics that they can in some part connect with. Maybe it’s the personality of a specific character, maybe it’s turmoil, maybe it’s the entire plot. We all have triggers from our environment that when reading find us nodding in agreement, sympathizing with the hero or heroine, laughing at the antics, or crying as we find ourselves relating to the grief.
I am always looking for that ‘one’, that one book that has it all. That one book that screams at me, that comforts me, that tears me apart and builds me back up. I want to connect to the characters. I want to ‘feel’ them, their happiness, their anger, their despair, even their grief. I want to lose myself in their story, turning pages as fast as I can so I can feed my soul with the words that ultimately soothe it.
Fighting Redemption was the ‘one’ for me.
I was certain after reading it that I would never be able to write a review. I would never be able to get all my feelings and thoughts out eloquently. I could never do it justice.
I want everyone to read this book.
I want everyone to feel the way I do about it.
I know that unfortunately there will be those that don’t connect to it like I did. I get that. I just hope you all at least give it a chance. Really give it a chance. It’s not an easy read. It’s gut wrenching. I always smile, okay maybe I roll my eyes when I see people say things like they were just “shredded” emotionally. I find it hard sometimes to think that a book of fiction has that power. Yes I’ve cried many many times reading a book. But “shredded”? I can’t say I’ve ever been that devastated. Well that’s not true. In real life I have definitely been shredded. And maybe I came close when reading Taking Chances.
Let me just be clear here, okay?
I was shredded reading Finding Redemption. My connection to this story so powerful that I cried they entire freaking time I was reading.
I cried. And cried. And cried. I cried until I didn’t think I could handle anymore, but I continued on and cried even more.
I’m still teary. My emotions are most definitely close to the surface. I haven’t even told you anything about this book yet. I’m not sure I should. A big part of me feels like you should look at the cover, read the synopsis, and pick up this little gem and read it. Judge for yourself. Could I get away with that? Can I write a review that doesn’t discuss the details of the story? Do my emotions hold enough clout to make you pick it up based on how I felt and only how I felt?
“I love you, Fin. I’ve always loved you. Right from the moment you walked up those steps at school, you tripped your way right into my heart. I won’t ever stop. I’ll love you longer than the stars that live in the sky.” ~ Ryan
Trust me I want to divulge everything. I want to tell you how sweet and broken Ryan is. I want to tell you how sweet and loving Fin is. I want to share with you the beauty that is Jake, his love for his family, his love for his friend. I want to talk to you about forgiveness, redemption. I want to talk to you about what it means to love your country so much you would die for it. I want to share it all with you. But more than that I want you to read this story. I want you to come back when you’re finished and leave me a comment. Tell me you felt what I felt.
Tell me you get it.
“Ask me, Fin, what I see when I look up at all those stars.”
She met his eyes, shifting closer, her smooth skin brushing against his rough, hardened body. “What do you see?”
“You”, he said simply.
Tears filled her eyes.
“You’re all I see. Nothing holds more beauty in my eyes than you do. No one will ever love you the way I do.”
My father was in the U.S. Army. I never felt that affects of his going away to war. No I felt the affects war had on him and the aftermath of that destruction. I often say that the boy who went to Vietnam was not the man who came home. I never got to know that boy. I only know that man that we were left with. He had many many demons. Demons that ultimately killed him. I wish he somehow could have found his redemption. But he was my father and I will forever be proud of his sacrifices for our country.
I can honestly say, I don’t give much thought to soldiers from other nations that fight along with our soldiers in this ultimate struggle for freedom. I am embarrassed by that. There is not excuse for ignorance. I have been enlightened. I am truly thankful and humbled by the brave men and women all over the world who fight for what is right and I pray that they all come home safely to the arms of their loved ones.
Thank you Kate McCarthy for allowing me to read this beautiful story. I cannot wait to grab your other books.
*A copy of this book was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*
Later that morning after their workout and shower, Jake fell asleep on the couch. Feeling at a loss with nothing but time on his hands, Ryan wandered down the hall towards Fin’s room. She was sitting at a little study nook in the corner, laptop open with one foot resting on her chair. She was wearing a tank top and a little pair of shorts. Leaning up against the doorframe, he couldn’t tear his eyes away from those long, delectable legs.
As though sensing his presence, she turned in her chair. He forced his eyes upwards, catching a sexy flush fill her cheeks at his blatant perusal.
“Morning, Ryan.” She took off her black framed reading glasses and tossed them on the desk.
“Morning, Fin,” he replied.
Against his better judgment, Ryan pushed away from the door and walked farther into the room. Fin hadn’t changed at all and neither had his desire for her. His heart kicked over when she met his eyes. He knew everything he was feeling right now was written all over him, but he couldn’t seem to shut it off.
Her eyelids fluttered closed and she whispered, “Why now?”
Ryan took a deep breath. “I don’t know,” he replied honestly.
He shouldn’t still be feeling this way after so many years. Why was he doing this to her, and to himself? It was better for everyone if he stayed away like he was supposed to.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have come. I’ll go stay at the barracks.” He turned to leave.
“Ryan!” she called out. Scrambling out of the chair, she grabbed his arm as he was halfway out the door.
“Fin,” he warned, looking down at her hand pointedly.
She took a step closer and he breathed her in, her scent like jasmine on a hot summer’s day. He was surprised when he looked into her eyes and saw anger burning hotly in their depths.
“Six years, Ryan. Do you know how hurt I was, each day passing by and getting nothing—not even a note or an email? I didn’t just lose you. I lost my brother too. Both of you left me, and I was okay with that. I understood that this was what you needed to do, so I moved on. I built a life that doesn’t include you. That was what I had to do.” She paused and raised a shaky hand to cup his cheek. “I’d have given you my entire heart if you’d only asked, but it’s not yours now. It’s not yours.”
Ryan closed his eyes, agony for losing what was never his rose in his chest until he felt strangled by it. He placed his hand over hers, holding it there until she tugged it away.
“You’re right,” Fin told him. “You should stay on the barracks … but I don’t want you to. Damn you, Ryan,” she whispered fiercely. “I don’t want you to.”
Ryan used his bulk to crowd her against the wall until there was no room for her to move. Leaning one hand against the wall, he grabbed her hip with the other. Her breathing rose rapidly and he leaned in, ducking his head until their mouths hovered a mere breath apart.
“Why can’t I force myself to leave?” He rested his forehead against hers and closed his eyes. “I hurt too. For six years I fought every day not to think of you, and I lost, because every day you were all I could see. You were the best thing in my life—so sweet and innocent, and so goddamn tempting.” His hand strayed from her hip and slid down to grip her ass. He swallowed the groan. “I stayed away so you could move on.”
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Signed Copies + Ryan’s dog tags (pic attached below), ebooks, gift cards