Fighting Redemption by Kate McCarthy
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.
The narrative sequence McCarthy uses to tell the story is effective. The Prologue is set in the present, and it prepares you for some of the distress and sorrow that will follow. The question, however, is just how much tragedy these characters will have to bear before the end. The narrative then moves to a flashback that takes readers all the way back to the childhood of Fin, her brother, Jake, and his best friend, Ryan, so we can understand the depth of their friendship, loyalty, and love growing up together and then carries us through the years into their adulthood before bringing us full circle and back to the present in the Epilogue. After you finish reading the Prologue, take a short break to grab the tissues before you continue. I wish I’d done this since I’m not a pretty crier.
I don’t want to give too much away about the plot because I want you to have the same opportunity to fully experience the angst, the pain, the bliss, and the fierce passion that brings the story to life. It’s so easy to love Ryan, Fin, and their close family and friends. Fin is just a bright ball of sunshine with a huge heart and so much love to give. The fact that she’s clumsy like I am is just one more aspect that endears her to me. Ryan is a good, honorable man but also one who is deeply wounded and filled with so much grief that he can’t move forward because he lets his past continue to dictate his life. Just like Fin, there are so many moments I wanted to just wrap my arms around him and tell him that he is worthy and deserving of the love and happiness that he continues to deny himself. Unfortunately, it’s a realization he will have to come to all on his own. And Jake, well, Jake is one of those people who brightens the lives of everyone around him and he is unforgettable.
McCarthy’s beautifully written soul-bearing prose left me weepy-eyed but also emotionally satisfied. I really went to town with my highlighter because there are so many memorable passages.
Here are some of my favorites:
Ryan to Fin:
“I have a thick skin, baby, he told her, his wide shoulders crowding her back against the cool tiles, “but you’re under it. You’re buried in there so deep it’s like I was born with you in my soul.”…”When I’m near you I’m consumed by you-your smile, your eyes, your heart. Even though we’ve never been together, you’ve always been mine, and even I never get to keep you, you’ll still be mine.”
“Ryan pulled her around the table and into the circle of his arms. “Every piece of me is in here.” He placed his palm flat on her chest, feeling her heart beat hard and steady beneath his fingers. He closed his eyes briefly at the beauty of it. “My breath, my heart, my life. I won’t ever leave you if you keep that safe inside of you.”
However, even during their peaceful, happy moments together, Fin continues to doubt whether she will ever be enough for him: “What if love wasn’t enough for them? Would it heal the deep lacerations life had placed on his heart, or would he always be so completely broken that he would never fully be hers?”
Rachael is a wonderful friend who is always there for Fin and even when Fin thinks Ryan will always belong to the army instead of her, Rachael sets her straight:
“You’re his heart. You. That’s his sacrifice for whatever demons he’s carrying around inside him. But he needs to wake up and realize that it doesn’t matter where he is, or what he does, you’ll still make being together work, because both of you share something that is so far beyond love it won’t ever die.”
Bravo, Ms. McCarthy for writing a powerful, moving love story that is nothing short of beautiful.
I received a copy of this book from the author 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.”
Dream Cast for Fighting Redemption
Listen to the Playlist for Fighting Redemption at Spotify: Fighting Redemption
Trading Yesterday – For You Only
Buffalo Tales – Crazy Heart
Green Day – 21 Guns
The Fray – Never Say Never
James Arthur – Impossible
Olly Murs – Dear Darlin’
Coldplay – The Scientist
Placebo – Running Up That Hill
Andy Burrows – Hometown
City and Colour – Sleeping Sickness
Thirty Seconds To Mars – This Is War
Sia – I Go To Sleep
Coldplay – Yellow
Coldplay – Fix You
The Fray – Be Still
Damien Rice – 9 Crimes
The Fray – How To Save A Life – New Album Version
She now resides in Brisbane, Australia, a city in the state of Queensland where she works as an accountant, along with a sideline wedding cake business and her writing.
She is married with two children, has two dogs and house in the suburbs, and a pile of friends and family dotted all over the country that help keep her sane.
When she’s not busy running after naughty kids, filthy dogs, crunching numbers, piping buttercream and writing books, you can find her curled up in bed in the early hours of the morning reading new books and re-reading old favourites. Her favourite books are the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward in which she longs to eventually join the brotherhood and change her name to Phierce Mutha.
Signed Copies + Ryan’s dog tags (pic attached below), ebooks, gift cards
Amazon: Fighting Redemption
Amazon Paperback: Fighting Redemption
B&N : http://bit.ly/1anoIMv