Defying the Odds (Battered Hearts Book 1)
By Kele Moon
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
When struggling waitress Melody Dylan gives a handsome, lonely stranger a simple gift she has no clue her life is about to take a drastic turn.
The stranger ends up being Clay Powers, a famous UFC heavyweight fighter. Clay’s large build and dangerous fists have always intimidated. People in his hometown keep their distance and Clay is fine with that. Everything changes when a new waitress at the local diner buys him a piece of pie on Thanksgiving. Touched by the gesture when it’s obvious she can barely afford to survive, her warm smile and lush body churn up powerful feelings that leave Clay wanting more from her than pie.
Melody is running from her past and the small, country town of Garnet is the perfect hiding place. With an ex-husband after her and scars from her abusive marriage etched deep, the last thing she expects is to fall for a man who makes a living with his fists, but she can’t resist Clay or the tender connection they share.
Finding love in the most unlikely of places, the passion is undeniable, but Clay and Melody know their haunted pasts and unpredictable futures leave the odds stacked against them.
Defying the Odds is a captivating and fast-paced romance. Clay is an absolute gem. He may be intimidating to look at, but he has a tender heart and knows how to love a woman. Together, Clay and Melody are a captivating couple – they are sweet, steamy and sensual, and they share genuine affection for one another. There are no games, no drama and no agendas, they simply are right for one another.
The friendship/family dynamics between Clay, Wyatt and Jules is also a key part of the story and their witty interactions are spot-on believable. Jules dragging Melody to Vegas to watch Clay fight and provide him with the incentive to win? Clay sharing his victory with Melody? The twists and turns when Melody’s ex-husband shows up in Vegas? Perfect.
And another thing I loved about this book? The heroine wore glasses – and the author remembered to have her take them off, mention how she couldn’t see without them, etc. Those of us out there who wear glasses thank you. We can be hot little numbers, too.
I really enjoyed this couple’s realistic interaction, but probably my favorite scene was towards the beginning of the book when Melody’s truck won’t start and she’s feeling so helpless…only to discover that Clay is still parked in the restaurant parking lot. Her relief was palpable and their chemistry undeniable. The entire Vegas storyline was also a winner.
“How’d this happen?” Melody asked in a stunned whisper…”We just met.”
“I don’t believe that,” Clay argued as he turned her palm over in his and traced the lines of it with the pad of his finger. “I’m pretty sure we’ve known each other forever. Seeing you the first time was like coming home, and there ain’t been anything to happen since that’s disabused me of the notion.”
Original review posted on Amazon and Goodreads on April 13, 2016.