Date Published: 6/6/2013
Darcie Claiborne spent several years of her young life living with a monster, always fearing what he would do next. Clasping onto her last ounce of hope, Darcie releases a scream. It’s her final attempt to live; to survive the villain of her reality. Sweeping her up in his arms, Darcie’s knight in shining armor rescues her from the hell she’s been living; from the stepfather she's feared for all those years.
Reggie Evans has been forced to grow up before he’s ready when his mother dies of an overdose, leaving him responsible to raise his younger brothers. One fateful night, Reggie jogs by an old, run down house and discovers a young girl clinging to life as she screams for help.
Three years later, Darcie is healing and always protected by the man who saved her, but now she's fighting with something she isn't prepared to face. The growing love for the man who saved her life three years ago, the same man who’s nine years older. All the while, Reggie fights to protect Darcie from the demons of her past and new ones of her present.
This book had me completely mesmerized from the very beginning. When we first meet Darcie, she is deep in her abuse, waiting for something, anything, to rescue her. She could take the easy way out and wish for death, but has a strength in her that is compelling her to hold out for something better. She knows deep down that she is actually worth something and deserves better. Finally, her knight in shining armor arrives, and whisks her from her terror.
Her new life serves her well, but she is not completely out of the woods. There are still some secrets that threaten her very existence. She still has a lot of unresolved anger about what happened to her, and rightfully so. I just want to smack her upside the head when she lets that temper get the better of her, though. Getting into fights isn't going to solve anything. Her supposed toughness is just a front for all of the pain that still haunts her.
I will never understand those who abuse children. What Darcie had to endure is worse than I can wrap my head around. Be forewarned, if you are sensitive to severe abuse, you are not going to want to read this book. It does come up again and again, yet I feel is handled well. It's a part of the story that needs to be told. It's going to make you squirm, but can't be ignored and have the story be the same.
I am glad that Darcie has an adopted family that cares for her so much. She is very fortunate to have found such a thing, and to have avoided the horrors often associated with the foster care system. They are truly a group of misfits that work well together. I wish they could have gotten her more help, because it is obvious to me that she needs a significant amount of counseling. At the same time, I understand why they are hesitant to let in more outsiders.
I have to admit that the relationship and attraction between Darcie and Reggie made me uncomfortable for a while. They are ten years apart in age. He is her guardian. She is a minor. At the same time, I can understand the attraction that they have for each other and commend them for trying to hold off until it is more appropriate.
This is one of those books that is going to make you hurt. It's going to make you think. It's going to keep you completely engrossed through the entire rollercoaster ride, filled with ups and downs and lots of twists. I was able to figure out one major twist in the plot, but wasn't completely positive until it was revealed. I really liked it and almost wish to find out what happens to Darcie in the long run.