Requested-Review: DEFYING THE ODDS by Kele Moon

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.

Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: violence.

Author: Kele Moon
Series: Battered Hearts, book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Loose ID Publishing
Year of release: 2011, December 20
Format: eBook
Source: Received an e-ARC from author for review

First line: “For you.”
Clay looked at the small blue plate placed in front of him, his usual scowl growing deeper. “I didn’t order this.”

Memorable Scenes:
– the sparring session between Clay and Wyatt > Awe to the Some! Love it when authors make fight scenes come alive
– The scene where Clay mops the diner instead of Melody > if I had to choose a scene to portray this book, this is it!
– the championship fight > love me some good fight scenes
– the Las Vegas steakhouse dinner > Jules cracked me up

Melody Dylan is a waitress who escaped an abusive, obsessive husband. I loved her, especially her positive outlook on life and her sweet and vivacious demeanor. She’s down-to-earth, open and says what she thinks without hesitation or embellishments.

Then we have Clay Powers who is a UFC fighter. He’s gruff, straightforward, blunt and a bit cynical but he’s also caring and sweet in his own way, which makes him utterly endearing. Needless to say I loved Clay too.

Pre-reading I saw some comments about this book about the speedy development of the romance and this made me retreat from the reviews very quickly because I don’t want to start a book with pre-imposed impressions from others.

After finishing though I was relieved because I didn’t think the romance went too fast. I think the speed in which the relationship developed worked excellently for the characters. Both of them are straightforward and not ones to beat around the bush so why should they fight or deny what’s between them.
I loved the chemistry between Clay and Melody and the easy humor and teasing banter between them that added to the sexual zing they had together. Speaking of sexual zing, the sex scenes were excellent. They were explicit, carnal, beautiful and very hot. The sexiness just jumped off the pages.

Subtle and laugh-out-loud humor alternated with the heavier emotional impact of the story and the characters’ back-stories and gave the story a lighter feel to it. The characterization was awesomely done in this character-driven story. Melody and Clay, but also the secondary characters came alive for me and I felt sad when I reached the end of the story.

The secondary cast was complementary to the main couple and they contributed to the humor I found so enjoyable in this book. I loved the camaraderie and banter between Clay and his best friends Wyatt and Jules and I was thrilled to discover that the next book in this series will be about Jules. I also really liked the inside look into ultimate fighting and martial arts.

I adore Kele Moon’s writing style. It has an ease to it that makes you fly through the pages and at the same time it’s intense in the emotions and sexy in the romance. It reads effortlessly and yet has a rawness to it that kept me enthralled. I love it when authors do this to me.

DEFYING THE ODDS is a perfectly balanced and paced combination of romance, characterization, humor and emotions. It ticked all my boxes and I can’t wait to read the next book in this series!

Favorite Quotes:
“I heard you say both thank you and sorry in less than a minute. Not to mention those pearly whites you were flashing,” Wyatt argued, grin still wide and shrewd. “Forget praline, I think ya wanna bite of Miss Dylan’s pie.”

She was probably being pathetic and obvious, but who the hell cared? That fighter had her feeling young and alive when she’d felt worn-out and beaten for so long.

He lifted his head to look at her, finding Jules stunned speechless, her jaw actually hanging open. He glanced to Wyatt, sitting next to her, who had a similar look of shock on his handsome face. “You two running a fly-catching contest or something? What’re you gawking at?”

He stood up, deliberately crowding into her personal space because being near her felt like breathing fresh air after a lifetime of choking on dust. Her head only came to his shoulder, and it left him feeling powerful and masculine in a way he found addictive.

Clay wanted to drown in her, to spend a lifetime learning her with his mouth and hands. He didn’t just want to f#ck her; he wanted to actually love her with his body in a way that had never occurred to him before Thanksgiving. It was more than her lush figure and beautiful smile. It was her soul that called out to him. Being around her felt like coming home.

Suddenly Clay touched the small of her back, his large palm resting against the curve of it. The gentle contact made her jump from the shock of pleasure. The first touch felt like the strike of a flint that ignited an inferno of desire.

She twined her arms around his neck as their lips met over and over again. Their kissing was carnal and passionate in a way she’d never imagined. Sharing the same air with him was addictive. Connecting with him tasted like her first sip of wine—sweet and intoxicating. She wanted more .

She never got more than a small taste of heaven because he was holding her in a way that sapped her control. His arms were hooked under her knees, opening her wide, leaving her exposed and waiting for that first hard thrust that never came. Instead the crescendo built; the need boiled and raged. Melody would be begging if she could give up the addictive feel of his kiss long enough to find her voice.

She lowered her head, still trying to breathe past the ecstasy that didn’t want to yield to the stillness and sacredness of the moment. She searched for something carnal, something flesh and bone to distract her from the emotional current of synchronicity pulsing in the air around them.

“You’re beautiful like this, didja know that?” he asked, his voice low and husky without his permission. “You look like a fallen angel, spread out and begging like you are right now.”

Clay didn’t have a choice but to watch her run off. He stood in the back hallway of the Cuthouse Cellar, watching his heart run away from him in a blue and white waitress uniform. It turned out the sound of heartbreak squeaked like sneakers with bad treading sliding against linoleum.

“Go ahead.” Clay’s voice turned low and gravelly with sex. “Use it; f#ck it. It belongs to you; own it.”
Melody’s gaze became molten, the pink sheen of morning painting itself over her flushed skin. She licked her lips, looking awed. “Is that true?”
“Yes,” he assured her without hesitation. “I thought I was broken too, that I’d never trust women, but I had it all wrong. I wasn’t broken at all. I was just waiting for you. It’s always been yours; even before we met, it belonged to you.”
Clay wasn’t real sure if they were talking about his heart or c#ck, but it didn’t seem to matter.

If a climax with Melody was a small death, it was a death worth dying, and Clay rode it out until the end. He relished the pulse of pleasure, savoring every tiny aftershock of bliss until he felt like he’d bleed his soul into Melody.

“You’re so beautiful, Mel,” Clay whispered, his low voice almost aching with emotion. “I love you.”
Melody sucked in a sharp breath. Icy-hot pleasure spiraled through her bloodstream. Her chest actually hurt with the feelings welling up inside her, making her feel like she might shatter in his arms. It was too much; the emotions overran every thought, leaving her shaking from the onslaught. This was crazy.

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