Breaking a Legend by Sarah Robinson
Overview by Amazon:
As one of the big names at his family’s gym, Legends, MMA star Rory Kavanagh is used to being in the spotlight—until a gruesome leg injury knocks him out of the cage. Rory is left feeling sidelined in more ways than one, battling the inner demons that come with losing the one shot at his dreams. Then Clare walks into his life and gives him a new dream: winning her heart. There aren’t many new faces in Woodlawn these days, but this tough, beautiful stranger makes Rory want to get his life back into fighting shape.
Clare Ivers doesn’t think she’ll be able to tell anyone what really brought her to the close-knit Bronx neighborhood where she just started bartending. But her life’s on pause and her past is catching up fast, try as she might to move on—with new friends, steady work, and a chiseled alpha male trying to get her attention. Even though Rory’s more than a little intense, she can’t deny that her heart beats faster when he looks at her with those soulful silver eyes. Clare thought she was done with love, but Rory might just be man enough to show her she thought wrong.
In the TV show, Sex and the City, they call New York the fifth lead character. In this book, the New York City Borough of Bronx is highlighted like a lovable character. Clare moves to the area and through her eyes we get to experience the Irish neighbourhood, with all its idiosyncrasies and history. The Kavanaugh family runs the area. They could be likened to a mafia, but it’s the mixed martial arts that has the hold over the family.
Rory was listed as one of the top ten in the country until he has a disastrous injury. I don’t know a lot about MMA and frankly I find it really difficult to watch grown men pound each other until bloody. Since Rory’s career is over, the book deals with the fall out and how he moves on – or rather doesn’t. While he is back home, he is drinking and drugging himself into oblivion everyday.
Enter Clare. She has a past that she is running from, but finds sanctuary in the Bronx. Clare was at times so sassy and great at flirting. Then, she would be so scared and unsure of herself. The way she played with Rory at first was so cute. Then she seemed a little scared when the flirting paid off and became the recipient of his attention.
What made this book great was two things. The relationship between the two and the redemption theme woven throughout. Clare and Rory slowly progress towards each other. He instantly recognizes that Clare isn’t the kind of woman he can rush. He takes it slow and steady. I loved the dialogue between them and that he waited for her every night after her bar tending shift. Those walks home created wonderful intimacy between the characters that is often missing in stories.
Between Rory’s problems, Clare’s past and the animals they help, redemption is a large theme in this book. It isn’t presented sappy, but rather unfolds naturally and sometimes critically. This is a hard theme to write about without it seeming preachy and pretentious. The author pulls it off however.
The love scenes between the two are sexy and romantic. I liked that the sex came after the intimacy was well developed and that a few kisses had their heads spinning.
You know it’s a good story when you imagine being there and build the world in your mind.