Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Also in this series: Wayward Fighters: Books 1 & 2
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Synopsis:Spencer Bradley ruins everything he touches. Addicted to gambling, he’s lied, cheated, and stolen to get what he wants. Now, in order to protect those he cares for, he’s keeping his distance. Rehab’s taught him a lot, but when his time runs out and he finds himself with nowhere to turn, he seeks help from the one person he’s capable of destroying. Olivia Carter fell in love the day she met Spencer Bradley. Despite him being responsible for the downfall of his best friend’s career and landing himself in rehab, she can’t bring herself to stay away—even if it means risking her own recovery. *Note* While this book is a part of the Wayward Fighters series, unDefeated can be read as a standalone.
***Nona's review of unDefeated***
This story surprised me. Since it is part of the Wayward Fighters series, I thought there would be a lot of physicality in it and action. Well, there is plenty of action in the bedroom, lol. It's a sexy story! But it's also a thoughtful one. There's a great deal of reflection on the characters' parts as they struggle with their own problems and try to help each other.
Some people are their own worst enemy. That's certainly true of Spencer. His gambling addiction led to the injury of his best friend and his own stint in rehab. Olivia has tried to visit him there every week, but he's always turned her away. When his time in rehab is up, he has nowhere to go and ends up on Liv's doorstep.
Liv loves him but wonders if she can get through to him. She has her own demons to fight and her own addiction to battle, which is revealed later in the story. Both characters struggle with unhappy pasts, but while Liv is trying to better herself, it seems that Spencer is content to wallow in self-pity and a sense of worthlessness.
I didn't much care for Spencer at first, but that turned around when Liv's problem is revealed. Though he has trouble being strong for himself, he is a rock when it turns out she needs him. Though both these characters are flawed, I loved the way they stood strong for each other. Spencer is determined to help Olivia through her hard times, just as she tried to help him. I was glad that the author stressed the importance of therapy when dealing with different types of addictions. Support is extremely important--it's very difficult for a person to "tough it out" on his own. Spencer and Liv rely on that support not just for their individual problems, but to work out the kinks in their relationship as well.
This is the third book of a series, and though I haven't read the first two, I had no trouble following the action. I gather than Spencer was something of an unsympathetic character in the earlier books. JC Valentine did a good job of showing what made him tick and bringing out his humanity.
I liked this book and recommend it for anyone who enjoys angsty, thoughtful reads featuring complex characters.
Also in the Wayward Fighters Series
Publication Date: April 6, 2014Synopsis:
From the wrong side of the tracks... Alyson Blake had learned early on that the only one she could depend on was herself. The only light in her life was a boy whom everyone agreed was destined for prison; but with his first kiss, he had set her soul on fire. Since the day the police dragged him away in handcuffs, she had managed to lead a quiet life, but when she attends an event fraught with mayhem, trouble resurfaces.
The one person she can’t forget... Jamison Weston is the kind of guy dads load their shotguns for; endowed with a hot temper and a rap sheet as long as both tattooed arms. Known as “The Judge,” Jami’s hot temper, lethal fists, and cocky attitude have earned him respect and admiration both in and out of the ring. But just when he thinks he’s pummeled his past to death, Alyson Blake reenters his life.
Two paths collide… After years of separation, Alyson is eager to reexplore the man who’s never left her thoughts, but for Jamison, she’s both the distraction he wants, but doesn’t need. As the two embark on a relationship that neither of them expected or bargained for, an outside threat closes in. When Alyson crosses the line of professionalism and takes her work home with her, her life is put in danger, leaving Jamison with no choice but to once again step in and become her protector.
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Synopsis: History brought them together. Circumstances may keep them apart.Alyson Blake’s past left her with scars. Scars that she tried to fix the only way she knew how—by helping others. But actions have consequences, and Alyson is about to find out that being naïve is no excuse. Fighting is Jamison Weston’s passion. Alyson is his obsession. Despite the past and a few lingering concerns, their relationship is as solid as ever. Until a shocking lie is uncovered and all of his plans begin to unravel. Now, Jami is rushing to pick up the pieces, but as relationships are put to the test, will he be strong enough to keep it together, or will it all just fall apart?
About J.C. Valentine
USA Today Bestselling author J.C. Valentine is the alter-ego of Brandi Salazar, whose enjoyment of tales of romance spurred her to branch out and create her own.
She lives in the Northwest with her husband, their wild children, and far too many pets. As a university student, she studies literature, which goes well with her dream of becoming an editor. Brandi entertains a number of hobbies including reading and photography, but her first love is writing fiction-in all its forms.