I received this book for free from DRC Promotions, NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Through Fire by Freya Barker
Series: Portland ME #3
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Chic's lit
Source: DRC Promotions, NetGalley
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Amazon AU, Buy on Amazon CA, Buy on Amazon UK, Buy on Apple Books
Violence corroded her…
Obedience defiled her…
Fear kept her chained…
Freedom is hard to embrace when she’s never learned to trust. Yet in the span of a second, she grabs a single opportunity and runs toward it. Straight into the sanctuary of a pub at the end of a wharf.
She doesn’t understand the concept of friendship. She’s never felt the connection of a relationship. She’s as innocent as the driven snow and yet tainted with corruption. Still, she finds herself surrounded by people who accept her, without even knowing the first thing about her. But one of them is determined to dig deeper.
He treasures his friends, yet he’s steered clear of committed relationships. He likes his life comfortably predictable and entirely controlled. Until it isn’t. For months he’s avoided interacting with The Skipper’s newest addition. Perhaps realizing that once he looked deeply into those liquid brown eyes, he wouldn’t be able to turn away.
When his present and her past puts them both on the brink of change, they are forged through fire as one.
by Freya Barker
Surprising plot; amazing characters; emotional read!!!
Up to the moment I ran, my life had been decided on by others; when to eat, when to sleep, what to wear, how to behave. by Ruby
Ruby is on a path to discovery. She is searching for freedom. She is seeking her inner warrior and is getting ready to fight her own demons. But she isn’t looking for love. In fact, man is not on the top of her priorities. How could she love someone, if she doesn’t even know how to accept herself? Is she strong enough to win the battle for love and happiness?
How ironic to finally fall deeply, irrevocably in love, and have it not be enough. by Tim
Tim has always wanted family, love, the whole white-picket-fence package deal. Nevertheless, he has always avoid relationships. His past love affairs have always been shallow and trivial. So, when love hits him on the face, at the most unexpected, unusual place, he tries to run away. But his needs to protect and conquer are stronger than his survival mechanisms. His biggest problem right now is that maybe love is not enough. What if he found love at the wrong time, in the wrong place? Would fate be so cruel to have him finding love and taking it away?
Through Fire is the third book of a series, but it can be read as a stand-alone. I don’t usually read books out-of-order, but when I accepted the ARC for this one, I didn’t pay attention it was not the first book. My “book OCD” feels the need to know everything, but I’ve throughly understood the setting and the plot of this one. Yes, I will go back and read book one and two. However I will do so, because I’ve really enjoyed the author’s writing and I fell in love with this group of amazing characters. I feel compelled to know them all.
Ms. Barker’s characters are fantastic! They were all so complex and multi-dimensional that I can’t remember one secondary character that I wouldn’t be interested in reading their own story. I understood, related and fell in love with all of them. They seem very real for me. I’ve cried and suffered along with them. I would be honored to be friends with this wonderful group of women.
Through Fire is a very emotional read. I felt the pace, a bit slow sometimes, but the plot was very creative and well written. Really, Ruby is not your usual heroine. She is neither young, nor mentally strong; something that I usually find on my “perfect” heroine. But what makes her special is her fragility. She may not ever become emotionally strong, but her ability to not give up, to keep on trying and to fight for herself is as breathtaking as any kick-ass heroine out there.
Only one woman has ever had the power to destroy me. To drag me through fire. Only one who can crush my heart as easily as she fills it. by Tim
P.S: I love book covers and buy many books without even reading a blurb, only because I fall in love with the cover. Yeah, I’m insane! This is a pretty cover and with the catching title, I would probably buy it, but only after reading the blurb. Therefore I have to say it doesn’t really look like Ruby and it doesn’t tell me the story that I’ve just read.
You MAY buy this book because you have been following the series; you SHOULD read this book if you like your romance with a bit of angst; but you MUST get this book if you are ready and willing for a deep soul-searching emotional read!
“Can I see?” His voice is right behind me now and I can almost feel the heat coming off his body.
Still without turning, I drop the peeler and hold my arm out to the side, slowly pulling up the sleeve of my sweater. He steps into my field of vision and wraps one of his large hands around my wrist, pulling my arm out further so he can see. It’s nothing. At least nothing compared to some marks I’ve carried. Still, the hiss of his breath over the raised blister on my forearm seems to burn itself into my skin, and I lightly tug at my arm. He releases it instantly.
“Did you put something on it?”
He settles his back against the counter, his arms crossed over his chest and it would be rude not to look at him. Although his voice sounds gruff, almost curt, his blue eyes only convey concern.
“I did,” I confirm. “It doesn’t hurt. Much,” I add, not quite sure why I felt the need to.
“Have you taken anything for the pain?”
I shake my head forcefully. “No.” No way in hell will I take any drugs. Not even if my arm was on fire.
I can feel him examine me closely and I keep my eyes focused on what my hands are doing. “Make sure to keep it clean. When those blisters open, it can easily get infected,” he finally says.
This time I simply nod. He seems satisfied with that and takes a look at the recipe while I pick up the peeler again.
For the next half hour we work in relative silence as we finish cutting the ingredients and toss them in the large pan, which is now ready to go in the oven. Tim’s easily taken charge and it’s obvious he is no slouch in the kitchen. I have to admit I feel more relaxed today than I did yesterday. Or even this morning when I should’ve been excited about meeting Viv at her apartment—my apartment now—but was worrying about the day ahead instead.
“I can teach you.” Tim’s statement, out of the blue, startles me. “Cooking, I mean. I’m no chef, but I can handle the basics.”
I’m not able to mask the flash of excitement at the prospect. Pam had tried but, with the constant interruptions at the shelter, I’d had a hard time staying on task. I quickly straightened my face, though, the moment I started thinking about the logistics. It would mean being alone with this large man for stretches of time. And where? At the apartment? Here at The Skipper? No. I can’t. I know enough to know that if a man offers you favors, it’s for good reason. Usually favors in return. Otherwise what would he get out of it?
He seems a little taken aback by my question. “Because you want to learn. You said so. Never too late to start. And if I’ve learned anything in my years it’s that regret is the one true failure. Besides,” he says with a shrug of his massive shoulders, “I like cooking. I don’t do it often enough.”
“Okay.” I slap my hand over my mouth but it’s too late to hold back the inadvertent response.
His eyes twinkle with amusement. “Good.” He nods with a smile, before turning back to the stove.
What have I gotten myself into? Idiota.
Pain punished her.
The bottle numbed her.
Guilt kept her trapped.
In the dark alley of a pub, the words “Please don’t” take hold of her heart and break the silence she seeks. Thinking herself beyond redemption, she tentatively grabs on to the slim thread of hope that unfolds inside of her.
Holding her secrets close, she can’t resist the comforting draw coming from The Skipper. The unconditional friendships it offers, the protective roof it provides, and the spark that its owner ignites in her—melting the frost off her heart, and slowly stripping away her resistance.
His life flows from one crisis to the next. Under the pressure of competition crowding him out of his family’s pub and the need to protect his children from the ruins of a bad marriage, he barely breathes. That is until a mane of strawberry-blonde hair and a set of big, pale blue eyes, shake him up.
He never expected the shadow of a woman he finds on the floor of his washroom to bring him the air―the balance and the light he’s been missing.
Innocence marked her…
Violation crippled her…
Love left her raw…
The life she carefully rebuilt is challenged when she is confronted with the sins from her past. The carefully applied protection is at once ripped away, leaving her exposed and vulnerable.
Her single night of indulgence with the silver-eyed stranger is only the beginning. He sees right to the heart of her and she is unable to ward off emotions that have been deeply buried. With the sting of betrayal still fresh in her soul, she’s surprised to find herself opening up to the honest integrity of the sharp-eyed, rough-looking biker.
When he lost everyone who mattered, he was left without roots and learned to be content simply living in the moment. Completely unprepared for the feisty blonde bartender with old pain marring her clear-blue eyes, he questions his own rules of detachment, as she unwittingly finds a way under his skin.
Appearances deceive and when the masks fall away, revealing deep, dark secrets, there is nothing left but to hang onto each other and survive the storm