One Night Stand: Relentless by Cassia Leo


Relentless (Shattered Hearts #1) by Cassia Leo
Contemporary / New Adult
ORLY Press (February 22, 2013)

Rating: B
Heat: Warm

Heroine: Claire Nixon – Orphan, Survivor 
Hero: Adam Parker – Hot Head, Charmer 
Setting: North Carolina, USA



"There are some things that, no matter how hard you try to convince yourself they're for the best, always seem to cut a chunk out of your heart. And you know that no matter how many wonderful people and beautiful adventures you welcome into your life, you'll never be whole again. You'll never be you again."

When Claire Nixon was seven years old, her drug addicted mother died from a drug over dose. Growing up, her mother prepared her to take care of herself and to be 'safe.' As Claire bounces from foster home to foster home, her mother's advice often came in handy to protect herself. At fifteen, Claire moves into a new foster home, where she finally feels comfortable and happy to actually call it her home. However, when Claire’s life dramatically changes her first year in college, the home she’s come to love, and the memories that come with it, become a thing of the past when she drops out and leaves everything behind and runs from Raleigh, NC.

Claire has a secret. A heartbreaking, doozy of a secret that left her with no choice but to run from her past so she could start over. Present day, Claire is working in a coffee shop in Wrightsville Beach, NC, where she rents an apartment with her best friend, Senia - one of three people who know her secret.

While working one day, Claire is suddenly thrown back into the past when a memory comes barreling to the surface. These flashbacks cause her to space out while in the midst of them. When she comes to, she realizes she has messed up a customer’s order. This customer then becomes irate and yells at Claire for screwing up his order.

That’s when Adam, Claire’s very own hero, who she nicknames Jack Dawson, rescues her from the irate customer. I think Claire has a thing for the movie Titanic. Anyway, Jack aka Adam, puts the douchebag customer in his place. Adam and Claire share a few words, an attraction is formed, and with a wink, Adam is gone... until he almost runs her over one night. But don't worry, Claire is safe, and she soon learns that Adam is her new upstairs neighbor.

From the moment Adam and Claire meet, he relentlessly pursues her. But, because Claire is very stand-offish and doesn’t let anyone in, Adam must figure out a way to get her to open up to him. He propositions her with a bet. This bet means Adam must find out why Claire dropped out of college. If he wins, she re-enrolls in school. If she wins, he must leave her alone. However, what started out as a simple bet between the two ends up becoming so much more.

"I want to leave you dazed and confused for a week with nothing but my name on your lips."

Adam won me over immediately with his sexy charm and snarky humor. I love how he playfully poked and prodded Claire to loosen the tight hold she has on her emotions. Claire eventually gives in to Adam and goes out with him. She finds herself unable to resist his easy charm and heartthrob smile.

But Adam is not perfect. He is harboring his own secret, one that has affected his relationship with his father and causes him to lose his temper and even become volatile at times. The guilt he carries around with him is eating him alive and he really wants to make amends with his past. Even though Adam may lose his temper when he gets angry, he would never do anything to hurt Claire. He’s extremely generous, caring, and patient with Claire. He adores Claire. Because of this affection he has for Claire, he eventually reveals his painful secret to her. This revelation brings them closer.

Claire, on the other hand, still has issues with revealing her own secret. I really did like Claire. She has a great personality. She's quirky and funny and cool. She has a strange obsession with water. And, one of the ways she copes with the bad memories from her past is by meditating. She meditates to help push the memories back inside her mind, so she doesn't have to think about them. The problem with this, though, is that she is not forcing herself to come to terms with her past. But Adam helps her see things about herself that she has denied for a long time. And, eventually, she does let her guard down just enough to reveal some things to him.

The chemistry between these two is extremely potent. I really love how these two verbally spar back and forth. It helped bring a lighter note to a dark story, where these two broken people struggle with forgiving themselves. And, over time, as they become inseparable, they fall in love. They form a solid relationship. But no matter how strong and solid these two are together, there is always the big secret Claire has yet to share with Adam that could essentially tear them apart.

Though I really do like Claire's character, I felt fairly frustrated with her. Adam deserved to know the truth. It was heartbreaking to see him be denied knowing all of Claire when he confessed his soul to her. But, my frustration and annoyance was just a blip on the radar compared to the sorrow I felt for Claire when the secret finally comes crashing down on her. Her whole life is turned upside down. It was shocking and intense. I felt for Adam. I really felt for Claire. But I also felt really bad for the other person connected to this secret. I seriously thought I had it all figured out. I was wrong.

There is an interesting twist to this story. I deliberately left out the third party involved in this story. This person is introduced in bits and pieces of Claire’s flashbacks. And, I'm sorry to say, this story abruptly ends with a lot of things left unresolved. But have no worries, the second book comes out in May.

Relentless is an engaging story about young romance, secrets, love, loss, forgiveness, consequences, past, and futures. What comes next is unpredictable. Claire has a tough decision ahead of her that could affect her relationship with Adam. I'm scared and nervous to see what happens next, but, at the same time, eager to read Pieces of You.


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