Title: After We Fall
Series: Take the Fall #3
Author: Marquita Valentine
Publication Date: 26 April 2016
Source: Review Copy
Synopsis from Goodreads
A tough cop with an even tougher past, Hunter Sloan has never let anyone stop him from getting what he wants—and he wants Evangeline Ambrose bad. With her gentle curves and raw vulnerability, Hunter’s beautiful, mysterious new neighbor awakens his protective side. Determined to do right by a woman who’s gone through hell and back, Hunter could be the one to take away the pain—so long as his own secrets don’t sink their relationship before it begins.
Having escaped an abusive marriage, Evangeline simply wants to start over in the small, quiet town of Forrestville. She’s also avoiding all contact with the opposite sex, because she just can’t trust her instincts when it comes to men—not even with the sinfully sexy cop next door. So why can’t she stop thinking about him? Hunter has darkness in his soul, and yet no one ever made her feel so safe. For all her best laid plans, Evangeline didn’t count on choices this hard—or temptation this hot.
You’ve probably heard me say this before but the reason I read romance is not only as a means of escapism but it gives me hope that there is someone perfect for everyone. No matter what you’ve been through in life, there is a person who will understand you support you and love you no matter. Hunter and Evangeline represent that ideal beautifully, with all the negative experiences they have had to undergo, there isn’t a single person more capable of relating to them as they do to each other (that makes sense right?).
We first encountered Evangeline and Hunter in When We Fall with Evangeline having escaped her violent husband with her life, just. Traumatized and terrified, Evangeline clung to hunter in her hour of need. Skip to 6 months later and Evangeline is coming to terms with healing and reclaiming her life. Easier said than down when constantly plagued by flashbacks and triggers for her AE (it will make sense when you read it 🙂 ) The narrative depicts the emotional and psychological repercussions of abuse, in what ever form it takes. The feelings of guilt, blame and embarrassment outweighing the relief of escaping. Although not in the same realm of abuse I can definitely relate to the aftermath of facing the actions of an alcoholic and having the blame forced onto my shoulders. The way in which Evangeline no longer trusts her own judgement where people especially men is something I am still struggling with.
Hunter has his own experience of physical abuse as a child at the hands of his father. Enduring beatings himself and having to witness the damage inflicted on his mother. Obviously Hunter is nothing like his father but yo still can’t help but worry about genetics, hence Hunter has an outlet for his emotions in the form of cage fighting. Something he is concerned will alienate Evangeline.
Hunter and Evangeline are drawn together, their attraction is sizzling but it is their shared experience and level of understanding that forms a deep bond in such a short time.
While the romance is a large part of the story, it is the character development, Evangeline in particular, that truly shines within the narrative. It was a privilege to witness Evangeline’s transformation from victim to survivor, claiming back her personality and life that was taken away from her by her AE. Jake, the dog, was an added bonus within the story 🙂
It was nice to see glimpses of Piper from When We Fall, as well as the completed renovation of Jase’s house. The foundation has been set out for the next book in the series, Hard to Fall, starring the adorably geeky Saylor.