Series: O'Brien Family #1
Published by Loveswept on November 3, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, MMA/Fights
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.
Curran O’Brien is a police officer who was on leave while an investigation was pending. His rookie partner was injured during an arrest gone wrong and everyone blames Curran, including Curran. After years of an impeccable record, his fellow cops now look away from him and whisper behind his back. That night weighs heavily on him. He isn’t sure if he should be more frustrated or simply relieved when his brother, ADA Declan O’Brien, wants him to play bodyguard to his assistant while he is trying a big case against a local mobster. Declan doesn’t think they’ll target Tess, but he doesn’t want to take any chances.
Once Curran is introduced to Tess, it doesn’t take him long to figure out why he feels like he knows her. Tess and Curran went to college together for a time and had a very memorable hook up where Tess ties him to the bed with her argyle socks. It apparently was an unforgettable experience. Curran was the big man on campus while Tess kept her head down and her nose in her books. Except for that one night. Tess didn’t think Curran even noticed she existed, but in fact, he had his eye on her for quite awhile.
Working together in close quarters brings back that sexual buzz. Hooking up with the woman he is supposed to protect won’t garner him the respect Curran is missing from his fellow officers, but he can’t help himself when things start to heat up between the two of them.
While Curran is busy protecting Tess from a possible mob hit, the real villain in this story is Tess’s father. A rich, real estate mogul, her father has controlled Tess all her her life. His abuse was both physical and emotional. Her father pays for everything that Tess has: her rent, her heat, her food, her clothes, everything. He doesn’t allow her to earn her own money. While you might think, “Wouldn’t that be great not to worry about things” Except, he keeps her calorie intake sufficiently low by only buying her just enough food. This way she doesn’t get too heavy. He controls what she wears by only buying her approved clothing. Tess can’t even buy a cup of coffee because she has no money. None. She has no credit card, no debit card, nothing, and if she tries to earn her own money, he will cut her off and toss her out on the street. This man is even willing to whore her out if it gets him the correct connections.
Just when I was starting to relax and enjoy the story, I could feel my blood pressure rise each time her father shows up. Every time you though he couldn’t say or do something worse, he found something else to do to her.
For a woman with an Ivy League education, you would have thought she would figure a way out from under his thumb. I know she was afraid of him, with good reason. Added to that, I am not certain if Tess was just socially awkward or her father didn’t allow her to make friends. Tess had no friends and barely any work acquaintances since they were jealous that Declan picked Tess to help on the mob trial. Tess spends her time counting down until her graduation so she will break free of her father once she has her law degree in hand. Until then, her life is in the awful holding pattern of doing whatever her father tells her, eating what he tells her, and wearing what he tells her, and being seen with who he tells her. As you can imagine, Curran is not an acceptable part of her father’s plan and if he finds out, Tess could lose everything before she gets to graduation.
Cecy Robson has a wonderful writing style which draws you into the world she has created. After reading one book, you are invested to see where everyone else will be going. In fact, I am rather pissed at myself that I didn’t read the other two books in the Shattered Past series because now I need to go back. I need to find out what happens with the other characters we were introduced to in the O’Brien family as well from the prior series.
It is not that I had no interest in reading the other Shattered Past books. I looked at them more than once. The reason I skipped Once Loved and Once Pure is simply because of the abusive father who it seemed to be allowed to continue his actions with no consequences. In Once Perfect, Mateo finally fought back against his physically abusive father, but then he was so tormented over it. “You don’t hit your elders. I’m an awful son.” All I could think was “Are you fucking kidding me?” Then knowing the father would be repeating his abuse in the other stories kept me away. Except now I see that I missed out especially since Once Pure is about Curran’s brother, Killian.
I hope that the other O’Brien stories will work away from the abusive father theme, but it does make me appreciate mine all the more. 🙂
ADA Declan O’Brien makes an ass out of himself with a woman who you knew was going to be coming back into the story and I am certain when it is Declan’s turn in the spotlight, he will be forced to eat a lot of humble pie to win the heart of the woman he insulted and made a jackass out of himself in front of. I can’t wait to see how that works out.
I can’t tell you that I loved Curran and Tess but I enjoyed the unfolding of their story and the world that Cecy has created in the O’Brien family and I am looking forward to reading Let Me, which is the next book in the series.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Tess meets Curran’s siblings for the first time.
“Holy shit,” Finn says grinning back at me with what appears to be newfound respect.
Heat flushes my skin, and it’s all I can do not to climb out of the booth and run. Killian leans in. “Tess, ignore these morons. You have to understand, Curran doesn’t usually bring women around.”
“And when he does, they’re not of your…caliber,” Sofia adds.
“Hell, they can’t even spell ‘caliber,'” Finn quips.
“Neither can you, dumbass,” Wren fires back. She looks at me. “So you’re in law school?”
“Ivy League, even.”
“That’s right,” I say, nodding like an imbecile.
“And you’re with Curran?”
Not after tonight. I straighten and clasp my hands together. “Yes.”
“Why?” she asks. “You’re not–what I’m saying is, you’re not–“
Finn huffs. “Psycho, money-groveling, evil.”
Wren points at him. “What he said. You see, Curran usually dates outside his race. He’s a white Caucasian male, and his women are typically demon spawn from the planet slut.”
My eyes widen. “So his typical companions are these, ah, fanatical, unemployed, hellish manicurists?”
“Yes,” they all answer, taking a drink.
Wren downs her beer. “I’m not trying to put you on the spot here, but you’re one hell of a breath of fresh air from what we’ve had to deal with.” she nudges Killian. “Remember crazy Miranda–the hairdresser? Do you think that asshole could have warned me he dumped her before I walked into her salon?” She pours herself another beer. “Freaking nutcase came after me with scissors, yelling about him having no dick. I was like, ‘Yo, you can’t be spreading rumors about my brother having no dick, seeing how you straddled that shit in the back of his car.'”
Killian laughs. “What about Crazy Alexis? The girl with the pet monkey?”
“Or Shania?” Finn points excitedly. “Oh, remember Shania? The one who spray-painted ‘LYING PUSSY’ on your truck, thinking it was Curran’s.”
Killian’s stare turns deadly. “I’m still pissed at him for that.”
“Well, I assure you I’m not unstable,” I offer, making a face. “Nor do I own a monkey.”
“So then what are you doing with Curran?” Finn asks.
They all quiet, waiting for me to answer. “He’s sweet to me,” I tell them, honestly. “And he treats me well.”
No one moves as they seem to infer a lot more than I intended.
“How long has Curran been ‘sweet’ to you?” Wren asks, adding finger quotes over the word.
I think about it, realizing how inseparable we’ve been. “Well over a month now” I answer her.
Once more, they exchange surprised glances. Sofia is the first to smile, a flicker of recognition brightening her small features. “I know you,” she says. “My sister Lety told me about you.”
“I’m sorry,” I answer, slowly. “But I don’t know anyone named Lety.”
She laughs a little. “You may not know her by name, but I believe you know her boyfriend, Brody Quaid Moore.” She clutches Killian’s arm. “Tess is the same girl Curran was willing to throw down for at that political fundraiser. That was you, wasn’t it?” she asks, turning back to me.
I can barely speak, warmth overtaking every inch of me. “Y-yes. That was me.”
It’s then Curran finally returns, three pitchers of beer gripped in one hand and a drink for me in the other. He’s followed closely by the waitress hefting a tray packed with food. “Move over, will ya, Finnie?” he says to him.
He places the pitchers down while Finn scoots out, and immediately sits beside me. Everyone then helps spread the plates of food across the large wooden table. Everyone but me. Curran pauses when he catches sight of my face. “What’s wrong?”
“Oh, nothing.” I shrug. “Your family here was just explaining your preference for psychopathic and avenging monkey-owning manicurists who wield scissors they purchased with their welfare coupons.”
He freezes before veering at his family. “I leave you alone for fifteen fucking seconds and this is what you tell her?”
Wren meets him in the eyes, smiling. “Curran’s got a girlfriend,” she sings.
His brothers laugh, and I can’t tell who’s redder in the face, me or Curran. Sofia reaches across the table and pats my hand. ‘They mean well,” she assures me.
“Yeah, we do. She’s nice,” Finn tells Curran, laughing. “Not like that bitchy girl who tied you up in college…”