Scars of Us by Nikki Narvaez
Kaiya Marlow has always been cautious, precise in every decision she makes. When her dark past threatens to resurface, she decides to take precautions to protect herself by enrolling in self-defense classes at her gym.
Her instructor, Ryker Campbell, is the tattooed womanizer everyone warns about. Kaiya attempts to resist Ryker’s advances, but the more time they spend training together, the harder it is for Kaiya to resist him.
Ryker’s view on relationships is simple: strictly sex, nothing more. Haunted by demons from his past, he never allows himself to become attached to any woman. No attachment means no weakness, no vulnerability, no pain. He doesn’t realize that his whole world is about to be turned upside down when Kaiya enters his self-defense class. Determined to have her, at least for one night, Ryker sets a plan into motion that will change both of their lives forever.
This novel is surrounded by a deeply emotional issue that leaves emotional, mental, and physical scars. It’s about fighting back and gaining control of that which one feels they have no control. This is Kaiya and Ryker’s journey in doing so. It took me awhile to feel a connection with Kaiya because it felt like she was holding her walls up to me as the reader, not just to those around her. I thought she’d be more forthcoming with the audience even though she holds this in until she trusts others. Kaiya and Ryker meet at the gym where he’s a personal trainer. They have great banter and you can feel the sexual tension oozing off of the pages, especially during their one on one time. Ryker teaches Kaiya self-defense and I enjoyed those classes because I could imagine being in Kaiya’s place with the step by step direction given by Ryker. Some of their decisions drove me crazy but I understand it’s all part of their growing. They’re both stubborn and want what they want and will fight for it. I wanted more of Kaiya’s relationship with her mom and how this was pivotal in what occurred to Kaiya. I was frustrated that a traumatic scene took place at the end of the novel and everything quickly ended from there. Kamden (Kaiya’s older brother) has been a rock in her journey to overcome her fears and a comfort to her suffering. He, like Ryker, is protective and will do anything for his sister. I enjoyed this read for Kaiya’s bravery and strength to face her struggles head on and the fact that she doesn’t backdown. Ryker teaches Kaiya that scars can be beautiful and have meaning to our journey that can help us grow physically, emotionally, and mentally. Give this a try and find your next crush! Rating: 3.5 stars