Title: Fighting Redemption
Author: Kate McCarthy
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: December 2, 2013
Ryan Kendall is broken. He understands pain. He knows the hand of violence and the ache of loss. He knows what it means to fail those who need you. Being broken doesn’t stop him wanting the one thing he can’t have; Finlay Tanner. Her smile is sweet and her future bright. She’s the girl he grew up with, the girl he loves, the girl he protects from the world, and from himself.
At nineteen, Ryan leaves to join the Australian Army. After years of training he becomes an elite SAS soldier and deploys to the Afghanistan war. His patrol undertakes the most dangerous missions a soldier can face. But no matter how far he runs, or how hard he fights, his need for Finlay won’t let go.
Returning home after six years, one look is all it takes to know he can’t live without her. But sometimes love isn’t enough to heal what hurts. Sometimes people like him can’t be fixed, and sometimes people like Finlay deserve more than what’s left.
This is a story about war and the cost of sacrifice. Where bonds are formed, and friendships found. Where those who are strong, fall hard. Where love is let go, heartache is born, and heroes are made. Where one man learns that the hardest fight of all, is the fight to save himself.
Give Me Books can not praise this book enough. Fighting Redemption is definitely THE BEST book of 2013 for us!
"6 gripping, intense, emotional, heartfelt stars. Ryan captivated me from the very first page. This is a beautiful story of love that you will get lost in. An absolute must read." ~ Kylie
"Fighting Redemption was everything I could want in a story and so much more. I loved every word in this unforgettable, beautiful, powerful, heart-wrenching, captivating, and emotional book. A breathtaking book that is 6+++ stars worthy! A must read!" ~ Michelle
"Asking a book lover to pick their favorite book, is like asking a mother to pick her favorite child. In this case, I have no problem picking a favorite. Fighting Redemption belongs in everyone's TBR pile. Beautifully written and poignant. 6++++ Stars." ~ Erin
"This book takes your breath away, captures your heart, and haunts your mind! Ms. McCarthy keeps your heart racing up till the very end. My favorite book of all in 2013 and a top 10 of all time for me! I don’t just recommend this book, I recommend you put whatever book you are reading now on PAUSE and start Fighting Redemption! 6 stars!" ~ Tori
Read Tori's full review here
5 Stars Isn’t Enough! Emotions Pour Off the Pages
Note: Before you start this book, be sure to clear enough time for you to start and finish because once you read the first page of the Prologue you will be hooked. Then, like quicksand you will quickly sink into the story. Kate McCarthy drowns you with sorrow, family, lust, passion, guilt, pain, remorse and reminiscence. Pst..Have Tissues on Hand!
Ryan and Finlay, two characters so opposite from one another yet a perfect match for one another at the same time. To say Ryan Kendall had a tough childhood would be an understatement. He was both mentally and physically abused by a low life alcoholic, poor excuse of a father. The only light in the darkness for Ryan was his dream to one day follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and become a solider. However, a new light found its way into Ryan’s mind, heart and soul and that light’s name was Finlay Tanner.
The Tanner family consists of Finlay, her older brother by two years, Jake (same age as Ryan), her mother Julie and father Mike. This family demonstrates time after time that blood is not the only way one can be family. They adopted (figuratively speaking) Ryan into their home, their lives and their hearts. Ryan and Jake’s friendship formed at the early age of 10 years, the same age Ryan’s urge to protect Finlay emerged. They only thing Ryan ever wanted was to escape the town that held so many awful memories. The decision was no longer an easy one when at age 16, Ryan realizes his feelings for Finlay run deeper than that of family love; rather a soul mate.
Finlay, or Fin Tanner, the cute, clumsy, quirky, quiet brainiac girl, always followed her brother and Ryan around, secretly crushing after her brother’s best friend. Inexperienced and new to dating, Fin accepts a date from another boy, all the while pining after Ryan. When Ryan leaves to enter the Army, Fin lets go of the hope that Ryan would ever see her as more than a sister. Yet, Ryan struggles like he never thought he would. The Army had always been his escape plan but he didn’t like the thought of losing Fin.
"Ryan needed to know that she understood he wasn’t leaving her, he was leaving his past, and trying to build a new future with the Army”
Not long after Ryan, Fin lost Jake too as he followed into the military. The bond between these two men was so strong, they were best friends, they were soldiers and they were brothers in every sense of the meaning aside from sharing blood.
The only option Fin had was to set out, move on and form a life for herself. For six years these two lost contact. No time, distance or battles could make Ryan forget the only girl who consumed his heart. Nor could Fin let go of the dream of the only man she loved since she was a little girl.
When Ryan returns home with Jake, they both live with Fin……can you say things are about to get interesting? Heck yes. The sexual tension and the chemistry crackling was enough to make me hot and bothered! Yet there is one little road bump. Well more of a 6ft something, gorgeous blue eyed bump named Ian, Fin’s long-term boyfriend. Never fully invested in her relationship with Ian, that realization is put in the spot light when Ryan re-enters her life and he’s ready for more than friendship.
I rooted for Ryan to win the girl but even more, I respected Fin for not caving at the drop of a hat because “now” Ryan was ready to step up and act on his feelings.
“Both of you left me, and I was okay with that. I understood that this was what you needed to do, so I moved on. I built a life that doesn’t include you. That was what I had to do. I’d have given you my entire heart if you’d only asked, but it’s not yours now. It’s not yours.”
Both of these characters make choices that are heart wrenching and had me on the verge of tears. Both such passionate people yet unfortunate in terms of the cards life throws at them. Timing never seems to be on their side. While you cheer for Fin for holding strong and not cheating on her boyfriend, you tear up and your heart cracks for Ryan.
“I hurt too. For six years I fought every day not to think of you, and I lost, because you were all I could see. You were the best thing in my life—so sweet and innocent, and so goddamn tempting. I stayed away so you could move on.”
Fin’s heart has always belonged to a boy that made his dreams of being a solider a reality. This boy then became a man who put others’ needs and safety before himself.
“Stop trying to be a hero all the time. You’re so busying saving everyone else you forget about yourself.”
And Ryan, a boy who carried so much grief and guilt from his childhood into adulthood. Never feeling worthy enough for a girl, who for so long was never his physically but always his mentally and emotionally.
“When I’m near you I’m consumed by you—your smile, your eyes, your heart. Even though we’ve never been together, you’ve always been mine, and even if I never get to keep you, you’ll still be mine.”
Their journey to form and hold on to a relationship is the farthest thing from easy and heartfluttering. This couple’s love story is a beautiful contradiction. So many struggles, pain and emotional tolls, yet heartwarming and redefining faith in second chances. A romance that is the epitome of what “true love” is.
Kate McCarthy does an exceptional job describing the sacrifices soldiers make when deciding to serve and protect. Ryan is unlike any hero I’ve ever read. I can’t even call him selfless because he cares so strongly for protecting and sacrificing for others that the word self can’t be associated with him, he is that noble. Sometimes I feel awkward referring to book boyfriends as the “hero” in a story but Ryan Kendall embodies a real hero. Kate McCarthy portrays him so realistically to that of a true life soldier, you will respect, admire and honor him as such. He is a hero to his fellow troop members, to the Tanner family and especially to Fin.
Fighting Redemption is a story of all consuming, powerful love, tragic loss, pain, loyalty, the drive to serve and protect and the bonds and lengths of a family suppress that of blood. Kate McCarthy’s writing touches your soul while shattering it, then mending it back together. You feel as you read. She offers you more than a story, she offers inspirational life lessons throughout the book. Lessons of holding out hope, living with no regrets, losing without forgetting and empowering one to take risks with your heart because you never know when it could be your last day.
The secondary characters in this book - Jake, Kyle, Rachael, Julie, Mike and Monty are flawless. Their support toward Ryan and Fin stretches far past support. They help them fill the cracks in their hearts over the course of the book, picking them up and helping them push forward in times of struggle. This book takes your breath away, captures your heart, and haunts your mind! Ms. McCarthy keeps your heart racing up till the very end. My favorite book of all in 2013 and a top 10 of all time for me! I don’t just recommend this book, I recommend you put whatever book you are reading now on PAUSE and start Fighting Redemption!
~ Review by Tori
Later that morning after their workout and shower, Jake fell asleep on the couch. Feeling at a loss with nothing but time on his hands, Ryan wandered down the hall towards Fin’s room. She was sitting at a little study nook in the corner, laptop open with one foot resting on her chair. She was wearing a tank top and a little pair of shorts. Leaning up against the doorframe, he couldn’t tear his eyes away from those long, delectable legs.
As though sensing his presence, she turned in her chair. He forced his eyes upwards, catching a sexy flush fill her cheeks at his blatant perusal.
“Morning, Ryan.” She took off her black framed reading glasses and tossed them on the desk.
“Morning, Fin,” he replied.
Against his better judgement, Ryan pushed away from the door and walked farther into the room. Fin hadn’t changed at all and neither had his desire for her. His heart kicked over when she met his eyes. He knew everything he was feeling right now was written all over him, but he couldn’t seem to shut it off.
Her eyelids fluttered closed and she whispered, “Why now?”
Ryan took a deep breath. “I don’t know,” he replied honestly.
He shouldn’t still be feeling this way after so many years. Why was he doing this to her, and to himself? It was better for everyone if he stayed away like he was supposed to.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have come. I’ll go stay at the barracks.” He turned to leave.
“Ryan!” she called out. Scrambling out of the chair, she grabbed his arm as he was halfway out the door.
“Fin,” he warned, looking down at her hand pointedly.
She took a step closer and he breathed her in, her scent like jasmine on a hot summer’s day. He was surprised when he looked into her eyes and saw anger burning hotly in their depths.
“Six years, Ryan. Do you know how hurt I was, each day passing by and getting nothing—not even a note or an email? I didn’t just lose you. I lost my brother too. Both of you left me, and I was okay with that. I understood that this was what you needed to do, so I moved on. I built a life that doesn’t include you. That was what I had to do.” She paused and raised a shaky hand to cup his cheek. “I’d have given you my entire heart if you’d only asked, but it’s not yours now. It’s not yours.”
Ryan closed his eyes, agony for losing what was never his rose in his chest until he felt strangled by it. He placed his hand over hers, holding it there until she tugged it away.
“You’re right,” Fin told him. “You should stay on the barracks … but I don’t want you to. Damn you, Ryan,” she whispered fiercely. “I don’t want you to.”
Ryan used his bulk to crowd her against the wall until there was no room for her to move. Leaning one hand against the wall, he grabbed her hip with the other. Her breathing rose rapidly and he leaned in, ducking his head until their mouths hovered a mere breath apart.
“Why can’t I force myself to leave?” He rested his forehead against hers and closed his eyes. “I hurt too. For six years I fought every day not to think of you, and I lost, because every day you were all I could see. You were the best thing in my life—so sweet and innocent, and so goddamn tempting.” His hand strayed from her hip and slid down to grip her ass. He swallowed the groan. “I stayed away so you could move on.”
Kate McCarthy grew up in a small town outside of Port Macquarie, Australia. Raised in a house just a short walk to the beach, Kate enjoyed the peaceful, relaxed atmosphere and friendships that come from being raised in a friendly, small town area.
She now resides in Brisbane, Australia, a city in the state of Queensland where she works as an accountant, along with a sideline wedding cake business and her writing.
She is married with two children, has two dogs and house in the suburbs, and a pile of friends and family dotted all over the country that help keep her sane.
When she’s not busy running after naughty kids, filthy dogs, crunching numbers, piping buttercream and writing books, you can find her curled up in bed in the early hours of the morning reading new books and re-reading old favourites. Her favourite books are the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward in which she longs to eventually join the brotherhood and change her name to Phierce Mutha.
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