If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. - Oscar Wilde
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. - B. F. Skinner
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. - Mary Wortley Montagu

Friday, October 24, 2014

Review: Once Perfect By Cecy Robson / @TastyBookTours @cecyrobson

Title: Shattered Past #1: Once Perfect
Author: Cecy Robson
Publisher: Loveswept Flirt
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Interracial, New Adult, Sports, Romance
ARC Received From: NetGalley
Reviewed For: Tasty Book Tours

His life was never easy. Hers wasn’t supposed to be this hard. They come from different worlds, but fate lures them together in a way neither expected in Cecy Robson’s raw, steamy series debut—perfect for fans of Monica Murphy and J. Lynn.

Evelyn Preston’s future once looked perfect—until her wealthy father was caught in an embezzlement scandal and took his own life. Alone and struggling to pay her college tuition and bills, Evelyn finds a job as a waitress at the ultra-hip nightclub Excess, where she used to have more in common with the privileged private-school clientele than her fellow staff members. But something attracts her to the sexy six-foot-four bouncer and underground MMA fighter Mateo Tres Santos. Although they’ve led different lives, their troubled pasts bonds them in both survival and love. 

Mateo is ex-army who wound up in prison for assaulting the man who harmed his sister. Now he’s feeling the same protective impulse for this petite blond waitress. When Evelyn experiences a panic attack at the club, Mateo comes to her rescue. And when Mateo is wounded shielding her from a brawl, Evelyn returns the favor and comes to his aid. 

As their attraction intensifies, Mateo is determined to find out what nightmares are lurking in Evelyn’s past—even if that means tackling his own to save her. 

Other books in this series


(Reviewer's Note: This story deals with the topic of rape and incest that occurred in the past. Both are, however, addressed in the present in this story. This story also deals with abuse, in the present and past tenses. This review addresses all of these topics. Please take this into consideration before reading further and/or purchasing this book.)

God, this story was so much. Not too much. So much.

I was introduced to Evelyn who'd had and lost it all due to her father's scandal and suicide. Abandoned by friends and family, including a man who claimed to love her, she picked herself up and made a new life for herself. This life, as I understood it, was a far cry from the life she once had. Her job was long hours, drunk or high customers, ankle-wrecking boots, and outfits that would have made any hooker proud. She had one good friend, more than enough coworkers than she knew what to do with, a boss who was an ass who seemed to mean well, her trusty (but very rusty) mode of transportation, and the interest of one of the bouncers in the club she worked at.

Mateo's an all around honorable guy. He's ex-Army, dishonorably discharged because he served time after beating up a man who raped his younger sister. He protects his sisters from their abusive father. He fights in the Octagon to help his friends financially. He lets Evelyn decide how far they go when it comes to sex. He isn't perfect in the eyes of the world, but he is perfect for her. His strength and willingness to stay with her no matter what is what grounds her to him. It's what she needs as her world once again turns upside down as she faces a past she'd suppressed for far too long.

After being abandoned by so-called friends and an ex-fiance, I understood Evelyn's reluctance to befriend any of her coworkers. Thank God that remedied itself as her relationship with Mateo progressed. What I didn't understand was her hesitation in being intimate with Mateo. Her conversation with her one good friend helped a bit, but it wasn't until the topic of rape was addressed in nursing school that I began to see what she had chosen to bury in her memory. That a father would so touch his daughter sexually was almost too much to handle. More than once I wanted to stop reading. The memories that rushed forward were intense and scary and sickening. If the bastard wasn't dead by his own hand, I'd send Mateo after him to send him to Hell in pieces.

And the abuse... God, what a nightmare that was. Mateo's father was mean when he was drunk or high. It showed up one too many times for my liking. When he'd cut and run, it wasn't to escape Evelyn or what they shared. It was to rescue his sisters from their father's fists. He took the beating for them because he was bigger. His MMA training enabled him to remain standing when his sisters would've been on the ground unconscious or dead.  It came to a head close to the end of the book, when their father showed up at a party he wasn't invited to and proceeded to wail on his son and daughters. I wanted him to fight back, to put the bastard in the ground for what he did to them. For the longest time, Mateo took it until his dad targeted Evelyn. His need to protect the woman he loved drove him to defend her, finally punishing the man who'd brutalized his children for too long.

What was ultimately heartbreaking for me was their mother's reaction. She reprimanded Mateo for what he did. That was... I was somewhere between disbelief and hate for her. Maybe it was okay for her. Maybe she'd suffered the same at her father's hand. Maybe her own mother reacted the same way. Whatever the reason, I couldn't bring myself to pity a woman who would rather watch her children die at their father's hands then protect them like she should.

I've said before that I need to feel when I read. I did that and more with this story. Ms. Robson took what I supposed to be a simple story of falling in love with your complete opposite and turned it into a story about life and how much it factors into your actions. Mateo and Evelyn got their happy ending. The ride there was filled with ups and downs, wild chases, hard turns, and unexpected crashes. No matter what they faced, the got back up and kept going. If they didn't, they would have lost out on the best thing that had happened to them in a long time.

"Our fathers were not good men, Mateo. That doesn't mean we don't deserve good in our lives." I let my forehead fall against his. "You're the good in mine. Please, let me stay the good in yours."

Cecy Robson is the New Adult author of Once Perfect, Once Loved, and Once Pure and the award-winning author of the Weird Girls urban fantasy romance series. A self-proclaimed professional napper, Cecy counts among her talents a jaw-dropping knowledge of useless trivia, the ability to make her hair big, and a knack for breaking into song despite her family’s vehement protests. A full-time writer, registered nurse, wife, and mother living in the Great Northwest, Cecy enjoys spending time with her family and silencing the yappy characters in her head by telling their stories. 


  1. Thank you for the beautiful review and for the feature. I'm so happy you enjoyed Once Perfect!

    1. You're welcome :) I can't wait to read Lety's story!