"Undefeated" By: Scott Hildreth
Undefeated tackles the subject of abuse of women head on. It does not shirk its responsibilities and skirt around the issue. If this offends you then this is not the book for you. This is a full blown examination of an abusive relationship - looking at the physiological and psychological impact. It leaves you thinking long after you've put it down. Kace is in an abusive relationship with Josh - he abuses her on a physical, psychological and emotional level. We are so quick to judge women who stay in these abusive relationships and wonder why they don't get out. Kace's abuser gradually started controlling her - cutting her off from her friends and family, not allowing her access to things we take for granted, not allowing her access to money. It ends up with every aspect of her life being controlled and when he thinks she has done something wrong, which is frequently, he uses violence to intimidate her. If you're told you're ugly and worthless often enough then you become to believe it. Kace's only escape is the romance and erotica that she reads on her kindle. Shane is a boxer and undefeated at that. It is a chance encounter that brings him into Kace's life. He is quiet but exudes confidence and has a strong moral belief system. When a second chance encounter brings him to Kace again and he feels himself drawn to her, he decides he has to act. He instantly recognises the situation that Kace has found herself in. He is highly intuitive when it comes to Kace and sensitive to her needs. Through his support, understanding and belief in her, we start to see Kace shine as she starts to gain her confidence again. When Kace finds the courage to leave her relationship with Josh, it is Shane that she turns to for support. It is Shane and his friend Mike that become her protectors and help her regain her confidence and rebuild her life. Shane is not without his own issues as he discovers things about his own family that flips his perceptions of them. Together, though, Kace and Shane are a force to be reckoned with. The sexual tension between Kace and Shane grows and grows as Shane is determined to be patient in waiting for Kace to be ready, whilst Kace is frustrated as she believes she is ready.
This book is thought provoking and forced me to confront my own preconceptions about abusive relationships. Shane, Mike and even Mr Martin are the most sensitive guys on the planet ever and they are very much in tune with their surroundings. We need more men like these in the real world! Whilst I loved this book and I loved the relationship between Kace and Shane, the way that Shane slipped into in-depth psychological talk about abuse from the chit chat/fighter's talk didn't quite fit for me. Saying that it is beautifully written, with characters in Kace, Shane and Mike that leave you wanting more. This, for me, is one of the must reads of the year, and one that I will come back to again and again.
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