Series: Guarded Hearts #1
Published by Self-Published on July 15th 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Madison Stevens has had a shitty life, her mother died at the age four and her father has always blamed her for it. She went through the foster system and is now attending college. Her boyfriend Chris is not willing to share Madison with anyone, not even her friends.
Her first day at college she meets Carter James, who makes her want everything she never thought she could have. She knows that she should ignore her feelings for Carter, but it's not as easy as it sounds.
As Carter and Madison begin to fall in love, they face many obstacles. Their biggest one is Chris who is not going to let her go easily.
Playing with Fire will be the first book in a three book series. It is about the obstacles that stand in your way on the path to love. It tests the characters strength and commitment to each other on every level from old boyfriend/girlfriends, to insecurities, and throws a little violence and scheming into the mix.
After the death of her mother, Madison’s existence has been a constant misery. She’s dealt with her father’s alcoholic rants, her foster parents verbal abuse and even a physically abusive boyfriend. She goes to college thinking that the change would improve her life but with her boyfriend continued presence everything goes from bad to worse.
On her first day of college she literally trips over Carter James and immediately sparks fly. Carter never thought it was possible to feel for someone deeply that soon but he just couldn’t resist Madison. He befriends her not knowing that she already belongs to someone he has always despised – Chris.
Carter tries to forget her but there is just something about her that is keeping him rooted. With them spending more time together for a school project together their relationship develops into something more. Despite Chris’ constant threats and abuse Madison decides that Carter is worth the physical pain. She would rather suffer than be without him. But Chris will never accept defeat, he will literally do anything to possess her.
“Chris was like fire. It was pretty to look at but if you got too close you got burnt, and if it wasn’t controlled it would destroy everything in its path. Doing what I was about to do with Carter was dangerous, but what can I say I never had parents to warn me not to play with fire.“
Rarely do I feel that much loathing in a character but Chris’ character sure made me angry and furious. I was impressed how a debut author was able to affect me in such a manner. I did appreciate how descriptive the scenes were but some of them were somewhat painful and just a little too detailed and horrifying for my liking.
The heroine of the story Madison was just pitiful and saddening. At a very young age, she was exposed to so much suffering. Regardless what she experienced she always was able to maintained a positive outlook and was optimistic that things would get better. She seemed so sheltered and naïve but despite this she was motivated enough to go to college and attempt to improve her life.
I loved Carter’s character in this story. He was always caring and attentive, selfless. He’s primary concern was always her safety even if he had to sacrifice his own. I adored how his friends and his family immediately adopted her into their fold and how protective they too became over her wellbeing.
I thought the gradual build-up between Madison and Carter relationship was great and their pairing was perfect. Madison needed somewhere to belong and with Carter she was able to find that solace. She deserved it! I was glad that she was able to find her happiness with Carter even if it was somewhat short-lived.
Be warned that this one does contain a major cliffhanger. Hopefully we won’t have to wait that long for the conclusion. Despite that, I thought the story was well delivered and well worth looking into.
“Listen, I get what your saying, but I know something isn’t right and I’m not gonna give up on her. I know you guys don’t get it, but she is the one. I have never felt this for any girl I met. She has been ignoring me for almost two months, but I still find myself looking for her everywhere. I find excuses in class to talk to her. You know me and I’m not one to chase girls, but even that one day of being around her changed that. She’s different and I feel different whenever I’m around her, even when she’s ignoring me.”
Jason laughed at me. “Carter, you just met this girl! You don’t even know her that well; maybe you just need to get laid and get her out of your system.”
That is what I would have done before, but it wasn’t going to work this time. I had tried to forget Maddy. I went home with girls, but I just wasn’t interested.
I didn’t know how to explain it to them, but in the couple hours I spent with Maddy, she got to me. I had never met a girl like her, and I didn’t want to let her go. I had a feeling that she wanted me, too, but something was holding her back.