Bruised, the first book in the Bruised series, revolves around a murder investigation and the lead detectives. Lisa Swanson and Dee Quarter are determined to find the killer. Lisa meets Jake Jenson and the attraction is apparent as she questions Jake about the events leading up to his discovery of his best friend’s body. Lisa’s main goal is to find the killer and feels Jake is a handsome distraction she does not need or want. His interference with the investigation leads the detectives to question his innocence.
At the start, readers can sense the physical awareness between Jake and Lisa; however, Jake thinks Lisa is hesitant to pursue a relationship because of his disability. In addition, the duo has secrets that continue to influence their actions and impact their budding romance. Lisa is afraid to risk her heart and once she discovers the events that led to his disability, she reinforces her decision to push him away. She refuses to see that the commonalities she shares with Jake could eventually put her on the road to healing and true love.
The storyline is interesting in that it involves two souls realizing the love they have for each other could heal past wounds. Each of these characters has flaws and while one recognizes the need to eliminate the flaws and reach out for love, the other is hard-pressed to let past hurts go and believes true happiness and love are unattainable.
Readers will get an in depth view of Lisa and Jake’s personalities as the author does a good job with their development. Readers will also see the couple’s struggle to heal and find their way to each other. There are parts in this book in which the heroine is very indecisive and allows her past to cloud her judgment. She sometimes comes across as whiny and persistent in finding a reason to dislike the hero.
This storyline also deals with Jake’s struggle to find forgiveness for a bad decision that resulted in his disability and how he sometimes uses that disability as a shield of protection. However, there are a few parts that readers may find unrealistic but, in the end, the structure of the storyline remains intact.
Overall, Bruised is a sweet romance of two people overcoming past struggles to find love. Please note, there is no sex in this story.
-Reviewed by Deborah