Review–Scarred Love by M.S. Brannon


Scarred Love

by M.S. Brannon

Summary: Darcie Claiborne spent several years of her young life living with a monster, always fearing what he would do next. Clasping onto her last ounce of hope, Darcie releases a scream. It’s her final attempt to live; to survive the villain of her reality. Sweeping her up in his arms, Darcie’s knight in shining armor rescues her from the hell she’s been living; from the stepfather she's feared for all those years.
Reggie Evans has been forced to grow up before he’s ready when his mother dies of an overdose, leaving him responsible to raise his younger brothers. One fateful night, Reggie jogs by an old, run down house and discovers a young girl clinging to life as she screams for help.
Three years later, Darcie is healing and always protected by the man who saved her, but now she's fighting with something she isn't prepared to face. The growing love for the man who saved her life three years ago, the same man who’s nine years older. All the while, Reggie fights to protect Darcie from the demons of her past and new ones of her present.
**Mature Content Warning** 17+ for language and sexual content**

Source: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.



Scarred Love was a surprisingly gritty and haunting NA/Upper YA contemporary romance. The love story was atypical and therefore less predictable. I enjoyed the book quite a bit and flew through it in a matter of hours. 

The narration bounced back and forth between Darcie and Reggie, though Darcie narrated most of the novel. Her tragic situation at the beginning of the novel ended at the age of 14 and then the narration leaped to her life 3 years later. She was a surprising character because I expected a lot more weakness from her. She ended up being tough as nails and let her tragic past become fuel for rage instead of weakness. While she flew off the handle quite a bit, I respected her anyway.

The love story was odd because Reggie ended up being the man who saved her, her guardian who was almost a decade older than her, but he became the love interest as Darcie matured. I can see how this situation might rub some people the wrong way, not just because of the age gap but because of the shift from authority figure to love interest. I actually liked it because it was something I haven’t seen before and it wasn’t an instant shift but a slow awareness that sort of lead to more. 

Darcie and her makeshift family were full of personality, rage, and were all around boisterous people. I felt like the author did a wonderful job portraying the Evans family and what it might be like for a girl among rambunctious boys. They were all relatively macho and full of rage and always getting into fights, but I still felt like they were kind of believable, especially given they were all from the “wrong side of the tracks.”

Everything about the plot in Scarred Love was over the top, but I still enjoyed reading it. Some areas defied logic and were too unbelievable and the character’s reactions to those things didn’t match. I felt like there should have been much more psychological damage based on the amount of psychotic behavior exhibited by Darcie’s stepfather. And while I know a lot of evil gets by in certain areas of life, I had a small issue with the fact that people like her stepfather and another psychotic character in the book just walking around without consequences. And what are the odds that someone runs across the same type of psychotic rage various times in their life? I don’t know. There were some crazy parts with insane events and yet, despite the bit of rage she had, Darcie was relatively normal. Some parts of the conflict just didn’t add up for me. I felt like this area made it seem unbelievable.

With that being said, I enjoyed the train wreck sort of ride, which is why I ultimately rated it 4 stars instead of 3. The story was really emotional and each scene was intense. I liked the intensity of the characters and I could really feel the love everyone had for one another and their fierce protectiveness of each other. I loved watching Darcie and Reggie fall in love but fight against it and the kind of emotional chaos that resulted. I loved how Darcie and Reggie were anchors for each other and could calm each other down.

I would definitely recommend Scarred Love to fans of NA/Upper YA contemporary romance who are looking for something gritty and somewhat dark with a lot of great romantic tension and intensity.

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