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.
I absolutely LOVED this book!!!! It had everything that makes my heart race…hot alpha male who takes care of his woman, a steamy and sweet romance, with some angst thrown in. The cover was the first thing that caught my eye, and when I read the synopsis, I was intrigued. Once Perfect didn’t disappoint in any way. It caught my attention from the beginning and kept it to the very last page. Evelyn and Mateo work at the same nightclub. She is a waitress who is trying to rebuild her life and work her way through nursing school. Mateo is the head of security at the club. The two are from opposite worlds. Hers was once a life of prestige and privilege until it all came crashing down around her. Mateo is from the wrong side of the tracks who has done time and trying to take care of his sisters. Evelyn has shut herself off from everyone except her roommate, so these two should have nothing in common. But, looks can be deceiving. It turns out they have much more in common than they thought…horrible pasts. When Mateo helps Evelyn while she is having a panic attack, the walls that each have up begin to crumble. But, can they get past their pain and embrace a future of happiness?
There are so many aspects that I love about this book. First, the characters were well-written, and pulled me in from the beginning. I felt so bad for Evie from the very beginning. Life had really beaten her down. At first, I really thought she was meek and so afraid. As it turns out, she is a survivor with the drive to not only just live life but make it a success. However, it’s a long process for her. There are many obstacles that will challenge her, but she won’t give up fighting! Mateo, what can I say about you? Sexy, hot, total alpha male and just perfect for Evie. Not only is he beautiful on the outside, but his heart is even more so. He’s loyal to those he cares for, and he was so patient with Evie. The two have such dark pasts, but the two of them together are filled with light and love! They bring out the good in each other and see past the past. This has earned them a place in my heart as one of my favorite book couples. Second, the mystery of Evie’s past added greatly to the story. I guessed early on what had happened, but I wasn’t sure who it involved. I kept wanting to read on to figure out what was going on with her and how it would affect her relationship with Mateo.
Once Perfect deals with some difficult issues to say the least, but the author does it in a very sensitive manner. She includes some information in her acknowledgements to help others that may dealing with the same things. I love when a book is more than a just a story and has the real possibility to help others. This is a beautiful sweet, steamy love story about overcoming your past and having hope for the future. I see that there is a second book, Once Loved. This is the story of Mateo’s sister, Lety. I have already added that to my TBR list. Can’t wait to see what else Robson has in store for her readers.
**ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**
Cecy (pronounced SESSY) Robson is the Penguin Random House 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 writer, registered nurse, and mother living in the South, Cecy enjoys spending time with her family and silencing the yappy characters in her head by telling their stories.