Kaiya Marlow has always been cautious, precise in every decision she makes. When her dark past threatens to resurface, she decides to take precautions to protect herself by enrolling in self-defense classes at her gym.
Her instructor, Ryker Campbell, is the tattooed womanizer everyone warns about. Kaiya deliberately avoids Ryker outside of their classes together, but the more time they spend training together, the harder it is for Kaiya to resist him.
Ryker's view on relationships is simple: strictly sex, nothing more. Haunted by demons from his past, he never allows himself to become attached to any woman. No attachment means no weakness, no vulnerability, no pain. He doesn't realize that his whole world is about to be turned upside down when the stunning Kaiya enters his self-defense class. Determined to have her, at least for one night, Ryker sets a plan into motion that will change both of their lives forever.
Will love be able to heal their scars, or will they be too deep to overcome?
“Why are you avoiding me?” Ryker angrily spat, closing the door to the sauna. His eyes ran over me as he crossed his arms over his broad chest. Clad only in a pair of gym shorts and no shirt, his skin gleamed with a sheen of sweet. He looked like he’d just finished working out. Fuck me.
“Are you really going to do this in here?” I snapped back as I clutched my towel to me.
His voice was gruff and matter of fact. “I have no other choice—you've missed class for almost three weeks now, and you won't answer my calls.”
“I've been busy,” I lied.
The truth was that I'd been sulking around my apartment trying not to think of Ryker, which was almost impossible. He dominated every thought, much like his presence did in real life.
Eyes narrowing in determination, he advanced toward me, causing me to back up into the tile wall. Surprisingly, I wasn't scared—Ryker never caused that kind of fear in me. What he made me feel was more of an exhilarating kind of the fear, the kind you get when you're about to do something like bungee jump or skydive, the kind that excites your soul.
Caging me between his arms, my already fevered skin heated more from his proximity as he pressed against me with his body. I hadn't realized just how much I missed his touch until his skin reunited with mine, making me feel as though a piece of me had been lost since we'd last been together.
Ryker's eyes met mine, and there was no denying the desire and longing in them. “Always fighting me, Warrior,” he softly spoke as he caressed my cheek with the back of his knuckles. Leaning in, he grazed my neck with his lips. The combination of heat from the steam and his mouth began to blanket me in a heady fog, evaporating all thought and replacing it with lust.
“I've missed you,” Ryker murmured against my skin before tracing the curve of my jaw with his tongue. My breath escaped in a low moan as he pulled my body closer to him, leaving no space between us while he continued to taste me.
My hands tangled in his hair, leaving my loose towel barely clinging to my sweaty skin. When he brought his lips to mine, I let go of everything, losing myself in him and how he made me feel.
He groaned in my mouth as our tongues met, tangling together seamlessly as he lifted me. My legs automatically wrapped around him as he pressed me up against the wall, his hardened erection pushing against my already heated core.
Ryker nipped at my lips as he ripped the towel from my body, tossing it to the floor as his callused hands reacquainted themselves with my skin. God, I missed him. I don't think I'll ever be the same without his touch. Finding my breasts, Ryker's talented fingers massaged my stiff nipples before his mouth claimed them. The blissful combination of his soft, wet mouth and hard, smooth tongue ring against my sensitive flesh caused a moan to escape from my throat.
Leaning my head back against the wall, I let Ryker consume me. He eagerly suckled my breasts, pulling each nipple with his teeth before caressing it with that amazing piercing again. I love how he makes me feel—so alive … almost whole.
“Ryker,” I breathlessly moaned as I reached for his shorts. Slipping my hand inside, I found his cock and pulled it out, needing him to fill me.
He didn't hesitate—he never did. Gripping my hips, he thrust himself inside my slick sex as his mouth reclaimed mine. Sweat beaded on our skin as he roughly pummeled me against the tile, taking me closer to heaven with each stroke.
Ryker's thick shaft stretched my walls, the pleasurable pain spreading throughout every inch of my limbs. I reveled in how he made me forget everything else, immersing me in us and the beauty of how our bodies perfectly connected. He unraveled and completed me all at the same time.
“Fuck, I missed you, baby, missed the taste of your sweet skin,” Ryker groaned against my lips.
I love it when he talks to me like that.
I forced him deeper inside me with my legs, tightening my hold around his hips. He growled his approval, increasing the pace and intensity of his thrusts as his cock blissfully ravaged me.
Ryker's lips left mine as he nuzzled his face into my neck and placed soft kisses along my skin. “I haven't been able to get you off my mind. I've been going crazy thinking about you, baby.”
“Me too. I've missed you so much,” I whimpered as I guided his mouth back to mine.
His strength amazed me, unwavering as he supported my weight while simultaneously using his body to fuck me senseless. Ryker continuously pumped into me, creating a sensual rhythm just for us as our bodies molded together in harmony.
Ryker pulled back and grasped my face in his inked hands. “Never again, Warrior.” His voice was gruff and deep, laced with emotion. “Can't go through that again.”
“Never, baby, never,” I whispered.
His mouth crashed on mine again. Every press of Ryker's lips, every caress from his hands, and every stroke of his amazing cock pushed me closer to ecstasy. My body ached for it, needing release after craving Ryker for so long.
As if sensing how close I was, Ryker pounded harder into me, creating the perfect combination of pain and pleasure within my body. My nails raked across his back as I cried out in euphoria, my climax sending tremors of sensation throughout my limbs. My thighs trembled against his hips as his strokes intensified in both speed and strength, seeking his own release. Seconds later, he withdrew his throbbing cock from my sex before shooting his cum up between my breasts.
The sticky heat of the room was stifling, making it more difficult to breathe as we disentangled ourselves. Picking up my towel, Ryker gently wiped his release from my skin, snapping me out the sensual fog we’d created. Immediately, I felt self-conscious, causing panic to root within me. Anxiety began to tighten in my body, trying to seize every muscle in its grasp as it attempted to take hold.
Ryker's hand cupped my cheek. “What's wrong?”
My eyes snapped to his, trying to focus on him to pull myself out of my downward spiral. My chest heaved as it struggled to breathe, causing Ryker's eyes to crease in worry. “Breathe, baby, breathe. It's okay, everything is okay.”
Breathe. In, out, in, out. The pressure began to relinquish as I concentrated on Ryker's face. Both of his hands clasped my face. “You with me, baby?”
I gave him a tight nod. My chest was still somewhat constricted, and my muscles were stiff, but the tension was slowly easing away. “I'm sorry—I have to go,” I stammered as I snatched the towel from Ryker's hand. I darted around him toward the exit while trying to wrap the cloth around me.
“You don't have to run from me, Warrior,” he called out after me. Ryker’s words stopped me, only a few feet from the door. I felt him behind me as his arms wrapped around my waist, pulling my body against his. Pressing a soft kiss to my shoulder, he murmured, “Talk to me, baby.”
My mouth dried up, the words stuck in my throat. I blinked rapidly, willing back tears. Ryker slowly turned me to face him and pressed our foreheads together as he released a breath.
“I know you've been hurt before, experienced things that no one should ever have to. Just know that I'd never do that to you. Ever. I know you're probably not ready to talk about it yet, but when you are, I'll be here.”
And with those words, Ryker smashed a small hole in the barrier surrounding the broken pieces of my heart.
Sandy B's Review
Let me start off by telling you that this is a story of physical and mental abuse by a trusted person. If you are sensitive to these kinds of issues this book is not for you.
Kaiya Marlow was brutally attacked. When we meet her, these events have already transpired and she lives in the aftermath of it. Everything in her life that she can control she does. Starting with the numbers on her spreadsheets to how she has sex with her booty call friend. Her mainstay, her guardian, her protection – is her brother Kamden. He saved her life and emotionally continues to do it every single day because they live together.
Ryker is a wounded soul. He is a personal trainer who loses himself in any wiling body that can put off the loneliness he refuses to acknowledge. They are nameless faces, who fade one into another, even as he quietly dresses and leaves.
Let me tell you what troubled me about The Scars of Us. Forgive me if you think I’m being overly critical here. The relationship between Kaiya and her brother, Kamden, unsettled me. She has a nightmare, he comes running into her room, gets in bed with her and they spoon. Kaiya falls asleep with her brother’s arm around her and his warm breath on her neck. There is such a thing as too close. There is also the matter of the bad guy’s name – which is Kaleb. It distracted me that they both had K names….maybe one of them could have been changed to
or Caleb? Kaiya blew hot and hot through the book. Either your traumatized or your not! You don’t want people to touch you, because
it makes you uncomfortable but you straddle the guy you just met, in a club, in
full view of everyone and proceed to shove your tongue down his throat? Then there are numerous confrontations
between Kamden and Ryker where he warns Ryker off of Kaiya. A brother that protective, in my opinion,
would have had one conversation. After that Ryker would have been laid out
regardless of what little sister thought.
Kaiya decides to take a self defense class which coincidentally, Ryker
is teaching. Description of the moves
and how to execute them goes on and on and on. The name of each move, how to do
it, when to use it and how many times she did it until she got it right. Sigh.
Learning the “shrimp” should have been enough.
Lastly, the Ryker issue was not resolved to my satisfaction but I won’t
spoil things by elaborating on that point. Camden
Now let me tell you what I liked about the book. I liked Kaiya. There were moments that she showed real spunk. I loved Ryker cause he knew he was in trouble from day one but he went with his heart despite whatever his head was saying. He is intense and he is sexy. I loved the chemistry between them. The stolen glances, the little smiles – all those things worked. The sex was hot and there were genuine moments of honest emotion that touched me.
Having said all that….I think many of you will enjoy The Scars of Us. I would also readily read Nikki Narvez next book because I see the potential in her style.
My name is Nikki Narvaez. I was born and raised in San Antonio, TX, where I currently live with my husband, our two dogs, Bella and Oreo, and our cat, Cupcake. I have been teaching for four years, but I hope to become a full-time writer and stay at home mom one day. I am 27 years old, and have three older sisters who have blessed me with four nephews and one niece. In my free time, I love to write and play Texas Hold 'Em poker.