Defying the Odds by Kele Moon

defying the oddsTitle: Defying the Odds

Author: Kele Moon

Year of publication: 2011

The heroine: Waitress Melody Dylan

The hero: MMA fighter Clay Powers

The blurb: When struggling waitress Melody Dylan gives a handsome, lonely stranger a simple gift she has no clue her life is about to take a drastic turn.

The stranger ends up being Clay Powers, a famous UFC heavyweight fighter. Clay’s large build and dangerous fists have always intimidated. People in his hometown keep their distance and Clay is fine with that. Everything changes when a new waitress at the local diner buys him a piece of pie on Thanksgiving. Touched by the gesture when it’s obvious she can barely afford to survive, her warm smile and lush body churn up powerful feelings that leave Clay wanting more from her than pie.

Melody is running from her past and the small, country town of Garnet is the perfect hiding place. With an ex-husband after her and scars from her abusive marriage etched deep, the last thing she expects is to fall for a man who makes a living with his fists, but she can’t resist Clay or the tender connection they share.

Finding love in the most unlikely of places, the passion is undeniable, but Clay and Melody know their haunted pasts and unpredictable futures leave the odds stacked against them.

Standalone or series: Book one of the Battered Hearts series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that the author of this book, Kele, and I have been friends for over a decade. We’ve been able to hang out together a couple of times when I’ve been in her neck of the woods and I adore her to bits.

I know I’m going to sound biased, but I loved this book. Looooved it. Melody Dylan put up with five years of abuse from her husband, Justin, before finally finding the courage to speak out and get help. She’s made a new life for herself and is waitressing in a small town when she meets local boy turned hero, Clay Powers. He’s a UFC heavyweight/MMA fighter who grew up in the foster system, and while he now has more money than he knows what to do with, he remembers what it’s like to have nothing.

Something about the new waitress gets to him, and the more he learns about her, the more he falls for her. Melody is scared of opening herself up to love again after her nutcase ex, but something about Clay draws her in, and they discover they are two lost souls who were meant to be together. Clay’s best friends, siblings Wyatt and Jules, are the only family he has left, and he tends to keep his distance from people in general, but the more time he spends around Melody the more he wants her.

This was a really sweet romance done nicely. They both have their demons and while it would be easy to see them not being willing to take a chance on each other, it was great to see them risk it anyway. I adored Melody and loved that she wore glasses. The way Clay and Melody wanted to take care of each other was awesome, and the sex between them was smoking hot! There are three books in the series (the other two are for Jules and Wyatt) and you should definitely read them all. Tell Kele I sent you 🙂