Storms can’t last forever…can they?
For five long years, Rae Ryan has lived in a storm over which she has no control. Little by little, everything has been taken away from her—her job, her relationship, her best friend and her home. Plagued by nightmares and a terrible family secret, she carries her scars as much on the inside as she does on the outside.
Hart Booker, another disappointment from her past, returns to Bar Harbor and shelters her from the rain. He reminds Rae that forgiveness is possible, happiness can be found on the other side of darkness, and beauty rests beneath her scars. But a sinister figure lingering in the background seems determined to pull Rae back into a past she’s been trying to outrun. Can she survive the storm and become part of the light she so desperately desires? Or is she destined to remain
Recommended for mature audiences due to explicit language, sexual abuse, disturbing situations, and drug use.
Every once in a while, every single one of us likes to sit down and have ourselves a little pity party. You know the kind I’m talking about: all hang dog sad with a pint of ice cream, your favorite pjs and, a good ugly cry book or movie. Yeah, you’ve been there. Next time you go there, pick up Marni Mann’s Pulled Within and you’ll get a serious dose of “my life so doesn’t suck that hard!” 🙂
Rae originally shows up in Pulled Beneath, the first book in the Bar Harbor series and she is not really someone worth your sympathy or concern. She is sad and angry and frequently an enabler to her best friend, Brady. Rae’s only real redeeming quality is that no matter the circumstances she is there for Brady. Even if she can barely care for herself, Rae is there is for Brady and that is how Pulled Within begins, Rae being there to rescue her best friend. Brady has finally hit rock bottom and with no one else to call (because who calls their parents in a situation like this?), he calls Rae to come save him from himself. Though she is not in a good position to do so, Rae rescues Brady and even in his pathetic state he sees how very bad Rae looks.
Though she has tried desperately to hold it together Rae is out of work with no prospects in sight, she is within days of being evicted and, a critical and crippling anniversary is looming. With everything going to Hell quickly, Rae isn’t sure she has anything left to drag herself out of the awful this time around. But, what choice does she have? With Brady finally making an effort to clean up his act, Rae summons all her resolve and courage and goes on the hunt for a place to stay and a job so she can get back on her feet. What Rae doesn’t expect is the return of Hart Booker, the one man who has the power to derail her plans to get her life back on track, break her completely and, watch as she finally succumbs to the abyss that is her world.
Hart Booker is wealthy, successful, intelligent, stunningly gorgeous and, willing to do anything to reclaim his place in Rae Ryan’s world. The woman he sees before him is sad, broken, damn near defeated and, nothing like the girl he abandoned without a word years ago. Though the abandonment wasn’t entirely his doing, Hart knows he has a lot to make up for and he is more than willing to do so. Without doubt, Hart is still head over heels in love with Rae and he knows that if she will just give him a chance – even the smallest of chances – he can bring some light back into her darkened world. Hart has a lot to catch up on and if he is ever going to call Rae his own he is going to have to break down her walls and understand what has brought her to the dark and lonely place she seems to constantly be in.
The return of Hart rocks Rae’s world and once she understands the how and why of his abandonment it becomes a bit easier to allow him back into her world. The road to an HEA for Hart and Rae is rocky, twisting and turning and one that will force Rae to face the demons of her past. Hart is rock-solid and he wants to help Rae but even he is taken aback by the circumstances that have led to Rae’s current state. Hart offers a safe place to live, a secure job and, lots of love but the hurdles are high and the drama is as intense as the sexual tension between the two.
The Bottom Line: Pulled Within absolutely pulled me in from the very beginning and didn’t let go until the very last page. After book one, I was bound and determined to hang on to my intense dislike of Rae but Marni Mann has put together one hell of a story and totally changed my mind. Rae Ryan is a survivor and given the serious amount of sh*t she has faced in her life, it is a wonder she is still standing and able to get out of bed every day. Though she certainly engages in some destructive behavior, Rae wants to be better, wants to feel better and, most importantly wants to live a happy and fulfilled life. Even at her lowest moments Rae digs deep and finds the courage and the energy to keep moving forward and I found it increasingly difficult to dislike a character with that level of determination. Once Hart comes back into Rae’s life, everything changes and you slowly begin to see Rae become the person she wants to be. Though the road to an HEA certainly isn’t easy (I’m not sure Marni Mann is ever going to allow her characters an easy road!) it is worth it and Rae and Hart certainly fight for it. The intensity in Rae is balanced by the lighter side of Hart and even though this read is laced with sadness there is always that ray of hope right underneath the surface. Once again, Mann has given the reader solid characters with real and believable stories – characters that can absolutely be found in the real world. Everything in this read is a perfect balance with no single element (the sex, the drama, etc.) overshadowing another. In all, another excellent read from Marni Mann and one I highly recommend!
Best-selling author Marni Mann, knew she was going to be a writer since middle school. While other girls her age were daydreaming about teenage pop stars, Mann was fantasizing about penning her first novel. She crafts sexy, titillating stories that weave together her love of darkness, mystery, passion, and human emotion. A New Englander at heart, she now lives in Sarasota, Florida with her husband and their two dogs who subsequently have been characters in her books. When she’s not nose deep in her laptop working on her next novel, she’s scouring for chocolate, sipping wine, traveling to new locations, and devouring fabulous books.