“Worn me down like a road. I did everything you told. Worn me down to my knees. I did everything to please.”
Austin Conrad has never taken his personal life seriously. As a Navy SEAL, he spends all of his time in dangerous, life-threatening situations. The only way to leave behind the horrors he’s seen throughout his career, is to turn it all off when he gets home. He’s too much of a playboy to settle down; even if he did find a woman he could stand to be around for more than one night, he would never taint her life with the demons of his past.
When his best friend and SEAL team member, Brady Marshall asks him to keep an eye on his baby sister, Gwen, Austin figures it will be a walk in the park. The only thing Austin likes more than flirting his way under a beautiful woman’s skin, is walking away with a smile on his face. Austin never expects that the single mom and her little girl will be the ones getting under his skin.
Gwen Stratford knows all too well about living in a nightmare. After taking her daughter and fleeing from her abusive husband in the middle of the night several months ago, she’s worked hard to get her life back on track and forget about the man who tried to break her. Growing up under the iron thumb of her parents and then moving right on with a man who ruled their marriage with his fists, Gwen is finally able to breathe and live her life the way she wants.
When scary, mysterious things begin to happen to Gwen and her daughter, she realizes you can never outrun your past; it always has a way of catching up with you. As she struggles with the desire to keep her newfound independence, she knows she won’t be able to protect herself and her child alone. She’ll need to lean on the one man who drives her crazy.
Can Gwen really put her trust in a man who thinks life is one big joke, or will he be just another man in her life who tries to wear her down?
Worn Me Down is the third book in the Playing With Fire series by Tara Sivec. This installment follows Gwen and Austin Conrad. Gwen is the sister of Brady Marshal, and Austin is his best friend and SEAL brother. Both of them played a small role in Because of You, and Austin was part of the SEAL team in A Beautiful Lie.
I loved these characters. Gwen spent an agonizing decade in a horrible marriage where she was physically and verbally abused on a daily basis. After her husband beats her senseless, leaving her in the hospital for three days, she packs up her daughter and leaves him, seeking refuge with her brother in Nashville. Gwen was raised with a silver spoon in her mouth, she dressed and behaved as her parents instructed her to, and when she got married her husband took over control of her life. She has been nothing other then a Stepford Wife. When she breaks free, she sheds that image and becomes a person that she wants to be. She discovers that she is strong, and that she has fire in her.
When Austin Conrad meets Gwen, he does his best to charm her, but she quickly puts him in his place. They begin a cat and mouse game of him shamelessly flirting, and her ruthlessly shutting him down. When Brady leaves to go on tour with Layla, he asks Austin to come to Nashville and keep an eye on Gwen and her daughter Emma, and help with his Private Investigating firm while he is away. Gwen and Austin butt heads big time, but under the tense façade that they engage in lies want and lust for one another. As strange things being to happen to Gwen, she realizes that her past is catching up with her and she must rely on Austin to keep her safe.
So what I liked the most about the book were the characters. Austin is cocky and charming, and has an infectious personality that you cant really hate. He had a bad childhood leaving him to feel that children and marriage aren’t an option for him. Gwen’s daughter Emma wears him down though, and he pretty much falls in love with the little girl. Gwen is such a strong woman. She has been through hell, but she keeps all of her pain hidden behind her fierce personality. The banter between the two, and the chemistry between Gwen and Austin was amazing...LOVED LOVED LOVED them together! There were twists and turns in the plot that had me trying to figure out the outcome. It was a great story, great characters, and great plot.
Click below for spoiler:
So all in all, this was another fantastic edition to the series. As always Tara Sivec’s writing was impeccably done. Her story flowed with descriptive perfection, intriguing characters, and an unpredictable plot. It was sassy, hot, suspenseful, and exciting, and a definite recommendation on my behalf