Absolutely BRILLIANT book!!!
Wounded was a beautiful, realistic, heart-wrenching and erotic love story that took me out of my comfort zone, wrapped me up in the characters’ journey and worked its way right into my heart.
It was absolutely NOT what I was expecting on so many levels but I LOVED IT!!!!
I’m done the book but I can’t even think about moving on yet, my mind keeps drifting back to Rania and Hunter….
This book caught my attention because it just seemed so DIFFERENT from so many others I’d read. I mean, its a romance between an American soldier and an Iraqi girl from two completely different worlds, on opposite sides of a war, with no common language, meeting by chance and falling in love. Yup. It had my undivided attention to the point where I actually dropped all my other reading plans for it, and let me tell you… it was SO worth it!!
The writing style is absolutely beautiful. The vivid descriptions just instantly transport you straight into the middle of the war zone during which the story takes place. I mean, You. Are. THERE. Right there.
The author has a simple but evocative way of allowing you to see every side of the conflict, every perspective – both the cold brutality and the intense emotions resulting from it. The senselessness, the unfairness, the destruction of lives, homes and spirit.
The story is about an Iraqi girl, Rania, whose home and family were torn apart in the war. Alone, starving, and unable to support herself, she resorts to selling the only thing anyone will buy – her body. She hates it with all her heart, but its that or death and she is a survivor through and through.
Hunter is an American soldier whose heart was recently crushed by his cheating ex-girlfriend only a few days before he was deployed. Coincidence leads him to a brutal gunfight right in front of Rania where he is critically injured. Drawn to him and unable to leave him to die, she drags him back to her humble dwelling and tries to help him heal.
Oh my gosh, guys. I can’t tell you how much this book touched my heart!! Here they are in the middle of this horrible war. He’s critically wounded. She’s selling herself for money. They don’t understand a word of each other’s language. But you can’t HELP but just FEEL their connection!! Its just the most unlikely combination ever but it so totally worked for them!
And I’m sure you can only IMAGINE the degree of protectiveness this all calls out of Hunter. Holy Alpha male! I mean, wow! His drive to protect her is just so strong and so deep but he’s fighting against it, I mean, he barely knows her but he’s just falling for her… and ohhhh the swoon!
And after all the horrors of her life and what she’s had to do to survive, he’s the first man to ever make her feel warm and safe and actually care for HER.
Because of the the contrast of the grit and destruction of war and their situation, everything beautiful between them was felt even more strongly. And the more they fell in love, the harder their situation became…. Gah!! My heart!!!
“A kiss, a kiss, just a kiss. But god, so incredible. I’m electrified, wired, hardened by the taste of her, the feel of her. Intoxicated by her. I’m shaking all over from the effort to keep my hands to myself, to keep the kiss chaste. Its an impossible losing battle. Then her hand leaves her lap and touches my face… A simple, innocent touch, but so meaningful. This woman who sells touch, who much find men to be such nasty creatures, this woman who has seen the worst monsters that are men, she’s kissing and touching me.”
Wounded has a gritty, heavy feeling to the story. However, it also flows smoothly and has no slow points. If I had had the time, I would have easily read it in one sitting.
This book is also HOT!! And I mean H.O.T. !! Like, woah hot. I have to say this was something I was NOT expecting from this. Simply given where the story took place and the nature of what was happening, I don’t know why, but I just did not expect it. But holyyy hotness! I’m serious. The first love scene went from 64-71% in the book and was absolutely beautifully portrayed, emotionally charged, intensely hot but also just so incredibly intimate. You could just FEEL how strong and deep their connection was. Totally made my heart pound.
Rania was such a wonderful heroine. She was strong and smart – an absolute survivor. I felt so terrible watching her have to do what she did to survive but admired her resilience. She truly deserved her happy ending.
“Of course, I know nothing of such things, having never had sex with a man who has not paid me for it. Perhaps all sex is paid for in some way. I think it is true. A man who takes a woman to dinner first, takes her to drink, tells her she is beautiful, pays her father to arrange a marriage to her… this is paying for sex. It is cloaked in custom and tradition, but the result – sexual domination of the man over the woman – is still prostitution.
I am not willing in this. I did not choose this life. I do what I must to survive. It is this, or starve.”
Hunter… ohhh my God I so totally loved him! He was protective and Alpha but in a very realistic way. The jealousy, disgust and possessiveness he felt listening to her ‘working’ just ate at my heart! And despite being this badass Marine, he was just so tender and patient and utterly sweet with her ♥. There were several moments when he fought for and protected her that brought a smile to my face there was this one absolutely BADASS moment (and I’m even grinning as I write this) where you literally watched him switch from tender lover to hardcore Marine that just gave me CHILLS!!!!! LOVED IT!
“I don’t know what to say to her. I’m in battle mode. Shut down. Hard. I’m not Hunter anymore. I’m Lance Corporal Lee, USMC. Semper fi, bitches.“
I loved that he didn’t care about her past – that when he looked at her, the only thing he saw was HER. And I loved watching her grow to trust him to take care of her even though really, she was also saving his life.
He lays me down on the bed and leans next to me. He does nothing but look at me for a moment.
“You are so beautiful,” he whispers. “Do you know that?”
I shake my head. “I know that men think –”
He cuts me off with a kiss. “Man. One man. Me. I’m all that matters. No one else can have you. You’re mine.”
I shiver at his words. “Do you promise me?”
“Yes, my love. I promise.”
Everything about this book felt real. The pacing was perfect and absolutely everything about the story made sense. No moments of eye rolling or wanting to throttle characters.
It was a beautiful, character-driven story about two scarred people finding love in the most unlikely of places and ultimately saving each other. This book is definitely going to make my list of favorites for 2013!
The story is told in alternating POV’s which are clearly marked at the beginning of the chapters. The author’s writing captures the distinct voices of each of her characters so vividly that you can’t help but instantly connect with them and feel like you are right inside their thoughts.
Ok, I’m also going to try and answer a few question that I’m anticipating you’ll have…. About the war. Yes, its gritty and horrific and I know that some of you are wary of reading war stories but please don’t let that bother you here. The war is the setting for the story but it does not tear them apart. Yes, Hunter gets wounded several times but from the time they meet in the story, they are never separated. Yes, there are instances of rape and violence (well, its not exactly rape, its more that she’s forced to sell herself to survive) but they are not descriptive or gruesome – they are more just telling you what happens to her. It sickened me that it happened to her but the author did a great job about how she presented it – there are no extended rape scenes or anything like that.
I also loved that the book didn’t just end with them leaving the war zone and getting to safety. I loved that we got to see them build a life together after.
The story also has a happy ending complete with an epilogue so really, your heart will be safe.
“I love you, Hunter. Please do not stop. Not ever.”
“I won’t, I promise. Never. I’ll love you forever. I’ll make love to you until there’s no me and no you, only us together like this forever.”
Its a heavy read. Definitely not fluffy at all, but its hot and erotic (in the second half, once their relationship is established) and the story keeps you totally engaged all the way through. Its well-written and the kind of story that stays in your mind and heart even after you’ve finished your read.
I absolutely recommend it!
Both books in this world are complete standalones.
You can read either one without the other if you wish, but they are connected.