BREAKING A LEGEND (Kavanagh Legends 1) by Sarah Robinson
BREAKING A LEGEND
Kavanagh Legends 1
by Sarah Robinson
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance, MMA
Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / BAM
ABOUT THE BOOK: September 29, 2015
As one of the big names at his family’s gym, Legends, MMA star Rory Kavanagh is used to being in the spotlight—until a gruesome leg injury knocks him out of the cage. Rory is left feeling sidelined in more ways than one, battling the inner demons that come with losing the one shot at his dreams. Then Clare walks into his life and gives him a new dream: winning her heart. There aren’t many new faces in Woodlawn these days, but this tough, beautiful stranger makes Rory want to get his life back into fighting shape.
Clare Ivers doesn’t think she’ll be able to tell anyone what really brought her to the close-knit Bronx neighborhood where she just started bartending. But her life’s on pause and her past is catching up fast, try as she might to move on—with new friends, steady work, and a chiseled alpha male trying to get her attention. Even though Rory’s more than a little intense, she can’t deny that her heart beats faster when he looks at her with those soulful silver eyes. Clare thought she was done with love, but Rory might just be man enough to show her she thought wrong.
REVIEW: BREAKING A LEGEND is the first installment in Sarah Robinson’s contemporary, adult KAVANAGH LEGENDS romance series focusing on the Kavanagh family of MMA fame. This is former MMA champion twenty eight year old Rory Kavanagh, and bartender Clare Ivers’s storyline.
Told from dual third person perspectives BREAKING A LEGEND focuses on the building relationship between Rory and Clare, and Rory’s recovery from a devastating career-ending injury. Tens months earlier Rory’s injury in the cage left our hero a broken man in more ways than one. Enter Clare Ivers, the newest waitress at O’Leary’s Pub, and the woman who would call to Rory’s heart. Coming from a big, Irish Catholic family, Rory has never lacked support but Rory’s choices in life have left our hero fighting the dark demons that resulted from the catastrophic injury.
Clare Ivers hides a secret. Our heroine is one the run, trying to stay one step ahead of her past and falling in love was never in the cards. When Clare’s past resurfaces, our heroine is willing to walk away from Rory and the family she has grown to love in order to protect everyone from the life she once led.
The relationship between Clare and Rory is one of immediate attraction. Rory is a man taught to respect women and in this Rory is the ultimate gentleman as he slowly seduces the woman who calls to his heart. The $ex scenes are gentle; there is no erotic, graphic imagery or text. But I did take issue with the lack of condoms. In an age of STDS and deadly viruses, the use of condoms should never be questioned.
We are introduced to Rory’s extended family including brothers- Quinn, Kane and Kane’s twin Kieran (who is currently in prison), and the youngest Jimmy, who is a member of the local police department. Jimmy has his hands full keeping his family on the straight and narrow. Rory’s loving parents Seamus and Dee Kavanagh are the backbone of the Kavanagh family ; and Rory’s cousin/sister Casey who befriends Clare when she needs it the most. The family ‘feel’ to this storyline is loving and supportive.
The world building focuses on Legends-the gym owned by the Kavanagh family where ‘legends’ are made and history is written in the Bronx borough of Woodlawn, New York. We are up close and personal with the fighters as they prepare for the next championship. There is some history with Seamus Kavanagh and the local Irish mob but we are not currently privy to the background information.
SPOILER ALERT: I did have some issues of believability with certain aspects of this storyline as it pertained to Rory and his ability to get clean and sober. It was all too neat and tidy; there is no mention of withdrawal, side effects or the physical and emotional pain one suffers during detox. Getting clean is a long process and doesn’t happen over night or in a matter of a couple of days. The unreality of the situation is questionable.
BREAKING A LEGEND is an easy read with a large ensemble cast of characters. The premise is entertaining; the characters are engaging; the romance is sweet and seductive but saying that, there was something missing in the telling of the story; the details are missing for many of the storyline components especially as it pertained to Clare’s past and Rory’s fall into the abyss
Copy supplied by Netgalley.
Reviewed by Sandy
Well, if it isn’t our long-lost brother,” a familiar voice said a few minutes later, as he meandered into the neighborhood bar that everyone he knew frequented. A hand clasped his shoulder. “Shit, Rory, where the hell have you been?”
Rory inwardly groaned as he turned to face his younger brother, Quinn Kavanagh. Rory wanted to wipe Quinn’s smug smirk off with his fist. He had been sporting that same cocky attitude since the moment he popped into this world, a trait that Rory found uniquely irritating.
Now I remember why I’ve been avoiding this bar, Rory thought as he forced a smile at his brother.
“Just stopping in for a quick drink, Quinn,” Rory said, attempting to make clear that he wasn’t interested in socializing.
He headed over to the long wooden bar that wrapped around two sides of the small pub and stood before walls of liquor bottles and televisions. Several bartenders moved around swiftly, filling drink orders and talking with the full crowd that O’Leary’s always attracted on weekend nights. Rory found an empty stool down at one end, far away from the door, and quickly staked his claim.
He saw Cian, who had worked at O’Leary’s for as long as he could remember, and nodded his head to him. Cian nodded back and put up his hand, indicating he would be over in a minute, as he finished serving the group of college-aged kids at that end of the bar. The door to the kitchen swung open and a short, petite blonde ambled through carrying a large bucket of ice that seemed much too heavy for her small frame to manage.
Rory smiled slightly as he lifted one eyebrow, watching her with interest while she carefully poured the ice over the liquor bottles that sat in a metal bin below the bar’s surface. She huffed and her face was slightly red at the task, but she still managed to completely empty the bucket’s contents evenly around each of the glass bottles.
He took advantage of her being distracted by her task to stare at her shapely legs, which disappeared under a short skirt barely longer than her small apron. Her skin was delicately pale and smooth, and he wondered what it would feel like to slide his fingers up the length of those legs. His eyes traveled up her body, disappointed that the thick, blond ringlets dangling halfway down her back were also hiding most of her face as she leaned over the bar. He wanted to see her perfectly sloped nose, catch her eyes with his, and see what her small pink lips would look like when they smiled.
Something about this woman was intriguing him, although he couldn’t pinpoint what.
Her work completed, she exhaled loudly and plopped the empty bucket at her feet, taking a breather. Rory chuckled lightly, finally grabbing her attention.
“You laughing at me?” She put her hands on her hips, daring him to make fun of her.
Her eyes narrowed as she spoke, but he was still able to catch a glimpse of the dazzling emerald color that contrasted against her light skin and golden hair so perfectly.
“Wouldn’t dream of it, mhuirnín.” A smile spread across his face as he watched her saunter over to him, her full, pink lips tightly pressed together in irritation.
“What’s that mean?” she asked when she reached him, standing across the bar with her arms folded across her chest and one hip tilted higher than the other. Her tone was defiant and he loved the feisty spirit she exuded.
“Mhuirnín? You’re all questions today. I’ll answer your question, if you answer mine.” Rory concentrated on keeping his speech normal and not slurring his words. He might have had a bit more to drink tonight than he had intended.
She turned away from him, looking back down the length of the bar and drumming her fingers on its surface.
Rory could sense her nervousness. He already missed her green gaze and silently begged her to turn back to him. There was something about her that stirred a protective instinct in him, a feeling entirely foreign toward anyone who wasn’t family. She was smiling, but there was an undercurrent of pain breaking through her friendliness.
He didn’t like it.
“I guess that’s fair,” she relented, turning back to him and leaning against the wall.
“I haven’t seen you here before. What’s your name?” His question was simple, but the desire in his eyes was not as he licked his bottom lip and admired how perfectly her uniform hugged her curves, even on her small figure. “Clare Ivers. I’m new in town. Needed a job.” She shrugged, not divulging much, but he felt a sliver of hope when he saw that the smile on her face had yet to disappear.
He knew that she could feel his attraction toward her when he saw the blush creep up her cheeks. The smile she couldn’t push away told him she was enjoying their banter as much as he was.
Despite her clear interest, there was a hint of disapproval as he watched her eyes roam over his torso. It was a look he was way too familiar with from the last year. Rory worried he might be slurring his words or sounding more drunk than he felt.
Wouldn’t be the first time, he thought.
“Your turn.” She pointed at him, biting the corner of her lip in an attempt to hide her smile.
“Mhuirnín means sweetheart. If you’re going to work in Woodlawn, Clare, you gotta learn some Irish.”
“Is that right? I guess I’ll have to find a good tutor then,” she taunted, before turning on her heels and sauntering off.
Developing the hero/heroine
Developing a hero and heroine for a novel is not as difficult as one might thing. There are millions of methods you can find online, different workshops you can take, or dozens of strategies you can learn in writing classes. Personally, I subscribe to the simple method of who, what, why- or if you want to get technical, goal, motivation, conflict.
First I plot out who my characters are, which is everything from what they look like, to their age, their background, and their personality traits. The hero and heroine need to have either similar backgrounds and different personalities, or different backgrounds and similar personalities, for me to really develop a great romance between them because while opposites attract, there needs to be things in common for that romance to work long term.
Once I know who my characters are, I create their worlds and situations, along with what they want out of life and what’s motivating them to achieve it. Then lastly, I decide what the conflict will be to throw them off course and how their motivations will help them surpass that. It’s like picking out what they want more than anything, than what they definitely refuse to do to get that, then making them do it anyways.
So, for example, in BREAKING A LEGEND, I have two main characters (along with a host of very vibrant secondary characters that you’ll learn more about in subsequent books) named Rory Kavanagh and Clare Ivers. I made Rory an ex-mixed martial arts fighter with a career-ending injury that had driven him into the grips of alcohol and prescription pain killers. He came from a boisterous and large Irish family with hinted ties to the mafia, and they all own an MMA gym in the Bronx. He’s at the point where his future plans have been destroyed and he doesn’t know how to move forward, or how to be the man he once was again.
Clare Ivers, his love interest, is from a mysterious and dark background and running from something, or someone. She starting anew in the Bronx as a bartender, trying to get back into school to become a veterinarian, however, life keeps putting up road blocks. While Clare lacks confidence, Rory definitely does not, despite his failures. Where Rory lacks ambition, Clare is steadfast and knows what she wants. Their best and worst qualities balance out the other, making their relationship the perfect opportunity for both of them to grow separately as individuals, and together as lovers.
To me, that’s the goal of every romance, and any story in general. How can we take the problems life gives us, and grow from it? How can we become our best selves in a relationship, and help our partner do the same? That’s certainly my goal for my own marriage, and so I’d love to portray those same qualities and purpose in every novel I write. People aren’t perfect, but together, we can fit perfectly.
Sarah Robinson is the bestselling author of The Photographer Trilogy and the Sand & Clay rock star series. A native of Washington, D.C., Robinson has both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal psychology. She is married to a local police officer who is just as much of an animal rescue enthusiast as she is. Together, they own a zoo of rescue and foster animals.
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