Publisher: Amber Glow Books
Date of publication: April 9th, 2014
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Audible
Series: The Beaumont Brothers
Beautifully Wounded—Book 1 (Previously published under The Fawn)
Beautifully Used—Book 2
Beautifully Undone—Book 3
Format read in: eBook
Trigger Warning: Spousal Abuse and Rape
Sometimes the only way to salvation… is to take a leap of faith.
What would you do if you had no place to go and no one you could trust?
“The lyrics are about you, Lena,” he confessed, and I watched his mouth as the tip of his tongue moistened his lips before he leaned his head down. Then those beautiful lips were on mine, soft, tender at first, then his tongue glided over my lips, breaking the seal. My pulse throbbed and quickened as his tongue swirled around mine. Taking and controlling, and… and I wanted this, needed his touch. I went limp in his embrace, and the heat rose under my skin, my body vibrated against his strong powerful one. Was this really happening?”
Jackson Beaumont prides himself on being a nature-loving, guitar-strumming, carefree sort of guy. When the mysterious Lena Benton walks into his bar looking scared and defeated, it’s not something he can ignore. He’s immediately consumed by concern for her and driven by his desire to help. She’s just so beautiful. So wounded.
After being shuffled from one foster home to another growing up, Lena Benton dreamt of finding her prince charming. When the captivating Troy Harington sweeps her off her feet shortly after high school graduation, she’s certain she’s found her happiness. Unfortunately, Troy’s true colors surface shortly after their marriage and things turn ugly. Lena only has one choice. She has to leave him. She has to run…
Lena’s escape has brought her to Jackson, and he clearly wants to be there for her, but can she trust anyone again after what she’s gone through? And will Jackson be able to help her heal without losing his heart?
18+ due to sexual content and mature subject matter.
He opened the front door.Beautifully Wounded by Susan Griscom
I am going to start with the trigger warning to start this review. Usually, I will touch upon TW’s at the end of the book. But, because of how this book begins, I feel that it is appropriate to put it at the beginning.
I am not going to mince words. Beautifully Wounded starts with Lena being raped and beaten by her husband when the rape fails (because he loses his erection halfway through the rape). I won’t lie, it is very graphic. But, it set the pace and the mood for the first half of the book.
Lena’s flight from Troy was heartbreaking but empowering. I felt her terror and urgency as she fled. She was terrified that he would find her. She was terrified of what he would do. She did everything to throw him off her trail. She cut up credit cards, abandoned her car, used a fake ID that her best guy friend gave her, used cash to buy a new car, and drove as far as she could with her injuries. It was breathtaking and made my heart pound. I was on the edge of my seat that first couple of chapters because of the unknown.
Then Jackson was introduced. Not a lot was said about him except that he owned a local bar with his brother, Brodie. That was fine with me because all of my attention was on Lena and her flight from Troy. When Lena walked into the bar, her appearance caught Jackson (and eventually Brodie’s) attention. Jackson, who had a soft heart of injured animals and people, took one look at her and decided that she needed his help. He brought in an ex-Army medic/current firefighter to look at her. That is when the extent of her injuries was shown. Broken ribs, a concussion, bruises everywhere, and one eye was swollen completely shut. Even Doc (the firefighter) was horrified. I was fighting back the tears during that scene. I made these weird snuffly noises that my husband took notice of and asked if I needed a tissue.
I liked that Lena was learning to trust Jackson. What I loved was her instant connection to Rufus (his hound). She spilled her secret to him, unaware that Jackson was listening outside her door. It was a heartwarming scene that again made me fight back the tears. That poor girl.
By the middle of the book, though, Jackson did start to creep me out. He began to become obsessed with Lena. I understand wanting to help. He helped so much and in so many ways. He set it up so Lena could file for divorce without disclosing her location. He helped file for a restraining order (including taking her pictures). He got her clothing and someone to dye her hair. He. Was. Always. There. When he started falling for her, I was like, “Oh no honey, please. Wait until she’s healed.” But he didn’t.
The middle of Beautifully Wounded focused on Lena’s healing process and her emerging relationship with Jackson. I liked seeing her regain her self confidence and self-worth. The little tidbits of her life with Troy left me shaking my head. What made me shake my head, even more, was that she witnessed her mother being abused and then killed by her abuser while she was growing up. Lena thought she knew what she was looking out for, but instead, she got blindsided. I truly felt awful for her.
I liked seeing her and Jackson connect on a deeper level. Seeing her fall for Jackson was sweet, but at the same time, I felt that she didn’t need to fall into another relationship. But, thankfully, Jackson took it super slow and allowed Lena to call the shots.
Their relationship did heat up during this part of the book. But nothing happened until after Lena received her divorce papers.
Jackson was still acting creepy. He had this whole “I’ll let her come to me” vibe, but he moved her into his and Brodie’s house and spent all of his time with Lena. And, again, I didn’t blame Brodie for blowing up at Jackson. I did feel bad that Lena had to overhear it, though. Brodie did apologize, and Lena did tell Brodie that she was sorry, even though it was Jackson’s fault.
There was an undercurrent of anticipation regarding Troy. And it wasn’t the right kind. I kept wondering when he would turn up. I didn’t blame Lena for wanting to run. She was terrified that Troy would hunt her down and kill her.
End of Book Impressions:
The last half of Beautifully Wounded was insane. So much went on in a few short chapters. I couldn’t read it fast enough.
Jackson and Lena’s relationship went to the next step, which wasn’t awful in the grand scheme of things. In book time, two months had gone by, and they spent everyday together. So, when they had sex, I wasn’t grossed out. I was still a little skeeved by Jackson, but even that went away. You could tell that he cherished Lena.
Lena’s worse nightmares were realized when one of her best friends (pre-Troy) came to the bar and let her know that Troy knew where she was. Then it was a waiting game as to when he would show up.
And yes, Troy did show up. My heart was pounding for Lena during those scenes because of what he was saying to her, where he was taking her and what he would do to her (implied). I will say that Rufus was the real MVP during this part of the book. That nice, sweet dog lost his SHIT when Lena was taken. And I ugly cried when Jackson caught up to Lena and Troy, and he saw what happened to Rufus.
Of course, there was a confrontation between Jackson and Troy. In my mind, I called it the battle between Good and Evil (because it was). There was a point where I was concerned for Jackson and a little WTF. Jackson was an ex-cop. He should have known how to take someone down. Yet, he didn’t, and it frustrated me. It was who took Troy down that took me by surprise. It also took Brodie by surprise (he was way too late).
The epilogue was fantastic. I liked seeing where Lena and Jackson were a year later. Oh, and Rufus’s fate was disclosed!! I also loved the lead into Brodie/Gabby’s story.
My Overall Thoughts on Beautifully Wounded:
I enjoyed reading Beautifully Wounded. It had a fast plotline with characters that will stay with you after the book is finished. I will warn that there are parts of the book that are hard to swallow. Some parts are unrealistic. But, it didn’t affect me. Instead, it made the book more enjoyable to read.
I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book. There is graphic violence. There is a rape scene at the beginning of the book that is graphic. There is sex, but that is not graphic.