Spliced by Robin Leigh Miller
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Length: Full Length (232 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Spanking
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Dahlia
For ten years, Avery Easton has quietly lusted after her twin brother’s best friend, Ridge Gates. When the cruel, cold hand of fate takes her brother’s life, Avery and Ridge turn to each other in grief and share a night of ecstasy. But mind-blowing sex with the man of her dreams can’t push away Avery’s reality.
Violent and terrifying events have followed her brother’s body home and introduced Avery to another man…one who’s willing to give her everything she needs. And then there’s the secret she harbors that could tear her and Ridge apart even as it connects them for the rest of their lives.
A promise on the battlefield led Ridge straight into the arms of the woman he knows he has no business being with, but can’t stay away from. If he fails to come to terms with his broken body and Avery’s revelations, he could lose her forever—if not to another man, then to the violence that brought Ridge and Avery together.
Ridge Gates is a broken man. After his tour through Afghanistan came to a devastating end, he's forever scarred, body and soul. The loss of innocent lives plagues him with nightmares and the guilt haunts him during the waking hours. However, it is the promise he made to his dying best friend that keeps him sane. The promise that would mean getting close to the one woman who could do fatal damage to his heart. Ridge knows that although he may be a scarred man now, he's the right man when it comes to taking care of her, even if it kills him to be near her.
Avery Easton knew the moment her brother’s life ended. The pain and heart-wrenching emptiness was all too real and signified a future of loneliness. The presence she recognized as her twin’s spirit complete with emotions was ripped away from her and then replaced by the man who forever ignored her. Unfortunately, someone has invaded her home and Ridge is bound and determined to see to her safety, but now Avery feels even less safe as her desire takes charge.
Intensely emotional and erotically thrilling, this story follows Ridge and Avery's relationship as it develops past friendship, but under terrible circumstances. The profound sadness early in the story sincerely moved me and with it came an instant connection to the main characters. Sex was used to cope with the loss of a best friend and brother and when that wasn't enough Ridge and Avery's misconceptions and insecurities got the best of them. Ridge became distant in the light of day, but at night his dominance is secured. While Avery thrives under Ridge's command in the bedroom, she's realistic in knowing that it can't last if Ridge doesn't open his heart to her. Another man stands between them, though, and I found this character to be a pivotal part of the storyline in helping them get past the stubbornness and work towards healing and understanding.
There were quite a few errors in the text that made it hard to read smoothly and the threat to Avery's life seemed a little anticlimactic when all was finally revealed. However, the romance is hard-won and the story is captivating. Even the character and relationship developments are satisfying for their realism. I would recommend this story to a wide range of romance readers, but most especially to those who want their romance sizzling.