We’re on tour with Bruised But Not Broken by Nicole Dykes!
About Bruised But Not Broken
Spark of Hope: A bi-weekly trauma support group.
This is my nightmare. When I think of a support group, I think of sad people sitting around talking about their feelings and nothing changing.
And yet, when my brother and his best friend, who happens to be a therapist, presented the idea of holding the meetings at my gym, I caved.
Because I, Benjamin Price, have always tried to rescue the people in my life. But I can’t. I’ve usually failed them.
Now, I’m hosting a trauma support group and desperately trying not to fall into my old habits—of attempting to save everyone.
And then, he walks in.
Bruised. But not broken. No matter how exhausted he may feel, a strength in him calls to me.
And there’s no way I can ignore the need deep inside me to at least try.
I’m tired. I’m afraid. And I don’t want to go back.
Not to the abusive relationship I told myself I was okay with for years.
But what am I supposed to do?
I have no real life skills. All my life, I’ve been told I’m pretty and that’s it.
Then I walk into a gym, looking for a job, but I find so much more.
I don’t want to trust Ben. I don’t believe his help doesn’t come with a price.
But what choice do I really have?
One thing’s for sure . . . Neither of us are getting out of this intact.
What we lose though, that’s anyone’s guess.
Bruised But Not Broken is set around a trauma support group and will, therefore, touch on extremely sensitive subjects. I’ll always do my best to handle these topics with care and healing, and with no intention of hurting anyone. But please, heed this warning if you have any triggers.
Meet Nicole Dyke
Nicole Dykes is a wife and a professional assistant/mom to two gorgeous girls. Currently residing in Kansas, she’s a lover of coffee, Kansas City Chiefs, and all things romance. She currently has over 20 published books with her Monroe and Adamson series being the most popular. She enjoys cranking up the angst level, making her readers cry, and turning those tears into the coffee that fuels her writing.
[I received a digital arc for an honest review]
Bruised But Not Broken by Nicole Dykes is the first book in her new Spark of Hope series. Ben Price lives to keep his gym going and maintain his small circle of family and friends. He has no time for bi-weekly trauma therapy sessions or for the broken man who shows up asking for a job. Colby has finally walked away from his life of privilege at the cost of his safety and emotional well-being. He didn’t realize asking for a job at the gym would find him everything he was missing. Both men are hesitant to trust what’s developing between them and ask themselves if they’re willing to put the past behind and work towards a better future together.
Ben has lived through trauma and found his sanctuary in building his gym up. He manages a few close relationships but keeps strangers at arm’s length. Colby manages to get Ben’s attention in a way he’s never experienced and his urge to protect the broken man is so strong he can’t resist. Ben never explored his sexuality outside of his relationship with Summer so when he has such a strong physical reaction to Colby he wants more.
I can’t help the protectiveness I feel over Colby, but it doesn’t matter. It’s settled deep in my bones, and I don’t want anyone – not even my brother – to hurt him.
Colby struggles to see himself as a brave person because it took him so long to walk away. He’s fed up and exhausted by the time he meets Ben. He can’t help but fall for Ben as he feels a sense of security he hasn’t in so long. He doesn’t trust his feelings at first though because of Ben’s sexual identity and doesn’t want to just be an experiment. He’s looking for a partner he can trust, not just a bed partner looking for release. Once he allows himself to be open with Ben emotionally their physical relationship blossoms. Along the way he also finds himself inducted into Ben’s family of Roman and Andrew and becoming friends with Ethan at the gym.
“What do you want, Colby? I’ll give you anything you want.”
“You.” He looks at me with total trust, and I’m a goner.
The author took on a difficult subject of trauma in a variety of forms and did it respectfully. While trauma played a significant role in the story the reader also gets to enjoy watching the romantic relationship develop between Ben and Colby. Their intimate scenes were hot while still sweet which is exactly what you wanted for both men who had been hurt in the past. I look forward to seeing the others find their HEA and work through their own pasts towards a happier future.
4 stars for Colby and Ben breaking down their past traumas towards a bright future.