Nearly Broken by Devon Ashley was definitely not what I expected it to be. Far from your typical new adult romance, it was very dark, twisted, and kept you on your toes with the multiple plot twists. This book is the epitome of emotional rollercoaster.
Megan is working as a waitress in a small town diner. Her philosophy is to keep the head down, blend in, stay off the radar, don't get close to anyone. Although we are not enlightened of her past, we do know she hides scars on her arms and is always ready to run at any given moment. Her plan is working until one day a girl comes in, mistaking Megan for her missing sister, Claire. After seeing the Claire's missing person ad and almost recognizing herself in the photo, it opens a window of questioning in Megan's mind: could her and Claire have something in common? What happened to her? Then Nick enters the scene, starting to work at as a cook at the diner. Megan finds herself drawn to Nick and surprised at how easily she is letting her usually strong-standing wall down for him. She even lets him move in with her, although the whole time she doesn't completely let him in or trust his interest with her. Suddenly, Megan's past (the one she is ready to run and hide from) comes crashing into her and her (and Nick's) whole world is turned upside down.
"I was nearly broken, my life shattered into so many pieces I wasn't sure I'd ever get them back in working order again. I was freaking Humpty Dumpty, a shell of my former self, trying desperately to seal the cracks and fill myself back up with what I had lost."
Although this story wasn't 100% my cup of tea (between the abductions, brain washing, and sex slavery it was far from leaving you with the warm and fuzzies) Ashley did a wonderful job of weaving together a love story with some of the harsh realities of sex trafficking. I really like that we are able to meet Megan and grow attached to her character before we see her as a victim. I was also hesitant at first of Nick and Megan's relationship (first thought was "Oh no, here comes another insta-love") but after learning of their interconnected past, their connection felt much more real to me.
"I don't want to be scared anymore. The only time I've ever felt safe is in you arms. I do love you, and I just want to let you in all the way. So please. Please fill me with love, because I can't bear to be filled with fear anymore. It's suffocating me."
Do not let the innocent-looking cover fool you: this story is definitely not for the faint of heart, there were times reading that I didn't realize I was holding my breath until I was almost gasping. Although we were close to our HEA by the end, this book still leaves you feeling raw and emotionally burned out.
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