AFTER THE HURT                          SHANA GRAY

Pepper Chapman refuses to throw in the towel. Six months ago, she made the biggest mistake of her life. Blinded by grief after her mom’s death, Pepper abandoned the man she loves. Now she wants a second chance at everything she gave up: strong hands driving her to ecstasy . . . a deep voice whispering naughty promises in her ear . . . the future they’d planned since they were teenagers. So Pepper comes home looking for forgiveness, ready for a new beginning—if he’s willing to give her a shot.

Retired MMA star Tank Sherman may be used to low blows, but Pepper’s emotional sucker punch left him reeling. Trying to ignore the pain and forget the pleasure of her body beneath his, Tank is prepared to ring the final bell on their relationship. Then Pepper shows up out of the blue, radiating pure sex. But Tank won’t let himself get hurt again, and that means resisting the heat that still burns between them. Because if he takes Pepper back, he knows he’ll never be able to let her go again.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

     At the time of a loved one’s death, we are so consumed with their passing that we can’t seem to celebrate their life or be with those offering us comfort.  Then when you find out a simple act of your kindness like bringing a sandwich and splitting it with your mom caused her the infection that killed her you distraught.  When in reality the chemo that lowers her immune system along with the contaminated tomato, along with her body fighting itself was what killed her.  Her body just couldn’t fight it all.  Pepper Chapman couldn’t see the facts and she couldn’t forgive herself.
     No matter how many times the man she loves, Tank Sherman, former MMA fighter, told her.  The fact that she had a hand in it was just too overwhelming for her to take.  Pulling her down into a spiraling depression.  Right in the middle of them trying to care for also Tank’s sister Meg, a lawyer, who was struck by a drunk driver.  Plus, they were well into the throws of construction of Octagon their Bar and Restaurant.
     When one day when Tank wakes up she’s gone.  She needed to get away but doesn’t tell anyone.  Here he has loved her since they were teens.  Yet, she just disappeared without a trace.  No, phone calls, no texts, and no mail.  Just gone.  Six months later she just walks back into the fully finished bar and waits, no one is around but the door is open.  So, she waits on Tank.  When he comes out she wished she hadn’t the urge to both grab him and hold on.  But she waited for him to make the first move.
     He wanted the same thing but he was hurt but if he grabbed on this time he never wanted to let go.  But he didn’t know if he wanted to ever be hurt like that again.  Then for Tank, reality sets in with the pain and hurt coming crashing down on him that she left him behind like he was nothing.
     Pepper’s fingers twitched to touch him but she could see the hurt and the pain in his eyes she caused.  He was not going to make it easy on her to make amends and come back home and explain her grief.  She knew she had to try no matter how long or how hard he pushed her away.

     I really enjoyed this story between Tank and Pepper.  The chemistry between them was steamy and hot.  Without the sex scenes.  For me they seemed forced in some respects in some of the places the characters just had IT, it was like the author was expected to have it so she wrote it.  Tank and Pepper just steam it up without it.  I give this: 5 stars.  Provided by  Follow us at: 

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