A crush is just a fantasy. The real thing packs some serious heat.
The Donnellys, Book 3
When Cynthia Donnelly lays eyes on her high school crush at her brother’s wedding rehearsal, she regrets her self-imposed, one-year moratorium on dating. If possible, he’s even hotter now than when they were teens.
Back in school, Shane made a point to ignore his best friend’s cute, sassy little sister. Now that she’s grown into an incredibly sexy woman full of Irish spunk, resisting her is out of the question. Besides, in his book, all “hands-off” rules have expired.
One sizzling night together should have been enough. Instead, the heat rises, tempting Cyn to take a chance on a long-distance relationship and making Shane consider pulling up stakes and moving back to L.A.
Cyn’s recently dumped ex, however, has other ideas. His quest to get her back escalates into violence, shattering Cyn’s faith in herself, and in anyone else of the male persuasion, and leaving Shane with his work cut out for him to repair the damage—or lose his shot at a once-in-a-lifetime love.
Warning: This book contains a physical assault. Buckle up for a bumpy emotional journey with the characters as they fall apart and then slowly find their way to healing, and to each other. You might get angry or tearful along the way, you may even get frustrated, but as is with any good love story, it’ll be worth it in the end.
I proclaim Shattered Heart my favorite book in The Donnellys series (so far, anyway). I absolutely LOVED this book. I have found both of the previous installments squirm inducing, but Shaw outdoes herself with Cyn and Shane because they are FREAKING HAWT!!! I-need-a-cold-shower-after-reading-that kind of hot. Even though there is plenty of sex in Shattered Heart, the author does not neglect the storyline at all – packing it full of romance, danger, trauma, healing, laughs, and the Donnelly family.
If you read Unworthy Heart, you’ll be excited to know that Maiya and Ryan’s wedding plays a big part in this installment. A Donnelly wedding means that we get to meet all of the Donnelly siblings we haven’t met yet and this goes a long way in helping the reader understanding Shane’s relationship with the Donnelly clan – beyond that of being Cyn’s childhood crush. Being best friends with the eldest Donnelly sibling and losing his father at a young age meant that Shane spent a lot of time with Donnelly clan out of friendship and seeking that feeling of family he was missing at home – and let me warn you, his mother is a real piece of work. Having watched the other Donnellys grow up, Shane sees them all as siblings…until he sees Cyn at Ryan’s wedding rehearsal and discovers she’s not a little girl anymore. But the bro code means he’s not going there, so he decides to enjoy the sights until Joey actually encourages him (while warning him) to see if there’s anything between them. Despite his best intentions, when the bachelor and bachelorette parties converge, so do Cyn and Ryan and as I mentioned earlier – freaking hot! Seriously, if there were ever a case for pregnancy-by-book, Shattered Heart would do it. After a bit of a hiccup, what starts as a one-night stand soon becomes a nightly occurrence while Shane is in town. As his time in L.A. nears an end, Shane starts questioning whether or not a long-distance relationship can work. But when Cyn is attacked, there’s no way he can leave, not when it’s clear she needs help that she’s refusing to get. And thus begins the biggest war Shane has ever waged, winning Cyn’s trust and heart.
At this point, it’s abundantly clear that I loved the chemistry between Cyn and Shane. But I also liked how the author took a realistic, yet painful scenario and used it to show how harrowing the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be. Too often people dismiss the possibility of PTSD because the sufferer didn’t serve in the military, forgetting that traumatic events aren’t exclusive to warzones. What happened to Cyn was every woman’s nightmare and is, without a doubt, traumatic. Cyn’s belief that by getting professional help meant that her attacker won illustrated how pervasive the effects of trauma can be by showing how it skewed her reasoning. Shaw also did an excellent job in showing the downward spiral of Cyn’s behavior and how her anger grew over time as a result of feelings of helplessness and fear. It was quite impressive in my opinion. And Shane’s own military background was vital to understanding what was going on with Cyn, exercising patience and not taking her verbal attacks personally. The man deserved a medal and while I hated that she forced him to leave, I thoroughly enjoyed the way in which Shaw resolved their standoff and the happy ending Shane and Cyn seem to be headed for. Shattered Heart was another excellent addition to The Donnellys series and I cannot wait to read the next installment in the series.