Breaking a Legend (Kavanagh Legends #1)
by Sarah Robinson
Perfect for fans of Katy Evans and Monica Murphy, Sarah Robinson’s blistering-hot series debut introduces the Kavanagh brothers—mixed martial arts fighters who work hard, play hard, and love with all their hearts.
As one of the big names at his family’s gym, Legends, MMA star Rory Kavanagh is used to being in the spotlight—until a gruesome leg injury knocks him out of the cage. Rory is left feeling sidelined in more ways than one, battling the inner demons that come with losing the one shot at his dreams. Then Clare walks into his life and gives him a new dream: winning her heart. There aren’t many new faces in Woodlawn these days, but this tough, beautiful stranger makes Rory want to get his life back into fighting shape.
Clare Ivers doesn’t think she’ll be able to tell anyone what really brought her to the close-knit Bronx neighborhood where she just started bartending. But her life’s on pause and her past is catching up fast, try as she might to move on—with new friends, steady work, and a chiseled alpha male trying to get her attention. Even though Rory’s more than a little intense, she can’t deny that her heart beats faster when he looks at her with those soulful silver eyes. Clare thought she was done with love, but Rory might just be man enough to show her she thought wrong.
The crowd roared around him as the bell sounded, vibrating through his entire body. Rory Kavanagh immediately moved into position, his head low and his fists in front of his face. His arms were tucked in, shielding his body as he advanced on his opponent. This was it. A lifetime of practice, sparring, training: It was all for this moment.
It was all for this fight.
He was bigger than his opponent; this would be a simple win. He had the strength, he had the power. He towered over him by several inches, his shoulders broader, and his muscles thicker. This fight was in the bag. Punch, block, jab, shield, kick, sidestep. His opponent was moving fast, but Rory practically danced around his attack. He rained down jab after jab, his opponent staggering backward with a bloody lip. The bell sounded and both men retreated to their respective corners.
“Water,” Rory grunted, leaning against the cage side as his father handed him a water bottle, his brothers eagerly watching from outside the cage. He dumped a mouthful of water onto his tongue before swirling it around and spitting it out into a nearby bucket.
“You’re doing great, Rory, but remember technique. You’re too heavy-handed on power, and you’re not focusing on skills. That’s how fighters get hurt.”
“I’m fine. This is in the bag.” Rory tossed the bottle at him, strutting back toward the center of the ring as the ref began announcing the start of the second round.
“Fight!” The ref backed up quickly as the men converged on each other. Rory landed the first hook, blocking the return. Breathe, focus.
And that’s when it happened.
He blinked in surprise as blinding pain coursed through him. He looked down for a second, just a second, and it was over. Rory hadn’t even seen it happen; his opponent had been too fast. He looked down at his leg, but it was entirely twisted at the knee and bent the wrong direction. Bones were protruding and blood trickled morbidly down his calf. Searing pain inexplicably mixed with tingling numbness shot through his body in pulsing currents as he wavered.
Then all he saw was black. He felt the cage floor hit the back of his head as he went down hard. He heard the screaming from audience members, his family included. The ref’s whistle was blaring and medics were asking if he was okay.
Rory said nothing, and gave in to the black.
I went into Breaking a Legend with high expectations. A fighter hero and a heroine on the run from an abusive ex? Those are my absolute favorite story lines and I fully expected this one to become an instant favorite. Unfortunately, I think those expectations are why I walked away from this one slightly disappointed in the end. Don't get me wrong, this was a good read, just not exactly what I was hoping for.
So what's it all about? Rory is a former MMA fighter that has been adrift since he was injured in his last fight. He uses drugs, alcohol, and women to feel numb... Until he meets Clare. He's intrigued with her from the get-go and once he starts to get to know her, she starts making him want to be a better man.
Clare is a bit of a mystery throughout most of the book. We know she's on the run from an abusive ex but the reasons aren't entirely clear until the end. Like most heroines on the run she tries to avoid feeling anything for Rory but once she gets to know the man he really is behind the alcohol she can't help but fall for him.
There were parts of this book that I absolutely loved. Rory showing up at 1am every night to walk Clare home from the bar she works at? Totally swoonworthy! And their first date? LOVED it! And of course I loved seeing Rory's softer side when it came to the shelter animals and his dog, Ace.
Unfortunately, my main issue is with Rory and his drug/alcohol problem. He wanted to be a better man for Clare, and even went so far as to stop doing drugs cold turkey, but as soon as he thought Clare left him? He did a complete 180 from the man that I thought he was becoming and totally disappointed me. That might seem kind of harsh, and I get that having an addiction is a real problem, but I just couldn't believe he'd throw it all away in just a few hours.
While Breaking a Legend didn't exactly live up to my expectations, I still enjoyed it for the most part... And since I fell in love with the Kavanagh clan as a whole, I'll definitely be checking out the next book in the series.
Connect with Sarah Robinson
Disclosure: I was provided with an ARC of Breaking a Legend through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.