At fifteen I fell in love. His name was Jake Stephens and he took the abandoned, lonely girl I had been and made me whole. His love was a pure and unconditional love that made every day better than the last…a fairy tale of my very own.
But this story isn’t about Jake. It’s about Abel Madden; the man I meet after the fairy tale goes to hell. A cocky, arrogant man who says what he wants, does as he pleases, and makes no excuses for it. He irritates me—downright pisses me off at times—but he also brings me back to life.
My name is Sidney Ellis and this is my story of finding love twice—the first when I needed it most and the second when I never saw it coming.
Collecting the pieces is both a beautiful and devastating metaphor for life because it insinuates that people have fragmented parts of themselves…ones that break off because situations occurred, shattering and scattering parts of who they were and possibly could be, and these life changing and life defining moments take those pieces and hold on to them, perhaps forever or just until these incomplete people find others to help them collect and rebuild the parts that were sliced and torn, creating a whole person again, even if s/he is bent and bruised.
Sidney Ellis is definitely someone who’s been torn and mended a number of times in her less than thirty years on earth, and each of those heartbreaking times, there’s been someone there to help glue her pieces back together, even though some times took longer than others. At 10, it was her foster brother, Connor. At 15, it was Jake Stephens, her first everything, and in her 20s, Abel Madden brought her back to life, even though they both fought their attraction, thinking that the other wasn’t what they needed. But what’s also been clear since the beginning is that Sidney may have needed other people to help her, but she also had to want to be whole again in order for it to work, so her will to live and to be happy also played a key role in her re-creation.
Sidney’s story is told in sections, illustrating those defining moments and important people who both built her up as well as fractured her heart, forcing her to endure gut wrenching pain as well as life altering happiness.
Section One: Then
Connor – he’s the first person who doesn’t make Sidney feel invisible and who makes her feel important and worthy.
Jake – he’s the boy who truly sees her and adores every part of her. He gives her a family, a home, and a happy life, shattering the lonely girl she was and collecting all of her broken pieces.
Section Two: Now
Abel – he’s the first man in three years to make her feel anything but sadness and her raw reaction to him both thrills and scares Sidney because Abel could shatter her in ways Jake never would, making it impossible to be whole again.
Sidney never imagined someone like Abel would fill all the places in her heart and soul that were empty, but it makes perfect sense to me because at this stage in her life, she needs someone different…someone to shake her up, challenge her, infuriate her, and make her wanton all at the same time.
I absolutely adored Jake and how much he loved Sidney and how everything was so easy when it came to their relationship. It was exactly what she needed when she was younger, and the beauty of their bond is something that Sidney carries with her. But now, the only way see can move forward and reclaim all of her broken pieces is to face that future with someone who is a fighter…whose dynamic personality draws Sidney in and their hunger for one another keeps them coming back to one another even when they both think the risk is too great.
Jake was the perfect boyfriend and husband, but Sidney’s a much different woman, having endured three years of pain and loneliness and oh man does Abel Gunner give her something different…something primal…something domineering, which is exactly what she needs. And despite Abel’s past and his need to keep women at an arm’s length – warming his bed but not his heart – Sidney finds a way to break down his walls and plant herself in his mind and his heart, and together, they bring each other back to life, putting their pieces together, little by little, making life worth living again.
I’ve always enjoyed L.A. Fiore’s stories because she creates realistic and complex characters who readers can relate to and champion for when the hero or heroine needs some encouragement or strength to persevere despite the dire circumstances or lack of faith.
Collecting the Pieces is an absolute gem of a read; it’s emotional, steamy, dramatic, and there’s also a bit of suspense in the mix, which means that it will captures readers’ hearts and minds, and if readers don’t walk away with a love for two very different men – Jake and Abel – then they’ve definitely missed out!
A complimentary copy was received via NetGalley for an honest review.
5 Poison Apples
L.A. Fiore is the author of several books including: Beautifully Damaged, Waiting for the One and A Glimpse of the Dream. She’s also the social secretary for her two children, a tamer of ill-mannered cats, the companion to one awesome dog and married to her best friend. She likes her wine red, her shrimp chilled and her social gatherings small and intimate.