All Falls Down
By: Ayden K. Morgen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover by: Jada D'Lee Designs
When Savannah Martin walks in on her abusive boyfriend and her best friend in bed together, she thinks life can't possibly get any worse. And then she wakes up in a hospital in Italy, scared and alone. With nowhere left to go, Savannah runs to the family who took her in when her mother abandoned her as a teenager.
But things aren't as simple as they were then.
For starters, two years of constant emotional abuse has broken Savannah in ways she's not sure can be repaired. And patriarch Matthew Talbot has been murdered, leaving his eldest daughter, Lexi, in charge of a global non-profit and her younger sisters.
Jared Corbit, Lexi's gorgeous boyfriend, is the only thing standing between her and whoever murdered her father. That doesn't stop Savannah from falling in love with him. She knows it's wrong, but she just can't stay away from him when he makes he feel like no one else ever has before.
Finding out his relationship with Lexi is a ruse should make things easier, but when the truth is finally revealed, Savannah's fragile world threatens to fall apart. There's a murderer on the loose, and he's gunning for the only family she has. To save their lives, she and Jared will be forced to make a decision that just might destroy her completely.
How is she supposed to let the man she loves marry another woman?
This was a really entertaining, thought provoking read. I have never read anything that so accurately depicts the emotional effects of abuse.
Savannah has been trapped in a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship for two years, too terrified and ashamed to reach out to anyone else for help. It takes being dumped in an Italian hospital with a life-threatening injury, surrounded by strangers who don't speak her language, before she is finally able to break away from her abuser. She returns to the only home she knew growing up, the guesthouse of the wealthy mansion where her mother had been a maid before she abandoned her there at fourteen.
The Talbots took her in and became her legal guardian. Their three daughters Lexi, Kit, and Maddi accepted her like a sister, but she never felt like she truly belonged. Already wounded from her mother's abandonment, she was incapable of feeling like anything but an outsider, which made her an easy target when her boyfriend Toby entered the scene and began telling her just that. She didn't belong there. She was a burden. She belonged with him because nobody else cared about her. After hearing those things long enough she began to agree with him, eventually letting him drag her all the way to Italy so that he could keep her under his thumb while he went to college.
When Savannah finally returns home it is to find her adoptive family in the middle of their own tragedy. Matthew, the family patriarch, has recently died under suspicious causes, leading some to wonder if he was actually murdered. Along with the strong emotions in the house, Savannah also has to make sense of the instant attraction she feels for Jared Corbit, Lexi's supposed boyfriend. Even though he's been living in the house with the family for a while, people are starting to wonder why he and Lexi don't share a room and never seem to be affectionate with each other. To make things more confusing, Jared seems to be just as drawn to Savannah as she is to him. He is full of mixed signals and she knows that there is definitely something more going on.
I loved this story. I loved that Ayden Morgen didn't shy away from all of the hard decisions and victim shaming that victims of abuse often suffer. Savannah is an excellent example of just how broken someone can become when they get trapped in a situation they can't get themselves out of. I also loved how this book shows that you don't have to be beaten to be a victim of abuse.
The sex scenes, when we finally get there, are sizzling and delicious.
The plot that develops around Savannah, Jared, and the rest of the Talbot family does lean towards the melodramatic at times, but it makes for an exciting page turner. I don't want to give out any major spoilers because you should experience them for yourself. I will say that I was really impressed with the way that so many of the characters were not afraid to call each other out on all of their bullshit. Things would happen that made me so frustrated at one character or another, but none of them made it through the book without their actions being addressed. Definitely refreshing!
If you like a little melodrama and a steamy hot romance, give All Falls Down a try!
About the Author:
Ayden lives in the heart of Arkansas with her childhood sweetheart and husband of ten years, and their five furry minions. When not writing, she spends her time hiking, reading, volunteering, causing mischief, and building a Spork army. Ayden graduated summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Forensic Psychology in 2009 before going on to complete her graduate degree in CJ and Law. She currently puts her education to use in the social services field.
Ayden also writes Young and New Adult fiction under the penname A.K. Morgen.