Lifers by Jane Harvey-Berrick
After eight years in prison, twenty-four year old Jordan Kane is the man everyone loves to hate.
Forced to return to his hometown while on parole, Jordan soon learns that this small town hasn't changed since he was carted off to juvie all those years ago. He is the local pariah, shunned by everyone, including his own parents. But their hatred of him doesn't even come close to the loathing he feels every time he looks in the mirror.
Working odd jobs for the preacher lady, Jordan bides his time before he can leave this backwards town. But can distance erase the memories that haunt him? Trapped in the prison of his own mind Jordan wonders if the pain of living will ever subside?
Torrey Delaney is new in town and certainly doesn't behave in a way the locals believe a preacher’s daughter should. Her reputation for casual hook-ups and meaningless sex is the talk of the town. Add that to her budding friendship with the hardened ex-con handyman, and the good Reverend is less than thrilled with her estranged daughter’s path.
As friendship forms, is it possible for two damaged people who are afraid to love take their relationship to the next level? Can Torrey live with Jordan’s demons, and can Jordan break through Torrey's walls? With the disapproval of a small town weighing heavily on them, will they find their place in the world? Can they struggle against the odds, or will their world be viciously shattered?
Is love a life sentence?
Due to scenes of a sexual nature, not recommended for under 18
Kelly - 4 Crowns
It all started with a coffee...
Lifers cut me deep. My emotions wavered and warred. My poor heart hurt throughout this entire book as we follow both Jordan and Torrey on their journey, as they seek redemption and freedom from the inner demons that haunt them.
Jordan Kane is broken, damaged and consumed by guilt after one fatal accident that stripped him of his family and his freedom.
Torrey is a bitter, outspoken, spontaneous, carefree girl petrified of attachment due to her parents failed marriage, after her Mother 'found' God and put her faith before her own family.
A twist of fate brings these two broken souls together at a precarious time, and when they needed it most.
This is a story of friendship between a tortured male and a feisty intelligent woman who seeks to prove that she is more than just a pretty face, even though her past actions prove otherwise. Lifers is a story of trust and finding solace in another when the world outside is, at times, cruel and unforgiving.
As far as characters go, I couldn't not connect with Jordan. His internal suffering was palpable, he pulled me in from the get-go, and I immediately felt the need to comfort the 'outcast.' Forever paying a debt, his wish of leading a normal life is just a pipe dream, when his terms of serving out the last 6 months of his sentence on parole in his hometown proves one headache (and heartache) after another.
Torrey came to small town Texas after fleeing Boston. Her well paid job as a paralegal taking a back-step after an illicit affair with her boss caused problems in the office. Seeking out her lawyer Father with the young hot, plastic wife was not an option, so she finally lays down the gauntlet and gets reacquainted with her Mother who is now a pastor at a small church. With no job, no money, her only option is to scrape by on minimum wage, waitressing.
The hot guy in tats wanting to get a coffee is a beautiful distraction from the mundane day-to-day living, although the hatred in the eyes of the locals is a dilemma she is willing to forego as she befriends the quiet, beautiful man on parole, as he agrees to help clean up the overgrown yard at her Mothers house.
Every morning he arrives, and every morning she is there, providing him with a steaming mug of caffeine and a kind ear. What starts as acquaintances, turns to friendship, only them to manifest into something more - something Jordan never thought he would have... but with his past still very much playing a part in the present, fraternising with the local pariah comes with its own set of consequences...
This is another well-written and gripping story by Jane Harvey-Berrick. I loved her Education series, and although Lifers holds a very different vibe, her gift of pulling the reader into precarious situations, normally a love of the forbidden kind, is stellar because you connect with their plight on such a personal level, you route for them from the start. Her characters take form, they almost breathe and because of that, I will read anything this woman writes!
My only gripe, and the reason this book is a 4 and not a 5, is Torrey. Overall, I loved her. She is no wipe over, taking the notion of 'speaking with honesty' to a whole new level. But... her words often hurt, as did her inability to sometimes read a situation to Jordan's sensitivity annoyed me. Although, I am completely aware that it was her strength and her ability to call 'bullshit' that pulled him through to the other side.
Overall, a fantastic standalone novel with an HEA, that you just have to read!