Blog Tour: The Scars of Us by Nikki Narvaez, Review, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Released On: February 9, 2014
The Scars of Us
by Nikki Narvaez

5 stars
*I initially rated this 4.5 stars.. but even a week later I found myself thinking about this book several times a day. I even compared another book I also absolutely loved to this one. A bump up to 5 isn't unreasonable then, isn't it? :)

There is just something about The Scars of Us (Scars Series) that made me love it so much. I think it's because I immediately felt the chemistry between the two main characters, Ryker and Kaiya. That's saying something too, because at the beginning I was kind of taken aback at their proclivities. Let's just say neither of them are shy with their sexuality, and neither are lacking for bedpartners. So at the beginning that kind of threw me off because I like my love stories to be dreamy, you know, like two soul mates who won't turn a wandering eye the moment they meet and the attraction is acknowledged. That didn't happen here. However, the succeeding events in the story eventually won me over. The became the positives that outweighed the negative impressions I got at the beginning.

Let me start by saying, I really liked these two for each other. They just click. Their personalities are not the type that you can match with just anyone. Ryker for instance is described as a manwhore, and he often comes on too strong. If it were any other female character, his advances probably wouldn't be received well. But since it's Kaiya, a fairly confident woman who can handle Ryker's come-ons, it actually ends up pretty food for the both of them. I mean, other women might feel offended, or they could stalk off with their noses in the air, but Kaiya doesn't back down like a turtle hiding in its shell. She gives as good as she gets, and I think that's why this tandem works really well for me.
"Are you okay with [my rules]?" she asked as she gestured between us.
"For now." I grin mischievously. "But one day, I will break each of those rules--one... by... one. And you're going to love every second of it that I do."
"I wouldn't be so sure about that."

As mentioned in the synopsis, it is Kaiya who went through something  terrible and traumatic past. It's not just sugarcoating too, because it really is all kinds of awful! What truly happened to her was divulged slowly and gradually over what seemed like the first half of the book. You'll know the name of the person who caused her trauma, but you only know the terrible details later on, bit by awful bit. :( At first I was like, "okay, so she's damaged, what's the cause? I'm sure I've read about this one before, so let's have it." But no, what Kaiya went through was different and it truly was horrible! Once I found out the truth I could really understand her hangups about sex, giving up control to a man, simply being in a position that makes her vulnerable especially to a man... these things remind her of what happened before, and that's what had always prevented her from forming long-term, meaningful relationships with men prior to Ryker.

Ryker is hotness personified. I must say, the cover is a lovely visual. I really enjoyed picturing his face doing the things Ryker does. I'm not even talking about steamy scenes, FYI! Ryker is a fitness and exercise trainer. He is also in charge of a self-defense class. He teaches hand-to-hand combat and defensive routines that people can do to ward off attackers and fight them when necessary. That explains his fit and sexy physique. As for his cockiness, well... he is a handsome guy, and he knows it. And he uses it to get on with women. However, he is also emotionally scarred because of his ex-girlfriend. The woman didn't just cheat on him. She kicked it out of the ballpark with her betrayal.

So now, we have emotionally and physically scarred individuals who have no interest in entering in a long-term relationship with anyone. The moment they meet though, they are inexplicably drawn to each other.
"So, you want something between a one night stand and a relationship, huh?"
I sighed, "I don't know what I want. This is all happening so fast for me." I want you though.

Their thoughts are consumed by the other even as they are with other people. I like that they are honest early on and acknowledge their mutual attraction. I loved that Nikki Narvaez let the characters grow closer first and be more trusting of each other in a very natural way that it makes sense for the both of them--and the reader as well--that they just give in and give each other a chance. It doesn't take veeery long for them to sleep together for the first time, but by then they had already connected emotionally so it didn't feel too early for my taste.

I really love how Ryker slowly broke down Kaiya's walls. I really like him for it! He may have been a manwhore, but when he finally set his eyes and heart (of course he didn't know he was doing it at first, lol) on Kaiya, they didn't wander anywhere else. He was persistent. He was creative and he was romantic, and mostly it's because he truly gets her, so he knows what she wants at the right time.
"I know you don't completely trust me, but it's different between us. I'm not going to use you."
"Prove it." Her voice was strong, but those beautiful eyes looked vulnerable.
My eyes playfully narrowed. "Is that a challenge, Warrior?"
"Yep. And I think it will be your biggest one yet."
Leaning down, I grazed my lips over hers. "Accepted."

I also want to applaud Nikki Narvaez for those excellent training scenes! They aren't fade to black or just general descriptions of the class sweating it out and rolling on the ground. She really went into detail, through Ryker, on several defense moves. I found myself imagining the moves and imitating the punches and turns described in the book. It's obvious the author did a lot of research for those parts, so kudos to her! =D They are really well-written. I even became excited about which moves Kaiya will undoubtedly end up using to defend herself later on in the story!

What else... oh, hotness factor? I'd definitely say this one goes off the charts! The book is also written in both POVs, so readers can get into the characters' heads and emotions.

The Scars of Us is definitely in my reread pile. I really enjoyed every bit of it that I sincerely was sad when I realized I was near the end of the book. But no worries, since I have it on good authority that Nikki Narvaez will be writing a follow-up!!! =D It's not yet known if it's a sequel, an alternate POV or about a secondary character. I have a haunch it's going to be the last though, and I bet it's going to be about... Kayden! Or Nori, either of the two!

This romance novel comes highly-recommended by me...! :) I am looking forward to more NA books from this author, too. I love the way she writes! I actually got a little highlighter-happy on my kindle. If it's only possible to share all those quotes with you, I would. But then you'd be spoiled  =P  so just go ahead and buy your own copy!
I'll always save you, Warrior. You just have to let me.
I'll always find my way back to you.

Buy links: Amazon USAmazon UK | Amazon Can


Kaiya Marlow has always been cautious, precise in every decision she makes. When her dark past threatens to resurface, she decides to take precautions to protect herself by enrolling in self-defense classes at her gym.

Her instructor, Ryker Campbell, is the tattooed womanizer everyone warns about. Kaiya attempts to resist Ryker's advances, but the more time they spend training together, the harder it is for Kaiya to resist him.

Ryker's view on relationships is simple: strictly sex, nothing more. Haunted by demons from his past, he never allows himself to become attached to any woman. No attachment means no weakness, no vulnerability, no pain. He doesn't realize that his whole world is about to be turned upside down when Kaiya enters his self-defense class. Determined to have her, at least for one night, Ryker sets a plan into motion that will change both of their lives forever.

Will love be able to heal their scars, or are they too deep to overcome?


       “Why are you avoiding me?” Ryker angrily spat, closing the door to the sauna. His eyes ran over me as he crossed his arms over his broad chest. Clad only in a pair of gym shorts and no shirt, his skin gleamed with a sheen of sweet. He looked like he’d just finished working out. Fuck me.
       “Are you really going to do this in here?” I snapped back as I clutched my towel to me.
       His voice was gruff and matter of fact. “I have no other choice—you've missed class for almost three weeks now, and you won't answer my calls.”
       “I've been busy,” I lied.
       The truth was that I'd been sulking around my apartment trying not to think of Ryker, which was almost impossible. He dominated every thought, much like his presence did in real life.
       Eyes narrowing in determination, he advanced toward me, causing me to back up into the tile wall. Surprisingly, I wasn't scared—Ryker never caused that kind of fear in me. What he made me feel was more of an exhilarating kind of the fear, the kind you get when you're about to do something like bungee jump or skydive, the kind that excites your soul.
       Caging me between his arms, my already fevered skin heated more from his proximity as he pressed against me with his body. I hadn't realized just how much I missed his touch until his skin reunited with mine, making me feel as though a piece of me had been lost since we'd last been together.
       Ryker's eyes met mine, and there was no denying the desire and longing in them. “Always fighting me, Warrior,” he softly spoke as he caressed my cheek with the back of his knuckles. Leaning in, he grazed my neck with his lips. The combination of heat from the steam and his mouth began to blanket me in a heady fog, evaporating all thought and replacing it with lust.
       “I've missed you,” Ryker murmured against my skin before tracing the curve of my jaw with his tongue. My breath escaped in a low moan as he pulled my body closer to him, leaving no space between us while he continued to taste me.
       My hands tangled in his hair, leaving my loose towel barely clinging to my sweaty skin. When he brought his lips to mine, I let go of everything, losing myself in him and how he made me feel.
He groaned in my mouth as our tongues met, tangling together seamlessly as he lifted me. My legs automatically wrapped around him as he pressed me up against the wall, his hardened erection pushing against my already heated core.
       Ryker nipped at my lips as he ripped the towel from my body, tossing it to the floor as his callused hands reacquainted themselves with my skin. God, I missed him. I don't think I'll ever be the same without his touch. Finding my breasts, Ryker's talented fingers massaged my stiff nipples before his mouth claimed them. The blissful combination of his soft, wet mouth and hard, smooth tongue ring against my sensitive flesh caused a moan to escape from my throat.
       Leaning my head back against the wall, I let Ryker consume me. He eagerly suckled my breasts, pulling each nipple with his teeth before caressing it with that amazing piercing again. I love how he makes me feel—so alive … almost whole.
       “Ryker,” I breathlessly moaned as I reached for his shorts. Slipping my hand inside, I found his cock and pulled it out, needing him to fill me.
       He didn't hesitate—he never did. Gripping my hips, he thrust himself inside my slick sex as his mouth reclaimed mine. Sweat beaded on our skin as he roughly pummeled me against the tile, taking me closer to heaven with each stroke.
       Ryker's thick shaft stretched my walls, the pleasurable pain spreading throughout every inch of my limbs. I reveled in how he made me forget everything else, immersing me in us and the beauty of how our bodies perfectly connected. He unraveled and completed me all at the same time.
       “Fuck, I missed you, baby, missed the taste of your sweet skin,” Ryker groaned against my lips.
       I love it when he talks to me like that.
       I forced him deeper inside me with my legs, tightening my hold around his hips. He growled his approval, increasing the pace and intensity of his thrusts as his cock blissfully ravaged me.
       Ryker's lips left mine as he nuzzled his face into my neck and placed soft kisses along my skin. “I haven't been able to get you off my mind. I've been going crazy thinking about you, baby.”
      “Me too. I've missed you so much,” I whimpered as I guided his mouth back to mine.
       His strength amazed me, unwavering as he supported my weight while simultaneously using his body to fuck me senseless. Ryker continuously pumped into me, creating a sensual rhythm just for us as our bodies molded together in harmony.
       Ryker pulled back and grasped my face in his inked hands. “Never again, Warrior.” His voice was gruff and deep, laced with emotion. “Can't go through that again.”
       “Never, baby, never,” I whispered.
       His mouth crashed on mine again. Every press of Ryker's lips, every caress from his hands, and every stroke of his amazing cock pushed me closer to ecstasy. My body ached for it, needing release after craving Ryker for so long.
       As if sensing how close I was, Ryker pounded harder into me, creating the perfect combination of pain and pleasure within my body. My nails raked across his back as I cried out in euphoria, my climax sending tremors of sensation throughout my limbs. My thighs trembled against his hips as his strokes intensified in both speed and strength, seeking his own release. Seconds later, he withdrew his throbbing cock from my sex before shooting his cum up between my breasts.
       The sticky heat of the room was stifling, making it more difficult to breathe as we disentangled ourselves. Picking up my towel, Ryker gently wiped his release from my skin, snapping me out the sensual fog we’d created. Immediately, I felt self-conscious, causing panic to root within me. Anxiety began to tighten in my body, trying to seize every muscle in its grasp as it attempted to take hold.
       Ryker's hand cupped my cheek. “What's wrong?”
       My eyes snapped to his, trying to focus on him to pull myself out of my downward spiral. My chest heaved as it struggled to breathe, causing Ryker's eyes to crease in worry. “Breathe, baby, breathe. It's okay, everything is okay.”
       Breathe. In, out, in, out. The pressure began to relinquish as I concentrated on Ryker's face. Both of his hands clasped my face. “You with me, baby?”
       I gave him a tight nod. My chest was still somewhat constricted, and my muscles were stiff, but the tension was slowly easing away. “I'm sorry—I have to go,” I stammered as I snatched the towel from Ryker's hand. I darted around him toward the exit while trying to wrap the cloth around me.
       “You don't have to run from me, Warrior,” he called out after me. Ryker’s words stopped me, only a few feet from the door. I felt him behind me as his arms wrapped around my waist, pulling my body against his. Pressing a soft kiss to my shoulder, he murmured, “Talk to me, baby.”
       My mouth dried up, the words stuck in my throat. I blinked rapidly, willing back tears. Ryker slowly turned me to face him and pressed our foreheads together as he released a breath.
       “I know you've been hurt before, experienced things that no one should ever have to. Just know that I'd never do that to you. Ever. I know you're probably not ready to talk about it yet, but when you are, I'll be here.”
       And with those words, Ryker smashed a small hole in the barrier surrounding the broken pieces of my heart.


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About the Author:

My name is Nikki Narvaez. I was born and raised in San Antonio, TX, where I currently live with my husband, our two dogs, Bella and Oreo, and our cat, Cupcake. I have been teaching for four years, but I hope to become a full-time writer and stay at home mom one day. I am 27 years old, and have three older sisters who have blessed me with four nephews and one niece. In my free time, I love to write and play Texas Hold 'Em poker. 

Blog tour organized by Enticing Journey Book Promotions.



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