4 “Back and forth.” Stars
“Everyone has a chance to heal. Some people choose to stay in the past and let their scars define them. Others choose to let it be nothing more than a mark on their body.”
Pulled Within is the second book in Marni Mann’s Bar Harbor series. I really enjoyed the first book in this series; however, I have to admit that this book was even better than the first. This is a book where we meet the heroine at her lowest. It is a book about finding the strength within yourself to push through the demons of your past and take a shot at a second chance at life, a second chance at love. When one is living through a tumultuous storm it is hard to see the end, the eye of the storm. It is difficult to imagine a life beyond the pain and the darkness.
“No one wanted to see this kind of damage. It was violent and disgusting, dirty and evil. It was destructive. It had ruined me. My face, my skin, my soul.”
We meet Rae Ryan in book one in this series. She wasn’t portrayed as exactly the most endearing of characters. What we discover in this book is that Rae is broken and scarred, both inside and out. For five years Rae has been living a nightmare, tormented by her past and carrying a lot of guilt. She essentially hits rock bottom at the commencement of this book. Rae has lost her job and is being evicted from her apartment, her best friend is in rehab and she is all alone attempting to cope with an upcoming anniversary that brings her to a place of pain and desolation. She struggling to keep her head above water so the last thing Rae needs is a blast from her past coming back into town.
“I wasn’t the soft thing he’d left behind all those years ago. I was made of scars now, of storms and squalls that tossed me about and made my life unpredictable. I was hardened.”
Hart Booker was Rae’s high school boyfriend, someone who broke her heart and left her behind when he moved away from Bar Harbor. Hart comes back into town and once he connects with Rae once again, he is determined to show her just how much he cares about her and how leaving Bar Harbor in the first place was not his choice. Rae is no longer the sweet natured girl he loved in high school. The girl before him now is scarred, in pain, and full of darkness. Hart can’t walk away from their undeniable connection though. He wants to be with Rae, scars and all. He just has to convince her that he is in for the long haul and he won’t ever leave her again. Will Rae ever trust him enough to reveal all that she has been through, to allow him to help him carry her burdens?
I loved how careful Hart was with Rae and how he was very aware of the fact that he could not simply storm back into her life. He had to inch his way in, slowly. On the surface Rae and Hart seemed like two complete polar opposites. She is the girl from the wrong side of the tracks with a horrible past and he is the rich boy who is put together and knows exactly what he is doing with his life. However, with this being said, there was no denying that the pair were two pieces of a whole. Both Hart and Rae were never able to completely let go of their feelings for the other despite the years they were apart. Rae was in such a dark place in her life and Hart comes in at the right time and becomes this white knight determined to save his girl. In the end though it is up to Rae to pull herself from the dark abyss. Hart was there to comfort her and stand by her, but she had to be the one to finally decide that she no longer wanted to be defined by her past. Rae had to be the one to decide she was ready to let go.
“Scars and rain. We were more similar than I’d thought.”
All in all, Pulled Within is an emotional tale about healing and second chances. I do think that the romance was more central in this book than it was in its predecessor and that is likely why I enjoyed this book a bit more than the first. You can definitely read this book as a standalone; however, I would recommend reading this series in sequential order. You get a better feel for the series in doing so. Rae is present in the first book so you get to know her a bit before her story is showcased in this book. A great new adult series! I am now a fan of Marni Mann and look forward to more books in this series.
****A review copy of Pulled Within by Marni Mann was generously provided to me in exchange for an honest review.