Nothing Left to Lose: (Parts 1 and 2 combined into a novel of epic proportion) (Guarded Hearts book 1) by Kirsty Moseley

Book Blurb:

I was broken, numb to want and desire, but then he came along…

Three years after the tragic events of Anna’s sixteenth birthday which saw her boyfriend killed and her kidnapped by his sadistic murderer, she’s no longer the happy-go-lucky girl that everyone used to know and love; she’s now cold, hard and suffers from night terrors.

Carter is currently serving time for the murder of Jack – a conviction that Anna helped secure – but his retrial is coming up because some key evidence appears to have been tampered with.

Needing to ensure his daughter’s safety, presidential candidate, Senator Spencer, tasks in Ashton Taylor, a newly qualified SWAT agent, to guard the broken girl and keep her safe until the end of the trial.

For three years Anna has refused to feel emotion or pain. Can Ashton help her rebuild her life and finally deal with the grief of losing her childhood sweetheart? Will he be the one to make her see that life is, in fact, worth living and that not all men will hurt her?

This original edition combines part 1 (Guarding the Broken) and part 2 (Blurring the lines) into one novel of epic proportions!

My Review:

We have all read books that have been big hits at the time but a year later we are reading the blurb of a book that looks interesting and wondering why it sounds so familiar. This is not that book. This is the book that you read and read over again and whose words will stay with you long past the last page.

I know most people read a story they love and can totally imagine it being turned into a movie or a TV show, but I am not that girl. I just don’t trust that Hollywood, or whoever, can put what I see in my head onto the big screen without chopping and changing the storyline so much that it’s virtually unrecognisable. Nothing Left To Lose is the only book where I have had no doubt that it could be a massive success on screen. It is written so well that the plot and the characters do not need to be developed or changed. You will read this book and you will fall in love. But more than that, you will learn that falling in love is not something you choose, but when it does happen it can make even the most broken person whole again.

Annabelle Spencer was never a typical kid, but growing up with a senator for a father did not bother her. At 16 her life was perfect; good friends, great parents, school going well and her amazing boyfriend Jake. But on her 16th birthday that all changes when she convinces Jake to take her to a club and they meet Carter Thomas.

Carter is a drug lord and arms dealer who is used to getting what he wants and when he sees Anna he knows he wants her. So he murders Jake in front of her and kidnaps Anna. She spends 10 long months as Carter’s Princess and then she is finally found, but it is very clear that her experience has changed her. Gone is the happy, care free girl who walked into the club that night. Instead she is cold, hard, refuses to be touched and plagued by night terrors every night. She is determined to be nothing like her old self and believes that if she doesn’t care about anyone then she has nothing to lose.

Carter has been in prison since Anna was found, after she helped the police secure a guilty verdict over Jakes murder by testifying. But a vital piece of evidence appears to have been tampered with causing there to be a retrial. What Anna doesn’t know is that her father, the senator, has been receiving death threats and letters that make it very clear Carter is not done with Anna yet. Which is when reinforcement is brought in to protect Anna.

Ashton Taylor is a newly qualified SWAT agent and the agency’s golden boy, ranking highest at the academy. He is assigned to go undercover as her boyfriend to go with Anna to college and help her adapt and stay safe until the trial end in 8 months’ time. Ashton makes it clear that he does not want to babysit anyone, particularly someone who goes through bodyguards like they are going out of fashion. But when he is promised his dream job at SWAT at the end of the assignment Ashton decides to give it everything he has. But from the moment he reads the file about Anna and her time in captivity, he feels a need to protect her that comes from more than doing his job.

Anna has spent 3 years keeping everyone at arm’s length but from the first meeting Ashton is able to get closer to Anna than anyone has in a long time. Despite her walls being up and his professionalism the chemistry between the two is obvious. Ashton forces his way into Anna’s life, breaking down all the walls she has set up, but lets her know that she doesn’t need them because he will keep her safe.

This book would be classed as a slow burn because it takes time for them to first become friends and then more. But that just makes the book so much more real. I liked the fact that Anna didn’t meet Ashton, realise how gorgeous he was and them forgetting all about her anxiety and sexual assault decides to drop her panties. Instead they build trust and Anna learns that she can open up a little bit more, safe in the knowledge that Ashton will protect her.

The both fall in love and the lines soon begin to blur. Ashton finds it incredibly difficult living in the shadow of Jake and worrying that Anna can never get over him. Anna feels guilty for moving on and living her life when Jake isn’t able to, but she is also able to recognise that what she feels for Ashton was so much more than what she had with Jake. But is a happily ever after possible for two people who are not supposed to be together. Is Ashton willing to risk his dream job for his dream girl? Can Anna let go of her insecurities and the past enough to let Ashton fully love her? And even if they do, what happens when Carter is released and decides he is going to take back what is his, his Princess?

This book quite literally has everything; murder, kidnapping, assault, new college experience, hot SWAT guys (I will let you argue over whether you prefer Ashton or Nate), angst, intrigue, love, amazing sex and a presidential candidacy all thrown into one! But stripping away all the drama and getting down to the bones of the story you will find a love story and a heartbreakingly great one at that. Watching Anna fall in love again after everything that she has been through was beautiful and boy did she stand no chance cos I fell in love with Ashton after only a few chapters. How could you not, he is sweet, kind, insanely gorgeous and is hard to scare away. But for Anna she had to fight through 10 months’ worth of shame inducing secrets that occurred whilst she was held captive, including secrets she never shared with anyone. But Anna learns that if she wants Ashton to love her then he needs to know all of her including the atrocious things that happened to her at the hands of Carter. She thinks that by telling her secrets she will lose Ashton but he’s so far in love with her that all it does is make him want to protect her more.

Even though it appears that Anna is the one who grows and benefits most in the relationship, she helps Ashton realise that there is more to life than his job. Their love story is one that has stayed with me long after I first read the book and is the reason I have gone back numerous times to reread it. This story reminds me of that classic cheesy saying that love really can conquer all, because that’s exactly what happens. Love brings together two people and makes their worlds better. It heals a person who thinks she is broken beyond repair and it gives a boy more to live for than just a job. Even though you never want to go through any of the pain and suffering that is featured in this book, I think anyone who reads this will be envious of their love. I am in an extremely loving long term relationship and even I was jealous of their love!

I think everyone deserves an Ashton in their life and he has been one of my go to, go back for more, regular book boyfriends for a while now. Because he is like this book, once you read this it will become etched into your soul and you will go back for more. This is the first book I’ve ever reviewed where I have wanted to give it more than 5 stars because I don’t think 5 does it justice. Kirsty Moseley has created a love story her that deserves to be known amongst the greats. When people think of true love they should remember Anna and Ashton, because I know I do! 

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