Review: Strength: Claire’s Spiral by Karen Raines

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review

Becoming smitten with the hip gyrating nerd in Dork To Dirty, nothing could have prepared me for picking up Karen Raines series Spiralling Ink. Where Dork To Dirty is funny and of course down and dirty, Spiralling Ink has me so entrenched with emotions for this group of friends that affectionately called themselves the “magnificent seven” that lost one of their own and are now trying to pick themselves up, honor his memory, and find love among the sorrow. While I adored Kit and Nate’s story in Loved, Strength had me bowled over by Claire’s story of empowerment and journey back to the land of the living after such abuse from a loved one and being attacked in the most brutal way by strangers. I was engrossed from beginning to end in Claire and AJ’s relationship and fell completely under their spell. They are hot to the tenth degree and burrow inside the reader’s heart so deep that I could never forget them.

Claire is the embodiment of broken and scarred on the inside. She is so selfless that she buries her hurt around those that she loves so they can move on with their life and be happy. Little do they know that beneath all the fake smiles and pretend laughter is a woman whose flame is slowly dying. She can’t write, which is her passion, and she can’t close her eyes without seeing one of her best friends last moments on earth and indescribable horrors play out in her memory. She soon finds herself at a rock bottom low with nothing to do but focus on self defense classes with a handsome, egotistical man she will have to fight every step of the way. I adored the way AJ sarcastically calls her “princess” just to upset her and watching him teach her how to reclaim her life and happiness.

“They won’t move on from this if they think I’m hurting still. I can’t let that happen. I’ll show them my smile, I’ll laugh and giggle…they will never know the emptiness inside me. I’ll be stronger Matty, I promise.”

AJ Masters is the epitome of bad attitude wrapped in muscled deliciousness. But there is so much more beneath the surface when he decides to let someone in. I absolutely loved everything about AJ, especially when he was getting Claire all “riled” up whether it was in or out of the bedroom. I loved to see their verbal foreplay and see him build her up and give her the strength that she needed to reclaim her life. He is most definitely not her “prince” but instead her very sexy “beast”.

“I’ve made a lot of fantasies come true princess.. Want me to show you?” he whispered huskily. I closed my eyes and gathered my wits. He was playing with me. “You’re no prince.” “No,” he nipped at my earlobe and groaned deeply. “But I could be your beast.”

Karen Raines delivers another soul searching, heart stopping romance that speaks to not only the strength within a woman but also between these amazing friends. They have pulled me into their circle and I can’t wait for Karen to give us Hayley’s story and fall even more in love with these characters. I highly recommend reading not just Strength but the whole Spiralling Ink series. Karen has a way of combining humor mixed with sadness, heat, and love that has a reader acting like a drug addict waiting for another “fix”. She draws the readers in and lets them feel every tear of sorrow, peal of laughter, sigh of desire, and experience every punch and kick Claire takes towards getting herself back.

“I love you Claire, so very much and I would never do anything to hurt you.” I took in his open face, the sincerity dripping from him as he let me know in no uncertain terms that he could be rough with me, wild with me but he would never ever hurt me.”

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