Worn Me Down (Playing With Fire #3) by Tara Sivec
Romantic Suspense. Each book can stand alone but best if read in order.
“Worn me down like a road. I did everything you told. Worn me down to my knees.
I did everything to please.”
Austin Conrad has never taken his personal life seriously. As a Navy SEAL, he spends all of his time in dangerous, life-threatening situations. The only way to leave behind the horrors he’s seen throughout his career, is to turn it all off when he gets home. He’s too much of a playboy to settle down; even if he did find a woman he could stand to be around for more than one night, he would never taint her life with the demons of his past.
When his best friend and SEAL team member, Brady Marshall asks him to keep an eye on his baby sister, Gwen, Austin figures it will be a walk in the park. The only thing Austin likes more than flirting his way under a beautiful woman’s skin, is walking away with a smile on his face. Austin never expects that the single mom and her little girl will be the ones getting under his skin.
Gwen Stratford knows all too well about living in a nightmare. After taking her daughter and fleeing from her abusive husband in the middle of the night several months ago, she’s worked hard to get her life back on track and forget about the man who tried to break her. Growing up under the iron thumb of her parents and then moving right on with a man who ruled their marriage with his fists, Gwen is finally able to breathe and live her life the way she wants.
When scary, mysterious things begin to happen to Gwen and her daughter, she realizes you can never outrun your past; it always has a way of catching up with you. As she struggles with the desire to keep her newfound independence, she knows she won’t be able to protect herself and her child alone. She’ll need to lean on the one man who drives her crazy.
Can Gwen really put her trust in a man who thinks life is one big joke, or will he be just another man in her life who tries to wear her down?
I couldn’t wait to read Worn Me Down after the teaser in Because of You by Tara Sivec. Though Worn Me Down can easily be read alone, I think it’s best to at least read Because of You (Playing with Fire 2) first, because that’s where we first meet Gwen, Brady’s little sister. We met Austin in A Beautiful Lie (Playing with Fire 1), but it was in the last book that I fell for his flirty banter.
The Prologue…wow. Worn Me Down begins with a bang! It actually starts in the future, and the rest of the story goes back two months to explain how we got there. So you know it’s going to happen and you are on the edge of your seat wondering when and how the whole time. Sometimes you forget, and slip into that nice calm happy place. Until you remember the prologue and BAM. Back to this.
I love a book with kids in it. And Tara writes kids great. Though nothing can compare to Gavin, Emma, Gwen’s daughter, was the perfect little girl. 6 years old and all about pink and Barbies, you can’t help but fall in love with her and want to help Gwen protect her. Gwen has done everything to protect her little girl from seeing the horrible abuse she received for 10 years from her husband, until finally after a really bad beating, she grabbed Emma ran to her brother Brady’s and hid.
Brady is a former SEAL and owns an investigation company. Gwen is tough, and she works at the company as well, and is damn good at it. But when Brady goes off on tour with Layla, he doesn’t want to leave Gwen alone knowing her ex was out there. So he leaves his SEAL friend Austin to keep an eye on her.
“I don’t need you, or anyone to babysit me. I’m a grown ass woman and can handle things just fine on my own.”
“Oh believe me, it’s quite obvious just how grown you are,” he tells me quietly, his eyes traveling down the front of my body.
It’s disgusting and dirty. And it makes me weak in the knees.
Austin doesn’t actually know why he needs to look after Gwen, but he senses there is something deeper than it seems. Still Gwen is a total bitch to him.
“At least one good thing will come of her being such a bitch – I won’t be tempted to sleep with her any time soon. I prefer a woman to use her tongue on me for pleasure, not making be miserable with her verbal lashes.”
But then Austin starts to feel more. This confirmed bachelor, who never did relationships or spent any time around kids willingly, started to have his heart melted.
“A weird feeling tugs at my heart as I watch her tuck her hands under her cheek. She’s so small, so vulnerable and trusting. She’s obviously seen some not-so-good things in her short, six years and yet she’s happy and full of life.”
Seriously, is there anything hotter than a big bad Navy SEAL melting at the sight of a little girl who isn’t even his?
Gwen and Austin banter and they fight…but there is something between them. A spark, a heat that can’t be denied.
“I knew from the first moment she called me an ass that kissing her would be like a fiery explosion, neither one of us surviving without getting burned. She’s mouthy and she’s stubborn, but there’s a vulnerability buried deep down inside that makes me want to take care of her, consume her and protect her at all costs”
Gwen isn’t ready. She thinks she is damaged and that she is no good for any man. She won’t let Austin in. But when scary things start to happen, and she knows her ex found her, she can’t shut Austin out any more. And when they finally get together…yum.
“Keep your eyes on me. When you come, I want you to know it’s me doing this to you.”
Then came one of the sexiest shower scenes ever.
I’m a sucker for the big strong guy how protects his woman from evil. But this time it’s even better because he has a woman and a little girl too. As the danger heated up…I stayed up till 4:30 AM reading.
- Sucked me in from page one.
- It took a while for Austin to get anywhere with Gwen, no insta love.
- Emma. I absolutely loved the little girl.
- The book went from present to flashback and had both Austin’s and Gwen’s POV, and I never had any issues following.
- Hot sex with an alpha guy who can also be gentle.
- Reading about how Emma melted Austin’s heart.
- Tara did a great job of recapping the other books without going overboard and boring those who remember.
- Twists and turns I never expected.
- Most of the story was not that unique. A big security guy protecting a woman from her violent ex is a pretty common theme. But Tara gave a twist that I didn’t expect.
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 4.5 Heat
I love a book where the confirmed bachelor falls for the girl he is protecting. I love it even more when there is a child involved. Tara did a phenomenal job telling the is story, weaving the past and present together and throwing out curveballs you don’t expect. The woman has a twisted mind, and it amazes me that she can write such different types of books. The Hot Alpha Protective Navy Seals with twists and turns and suspense in the Playing with Fire Series, The laugh your ass off funny Chocolate Lovers, and the make you cry Watch Over Me. I can’t wait to read how she combines them in the Fool Me Once Series coming next month.
Purchase Worn Me Down
A group of talented book blogger gathered together to get the scoop on the characters in T.E. Sivec’s Playing With Fire series. This four part series has questions from a bit of a kinkster, a straight shooter, a lover and a truth teller. Follow along during the tour to find out about characters past, present and future.
Part 1 – Ana’s Attic Book Blog (Tues. Jan 21) I’m the kinkster!!! Yay!
Part 2 – Straight Shootin’ Book Reviews (Thur. Jan 23)
Part 3 – A Love Affair With Books (Sun. Jan 26)
Part 4 – True Story Book Blog (Tues. Jan 28)
For Brady—Are you finding it difficult to “take care” of Layla while y’all are on the road…or are you just getting more creative?
Have you seen the size of this fucking tour bus? It’s bigger than my apartment. And don’t even get me started on the shower…and the kitchen counter…and table…However, being on the bus gets old…and cramped. We’ve been known to rent a hotel room every once in a while so we can stretch out and have sex on something that isn’t in motion at the time.
For Brady—How do you feel about your boy nailing your sister?
Do you want me to fucking throat punch you right now?
For Austin—How do you feel about nailing your boy’s sister? Ever glance over your shoulder, worried, lying in wait to get your ass kicked?
Fuck, he’s going to kick your ass if he hears you say that. Is this off the record? Seriously, he can never read this. Ever. Jesus Christ, nailing Gwen is what I imagine heaven is like. All warm and soft and fucking amazing…shit, did you hear that? God dammit, if that’s Brady I’m out of here.
***Check out Straight Shootin’ Book Reviews on Jan 23 for part 2 of this interview.
Tara Sivec is a USA Today best-selling author, wife, mother, chauffeur, maid, short-order cook, baby-sitter, and sarcasm expert. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children and looks forward to the day when they all three of them become adults and move out.
After working in the brokerage business for fourteen years, Tara decided to pick up a pen and write instead of shoving it in her eye out of boredom. She is the author of the Playing with Fire series and the Chocolate Lovers series. Her novel Seduction and Snacks won first place in the Indie Romance Convention Reader’s Choice Awards 2013 for Best Indie First Book.
In her spare time, Tara loves to dream about all of the baking she’ll do and naps she’ll take when she ever gets spare time.
Tara also writes under the pen name T.E. Sivec.
Connect with Tara Sivec
Come party with Tara at Wicked Book Weekend March 7-9 in Ft. Lauderdale!
Tara is giving away lots of fun things.
- 1st Place – One engraved iPod Nano and a $50 iTunes gift card so you can load it up with the playlist she created while writing this story.
- 2nd Place – One autographed set of the entire Playing With Fire series
- 3rd Place – 10 people will win a Worn Me Down swag pack filled with dog tags, bookmarks and other goodies