Overcome by AK Evans ~ Sarah A’s Review

It only took a matter of moments for Lexi Townsend’s life to change. Her power was taken, her trust lost. Her bubbly personality was smothered by the depressing weight of shame and guilt.

Four years later, Lexi yearns to get back to the former version of herself. A stronger version. One who is no longer afraid to share her story, her body, and her trust. When Private Investigator Cruz Cunningham comes into her life, he proves he’s a man that’s deserving of her trust.

When multiple women in Windsor go missing, it launches Cruz and the Cunningham Security team into action. As Cruz digs deeper into the investigation, he’s torn between finding the missing women and protecting the woman he loves. Putting her faith in Cruz, Lexi never imagines that this case could destroy everything she’s worked so hard to overcome.

WARNING: This novel contains references to rape and sexual assault and may trigger discomfort in some readers.

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After reading Obsessed, the first book in this series, I was leery of starting Overcome.  I was pleasantly surprised to see how much better the writing was in this book was than its predecessor, though there is still room for growth.  Again, the story was decent, if a little predictable, and I was rooting for Lexi and Cruz throughout the book.

I have always loved books about survivors of all types, but those about women who’ve overcome sexual assault have always held a special place in my heart.  As soon as I read the blurb for this book I was all in.  I can not tell you how happy I was to see so much of Lexi’s healing arc in this book.  Often romance novels seem to have people be magically healed by finding love, so seeing how hard and how many things Lexi was doing to leave her rape behind her was wonderful.

Cruz was fantastic with Lexi.  His compassion and patience went so far to help her learn how to trust men again, in particular, him.  I loved how carefully he helped her find all the things she thought she’d lost after she’d been violated so horribly.  His support in those moments when she felt she had no strength was sublime.

My wishes for this book are many, unfortunately, but I think most of them could be solved with a heavier editorial hand.  Most of the tell-not-show aspects of Obsessed were absent from this book, though there were still a few cringe-worthy moments that need to be addressed.  I also feel like Lexi’s reaction to the climax of the book felt completely wrong, given what she’d been through, I absolutely could not get on board with it.  Again, there were editorial issues, though not as plentiful as the first book in this series.  Finally, all the ‘L’ names: Levi, Lexi, Leni (Lennox), Luke, Logan, Lorenzo, though not present in this book, there was also a Leah in this series, and those are just the names I could recall off the top of my head.  It just felt strange to have so many similar names in one novel.  Especially all the Le_i names, more than once I misread a name and had to do a double-take to make sure I knew who I was reading about.

Overcome is the second book in AK Evans Cunningham Security series.  This series is a spinoff of her Everything series, and several of those characters make an appearance in the Cunningham Security series.  Each book in both series are interconnected standalones and do not have to be read in order.  However, if you’re anything like me, you’ll have so many questions about the other couples the desire to read the other books will be strong.  Overcome is written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Lexi and Cruz.

AK Evans has improved greatly from the first book I read by her.  A lot of the distrust of her readers I felt in that book was absent in this one.  That being said, I feel like there is still a lot of room for growth and she would benefit from a stronger editorial team.  Her storytelling is compelling enough that I can see myself picking up more books from her, in hopes to see continued improvement in her writing.

A.K. Evans is a married mother of two boys residing in a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania. After graduating from Lafayette College in 2004 with two degrees (one in English and one in Economics & Business), she pursued a career in the insurance and financial services industry. Not long after, Evans realized the career was not for her. She went on to manage her husband’s performance automotive business and drive the shop race cars for the next thirteen years. While the business afforded her freedoms she wouldn’t necessarily have had in a typical 9-5 job, after eleven years she was no longer receiving personal fulfillment from her chosen career path. Following many discussions, lots of thought, and tons of encouragement, Andrea decided to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.

Between her day job, writing, and homeschooling her two boys, Evans is left with very little free time. When she finds scraps of spare time, she enjoys reading, doing yoga, watching NY Rangers hockey, dancing, and vacationing with her family. Andrea, her husband, and her children are currently working on taking road trips to visit all 50 states (though, Alaska and Hawaii might require flights).

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NOW AVAILABLE!! Overcome by AK Evans

It only took a matter of moments for Lexi Townsend’s life to change. Her power was taken, her trust lost. Her bubbly personality was smothered by the depressing weight of shame and guilt.

Four years later, Lexi yearns to get back to the former version of herself. A stronger version. One who is no longer afraid to share her story, her body, and her trust. When Private Investigator Cruz Cunningham comes into her life, he proves he’s a man that’s deserving of her trust.

When multiple women in Windsor go missing, it launches Cruz and the Cunningham Security team into action. As Cruz digs deeper into the investigation, he’s torn between finding the missing women and protecting the woman he loves. Putting her faith in Cruz, Lexi never imagines that this case could destroy everything she’s worked so hard to overcome.

WARNING: This novel contains references to rape and sexual assault and may trigger discomfort in some readers.

 Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

“Do you want to come in for a while?” I asked.

Cruz stepped just inside the door and closed it, but answered, “We both have a long week ahead of us and you’ve had a very busy weekend.  I probably shouldn’t stay.”

I put my hands to Cruz’s chest and shared, “I had a really great time tonight, Cruz.  Thank you for giving this to me.”

“Happy to give it to you.”

“Can I give you something now in return?”

I felt Cruz’s fingertips dig in slightly at my hips before his hands moved around my waist and pulled me into his body.  

“All I want is to know that you had a good time tonight,” he began.  “I don’t expect nor do I want you to do anything for me in return.”

Disappointed, I dropped my gaze from his and stared at his throat.  

“Why do you look like I’ve just crushed all your hopes and dreams?” Cruz asked.

I shook my head, feeling frustrated.

Cruz squeezed me a little tighter.  “Look at me, Lex.”

I did as he asked.

Then, I felt the back of his knuckles brush along my cheek as he urged, “Tell me why you’re sad.”

“I feel pretty tonight,” I started.  “For the first time in a very long time, I feel sexy and confident.  All I wanted to do was kiss you before you left.”

I barely got the words out when Cruz’s mouth came crashing down on mine.  With his lips pressed to mine, I slid my hands up his chest and around his neck.  As our mouths opened and our tongues began to taste each other, my body melted further into his.  One of Cruz’s arms stayed wrapped tight around the upper part of my back, but the other one…oh, the other one.  It dipped lower and lower until it slid down over the curve of my ass.

I loved it, so I gave him a moan as encouragement.  

He gave me a gentle squeeze.

I really loved that.

After a bit more squeezing, kissing, and moaning, Cruz tore his mouth from mine.  His forehead resting on mine, we both fought to catch our breath.

Cruz did it arguably faster than me because he started speaking.  “Don’t keep it in, Lexi.”

“What?”

Pulling his head back from mine, he instructed, “With me, you don’t have to hide anything.  Give in to what you feel, Princess, no matter what it is. Scared, sexy, or anything in between.  It doesn’t matter what it is; if it’s in me to see you through that, I will.”

And of everything he did for me in the last few minutes, what he had just said was what I loved most.  

“I feel like I’m dreaming, Cruz.  Are you even real?”

“It’s time to wake up, warrior.  I’m as real as it gets.”

Once those words slipped out of his mouth, he pressed a kiss to the tip of my nose and declared, “I’m going to head out now.”

I let the disappointment of that wash over me for about two seconds before Cruz added, “I had a fantastic time tonight.  And you were, by far, the most beautiful woman in the restaurant. Don’t think I’m leaving because I don’t like what I see.  This wasn’t about me and what I want. Tonight was about giving you what you needed…giving you what someone took from you. I hope you got that back.”

Warmth spread through me.  “I did, Cruz. I got that and so much more.”

cropped shot of couple embracing in bed in morning

A.K. Evans is a married mother of two boys residing in a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania. After graduating from Lafayette College in 2004 with two degrees (one in English and one in Economics & Business), she pursued a career in the insurance and financial services industry. Not long after, Evans realized the career was not for her. She went on to manage her husband’s performance automotive business and drive the shop race cars for the next thirteen years. While the business afforded her freedoms she wouldn’t necessarily have had in a typical 9-5 job, after eleven years she was no longer receiving personal fulfillment from her chosen career path. Following many discussions, lots of thought, and tons of encouragement, Andrea decided to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.

Between her day job, writing, and homeschooling her two boys, Evans is left with very little free time. When she finds scraps of spare time, she enjoys reading, doing yoga, watching NY Rangers hockey, dancing, and vacationing with her family. Andrea, her husband, and her children are currently working on taking road trips to visit all 50 states (though, Alaska and Hawaii might require flights).

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