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Once Perfect

Narrated by: Mercedes Moreno
Series: Shattered Past, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 49 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Summary

His life was never easy. Hers wasn't supposed to be this hard. They come from different worlds, but fate lures them together in a way neither expected in Cecy Robson's raw, steamy series debut - perfect for fans of Monica Murphy and J. Lynn.

Evelyn Preston's future once looked perfect - until her wealthy father was caught in an embezzlement scandal and took his own life. Alone and struggling to pay her college tuition and bills, Evelyn finds a job as a waitress at the ultra-hip nightclub Excess, where she used to have more in common with the privileged private-school clientele than her fellow staff members. But something attracts her to the sexy six-foot-four bouncer and ex-army MMA fighter Mateo Tres Santos. Although they've led different lives, their troubled pasts bonds them in both survival and love.

Mateo wound up in prison for assaulting the man who harmed his sister. Now he's feeling the same protective impulse for this petite blond waitress. When Evelyn experiences a panic attack at the club, Mateo comes to her rescue. And when Mateo is wounded shielding her from a brawl, Evelyn returns the favor and comes to his aid. As their attraction intensifies, Mateo is determined to find out what nightmares are lurking in Evelyn's past - even if that means tackling his own to save her.

©2014 Cecy Robson, LLC (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"Narrator Mercedes Moreno's blend of serious and seductive tones brings out the complexities of the characters' lives in this spicy adult novel. Evelyn Preston is no longer one of those spoiled rich kids who party at the nightclub Excess. Nowadays, she's hanging onto whatever pride she has by working hard to pay her tuition bills and get through nursing school. Moreno portrays Evelyn in tones of tension and fear, which are caused by her ex-boyfriend and memories of her father, who committed suicide. In contrast to this angst, Moreno uses soft seductive tones whenever Evelyn is thinking of, or in the arms of, Matteo Tres Santos - the nightclub's handsome and commanding bouncer. In her portrayal of Matteo, Moreno provides another balance of tender and tough. His protectiveness of his sisters and Evelyn is contrasted effectively with the tough nature of his job and the demons of his past. Moreno fully succeeds at capturing the provocative moods of this racy novel." (AudioFile Magazine)

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Profile Image for Jonetta (Ejaygirl)
  • Jonetta (Ejaygirl)
  • 30-04-18

A bigger story than it seems

Evelyn (Evie) Preston is a waitress at a hip nightclub while at the same time attending nursing school and struggling to pay bills. It’s a bit of a comedown from her earlier life as the privileged daughter of a wealthy businessman just three years ago. His suicide following an embezzlement scandal changed everything, let alone personal traumas even she hasn’t fully acknowledged. Mateo Tres Santos is a bouncer at the nightclub, an imposing figure at 6’4” compared to the petite Evie. Circumstances bring these two together despite the chasm of differences but one thing they share is a strong sense of self and personal fortitude.

This book was a slow but growing burn for me. Initially I feared I wouldn’t be able to connect with either character or their relationship not just because of their ages (early twenties) but also because of Mateo’s underground MMA fighting. That’s just not my cuppa and I’ve avoided those stories. However (and it’s a big one), that’s just background and the real story is of two people grappling with real life issues, trying to make the best of their lives and figuring out how to move forward. To say their experiences are reflective of most people’s reality is understating the value of this story. I loved how both just dealt with their circumstances, struggled to create a relationship when most of those around them aren’t betting on them and kept moving forward. Mateo’s family values and cultural norms are a strong part of his identity and I was pleased to see that honestly portrayed. Evie’s issues were tragic and what made her more authentic was how there wasn’t a neat end or solution provided.

It’s a tough story but I eventually came to admire and truly like Evie and Mateo. They’re not stereotypes in any sense of the word and their lives and relationship are not easy. I didn’t think I’d want to continue the series but now I’m too invested to stop here. The narrator did a really good job of giving voice to both characters as well as to the secondary ones. This one is a keeper.

My thanks to Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer for providing me a complimentary copy.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Wendi Epps
  • 17-02-20

Great book and lovely narrator!

I've heard some bad narrators lately but this one was great! I enjoyed the story and characters.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for William Touvell
  • William Touvell
  • 17-02-20

2 thumbs up

Loved loved the narrator! She did an awesome job and I rarely like audios with just one narrator. This book was really sweet and loved it more than I thought I would..

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 20-10-19

God dayum

Love the book love the characters and love how it all fell into place and how she finally got her love and her family

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Hellen
  • Hellen
  • 09-09-19

3 stars

I like the story, but sometimes the writing is off-putting. Romance scenes are written more like how to, or what not to do rather than as an erotic experience. The narrator’s voice was a little hard for me to take at times, but I got more used to it as the book progressed. I think a chapter right before the last would have helped make the ending seem less like a section that was written out of secuence and seems to have no contextual flow, otherwise, I like the characters and the story.

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Profile Image for Laura F
  • Laura F
  • 14-08-19

Ok listen

There is so much angst in this story but not much levity to balance it out. I liked it but the ending was so abrupt that it made me wish there was more between the last chapter and the epilogue.

I wasn't really a fan of this narrator. I may have enjoyed this more if I read it instead of listening.

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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Nicole Johnson
  • Nicole Johnson
  • 14-07-19

Loved it!

absolutely loved it! this was the first ro.ance book I ever read and it made me love reading! would definitely read over and over again!

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Profile Image for Amy Preskitt
  • Amy Preskitt
  • 25-06-19

Inspirational story that addresses truths

Wonderful is 100 different ways. The story was so real and brings to life so many issues people face. It highlights that no matter where you come from abuse can strike...no one is immune. Despite our circumstances, we can choose to end the cycle. It is harder for some, but it is still a choice. What a wonderful way to share a beautiful reality. Speaking from experience this book is inspiring and encouraging. My husband and I had very similar pasts and he was my Mateo; he had to teach me the meaning of unconditional love and commitment. Ironically I finished this book today and it was our 21 wedding anniversary.
Keep writing and sharing, you never know who will read or in this case might be listening.

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  • Laura S.
  • 14-06-19

Great book! loved it!

I loved this book, one of my favorites. I also enjoyed the voice on this story. some other ones are okay but this one was age appropriate and soothing. this story was an emotional one, it really made you feel like you were there with them. love a strong story and happy ending!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-06-19

Beware: it's one in the suffering series

It was an okay listen in every way, BUT: I wish they warned me about the contents. All throughout I was wondering how much more suffering can the author pile on top, and she could always add more shit to the pile. It was way beyond your average "lovers getting over their difficult pasts together" storyline. Have I been interested in so much tragedy, I would have chosen a sociography. But I read this, and it left me shaken, and the ending was so abrupt, that it didn't help with processing all the negativity.