Ryan Kendall is broken. He understands pain. He knows the hand of violence and the ache of loss. He knows what it means to fail those who need you. Being broken doesn’t stop him wanting the one thing he can’t have; Finlay Tanner. Her smile is sweet and her future bright. She’s the girl he grew up with, the girl he loves, the girl he protects from the world, and from himself.
At nineteen, Ryan leaves to join the Australian Army. After years of training he becomes an elite SAS soldier and deploys to the Afghanistan war. His patrol undertakes the most dangerous missions a soldier can face. But no matter how far he runs, or how hard he fights, his need for Finlay won’t let go.
Returning home after six years, one look is all it takes to know he can’t live without her. But sometimes love isn’t enough to heal what hurts. Sometimes people like him can’t be fixed, and sometimes people like Finlay deserve more than what’s left.
This is a story about war and the cost of sacrifice. Where bonds are formed, and friendships found. Where those who are strong, fall hard. Where love is let go, heartache is born, and heroes are made. Where one man learns that the hardest fight of all, is the fight to save himself.
Two weeks later, he packed his belongings and stole his way into Fin’s room. She wasn’t there, so he stretched out on her bed, hands tucked behind his head, eyes trained on the ceiling, and waited.
It was midnight when she came through the door, giggling as she read a message on her phone. Finished, she tossed it on her bedside table and froze when she caught him lying there in the dark.
He heard her breath catch. “Ryan?”
The lamp by her bed switched on, coating the room in a warm, cozy glow. Fin was illuminated, her skin golden in the soft light, her cheeks flushed with happiness.
“What are you …” She trailed off after meeting his eyes. He knew what she saw. He couldn’t hold any of it back—regret, heartache, and loss for something that had never been his.
“You’re leaving,” she choked out.
Ryan couldn’t speak. He watched her stride to the open window, its sheer white curtains billowing. Staring out into the night, she wiped away tears that spilled over and ran down her cheeks.
He blinked, his own eyes burning. “I’m sorry,” he said eventually.
Fin turned and walked across the room. Sinking to the edge of the bed, she stared down at her hands. “When?”
Ryan unlocked his hands from behind his head and reached for her, pulling her down beside him. She stretched out, tucking her head under his chin. Closing his eyes, he breathed her in, allowing his arms to wrap around her. “In the morning.”
Fin’s hand fisted in his shirt as she let out a sob.
“I have to do this,” he whispered hoarsely. He trailed his fingers through her hair and touched his lips to her forehead.
She started to wipe away the tears on her face, and Ryan took hold of her hand, stilling her. “You understand, don’t you, Fin, why I have to do this?”
Ryan needed to know that she understood he wasn’t leaving her, he was leaving his past, and trying to build a new future with the Army.
“I do.” She choked again and buried her face in his neck, sobs breaking free.
“Don’t,” he whispered thickly. “Please don’t cry. You have such a big future ahead of you. You’re going to do big things with your life. Don’t let anyone stop you from being who you need to be, okay?”
Fin nodded into his neck.
Ryan pushed back so he could look her in the eye. He wouldn’t be there to watch over her anymore, so he needed to know she would look out for herself. “Promise me, Fin.”
Satisfied, he reached out and switched off the lamp. Thrust into sudden darkness, Ryan laced his fingers in hers and held her close. When her tears dried up, she drifted off into a deep slumber. In the early hours of the morning, he pressed a soft kiss to her cheek, and disentangling himself, he left the room. Having already said his goodbyes to Mike and Julie earlier in the evening, Ryan clicked the door shut softly behind him and left the house, careful not to look back.
That was the last he saw of Finlay Tanner.
I am not to fond of reading books that have to do with war, and soldiers truthfully. So when I decided to read Fighting Redemption, I knew I had to go into this one with an open mind. I had no idea where this book would take me, nor have I read any of Kate McCarthy’s other books.
Well, let me just say this; Fighting Redemption was absolutely one of the most amazing reads this year for me. This is one of those unforgettable stories that stays with you. There were a number of different emotions racing through me as I decided to dive into this head first. Hurt, heart wrenching pain in my chest, anger, fear, happiness, loss, love….
I can’t tell you how glued I was to my iPad as I read. I never wanted to put this book down. Kate McCarthy’s writing is top notch. She drags you into their minds, their hearts, their souls…
Throughout the whole entire book I was just gutted, and floored at how it tore emotions from me. You have to give props to Kate; weaving such a riveting love story. Her characters were written with such care, you can tell she took her time at developing them.
Fighting Redemption follows the beautiful love story between Finlay (Fin) and Ryan. Ryan is our hero in this story, among others including Fin’s brother Jake. Ryan and Jake, both very close childhood friends (pretty much like brothers) both had a dream. That dream was to be a soldier in the Australian Army. So when the 2 friends turn 19 they deploy for Afghanistan. Fin is left behind, not only missing her dear brother, but missing and loving Ryan. Both Ryan and Fin are so connected to one another and you feel it in just a couple of chapters. I swear my heart actually ached. But Ryan, he knows staying far from Fin is best.
The Army, and the War, owned him-body and soul. Fin never stood a chance.
So for 6 long years both boys are gone. Ryan doesn’t contact her, not once. And Fin, she’s crushed. I can’t even imagine what that feels like, but the author does a damn good job of making you feel every damn emotional known the man.
Thankfully Fin has her best friend Rachel for support, and…..Ian. Her boyfriend. Yes, she moved on. Or did she??
The boys return after 6 years, fighting a war. And it’s hard on them. But these brothers are tight. Not only are they tight, but Fin and Jake have an amazing brother/sister bond.
This story is so much more than war, and love, and hurt, and heartbreak. It’s about loyalty and family, and friendship.
Countless times, I had to stop reading, and cry my fucking eyes out. Like ugly cry.
Ryan kind of breaks my heart in this book. He’s always looking out for everybody else’s interest and well-being. But in the process, he’s hurting others. He’s hurting Fin. OMG this girl, she hurts, bad…
Six years, Ryan. do you know how hurt I was, each day passing by and getting nothing-not even a note or an email? I didn’t just lose you, I lost my brother too. Both of you left me, and I was okay with that. I understood that this was what you needed to do, so I moved on. I built a life that doesn’t include you. That was what I had to do….I’d have given you my entire heart if you’d only asked. But it’s not yours now. It’s not yours.
And just when Ryan thinks he might have a chance or slightly lets his guard down…he’s deployed….again, with Jake…
And again…More tears…it just doesn’t end…But seriously, you can never stop reading. It just keeps getting better and better. And when Ryan returns, nothing is the same. Everything changes. And not for the good. Ryan has so many other demons and skeletons he battles in his life, not just actual battle scars. He’s broken, so broken and always pushing away Fin.
You speak to me of love, yet you’ll walk away from me so easily to go and put your life on the line? Do you know how hard that is for me?
Oh Fin, I want to hug the shit out of you. Seriously, this girl has a heart of gold. And she’s tough as nails. But Ryan will keep dishing it…
Ryan pulled her around the table and into the circle of his arms. “Every piece of me is in here.” He places his palm flat on her chest, feeling her heart beat hard and steady beneath his fingers. He closed his eyes briefly at the beauty of it. “My breath, my heart, my life. I won’t ever leave you if you keep that safe inside you.”
Considering the intensity of this story, and heartache (yeah I mentioned that a bunch of times), you have friendship. I love what Rachel and Fin share together. They are a great team and Rachel is always in Fin’s corner. But one other relationship in this book I cherished was Fin and her brother Jake. Those two bring me to tears when I reflect on their story
This book comes full circle for me. And without a shadow of a doubt I give this book 5 stars. I see a re-read in the future for damn sure. I will leave you with quote from Ryan Kendall:
“I love you Fin. I’ve always loved you. Right from the moment you walked up those steps at school, you tripped your way right into my heart. I won’t ever stop. I’ll love you longer than the stars that live in the sky.”
About the Author
Kate McCarthy grew up in a small town outside of Port Macquarie, Australia. Raised in a house just a short walk to the beach, Kate enjoyed the peaceful, relaxed atmosphere and friendships that come from being raised in a friendly, small town area.
She now resides in Brisbane, Australia, a city in the state of Queensland where she works as an accountant, along with a sideline wedding cake business and her writing.
She is married with two children, has two dogs and house in the suburbs, and a pile of friends and family dotted all over the country that help keep her sane.
When she’s not busy running after naughty kids, filthy dogs, crunching numbers, piping buttercream and writing books, you can find her curled up in bed in the early hours of the morning reading new books and re-reading old favourites. Her favourite books are the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward in which she longs to eventually join the brotherhood and change her name to Phierce Mutha.