Updated: Jan 18
by Cecy Robson
Published by Loveswept
Book #2 in the Shattered Past Series
Every memory Lety Tres Santos has from her childhood comes with a scar—
some emotional, some physical. Her father is an abusive drug addict, and her mother enables his destructive behavior. College offers Lety a fresh start . . . until her father finds a way to ruin that, too. Now, after losing her scholarship to kick off junior year, Lety must somehow stay in school, pay tuition, and turn a deaf ear to the whispers that follow her. And she intends to do it all without Brody Quaid’s help. Brody is a lacrosse star, a 4.0 student—and as a freshman, he fell hard for the beautiful and spirited Lety. But their relationship crashed and burned because he couldn’t break through the walls she’s put up around her heart. With Lety hurting more than ever, Brody strives to win her back and make her believe in real love and true partnership. That will mean opening up secrets locked away in his own past—and trusting someone more than he’s ever dared. Lety knows how painful it can be to depend on the wrong man. She also knows how much Brody wants to do this the right way. But it takes more than sizzling desire to move on and build a future together.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Romance Climatic
*TRIGGER Drama Happy Ending
Spoilers ahead my friends! Trigger Warning: Following book focus's a lot on abuse.
Once Loved is the second book in the Shattered Past series by Cecy Robson, and centers around the second Tres Santos sibling, Lety, and her boyfriend, Brody Quaid. We get to see glimpses of Mateo and Evie's from the first book, and in even smaller doses, how the youngest sibling, Sophia is doing.
Once Loved, despite following the same theme from the first book of the affects of abuse, and trying to heal and move on, it takes a dramatic turn. While both Lety and Brody have rough childhoods under their belts, I think it's fair to say that most of their problems is from the present abuse inflicted by Lety's father, Carlos. The story was full of interesting twists, some perhaps predictable, but it didn't take anything away from the story, and I honestly couldn't put it down.
In Once Perfect, we get a sense that Lety is smart, with a wicked sense of humor. She is also strong. She doesn't put up with people's shit. We learn more about her particular past in this book. She took a lot of beatings as a kid, but instead of being weak, one could argue it made her stronger. Her fathers punches, while painful, she could take. What ruined her was knowing she was a product of rape, and her father loved to throw it in her face. So despite being strong, she didn't think she was good enough, especially for Brody. She felt dirty.
Brody is a surprising character. I totally fell for him in the first book, due to his humor and his obvious love for Lety. There are no hints of him having a troubled past as well. Lety is aware of a multitude of bad scars on his back, but not how he got them. While Brody is trying to convince Lety to give their relationship another chance, he hints that they may not be that different. It isn't until Brody finds out Lety is caring for his quadriplegic father, and little brother who has brain damage, that he finally shares with her his past. That his father, an alcoholic at the time, had taken his brother and was heading to the car to find his mother. Not knowing what to do, he jumps into the car before his father speeds away. When Brody saw that they were not going to make a turn, he jumps in the back seats and wraps himself around his little brother. They ended up driving off of a ravine, where Brody was thrown through the windshield and down the hill, glass and rubble embedding his back. I have to say though, that Brody didn't let the event change him. Sure, he uses humor to hide his pain, but he still allows himself to love. The biggest consequence was his distancing himself from his family.
Lety and Brody would never have been able to start the journey to healing from their pasts without one another. Lety needed a persistent man like Brody to not let her push him away, and to teach her that no matter how she was brought into this world, the person she is is what matters. Brody's support, both emotionally and financially, is what gives Lety the courage to finally stand up to her father, and charge him. And Brody would have never reconnected with his family if it wasn't for Lety. Lety simply being there, caring for his father abd brother, forced him to be around more often. He would have never found out the truth about his parents. This whole time, he believed his fathers drinking is what ruined their marriage, and led to devastating consequences. His mother admits to Lety, with Brody in the room, that she constantly slept with other men, looking for validation. Her husband, who, like Brody, loved deeply, started drinking because of the pain. The night of the accident, he was drinking, and wanted to find his wife, and bring her home (at the time she was in bed with a friend of his). While he was obviously in the wrong for drinking and driving, she played a part too. Knowing this, Brody was finally able to bond with his father again.
As mentioned before, we get glimpses of the Tres Santos family in this book, with unfortunately, Carlos heavily featured. Carlos is a mean asshole, but he really has it out for Lety. I suspect that it's because she is the only female around him that will fight back, and that pisses him off. Thankfully, she wins in the end. While I am not a fan of the Tres Santo's mother in this series, I do hope we see some element of healing for her as well. I love that Brody pushes Lety to at least say goodbye before moving away with him. To make peace. My favorite characters to see again were Mateo and Evie, who are now married, and very successful. Mateo found success with his garage, and ended up opening several more. It's nice to see that once two struggling adults are now comfortable. Carlos leaves them be after Mateo actually fought him, but Mateo's insistence of living in a gated community helps as well. The best part, is they end up having a baby boy.
In the end, I totally recommend this book. The love story is sweet, but its all the intricate details of their traumatic pasts that really makes this book, and the series to this point, something really special. Can't wait to read Sophia's story next!
Top 3 Favorite Moments:
1. Brody's obvious discomfort of Lety unbuttoning his fathers shirt to listen to his lungs, and Mr. Moore and Lety joking around about it at Brody's expense.
2. When Brody and Lety tell each other they love each other for the first time.
3. When Carlos is found guilty and sentenced to three life terms.
Where To Buy:
Issac: "You sure you want to do this? Her dad's pretty fucked up."
Brody: "So's anyone caught jerking off to cartoon while wearing pink underwear. But I still hang with you. No worries, Isaac. You're not the first guy to- Wait, never mind. You probably are. Still, it's nothing to be ashamed of, dude. You just keep ding your thing - and maybe net time try old episodes of Baywatch instead of cartoons. It might be less creepy."
Lety: "Brody, don't. I can't think about us that way."
Brody: "And I can't stop. I meant what I said at camp. You fucking broke my heart."
Brody: "I want another chance with you. Will you let it happen?"
Lety: "I don't know if I can, baby. Maybe we're better off being friends."
Brody: "You can't call me 'baby' like you used to and expect me to just be your friend."
Lety: "Even if it's the best thing for you?"
Brody: "You're the best thing for me. You just don't know it yet."
Mateo: "What're you up to?"
Lety: "Bar brawl at a hick bar."
Mateo: "You serious?"
Mateo: "Better not be. You're in college so you don't have to fight, dumbass."
Lety: "Nice, Teo. Do you kiss that pretty wife of yours with that mouth?"
Mateo: "I kiss my wife plenty, not that it's any of your business, nosey."
Piper: "A guy I dated once told me there's no such thing as a bad blow job. It's either good, or excellent."
Alice: "I think I bite."
Piper and Lety: "Oh."
Alice: "And I think I squeeze the boys too hard."
Piper and Lety: "Oh!"
Alice: "Yeah. That's what he said."
Lety: "What are you guys up to?"
Brody: "Just heading back from the Coopersburg diner. We saw you in the window when we were passing by and wanted to see what you were doing."
Lety: "You saw us in the window?"
Brody: "Yeah ... why?"
Piper: "Oh, we were just ironing out the finer details of giving head."
Razor: "No shit. You were seriously talking blow jobs?"
Piper: "Of course, that's what girls do in dorm rooms."
Meathead: "That's awesome."
Lety: "Don't look at me that way."
Brody: "What way?"
Lety: "Like naked pillow fights are next."
Meathead: "You girls do that shit, too?"
Sister Marguerite: "Mr. Quaid! This is a facility for reading, studying, and researching, not socializing. If you're going to talk to Miss Tres Santos, I suggest you do so back in her quarters."
Brody: "But I don't go to Lety's room to talk, Sister."
Sister Marguerite: "You're already going to hell, Mr. Quaid. Kindly don't drag Miss Tres Santos there with you."
Brody: "How could I be going to hell with you on my side, Sister? What say you help me save my soul? Maybe say the rosary on my behalf - put in a good word to Saint Peter for me?"
Sister Marguerite: "I'll say a few Hail Marys, and perhaps light a candle, after I tell Father O'Key to expect you in confession on Saturday."
Brody: *Does gun pointing gesture with hand and clicks his tongue* "It's a date, sweet thing."
Lety: "Will you do something for me?"
Brody: "I'd do anything for you."
Lety: "Will you try to forgive yourself? Please. You did your best. You even sacrificed yourself for your little brother."
Brody: "I didn't succeed."
Lety: "Heroes don't always win."
Brody: "I told you, I'm no hero."
Lety: "You're wrong. You're mine."
Lety: "Thanks for the car. I'll pay you back for it."
Mateo: "No, you won't. You'll keep it, and like it, so long as you stay in school. If you drop out, I'll beat your ass and take it back."
Lety: "Oh, but if you want to beat my ass you'll have to leave your pretty little wife to find me. Tsk, tsk, tough guy. I don't know if you can handle being away from your woman that long."
Mateo: "You really are a pain in the ass. Follow us back to the house. I need a shower before we go out to dinner."
Lety: "I can't. I have to head back to school."
Mateo: "I thought you said you were staying."
Lety: "Got a lot to do so you don't beat my ass."
Brody: "What are you doing?"
Lety: "What do you mean, what am I doing?"
Brody: "You're seriously not going to let me kiss you?"
Lety: "I'm working."
Brody: "You are not. You're standing in the kitchen."
Lety: "Brody, I'm with your parents!"
Lety: "And it's not appropriate!"
Brody: "But, baby, you let me kiss you all the time."
Brody: "I mean just this morning we-"
Dionna: "Are you sleeping together?"
Kill me, Jesus. God wouldn't listen.
Brody: "Lety, what the hell are you doing?"
Lety: "I'm about to listen to your father's lung. It's part of my physical assessment. It's how I determine if his lungs are clear."
Brody: "Do you have to take his clothes off to do it?"
Lety: "Don't you have a test to study for?"
The alarm on the ventilator blasted when Mr. Moore laughed.
Brody: "What the fuck?"
Lety: "He's fine. He's just laughing at your ridiculous behavior."
Brody: "It's not ridiculous."
Lety: "go study, Brody."
Brody: "You're my girlfriend and you're taking my father's clothes off!"
Lety: 'rolls eyes* "Brody."
Brody: "That's creepier than shit."
More alarms. More of Mr. Moore's choked laughter. Fine. We'll do it your way. I winked at Mr. Moore.
Lety: "If you can't handle this, you're really going to have a problem come bath time."
Mr. Moore: "I like bubbles."
Speaking in Spanish:
Brody: "If we're not sleeping, then what will we do?"
Lety: "I'm not discussing what happens when we're alone, Brody."
Brody: "Will we kiss?"
Brody: "Will we touch?"
Brody: "Letz, we're adults."
Lety: "Then behave like one. I'm working."
Brody: "You can still work and have a little fun come bedtime."
Lety: "I have to stay alert in case your father needs me."
Brody: "So, I'll keep you awake. All night if I have to. What can I say? I'm a hell of a guy."
Lety: "Brody, I can't focus on keeping him safe if you're busy fondling the girls."
Brody's shoulders are shaking from holding back laughter.
Lety: "I'm serious, Brody. I won't fool around with you if it means jeopardizing your family's care or safety."
Brody: "What if I promise to keep my hands to myself?"
Lety: "You know you won't, just like I won't."
Brody: "Is that so?"
Brody: "So you do want me?"
Lety: "Yes. I do. I want you bad, you smoking hot, studly, steel-rod-hard, hulking sexy man. There. Are you happy?"
Brody throws his head back laughing and reverting back to english.
Brody: "I am now."
Lety: "Good. Now behave yourself so I can take care of your father. Could you open up your mouth for me, sir?"
Lety: "What, Brody?"
Brody: "Is now a good time to tell you my dad's fluent in four languages?"
Lety: "Is ... ah, Spanish ... one of them?"
Mr. Moore: "Si."
Once more the vent alarms blared in nuclear-meltdown mode. It took all I had not to kick Brody in the ribs when he fell to the floor in hysterics.
Brody: "Aw, come on. You can't still be mad at me, pequena."
Lety: "In case you haven't noticed, I am."
Lety points at Mr. Moore when he smirks.
Lety: "You, too. You're supposed to be on my side."
Lety: "Don't you 'babe' me. I can't believe you made me say naughty things in front of your father!"
Tommy: "Brody, read?"
Brody: "Tiger, it's the ass crack of dawn."
Lety: "It's almost eight."
Brody: "Like I said, ass crack of dawn. Here's the deal, buddy. Lety and I have this thing-"
Brody: "That's right. Me and Lety are a thing - hot, you know?"
Brody: "So I'm probably going to start staying with her when she's here."
Lety: "You are?"
Brody: "Oh, yeah. I am."
Lety: "Brody, I don't know about this."
Brody: "Since we're so hot-"
Tommy: "Hot? Lety hot?"
Brody: "Dude. You don't even know."
Brody: "Do you mind? Me and the kid are having a heart-to-heart. Anyway, yeah. You're going to have to start knocking. In case, you know, Lety's so hot she simply has to take her clothes off."
Lety nails Brody in the head with a pillow. He laughs and throws it to the other side of the bed.
Tommy: "Clothes off? When Lety hot."
Brody: "See, he's a man. He understands."
Alice: "It just sorta happened."
Lety: "What do you mean it just 'sorta' happened? Did you trip and land mouth-first on his penis?"
Brody: "You're covering up the goods."
Mateo: "Do you mind? She's my baby sister and I'm standing right here."
Brody: "You've got your woman to fondle, I've got mine. Can't help that you're related dude."
Mateo: "Here. Take a load off. You've already done enough today."
Evie: "If it were up to your brother, I'd sit at home all day naked, waiting for him to walk though the door."
Mateo: "I never said that. But you can if you want. There's nothing wrong with coming home and finding your woman naked."
Brody: Naked's good. I can respect naked."
Evie: "No fighting, no yelling, it's Christmas - and the baby can hear you."
Lety: "That's right, Teo. Don't be swearing around baby Evelyn."
Mateo: "Zip it, Lety."
Lety: "Really, Teo?"
Mateo: "Was I talking to you?"
Brody: "Hey, Killian. Don't sweat it, dude. Every now and then, Teo wants to hang my balls like ornaments, too."
Sophia: "Brody, you are so adorable."
Killian straightens his back and his eyes cut between Sophia and Brody.
Brody: "Sofi. Don't get my ass spanked. I only like it when Lety does it."
Brody: "Hey, man. Sorry about that. I thought I dropped my keys down Lety's throat and I was trying to fish them out with my tongue."
Mateo: "Funny guy or not, if you knock up my sister, I swear to Christ I'll rip out your spine and beat your balls with it."
Brody: "Like a pinata?"
Mateo: "Like a fucking pinata out of your worst nightmare."
Brody: "Good to know."
Brody: "I just assumed that you'd had sex at least a few times. It never occurred to me that you hadn't. It should've. It just didn't."
Lety: "Why? Because I'm a Philly girl from the bad part of town?"
Brody: "No. Because you're fucking beautiful."
Lety: "You want to know the other reason I didn't have sex before last night? Because I loved you once ... and I never stopped."
Brody went stone still.
Lety: "I've never felt this way before, about anyone. You're all I ever think about, and all I ever want. Last year was the worst in my life ... because you were no longer a part of it."
Brody: "I love you, too."
Lety: "You don't have to say-"
Brody: "Since the first day I met you and you hit me with that damn physics book."
Lety: "It was chemistry."
Brody: "You could've broken my ribs. And I still lost my mind over you. I love you, Lety. And I swear to God, I always will ..."
Brody: "Hey, beautiful."
Lety: "How did you know it was me?"
Brody: "Oh, sorry, Letz. I thought you were Rhonda."
Lety: "Your cleaning lady?"
Brody: "Yeah, she's wearing a new pair of orthopedic shoes. They're kind of hot. She called me a filthy, disgusting boy this morning when I accidentally trekked in mud. God, I love it when she talks dirty."
Lety: "Really? My lack of interest in your bank account is one of the first things you noticed?"
Brody: "Well, after I finished eyeing your ass like it could play music, and getting lost in your eyes, and looking at your ass again- oh, and your lips are sexy as all hell, too, and that ass-"
Brody: "What did we have?"
Lety: "A boy."
Brody: "Nice. Congratulations."
Lety: "Yeah, it was pretty amazing."
Brody: "Do you think our first will be a boy?"
Lety: "Baby, after what I saw in there, we're having puppies."
Check out the rest of the Shattered Past series below!