Once Perfect by Cecy Robson Book Review

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

Once Perfect

by Cecy Robson

Published by Loveswept

Book #1 in the Shattered Past Series

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.


Trigger Romance Happy Ending

Normally this is where I warn you there are spoilers ahead, and to not read ahead unless you don't mind spoilers. But this is also a trigger warning. There is a lot of dark moments and content covered in this book, in regards to sexual and physical abuse.

Once Perfect is the first book in the Shattered Past series, and written by Cecy Robson. The shattered past series centers on three siblings, and this first story, is centered around Mateo Tres Santos and his girl friend, Evelyn (Evie) Preston, coming to terms and healing from their traumatic childhoods, and finding love and support with each other. It's written from Evie's point of view.

Once Perfect's story line is definitely unique in terms of it's genre. It's dark and gritty, and I found myself sometimes having to stick my head in a different book to take a mental break from the content. That doesn't chance the fact that I enjoyed the story. It's just not something you can rush. You need to digest the content. An issue I had with Once Perfect, was the writing seems a bit clunky. The first two thirds of the book I found didn't flow really well, and I found their connection with one another odd at best. But after Evie's breakdown, and she started getting help, the writing and story flow is different. I have to wonder if it's my interest in the story being piqued, or if it's an intentional change with Cecy Robson's writing. I will say that's TBD, depending on the next book.

I had a hard time with Evie at first. I mean, I know why now, after finishing the book. I couldn't understand why a hard working nursing student would be so emotionally immature. And I'm not saying immature in a bad way. I mean it literally. She seemed more emotionally on par with a teenager. Her personality was greatly lacking in the first half of the book, and she head herself back from the other characters, as well as to the reader. It honestly wasn't until her feelings for Mateo matured, that she started to become ... alive again. Of course, the more "alive" she becomes, the more glimpses of her repressed memories she gets.

I will admit, I suspected early on that her father had raped her. When she was dreaming of hearing the gunshot, and finding her father's body after he killed himself, there was something in the imagery Cecy wrote at the beginning of her dream that made me think that her father killed himself not just because of the shame of ruining the family name with his embezzling. I never thought that Evie's ex-boyfriend, Donovan raped her, although I think we were meant to think that. Her fear of the dark doesn't tell me that she was raped as a teenager by her boyfriend. It tells me something much darker. Her fear of penetration for sure screams rape, but her fear of the dark says so much mor