Oct 07

These Battered Hands by Laurel Ulen Curtis Review


4.5 Smooches

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Blood, sweat, hard work, and a disconcerting lack of tears—my entire life—was meant to culminate in a flourish of glory and significance.
I’d thought I’d always known exactly what that meant.
But I’d had the timing wrong by about three minutes.
I knew now.
This moment wasn’t everything. The one person I found myself wanting more than anything during it was.


One preconceived notion can haunt you for the entirety of your life.
I thought I owed it to myself and to everyone who’d ever backed me to do what was expected. What was right. What I was supposed to do.
But nothing is forbidden in love. Not circumstances or propriety or the denial of the object of said affection.
I knew now.
This was it.
If I wanted it, I had to take it.

This gymnastics love story is more than grips, rips, and battered hands.
For Calia Nickleson and Nikolai Bagrov, it was everything.



‘The Coach and the The Career.  Two things destined to go together.’

I love Laurel’s books.  She could pretty much write anything and I would jump at the chance to get my hands on it.  But to me, her writing is special.  She is the kind of smart writer that you have to pay close attention to when reading.  If you do not, you may miss something important or an epic one-liner.  Her romance is not the easy beach reading kind.  It is the kind that you get immersed in.  That you fall in love with.  That breaks your heart and then puts it back together.  I just love it.  Her writing is quirky and hilarious and heart warming.

‘It’d all gone wrong from the start, the spit that sealed our first handshake seeming to swear me into an alternate universe.’

Oh God, I do love a forbidden romance and this most definitely is one.  Callie is an “old gymnast” with a couple of Olympics under her belt but she feels like she still has something to prove.  Nik is her HOT new coach, stupid hair and all.  Callie and Nik fall into a fast romantic relationship that they have to keep hidden and Callie finds herself questioning what exactly her dreams and goals are and if this relationship with Nik is worth the risk.  Does she even want to do this anymore?  Why is she still competing?  What does she want out of all of this?

‘He tasted like sin and chocolate and the forbidden dream of a stronger-minded woman.’

 Then you have Nik, who finds himself completely smitten and willing to do anything to keep Callie and support her dreams.  Nik is the very sweetest of book boyfriends.  He really made my heart melt.  He is the MOST supportive and wants Callie to have love and her career.  Seriously, this man was amazing.

‘I watched her come alive in front of millions of people, I felt it in my chest, in my connection.  Right in the heart of my pride and love.’

What a fabulously told sports romance with plenty of angst.  This one was also quite sexy and I really do enjoy the way that Laurel does sex scenes.  They are always so romantic but they somehow manage to still keep the steam, the kind of steam that makes  your face just a little too hot and uncomfortable.  She does a slow burn so well.  I cannot wait for more from her.

“Just stuff for your battered hands.”