Once Pure by Cecy Robson

May 18th, 2015 Kimberly Review 60 Comments

18th May
Once Pure by Cecy Robson
Once Pure
by Cecy Robson
Series: Shattered Past #3
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

She bears the scars of the past. He blames himself for things he can’t control. Their defenses are up, but in Cecy Robson’s latest Shattered Past novel—perfect for fans of Monica Murphy and J. Lynn—true love lands a knockout punch. Sofia Tres Santos remembers a time before her life went sour, before her innocence was ripped away, before she began punishing herself with risky behaviors and unworthy men. Now, at twenty, she just hopes she’s ready to rebuild some of what she lost. One way or another, it always comes back to her childhood friend and longtime crush, Killian O’Brien. As strong as Killian is, Sofia has always been his one weakness. He knows Sofia has suffered and wants to ensure she’s never hurt again—not like before, and definitely not under his watch. When Sofia agrees to work at his mixed martial arts gym, Killian seizes the opportunity to help and protect the sweet girl he’s always cared for. And yet, as he trains Sofia to defend herself using his hard-hitting MMA techniques, he’s drawn to the vulnerable beauty in ways he never expected. As Sofia grows stronger, she also grows brave enough to open herself up to love. And along the way, she challenges everything Killian believes to be true, showing him that no matter how much he dominates in the ring, the real battle is fought in the heart.

Once Pure is the third book in Cecy Robson’s Shatter Past series and features Sofia Tres Santos, a young woman whose past has left its mark. Throughout the series, we have witnessed the attraction between her and Killian O’Brien. In Once Pure Robson finally rewards us with their story.

Touching, tender and with secrets that could rip them apart I quickly became caught up in their story. Sofia has always been the most fragile of the Santos family and has the deepest scars. I was worried about how Robson would handle the romance between her and Killian.

I enjoyed watching this delicate romance with its tender moments unfolded. Their story was not an easy one to share. Killian carries guilt for what happened to Sofia and blames the events on himself. Sofia carries not only the memories of that painful event but also the dark path it led her own.

Robson tackles some tough issues including domestic abuse, rape and molestation. She tackles these topics head on and does not gloss over the darkness that grows from them. At its heart, the story is about healing and finding love and forgiveness. Of being ok with the past and moving, forward. She also weaves in secondary stories involving other characters. Wren, Killian’s sister and Finn both have me curious. Robson even gave us updates on previous couples as we see Mateo and Evie, and heard from Brody and Lety.

While I still am not a fan of the angst, miscommunications and volatile relationships typical of the new adult genre, I do love the heart that Cecy Robson brings to these characters and enjoyed Once Pure. I am looking forward to the next books in this series.


There were times in a girl’s life when swooning was necessary, and deeply warranted. This was one of them. I nibbled on my bottom lip, trying to suppress my deep blush and ignore the fist-banging motion Finn did with his hands and his very approving thumbs-up that followed.

I motioned in the direction of Killian’s office, unable to bear the intensity in those heart- stopping blue eyes. “Do you want us to get started?”

“Very much.” He winked. “But for now, maybe you should start with my website.”

He pressed his hand against the small of my back, when all I did was stand there with my jaw falling open, and led me forward. Regardless of his massive strength, his touch was gentle. I should have feared him even though he was taking great care with me. He was big and powerful, and could overtake someone as weak and thin as me. But I didn’t fear Killian.

I only feared what he could learn of me.

I wanted him to keep his palm against me. The gesture reassured me that maybe he did like me. Did think I was pretty. Would want to know me as more than the girl he’d grown up with.

I almost groaned when he let his hand fall. If I were someone stronger, and more confident, I would have reached to touch him or maybe flashed him a smile. But I wasn’t one of those flirty girls who always seemed to say the right things. I was simply me.

We moved along the edge of the gym toward his office. The floor wasn’t padded here, so the kitten heels of my silver sandals clip-clopped against the concrete. I adjusted the spaghetti strap of my floral top when the strap of my laptop case pulled it down my shoulder.

“Here, let me take that for you.” Killian lifted the case, easing the stress of its weight from my body. “You look beautiful,” he added quietly.

I lowered my lashes, averting my gaze. I’d wanted to look nice for him and hoped he’d notice. So when he did, yeah, I might have arm-flailed on the inside. But only a little, I swear. “Thank you.” The edges of his lips lifted into a sexy grin. Okay, I lied. Maybe I flailed a lot.

“How was traffic into Philly?”

“Huh? Oh, good. I left early just in case, but it was fine. I’ll be staying with my mother so I can just walk here and not have to worry about it.”

“You stayin’ in the old neighborhood?”

I nodded. “Yes. I’ll be there until I finish up here. Makes it easier to commute, you


“Good. I like you closer.”

I stopped short at his comment just as we reached his small office located at the center of the gym. Large windows enclosed the face, giving me a view of two men sparring in the Octagon while several others waited for their turn in the MMA ring. The swearing, the beat-downs, all seemed to drift into the box-shaped space.

My fingers slid over the large chestnut desk. “This is nice.”

He huffed and placed my laptop case on top. “Too nice. Doesn’t fit the damn room.”

An ivy perched on top of a matching filing cabinet was the only cheery color present. I pulled out my laptop and fired it up while I finished scanning the area, the interior designer within me working out ways to spruce up the small space.

Before I could make a few suggestions, Finn hurried in. “Kill, the writer from that MMA mag is here to do your interview.”

“I’ll be right there.” He smirked at me. “I have to take care of this. You okay here by yourself?”

I nodded. “I’ll be fine.”

He smiled and stroked my chin. “I’ll see you in a few.”

He prowled out the door. I watched him, unable to wipe the stupid grin off my face. I sat behind the desk, still swooning as I began to work.

A deep voice echoed into the room from across the gym. “Whew. Check out that fine

female moving into Kill’s space.”

“Oh, shit,” another guy said. “Do you know who that is?”

I glanced briefly toward the cluster of men waiting for their turn to spar. The smaller of the three squinted my way. “Yeah. Ain’t that Sofia Tres Santos? Mateo’s kid sister?”

I skimmed through the file I’d set up for Killian, trying to ignore them. My brother had a rep. Everyone in South and West Philly knew him.

The guy who’d questioned who I was laughed. “Maybe, but that’s not what I mean.” My typing slowed to a stop as a familiar feeling of dread clawed its way down my back. “Way I hear it, she’ll fuck anything with a pulse.”

Velcro tore as one of the fighters adjusted his gloves. “No shit.” He chuckled. “Well, hey, I got me a pulse.”

My stomach lurched, and sweat built up beneath my arms.

“Are you sure?” the guy who knew Mateo asked. “I always thought she was all shy—you know, what’s that word? Pure. Innocent-like.”

“Get the hell out of here. My cousin Kenny says she pretends to be all sweet, but that’s just an act. A shitload of brothers have tapped that—”

I slammed the door to the office shut and leaned against it, my breath too fast and my heart seconds from exploding. The room went hazy as my eyes quickly flooded with tears. I clasped my hand over my mouth, wishing everything he’d said wasn’t true. I wasn’t so sweet, wasn’t so pure—not anymore. Any innocence I’d clung to was stolen from me the day I was raped.

*This post is part of the Once Pure Tour with Tasty Tours

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

60 Responses to “Once Pure by Cecy Robson”

  1. Candace

    I’ve heard really great things about this series. I think her other series is maybe more my style but I’d consider reading this! So glad you loved it!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Oh yes her UF series is by far my favorite

  2. Naomi

    This sounds like it a powerful read Kimberly. I don’t mind angst in books, so I think I would enjoy this one. Good to see you thought the author handled all those aspects well.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yes, I could see you loving this series my friend!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Glad you liked it, this series is good, but I totally love her adult UF series

  3. Sophia Rose

    I’m picky about what NA books/series I’ll pick up and I have to spread them out in my reading b/c yeah, the extra feels get to me too. Glad this was a good one. I read this trio too and I’m excited to get to the O’Briens. What a boisterous family.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yes, I tend to read only a few, and began this because the author is an adult UF favorite for me, but overall I am glad I am reading the series.

  4. Keionda

    Oh. I that excerpt!! I totally swooned with Sofia. I’m in love already! Thanks for this lovely review Kimba. I’m heading over to Goodreads to add it now. *fist pumps air*

  5. Melissa (Books and Things)

    Hm… well this sounds like a book I would toss a time or two across the room in anger. Also sounds engaging. 🙂 I’m glad she doesn’t shy away from the darkness.

  6. Debbie Haupt

    Hi Kim, great review. I’m not usually a fan of YA/NA either because of the usual dramathon involved too. But I do love this cover and the heart you mention the author gives her characters might have me clicking the buy button for this one

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Enjoy, I totally love her UF adult series but these characters have heart.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yes, but this series is not for Linda..LOL

  7. Katherine

    I’m not a big fan of angst and miscommunication either which is why I have avoided this genre for the most part but it sounds like the intensity of the characters and the unraveling of the story make up for it. I’ll have to check out the series.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I picked it up because of Cecy and while I could do without the angst and crap in NA, I have enjoyed the characters and have grown to care about them all

  8. Christy

    Killian’s interest and concern for Sofia was sweet in the first book, so it’s good to hear they finally come together.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I agree and I felt bad for what they both went through.

  9. Heidi

    This one was a bit of a let down after the second book. I liked the characters and the feels, but the drama and angst was a bit much for me.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yes, I think book two has been the strongest of the series to date.

  10. Lindy

    I enjoy a tender romance, and I’m glad to hear that the author did not gloss over the victimization of Sofia. A story with healing, finding love, and forgiveness is a story that I believe every person can relate to. Great Review Kim!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yeah it had so many aspects I enjoyed..just not the angst and miscommunication 🙁

  11. Kim { Book Swoon }

    Oh, that was a great excerpt! The end got me. “I enjoyed watching this delicate romance with its tender moments unfolded. Their story was not an easy one to share.” I’ve yet to try Cecy Robson, but I’ve heard great things about her. Glad you enjoyed Once Pure.
    Great review, Kimba 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I love Cecy, and while I prefer her UF series I have enjoyed this one

  12. Ramona

    This is new to me, but the excerpt reads awfully nice 🙂 And I like the sound of Sofia. Excellent review <3

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Agreed, the characters are strong and I’ve become invested.

  13. Aurian

    Very nice review Kimba, thank you. Favourite authors can make you like genres you normally would not pick up, so adding this to my wishlist.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      So true, I love her adult urban fantasy series.

  14. Sarah

    I don’t know why, but covers on NA titles like this one I tend to stay far away from so this book hasn’t registered on my radar before today, but I have heard a lot of good things about the author! I love that this book tackles some hard to read issues. It sounds like this book would be an eye opener. I’m gonna have to put this series on my TBR list. hanks for sharing the excerpt, Kimberly! Personally, not the biggest fan of miscommunication, but it doesn’t stop me from giving a book a try!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      You need to try her Weird Sisters UF series..omg.

  15. Tracy Terry

    A series that my sister-in-law is really enjoying. I can’t say these books particularly appeal to me but then never say never.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      YAY I am glad your sister-in-law enjoys them, you cannot help but get wrapped up in the characters

  16. Jenny

    “While I still am not a fan of the angst, miscommunications and volatile relationships typical of the new adult genre, I do love the heart that Cecy Robson brings to these characters and enjoyed Once Pure.”

    I am definitely not a fan of those things either Kim, but I can deal with them in small doses if I love everything else about the story and characters. Sounds like that’s the case with this series overall, so I definitely want to give it a try!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Her characters and wonderful writing are the reason I continue to read them, I am vested.

  17. Nick

    I love Cecy Robson, but I’m so over the angsty pasts and miscommunications in NA, Kim. The romance does sound really sweet though and I know Cecy Robson could write a great book, but I’m on the fence about this series.
    Lovely review.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      If it weren’t Cecy I don’t know that I would have started but I am vested and the characters make it worth the angst.

  18. kindlemom1

    I really do love Cecy’s writing. Glad you loved this Kim even if it wasn’t a favorite for you. 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It’s NA, it is what it is, but I love Cecy’s writing and she writes characters you cannot help but care for.

  19. Cecy

    Hey, Kimberly! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review. Also many thanks for joining my tour!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Anytime Cecy..keep writing and I will keep reading!

  20. ShootingStarsMag

    Thanks for sharing – this sounds like a well done series. I’m glad this particular title dealt well with the difficult topics.


    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Lauren, she does address the issue seriously and gives you an understanding of how deep the damage goes.

  21. Aubrey Wynne

    I just got back from the RT conference and trying to figure out if the cover model is one of those I met in Dallas. Hmmm, those abs look a little familiar. *sigh*

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yum, that sounds like a fun mystery to solve

  22. Benish

    Hmm, a bit hesitant to try out new series these days, I still have catching up to do on so many already – I’ll keep this one in mind though, lovely review 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      So worth it Benish..this is a favorite author

  23. Melliane

    I was wondering if it was the last one or not I confess as it’s the last sister. I liked this one like the 2 others. Interesting and emotional read.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      My understanding is there are more contracted.