Erryn reviews ‘Breaking Point (Turning Point Book 2)’ by N.R. Walker. Self-published on Oct 26, 2017, 303 pgs. Audio released on January 18, 2018, 7 hours. Narrated by Sean Crisden. Erryn was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Why we listened to this book:
Erryn: I think N.R. Walker is one of the best authors out there and anytime a new book is coming out, I get excited.
Book two in the Turning Point Series.
A fight for what’s right becomes a fight for his life.
As guilt plagues him, Matthew Elliott’s world begins to spiral out of control. The harder he holds on, the more it slips through his fingers, and he’s helpless to stop it.
Entering into the underground cage-fighting scene, he starts out fighting for what’s right. The deeper he gets, the more guilt consumes him – the more pain he takes for his penance – and he’s soon fighting for more than justice.
He’s fighting for love.
He’s fighting for his life.
The third edition has a new cover and has been re-edited, though no new content has been added.
’Breaking Point’ picks up a few months after Book 1 of the Turning Point Series ended. That book had a satisfying ending. It, like this book, is a stand-alone. That being said, this is N.R. Walker, one of the few authors who can create a couple whose story is so compelling that they need three books for their arc of love to be properly told.
Basically, what happens after Happily Ever After?
Well, this book starts with a stunning event – Matt is retiring from the police force. Eleven years in and he’s walking away. Kira, the man Matt loves desperately, is struggling to understand. Matt joined the police force the day he turned eighteen and has always loved being a cop. Being a police officer is as much a part of him as his good looks, but it is no longer enough. So, come Monday, he’s joining The Fight Club (FC) and is going to train in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).
I’m going to insert at this point that I know nothing about MMA except for commercials with quick shots of guys fighting in cages. Those I turn off as fast as I can.
That’s not my thing. Violence doesn’t appeal to me. And make no mistake, there is violence in this book. With N.R. Walker penning it, though, the action in this book is always contextualized, necessary, incredibly well-researched, and brilliantly written.
Kira isn’t pleased about Matt’s choices, but is willing to support him. In fact, the day after his retirement, Kira and Matt are making out in the kitchen when Kira mentions his mother expects them for dinner. Matt points out that mentioning Yumi when he has Kira’s balls in his hands might not be the best idea. Talk about risking the mood and erection. Matt is also able to admit to himself that he likes Kira caring for him and never saw himself as a true bottom until Kira.
Matt is in no way a submissive in the traditional sense. He’s more of a man who has met someone who allows him to feel comfortable being vulnerable.
Or so he tells himself.
But Matt is consumed with guilt.
Because of Matt’s job, Kira was kidnapped and brutalized at the hand of a monstrous drug kingpin. Kira’s physical injuries have healed and through his friendship with the other women who had been terrorized (the wives and girlfriends of Matt’s teammates on the squad), Kira is well on his way to healing the emotional scars as well.
Matt, on the other hand, is not coping. Despite regular sessions with a psychologist (with couples sessions as well), he just can’t get past the guilt. And the fear he’ll put Kira in danger again.
So, to protect the man he loves, Matt lies to him.
And it’s a whopper of a lie.
To try to cope with his emotions, Matt throws himself into the physical training for the MMA – more rigorous than anything he did for the police force or even the paces Kira put him through as Matt’s kickboxing coach. Those lessons stand Matt in good stead and he is able to quickly make a name for himself in the underground fight world where there are no rules and it often feels like a fight to the death.
First, though, Matt has to endure a series of increasingly vicious fights to achieve his final goal. In these matches that are growing more violent and more dangerous, Matt has found a way to exorcise his demons – or so he believes. He has also become bloodthirsty, showing a side of himself that bewilders Kira and Kira’s parents. Kira can see something is wrong, but has no idea how to fix it. He can’t figure out how to help Matt work through his guilt and whatever other crap is going on in his mind.
Matt’s need for pain and punishment seeps into his relationship with Kira as well:
“Kira, please,” he whispered.
“You’re not ready.”
“Yes I am,” I said, knowing I wasn’t. I wanted to feel this. I wanted it to stretch and burn. I wanted it to hurt.
As with Book 1, this book is told entirely in Matthew’s point-of-view. Even so, I felt and empathized with Kira’s confusion and pain. Anyone who has watched someone they love self-destructing and are powerless to do anything knows the confusion and hurt.
There are good things in Matt’s life and sometimes he is even able to appreciate them. Kira’s parents are phenomenal, supporting their only son unconditionally and accepting Matt as if he were their own child. As an orphan, Matt finds this love wonderful, but I think, at times, overwhelming. And now that Yumi sniffs an engagement in the making, she’s dropping broad hints about a wedding and even babies.
A mom can dream.
Yumi and Sal are fabulous secondary characters. So are Boss and Cody, as well as Emile, Jamal and Pete. It’s Arizona and his girls who I really loved. Even Matt’s former co-workers make cameos in the book, although their presence only serves to emphasize Matt’s isolation.
There are two fights in this book that are beyond vicious and I think one would have led to death had it not been stopped. So be prepared for the violence. The violence serves a purpose and is not just there for titillation.
In the end, Matt has to face his demons. He has to look in the mirror and accept that the guilt he feels over Kira’s kidnapping is eating him alive. And his newfound thirst for violence comes more from a desire to be hurt than to cause injury to others. I cried while listening to this book. Big surprise, right? N.R. makes me feel things. Challenges me to face my own demons as her characters face theirs. Let me tell you, this can be tough.
As always, though, this book gave me hope. It brought me happiness. Plus, it showed me the power of forgiveness – to others, but mainly of ourselves. And although the end is a mix of pain and happiness, Kira and Matt have survived. The end also sets up the next book quite nicely.
Finally, there’s Sean Crisden. I really enjoy his narration and given that Matt, Kira, and most of the characters are American and living in L.A., he is perfect. Also, his interpretation of Kira’s Japanese mother, Yumi, is pitch-perfect. He does well without falling into a caricature. Also, there is a special character whose speech is difficult and Sean handles it deftly. I can’t wait for Book three, where N.R. and Sean are bound to make more magic.
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who she gives them life with words.
She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love. She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.
She’s been writing ever since…
Get in touch with N.R.