Finally, Zac & Evie is here!
Today is the official release day for Drawn to Fight: Zac & Evie and we’re so excited because you’re about to read an exclusive excerpt from the book!
What’s it about?
It’s a coming of age story about learning that you can’t control everything. It follows Zac as he fights in the local underground fighting ring in order to keep his family together. He’s struggling with the weight of the world on his young shoulders and Evie, being the oldest of five children and a natural nurturer, senses a need inside him that she feels compelled to explore. They have a romantic connection that goes back years, but this is the first time they’ve seen each other at the same time. Their attraction is undeniable, but it comes at a bad time for Zac. Keeping his family is more important than dating, but when you feel like you need a certain person in your life just to breathe, staying away isn’t exactly easy.
Why do I want to read it?
If you’re a Drawn Series fan, you’ll want to read it just to see Damien and Etta in their life after Redemption. And if you’ve never read the Drawn Series before, you’ll want to read it just to witness a beautiful story about the importance of family and the sharing of burdens. It’s about trust and commitment and growing up enough to realise that sometimes, letting go is the best thing you’ll ever do.
Read on, check out the blurb and read the excerpt. You might just find your next favorite read…
New Adult romance, for 18+ only due to sexual content and adult themes. Can be read as a standalone.
Drawn to Fight begins a new series in the world of the Drawn Series, following Redemption and featuring, Damien and Etta’s daughter, Evie, in her own coming of age drama filled with angst, love, passion, need, and a healthy dose of obsession.
Zac Rivers. A boy no one wanted to know. Always angry. Always fighting his way in and out of trouble. It was no surprise when he was expelled from school and never heard from again.Until now.I found him at the Londonderry Brawl, and I watched him fight like an animal. Strong. Controlled. But desperate. I sensed in him a purpose – a need to win – and I wanted to know what was so important to him. The way he fought was mesmerising, and I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Then, it was over, he’d won and I needed to leave.
He didn’t want me to.
When his lips met mine, somehow, he stole my heart, and in that moment, I knew my world was forever changed. I needed to know this boy. I needed to discover all there was to know about him or I’d never be able to breathe again. No one thinks we should be together. They say he's bad news.
Well, people say I’m bad news too.
Then, as fate would have it, I was forced to introduce him to my most fierce protector. A man whose past is riddled with secrets and mistakes; a man who fought his way from the darkness and into the light; a man called Damien – my father.
My name is Yvonne Rhodes, although, you may prefer to call me Evie. I’m the eldest daughter of Damien and Henrietta Rhodes. Inside me, I have my mother’s sense, and my father’s passion.
This is Zac’s and my story. It’s about needing someone to the point of obsession. It’s about losing control, and finding a way to pick up the pieces when everything seems broken.
And it’s about love. One that’s so strong, nothing can stop it.
“Were you looking for me?” I ask, my heart thudding in my chest as I try to keep my cool.
His smile widens, and I’m sure I see a bit of a blush as he drops his gaze to look at a spot on the floor. “Seeing you is a happy accident, but I’m actually looking for someone else,” he states, lifting his eyes again as he looks around the room.
“I’m the only one in here.”
He nods, seeming distracted as he glances back over his shoulder like he’s trying to decide whether he should stay or just go.
“Listen, I’m um…I’m sorry about the other night. I shouldn’t have done that without asking you. I uh…kind of lost my head a little.”
“It’s OK. I quite liked it,” I smile, feeling my cheeks heat slightly.
“You did?” he asks, like he’s surprised that any girl would ever want to be kissed by him.
“It was a little messy, but yeah, I liked it a lot.”
He steps forward again. “That’s not normal for me. Just so you know. I don’t always go out into the crowd and well, you know.”
“That’s good to hear,” I respond, feeling as though my cheeks are burning hot now as well.
“I haven’t seen you out there before,” he comments, moving closer again. To keep myself from burning up under his gaze, I drop my eyes and set my brush to the side, a nervous feeling rising up in my stomach. I pick up my canvas and move it to the drying area, needing that movement to give me a little control. I’ve never been alone with someone who makes me feel this way before. All the other boys, they were just boys. I never had this…
“That’s a pretty awesome painting. It’s yours?” he asks, his voice right beside me, brushing softly against my ears as he moves to inspect my work. It sends chills down my spine that ripple through my body and tingle out through my skin. Having him next to me is intoxicating, and I have to close my eyes for a moment to keep myself calm.
“It’s not finished.”
His eyes move slowly over the canvas as he takes in every detail. Then they turn to me and seem to do the same, taking in every detail of my face.
“You must really like fighting,” he murmurs, his voice deep and sexy like he’s talking about something so much more intimate.
“Don’t you?” I practically whisper, my voice deciding to leave me when I need it most.
His eyes drop to my mouth and he grins when my tongue slips out and wets them, then his eyes lift to meet mine and my stomach flips. He’s so close. “Yeah. Yeah I like fighting a lot.”
The distance between our mouths becomes infinitesimal, and I feel sure he’s going to kiss me again. I can feel his breath, gently brush over my waiting lips and I part them willingly, my heartbeat and my breathing short and shallow in my anticipation.
The sound of a message alert splits the air between us and causes us both to jerk back as if being caught doing something we weren’t supposed to.
“Shit,” Zac hisses as he reaches into his back pocket and pulls out his phone.
I take a step back from him, giving myself some distance so I can gather my thoughts and get a bit of control over my emotions. I suddenly feel like I’m about to cry and I keep swallowing down a lump in my throat, feeling ridiculous at the thought of my behaviour. What is wrong with me?
Clearing my throat, I leave him tapping a message on his phone and move back to my station where I pick up my palette and carry it toward the sink to wash off. “So, that person you were looking for, is she about this tall?” I pause my clean up and hold my hand just above my shoulder to indicate. “Long blonde hair and blue eyes – really pretty?”
“Um. Yeah. That’s her.”
“She should be up in the dark room. Mr Sparks took her up there a little over an hour ago.”
“She’s with Sparks?” he spits, his demeanour instantly changing – darkening – as he makes a move for the door.
His reaction surprises me, when just a moment ago it seemed he was about to kiss me and now he’s running off to some other girl. “Who is she? Your girlfriend or something?” That was a really immature thing to say. I know that, but it seemed to fall from my lips before I could think to stop it.
He turns to face me. “What? No. Jesus. You obviously have no recollection of me from before. Meg is my sister.”
“You’re sister? But your surnames…”
“Are different. I know. She’s my half-sister. Same mother. Different fathers.” He seems hurt by the fact that I didn’t remember and my throat tightens and my eyes burn.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have…I just…I don’t know how to do this – whatever this is.” I indicate in the air between us and his expression softens a little at seeing my distress. He steps back toward me then stops and shakes his head like he’s trying to clear his mind. He looks at me, his eyes beseeching and something strange happens. Like this electricity or something. I don’t know what it is. But it’s in the air between us and it feels like I could touch it if I wanted to.
“I don’t know what it is either. I…fuck, I don’t have time for this right now.” He steps back and I step toward him, wanting to say something more but he shakes his head again and walks backward out the door. “I’m sorry. But I need to stop Meg.”
“Stop what?” I call after him.
First off thanks to Lilliana Anderson for providing me with an ARC of Drawn to Fight to read in exchange for an honest review. And a special thank you to her husband who always supports her and helps her workout her devilish little plots. He is as much a part of her writing as anything. (In my opinion anyway) Lilliana knows how much I love The Drawn Series and to have a spin off of it -even if I wasn’t team Damon... coughs- is frigging awesome! I may or may not have squealed.. loudly when I saw the first announcements of it on Facebook. I am a huge fan of Lilliana’s but keep in mind my review is from my heart, not just a good review tossed at an author. Just Saying. And it is so worth more than 5 *'s... So… onto the gooooooooood stuff….
And yes there maybe a few small spoilers…
Evie Rhodes is now 18. High school Evie is a bit of a rebel. Though that Apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I mean she is Damien and Henrietta's kid after all. Her fri nods Lucas and Sisley meet her out on the road -since she is sneaking out of the house- and they head an hour and a half out of Sydney to a 'party'. But what they're really looking for is a fight. Not the lame fights but a kick-ass fight, winner takes all. While looking around Evie is approached by a guy who bends down and checks a scratch on her leg from stepping on and stumbling over a stick. He looks familiar but she can't place him. It's not until he's walked off and Lucas and Sisley come over that she remembers him. Zac Rivers. He went to school with them but had left. As they watched him walking off they notice a few, okay more than a few people are following him.
So they join the group, pay their way into see the illegal fight and it's there that Evie sees Zac again...he's kicking ass in the ring. The threesome talk about the fights and about Zac the entire time they stand on the edge of the crowd. Evie not being able to take her eyes off of him even outside the ring. When it's all said and done Zac is announced the winner of the fights. No surprise there. But what throws them all off kilter -so to speak- is that Zac not wanting her to leave yet chases after her, grabbing her, turning her to him and kisses her before she knows what's happening. (Swoons and melts) At least the fella knows what he wants and isn't afraid to go after it. After seeing Zac again and then that kiss he's all over Evie's mind. So much so that her friends notice it. But hey can ya blame her? Urm... No. But she gets to see him again... At school. He's there to pick up his sister and after an intense few minutes she gets a glimpse at a darker side of Zac one that has him slamming a teacher into a wall and all but dragging his sister out of the school. That only makes her think of him more.
We get a glimpse into the life of Zac, Meg and their younger kids home life. Zac fights to keep his family together. His mum is off who knows where doing God only knows what. His step dad has run off. He is alone as the adult of the house. Fighting is what keeps them in lights, food and together. If someone was to find out they are alone, no mum, they would be getting a visit from children services. Zac nor Meg want them to be split up. The littles only know them, Zac’s always been there to take care of them as it is. While he is training outside one day with his older step-brother Zac is approached by a man named Nelson. He is looking for a fighter and he wants that to be Zac. Its an offer he doesn’t like but its one he can't really turn down. The money is too good. But something happens at his first fight for Nelson. Evie comes to his mind and almost costs him his ass. Though he wins the fight he can’t win over the emotions running through him.
A phone call to Evie only makes that hunger grow. Evie comes out to his van because he is parked on the road. They share a kiss that holds more of a promise for more but not now. Its the last time Evie sees him for a month. But even then it was only a little of the ache that was removed. Zac has no intention of including Evie in his life. Its too complicated. But nothing can hold a girl back when she is determined. And Evie is one determined girl. She now knows Zac fights better with her around. His words coated her like a lotion that only sinks in more and more. So its up to her and the gang -Sis and Luc- to find out where this next fight is going to be. If you know the right people, the right questions then you can find anything out that you want. And find him they do.
Lucas, Sisley and Evie find the Circuit at an old drive in. By the time Evie worked her way to the front of the crowd watching the fight Zac was losing the fight. She had to let him know she was there. And when the crowd did quiet down her voice carried to him and when their eyes met it was game on. She was watching, he could win this. And win he did. As he looked out into the crowd after his win he saw Nelson’s bodyguard tugging at Evie’s arm. Panic and rage soared through him as he fought his way through the crowd to get to her… only to find the two thugs on their stomachs, Evie with her knee in ones back and Lucas and Sis pinning the other down. (laughs) Gotta love a girl that can take down a grown ass man that is easily twice her size. Nelson wants to talk to her… and she agrees.
After their talk Sis, Lucas and Evie head to the car to leave but she is stopped from getting in when Zac comes running up to her. His lips meet hers and they all but melt into one another. This is going to be hard but they are going to try and get what they can out of this.. may not be much but its something. Instead of going back to Sis’s house Evie goes home to talk to her parents. Yes its 3am but who needs sleep, right? Evie confesses to going to the fights and ten drops the bomb. She told Nelson she would ask her dad to train Zac. She made no guarantees but he is to meet him tomorrow at 9am. Well today in 6 hours at the gym. To say Damien is not happy is putting it lightly. (HA. He is ten shades of pissed the fuck off and with a temper like hers I was waiting for him to tear the counter top off or something. Just Saying) But he and Henrietta got to meet Zac the next morning. Etta is there to keep Damien calm.. but within a few minutes Damien has Zac on the mat and telling him to stay away from his daughter. He won’t be training him either. Its too dangerous. And nothing is worth going back to jail for.
When Evie finds out what happens at the gym she takes off. She has to find Zac and talk to him. Finding his house wasn’t hard but what she found when she got there was… not what she expected. He let her in, let her see it was kids raising kids. He opened completely to her. Why hide things from the one person that helps make him grounded and all of this okay. Though that makes Zac happier it upsets Meg. She’s tired of not being able to have a life. (I get that but I really just wanted to take her and shake her hard most of this time. LOL) And she shows her ass and leaves the house, she says to get space but its permanent if she can make it that way. She wants her ex-teacher man and she thinks that will make her happy. All it does is add another crack to the hearts of her family. And after weeks of fighting and gaining in the ranks of the ring Zac has Evie, his step brother Jason and his step sister Nikki to thank for helping him along the way. Without them there would be no way he could do this all.
But as the fights dwindle down the pace gets more grouling and things play out between Zac and Sparks -the now retired teacher his sister Meg is in a relationship with- and they make a bet… whoever wins the next bet gets Meg. (laughs) If Sparks -who is ranked #2 at the moment) wins he gets to continue on in his relationship with Meg. If Zac wins Meg comes home and Sparks doesn’t see her again until she is at least 18. Of course the men are ok with that but Megs not. And again I don't blame but her but dayum… Men. On fight night Zac and Sparks face off. As they taunt each other Meg comes up and Sparks lets it slip it maybe too late to stop Meg. It only takes a minute for Zac to figure out what he means. He of course knocks Sparks out and runs out of the cage. He has to get home before its too late. But he is too late.. Social Services and the cops are there for the kids and Meg. And they do.
Broken doesn’t begin to describe how Zac is after that. And just when you think things can’t get worse that asshole that called himself a step dad shows back up. And yes it turns to a fight. The only thing that saved the ass from being killed was Evie taking Zac to his knees and relieving him of a weapon. Something in Zac snapped. More so than the night before. He had truly lost everything that he had been fighting for.. and walks out. Days passed, no Zac. Evie waited in the dark and empty house for him but he didn’t come back. Damien and Etta came and took her home. She was heart broken, the only man she had ever loved had walked out on her. Just walked away, no word. No nothing.
When he did come home he pushed Evie away. His head was so far up his ass that he didn’t care about anything. He was just lost. It took Damien and his massive anger to get a rise out of Zac. And.. yeah Damien storming in on you and ready to kick your ass would do that. (laughs hard and goes shifty...) A pissed off Damien was kinda hot too.. just saying.. (coughs) But, I digress. He gets his ass in gear and knows he has to fight. Fight for himself and fight for Evie. So when he shows up the next day at the gym he does his training with Damien and tries to push Evie away until after his fights.. but she is too much like her father. She lays him on his ass (fist pumps) and lays down the law. He left her. She wasn’t letting that happen again. But if he walked away again, there was no coming back. This and Barry -Evie’s granddad- reaffirming there will be no more chances makes him go get his girl.
Then its fight night. The last fight, Zac’s gotta win so he can move onto the legal side of the fighting. Fighting is all he knows and wants to do. Its what makes Zac the man he is. It strengthens him along with the ones around him. Unfortunately for him the mammoth of a man he was fighting tried to squash him like a bug and it lands Zac in the hospital. But with every bad moment there is a good to recoop. While in the hospital he gets to see his little brothers and sister. And he gets to be introduced to their new foster parents. Lets just say it puts a smile on all of their faces.
Things in life happen for a reason, we may not understand them but if you work at them and try you can pave a road that leads you to your salvation. For Zac his salvation was Evie. As Damien was Etta’s and just like her parents love Evie and Zac had to work to get that balance. Is it that simple, maybe, maybe not but anything worth having is worth the work it takes to have it. the story here… just wow, I loved it. Not that I was expecting anything other than that. I think I may have a battle in my head.. is it better than Drawn.. maybe.. its a tie for sure. Lilliana has a way of making her characters wrap around you and you feel what they feel. This book was a bottle of feels that was waiting to pop open. I laughed, cringed, gasped and cried (lord the tears… though I am a sappy gal..) but in the end it was all worth the story that now has a place in my heart.
Bestselling Author of the Drawn Series, the Beautiful Series, and the Confidante Trilogy, Lilliana has always loved to read and write, considering it the best form of escapism that the world has to offer. Australian born and bred, she writes New Adult Romance revolving around her authentically Aussie characters as well as a biographical trilogy based on an ex-Sydney sex worker, named Angelien.
Lilliana feels that the world should see Australia for more than just it’s outback and tries to show characters in more of a city setting. When she isn’t writing, she wears the hat of ‘wife and mother’ to her husband and four children. Before Lilliana turned to writing, she worked in a variety of industries and studied humanities and communications before transferring to commerce/law at university.
Originally from Sydney’s Western suburbs, she currently lives a fairly quiet life in suburban Melbourne.
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