Against All Odds by Kris Bryant Maggie Cummings and M UllrichAgainst All Odds by Kris Bryant, Maggie Cummings and M. Ullrich is an emotional and captivating story about being able to face a tragedy head on and move on with your life, learning to appreciate the simple things we take for granted and finding love where you least expect it. 

The old adage was right, misery certainly loves company: Peyton Clarke, a police officer and Tory Stevens, a real estate agent become acquainted over a mutual dislike for trying on bridesmaids’ dresses. Attraction flares between Peyton and Tory but their auspicious meeting takes a turn for the worst when Bradley Richter enters Angelina’s Bridal Boutique with a grudge and a gun. Bradley has a massive chip on his shoulder and he’s got nothing to lose because his heart is shattered due to a failed relationship. He doesn’t care about how many lives he takes because he knows that none of the women in that store will live to tell the tale. He was wrong because two women survived.

Peyton will not rest until she captures the guy who killed eleven people in the bridal shop. Tory uses the horrific event as a wake-up call because she spends most of her waking hours working and she wants to open her heart to all of the wonderful things that life has in store for her. Peyton and Tory weren’t searching for love but it found them in one of the weirdest places ever. A simple twist of fate allowed Peyton and Tory to escape death, but will they be able to survive Bradley’s neurotic desire to claim the lives of every person who was in the bridal boutique on that fateful day?

The Characters

Peyton Clarke is a police officer and she has to endure the adjustments and the fittings for a bridesmaids’ dress for an upcoming wedding. She is far from pleased to be doing this task but she does it anyway because she doesn’t want to disappoint the bride. There are so many things that I love about Peyton! She is such a compassionate and open-hearted person because she cannot stand to see people in distress and she will do everything in her power to right a wrong or solve a problem. Peyton is definitely the kind of friend I would love to have because she is down-to-earth, humorous, a fierce protector and she’s not afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve for the woman she adores.

Tory Stevens is a well-known real estate agent. She also has the time consuming task of trying on a bridesmaids’ dress and she counts down each minute until she can get the dress fitting over and done with. I love Tory’s fun-loving and feisty personality because she had me making love faces at my kindle (Is that weird? Nah, it’s all good because I consider her to be another one of my fictional wives! I need to stop falling in love with these adorable women!) I really admire Tory’s bravery because she didn’t curl up in a ball and hide away from the world after that catastrophic incident. She is determined to live her life to the fullest and that endeared her to me even more.

The Writing Style

This story tugged at my heartstrings and it hit all the right notes for me because these wonderful authors allowed me to peep into the hearts and minds of the characters. The vivid descriptions of Peyton, Tory and the perpetrator’s personalities allowed me to have a deeper understanding of what makes them tick and I was able to form a clear picture of them in my mind.

The Pros

I really enjoyed the fact that I had a front row seat to the budding intimacy between Peyton and Tory. These awesome women were able to find love even though they were in the midst of their own inner turmoil after the deadly shooting incident.

The Cons

There were a few scenarios that contained graphic descriptions of murder and physical assault.

aprils favourite booksannas favourite booksThe Conclusion

I don’t think it is possible to read this touching story and not get attached to Peyton and Tory. I went through a gamut of emotions and I raise my coffee cup to these phenomenal authors (this is a very high honor indeed because I was so caught up in this story and I refused to stop reading even though I knew I had to get up early for work the next day! Oye! I am holding Bryant, Cummings and Ullrich responsible for making me run late for work!)

Excerpt from Against All Odds by Kris Bryant, Maggie Cummings and M. Ullrich

“Rough night?” she asked with a sly grin.

I bit my lower lip and scrunched my nose in response.

“Bachelorette party high jinks?”

“No.” I drew out the one syllable as long as possible because my night couldn’t have been further from what I assumed she was picturing. I probably went slightly overboard because her eyebrows lifted and she was clearly waiting for me to provide some details. “I was at Lulu’s in Hoboken.” I held my breath a touch. I’d just outed myself to this woman. “Do you know it?” I was fishing, but I felt uncharacteristically brave.

She crossed her arms and said nothing for a second until her full lips curved at the corners. “First Friday of the month. I know it well.” Her eyes met mine and locked. Excellent. My morning had just taken a turn toward the fantastic. “I haven’t been there in ages.” She sounded almost wistful. “Work has me fully at the whim of other people’s schedules.”

“What do you do?” I asked.

Tory told me she was a Realtor, and it sounded like she enjoyed her job even though she worked a lot. We talked the entire time I was waiting for Jenny to return to finish my miniscule adjustments. Tory lived in Red Bank and she was here because she was going to be a bridesmaid for an old friend. She made an unimpressed face at her dress, a frilly lavender gown. I told her I was sure it would look great on her, because the truth was she probably looked amazing in everything. She had long wavy hair, beautiful dark eyes, and eyelashes that went on for days. She was tall and her body was incredible. Curves in all the right places. I couldn’t help but notice throughout our conversation she’d made no mention of a significant other. Could this gorgeous woman really be single?

I don’t know where I found my nerve, but I was speaking before I could stop myself. “You should come to Lulu’s next month.” I waved my phone. “Give me your number. This way we can coordinate.” I was a little disappointed in my delivery, because I sort of chickened out of being direct, but I didn’t want to come on too strong and put her off completely.

She grinned and her raised eyebrows told me she saw right through my façade, but she answered with ten digits. I typed them in and entered her name into my contacts. “This is me texting you right now.” I looked over my phone as I typed a quick message. “I’m Peyton, by the way.”

“Peyton,” Tory said, as though committing it to memory. She looked as if she was going to say something else, but a salesperson approached and guided her into a dressing room that had freed up. Just before she went in, she turned back toward me and let her eyes run the full length of my body. I felt a shiver, and goose bumps lined my forearms. That was certainly something. I smiled right back because I wanted her to know I was interested. We’d only shared a brief few moments but there was a definite spark. A bridal shop seemed a weird place to find a date, but for the second time in as many days I recalled the old-fashioned expression about meeting someone when you least expect it.

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781635551945
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Kris Bryant Online

Maggie Cummings Online

M Ullrich Online

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