Review: Four Seconds To Lose by K.A. Tucker

Four Seconds To Lose by K.A. Tucker
Series: Ten Tiny Breaths #3
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: April 1, 2014 by Atria Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Source: Purchased
Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon 

Four Seconds to Lose is another amazing addition to the Ten Tiny Breaths companion series. This story is a bit darker and grittier and Tucker's writing showcases the danger and the drama perfectly.

I believe some people are inherently evil.
I believe guilt is a powerful motivator.
I believe redemption is something you can strive for but never fully achieve.
I believe second chances exist only in dreams, never in reality.
I believe you don’t have years, or months, or weeks to impact a person’s life.
You have seconds.
Seconds to win them over,
And seconds to lose them.

Cain has always been aloof and mysterious and I was excited to finally get his story. His background was harsher than I could have imagined and went a long way toward explaining who he is and why he lives the life he does now. Yes he can be intense, but he is also a man who is determined to make up for the past by helping the women in his employ turn their lives around. He offers not just a safe environment but true support. He is worn down by his lifestyle and desperately wants to walk away, but refuses to turn his back on those who need his help.

I'm living a life where safety is a luxury, where the only family 
I have risks my well-being without thinking twice. Yet it took 
this man - a stranger - mere seconds to decide that 
he would protect me.

Charlie is young woman forced into an impossible situation with no one to turn to and seemingly nowhere to run. Charlie was smart and savvy and a quick-thinker. I loved the strength she showed despite being on her own and in danger. For the most part, she made the best decisions she could based on her circumstances and was determined to go it alone rather than involve anyone else. This was equal parts admirable and frustrating because there were times I was mentally begging Charlie to open up and unburden herself to someone who could potentially help. Even so, I loved that she was willing to sacrifice for those she loved and did what she felt was necessary.

For all that I hate about what I've done, there's one thing I can't regret.
It led me to him.

Both Cain and Charlie had pasts that were dictating their present, whether by the situations they were forced to take part in or by the emotional scars. Atonement was a big theme throughout Four Seconds to Lose, along with second chances. Acceptance and forgiveness of their own actions was hard-earned. Both were passionate people and desperate for the love and acceptance the other provided.

As with the previous novels, Tucker makes sure the secondary characters truly shine. Ginger, Ben, Storm, Nate... all felt like part of the Penny's "family." And getting brief glimpses of Kacey, Livie and Trent was a treat.

Four Seconds to Lose was an excellent combination of romance, intrigue, drama, and flawed characters seeking redemption. While FSTL is not my favorite in the series (that's still Ten Tiny Breaths), it was still a story I loved with characters I truly cared about. The only thing that kept this from being a 4.5 star read is that I felt it had a slow start. There seemed to be a lot of set-up and, at 140 pages in, the the main characters had barely had any interaction. Beyond that, I was captivated by Charlie and Cain's story and by the end could hardly put the book down. I'm excited to continue the series with Ben's story in Five Ways to Fall and only hope that we're given a glimpse of Charlie and Cain's life down the road.

Note: Four Seconds To Lose is the third book in the Ten Tiny Breaths companion series. While it can be read as a stand-alone, I recommend reading the series in order for a more complete reading experience.

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