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Torn - Kim Karr 3.5 stars

I had been anxiously awaiting the release of this book because I needed to know what was going to happen with River and Dahlia now that Ben was "back". I knew it was going to be a complicated story and I went into this thinking I may not be really happy with the outcome, but I have to say Kim Karr managed to take the very complex hurdles that stood in the way of River and Dahlia and have their relationship come out much stronger on the other end.

Ben comes back from the "dead" after the bad guys after him have been caught. Ben's thoughts are he will rebuild his relationship with Dahlia, despite knowing she was with someone else. All Ben can think about is getting his old life back, regardless of what may have changed in the few years he had been gone. I felt a little sorry for Ben, because he truly was forced to give up everything when this story took a disastrous turn. But then I would remember that everything that happened was because of something that he chose to do, even when he was told to leave it alone. Plus, he very arrogantly discounted what Dahlia and River had. He figured he could do what he always did when he screwed up with Dahlia and win her back over. The more he "tried" the more I really didn't like Ben and that made it very hard to sympathize with him. It seemed like he was more interested in just recapturing what he felt was his rather than really loving Dahlia.

Dahlia and River are obviously floored by Ben's reappearance. River is thrown and begins to question if Dahlia is going to stay with him. Dahlia is....so many things. Relieved and happy that Ben is alive, but then rightly upset and angered that he would have lied to her and put her in jeopardy because of a story. So while Dahlia fights with her feelings about the entire situation between her and Ben, she's also fighting with River and his insecurities. She's stuck in a horrible place, especially because she does feel a sense of loyalty to Ben, despite what he did. But what she didn't do through all of this is question what her true feelings are for River. River and Ben could both question just what Dahlia felt for them, but she was a rock when it came to her love for River and her determination that they were going to build a life together.

There were a lot of things that happened in this story, some of which will have implications further along in the series (such as Belle being the girl Ben cheated on Dahlia with), but I was happy with the conclusion to River and Dahlia's story. Despite circumstances that were potentially devastating to their relationship, River and Dahlia proved a strong love can pull through anything.

I look forward to reading more in the series.