They call me savage. An untamed beast.
I was born in the cage. Born to fight. Born to carry its name.
Locked away, I’ve spent years waiting for my mate.
I'm pent up with need. Brimming with desire.
All I want is her... That beautiful girl from the picture on my prison wall.
Now she’s finally here, sharing a cell.
So close. So hard to resist.
But one thing’s for sure…
Even if she doesn’t know it yet, she’s already mine.
WARNING: Contains disturbing content that may be offensive to some readers
I couldn’t put this book down, wow!
I was looking for a fighter romance, saw the cover and jumped right in thinking it was an mma fighter romance, boy was I wrong but right in a way, Cage was also a fighter.
A dark gritty read that actually got me emotional at some points.
The story starts with Ella seeing her little sister being taken by a stranger, a man who she follows best she can on her bike but when she does find her she finds her dead, fallen off a cliff edge and the man running away.
From then Ella doesen't speak, consumed with guilt for not getting to her sister in time.
You would think one tragedy is enough but years later as an adult she herself taken in the middle of the night, drugged and wakes up finding herself in a cell, a glass cage.
Cage who is aptly named is in the cage next to Ella, born in captivity his sole purpose is to fight and make his captor money who is also his father and now he must breed to produce more fighters.
It's gritty and raw and contains disturbing scenes but at the same time I found I was wrestling with my thoughts over a man who had never see's the outside world and knows no better he only knows how to do his father's bidding.
Before Ella was taken Cage was shown pictures of women selected by his father and Cage had chosen Ella from her picture, she was to be his prize whenever he won a fight.
From even the darkest places love can grow and that's exactly what happened with Cage and Ella as she taught him, educated him as they sat facing each other in the glass cells and when brought together to reproduce a bond was formed.
The whole scenario reminded me of Tarzan & Jane.
Caged is an intense and gripping plot and contains twists you wouldn't expect, Clarissa's creativity was captivating.
I loved it, I loved Cages purity and innocence despite the things he was made to do and Ella's strength I also admired.
Told in first persons dual pov you get the thoughts and feelings of both characters.
Caged does lead to a hea but it felt like a cliffhanger with questions still hanging about another girl in captivity Syria a blind girl who disappeared and also Cage's mystery brother who they later discovered he had who also disappeared. I'm hoping Clarissa continues this somehow so I get the answers.
A gripping and emotional dark read.
Read it now
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CRUDE. ARROGANT. A**HOLE.
No doubt about it, Sebastian ‘Oz’ Osborne is the university’s most celebrated student athlete—and possibly the biggest douchebag. A walking, talking cliché, he has a filthy mouth, a fantastic body, and doesn’t give a sh*t about what you or anyone else thinks.
SMART. CLASSY. CONSERVATIVE.
Make no mistake, Jameson Clarke may be the university’s most diligent student—but she is no prude. Spending most of her time in the hallowed halls of the library, James is wary of pervs, jocks, and douchebags—and Oz Osborne is all three.
She’s smart, sarcastic—and not what he expected.
…EVERY DOUCHBAG HAS HIS WEAKNESS.
He wants to be friends.
He wants to spend time with her.
He wants to drive her crazy.
Yay, high fives to the cardigan wearing nerd of a girl who gets herself the school hottie.
The first book in a series and my first book by Sara Ney.
I loved it!.
How to date a douchebag is a light read, witty, full of sexual inuendo's with great characters.
In a college setting James short for Jameson first meets Sebastian Osborne also known as Oz in the library.
As James sits with her nose in her books wearing her glasses, cardigan and pearl necklace she's the steriotypical nerd girl so caught up in her work unaware the table of douchebags are daring one of their friends Oz as a bet he can't get her to kiss him.
Oz, a school star athlete, tattood, cocky, has girls throwing themselves at him takes the bet and immediately I'm thinking this scenario isn't one I haven't read before, boy fools girl into falling for him then she finds out she was a bet, blah blah blah BUT it wasn't that at all and I was so pleased the plot didn't go that way.
Oz is completely up front with James and nerd girl turns out not so nerdy after all. James is sassy, smart, witty and even manages to hustle Oz into going halves on the bet.
Oz, for once faces rejection this girl isnt fooled by his advances and doesen't even know who he is and it's a first for this cocky douchebag.
How to date a douchebag is a friends to lovers slow burn romance, a flirty friendship blossoms but Oz never gives up trying to get in James panties, it's refreshing, full of banter and witty comebacks, I loved the characters and there's fan me down hot moments too.
A great start to a series and I can't wait to read more.
Told in first person dual pov and leads to a hea.
“Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.”
When the man you worshipped as a kid becomes your coach, it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Keywords: supposed to.
It didn’t take a week for twenty-seven-year-old Sal Casillas to wonder what she’d seen in the international soccer icon—why she’d ever had his posters on her wall, or ever envisioned marrying him and having super-playing soccer babies.
Sal had long ago gotten over the worst non-break-up in the history of imaginary relationships with a man that hadn’t known she’d existed. So she isn’t prepared for this version of Reiner Kulti who shows up to her team’s season: a quiet, reclusive, shadow of the explosive, passionate man he’d once been.
Nothing could have prepared her for the man she got to know.
Or the murderous urges he brought out in her.
“Sal, please don’t make me visit you in jail. Orange isn’t your color.”
This was going to be the longest season of her life
"Destiny is a ladder"
I loved The wall of Winnipeg and me and Mariana Zapata did it again with Kulti which had a similar feel.
Sal plays soccer, she lives & breathes soccer, she's one of the best in her league. Her childhood idol was the German player Kulti, his image adorned her bedroom walls as a girl and the day he got married her hopes were shattered she was that obsessed with him.
The start of a new season and the girls discover their about to get a new coach and it's none other than the retired and now divorced I must add German soccer star Kulti.
Sals childhood fantasies soon dry up when she discovers that the German is nothing but rude, ignorant, grumpy and a man of few words unless he's chewing her a new one.
A very strange friendship develops between them following Sal giving the Brockwust as she calls him a piece of her mind.
”He was my coach. And I was his friend. Or something like that.”
Kulti is still rude he's still a man of few words but as their friendship develops Sal grows to understand and appreciate Kulti, her friend.
There are lots of laugh out loud moments, it's refreshing, lighthearted and heartwarming.
Kulti never comes across as romantic, sweet or swoon-worthy but boy does Mariana save the best til last. I loved this slow burn romance and by slow I mean right to the very last chapters but the journey there was so much fun.
Great characters, brilliantly written, told in Sals pov and leads to hea.
I listened on Audio, the narration brilliant I actually love this in audio more than reading like I did with previous books Wall of Winnipeg, Lingus & Under Locke, Mariana's narration choice with Callie Dalton is spot on, she's brilliant.
Looking forward to the next book.
"You're my equal, partner,team-mate & best friend"
When Ellis Earnshaw and Heathan James met as children, they couldn’t have been more different. Ellis was loud and beautiful – all blond hair, bright laughs and smiles. Heathan was dark and brooding, and obsessed with watching things die.
The pair forged an unlikely friendship, unique and strange. Until they were ripped apart by the sick cruelty of others, separated for years, both locked in a perpetual hell.
Eleven years later, Heathan is back for his girl. Back from a place from which he thought there was no return. Back to seek revenge on those who wronged them.
Time has made Heathan’s soul darker, polluted with hatred and the thirst for blood.
Time has made Ellis a shell of her former self, a little girl lost in the vastness of her pain.
As Heathan pulls Ellis out of her mental prison, reviving the essence of who she once was, down the rabbit hole they will go.
With malice in their hearts and vengeance in their veins, they will seek out the ones who hurt and destroyed them.
One at a time.
Each one more deadly than the last.
Dark Contemporary Romance. Contains explicit sexual situations, violence, disturbingly sensitive and taboo subjects, offensive language and very mature topics. Recommended for ages 18 and over.
Sick Fux takes dark romance to a new dimension.
Is it romance? It's certainly dark, and Love?, Sick Fux takes you on a journey containing the love two characters have for each other and show it in the only way they know how.
This isn't a fairy tale, far from it but Alice in wonderland play's a big part in this plot in a way I will never look at tick tock and it's time for tea the same way again. "Only Earl grey will ever do"
Two children abused in the most horrendous way by a ring of gentlemen if you dare call them that, wealthy men, men using children to fulfill their sick needs.
Heathan James the little boy with an obsession for blood and death and Ellis Earnshaw a little girl living in a fantasy world of Alice in wonderland drinking from china cups with her Alice doll, drinking pretend Earl grey and dancing to music her mother who is now passed used to play.
Both children in the care of evil men. Heathan who is older lets them do whatever they want to protect Ellis his Dolly until her 10th birthday they begin to use her too causing him to get angry, kill one of the men and he is taken away.
Yes its Sick, yes it's heartbreaking and yes its disturbing.
Years later Heathan finally escapes the dungeon where he has been kept and returns to the mansion for his Dolly now a shell of herself.
A dark adventure down the rabbit hole into wonderland and the place of revenge begins. Rabbit and his Dolly.
Tick, tock, tick tock. One By One. Down we go. Time for tea.
I struggled with the mental health side of this plot, the actions of the characters, the mind set compared to reality and had to keep reminding myself it's fiction and thank god it is.
Tillie hasn't written the typical dark read I normally read, I would say it's in a realm of it's own as are the characters and the plot. Did I enjoy it?, I can't say if I did or didn't, I just read it with my mouth open half the time and a WTF expression on my face but it is a book I will remember definitely and I have to acknowledge Tillie's creativity in this book.
*contains rape,violence,sexual knife-play, blood-play, child abuse.
I need a Tetley tea after that ;-) shhhh don't tell Dolly.
Please note : this is excerpt is unedited and subject to change.
I placed the foot of my cane on the floor and looked to the left. The sound of light breathing came from around the corner. I made to move, but my heart slammed into a fast beat, stopping my feet in their tracks. My nostrils flared as I closed my eyes and tried to suck in deep breaths. I never did this, never had this kind of reaction to anything. Not in eleven years. Not when I was trapped in darkness. Not even when the guards came to “meet the young kid.” Not when we got out—bloodily, savagely, darkly. Especially not when my knife plunged into the guards’ hearts and I watched the life fade from their eyes, the pure fascination of losing one’s life essence occupying my mind.
But this was Dolly. The only person I’d ever given a shit about.
A slick tar pumped through my black heart as I thought of her. She was the blood that gave me life.
I had no idea what state I would find her in. Whether or not her fragile mind had been destroyed. Whether or not her glass heart had been shattered. No hope of salvation.
I had no idea if my only reason for living could be saved. I shook with venomous anger when I let my mind imagine the hell those sadistic cunts would have put her through in my absence. But Chapel’s words rang in my ears . . . Unleash the anger only on those who deserve it. Let it build within your heart like a well swelling with water . . . then unleash hell on those who took your freedom.
Opening my eyes, I breathed through my rage and silently rounded the corner . . . I stopped. There she was, sitting in a chair. I sucked in a breath and heard it rattle in my ears. Her hair. Her hair was pulled back into a long braid, the woven strands falling to her lower back. And she was dressed in black. Long, baggy sleeves covered her arms.
Motherfucking black. Dolly didn’t belong in black. Only color. Blue and white and gold and motherfucking pink.
I edged around the perimeter of the room until I faced her. My heart tore down the center and I had to hold back a loud snarl when I saw her curled up on the seat, a thick blanket over her thin legs and waist as she stared lifelessly out of the window. The window that overlooked the once-manicured lawns, now nothing but high-reaching weeds and too-bushy trees. I looked across at what she was watching, in the direction of what held her so captivated.
My heart was severed completely, the two parts of its flesh repelling the other, trying to escape the rage and pain and fucking consuming darkness.
She was staring at the spot where we used to play as kids. Where she had found me all those years ago, ripping the colorful butterfly apart in my hands. I moved into her line of sight, but her blue eyes didn’t lift to meet mine, just stared through me as though I wasn’t even there. I crouched down and studied her face. Porcelain skin. Full lips. Fucking perfection.
But there was no life left in her.
I had never felt fear before, but I imagined the sinking hole I felt dropping in my stomach was something like it. A sinking feeling that Dolly had gone to a place from which there was no escape, a prisoner in her own mind.
“Dolly darlin,’” I rasped, my voice fucking breaking.
Twenty-one. She was twenty-one and more beautiful than I could ever have imagined.
My living doll.
A strand of hair lay over her face. My fingers clenched and unclenched as I tried to force myself to touch her. But I couldn’t. I hadn’t touched or been touched in years. I didn’t know how to anymore. Allergic to human affection. Repulsed by the degrading feeling of touch.
I . . . I . . . I couldn’t.
As I opened my mouth to speak to Dolly again, a loud gasp sailed through the air behind her. I straightened, gripping my cane, to see a familiar old face appear. I watched, the sinking hole quickly replaced by dark satisfaction as the blood drained from her face. “Good Lord,” she whispered as I smoothed down my black cravat and vest.
I glared at the bitch. Leaning casually on my cane, I said, “More like Lucifer, I would think.” I nodded in her direction “To you, anyhow.”
Mrs. Jenkins swallowed and tried to back out of the room. “Ah-ah,” I tutted and shook my head. She immediately stilled, eyes fixed on mine.
“He . . . Heathan James . . . it’s . . . it’s not possible . . .” she stammered and ran her eyes over me. Every inch of me.
“Rabbit.” The bitch flinched at my correction. “I am Rabbit. The motherfucking White Rabbit. So never fucking utter that peasant name to me again.”
Her skin paled, and her eyes fell to Dolly sitting on the chair. Dolly still hadn’t moved. I shifted my grip on the box I had brought inside, about to hold it out to Mrs. Jenkins when she asked, “How are you here?”
I threw the box across the room. It landed right at her feet. “Dress her.”
“Wh-what?” Mrs. Jenkins asked.
I pointed to the box at her feet. “Dress her. It wasn’t a request.” Mrs. Jenkins shook as she picked up the box and moved to where Dolly sat. Dolly didn’t look at her either. Mrs. Jenkins opened the lid of the box and gasped again.
Her old, wrinkled eyes snapped up to mine. “No—”
Before she had even finished the sentence, I had reached into my pocket and pulled out my knife. I ran the flat side of the blade down my cheek. Slowly. Controlled. Watching her terrified gaze track my every move. “You’d best do as I ask, Mrs. Jenkins. My patience and tolerance for you appear to be at an all-time low.”
I went against all I believed in and fell in love with what should have been a one-night stand! I fought it, tried to make up rules to prevent the inevitable, but somehow, he knew all along. He understood what I wanted and was willing to comply. I was the one who took him for granted. I was the one who made him walk away. And now, he’s gone and I’m left with nothing but my thoughts and regrets. He was never supposed to be my happily ever after. But my favorite love story ends in tragedy, so why wouldn’t mine?
I played the white knight, doing what every woman dreams of to win her over, yet it still got me nowhere! But what did I expect? I wasn’t the man she wanted! Nothing I could have done would have landed me the girl. I guess love is funny that way. One minute, you think you have the girl, and the next, you realize you were blinded. Walking away was hard, but watching her with another man was harder. Sometimes you have to pick your battles, and I know when I’ve lost. Love shouldn’t be a game, but I learned someone always loses. For once, I wasn’t the one being selfish, but I was the one who paid the price.
What a great series!
There's no shortage of drama I loved it! and it reminded me of a family soap opera, almost dynasty or Dallas style with the devious mother, and other things that took place.
The series starts with Selfish when Becca and Ashlyn who are best friends take a holiday. A one night stand turns into a dilemma then more when Ashlyn discovers the guy who rocked her world is Ryder, Becca's brother who has come to surprise Becca on her vacation.
The second book is Myself and is Becca and Jaycent's story. Jaycent is Ryders best friend and so they hide their relationship from Ryder, this book too isnt without its dramas. The series then goes back to Ashlyn and Ryders story.
All three books aren't classed as a trilogy but they kind of are. I don't think you could read any of the books as a standalone and Selfless is the conclusion of the first book after it finishing on cliffhanger.
One think I didn't like was about 35% of this book is a repeat word for word of what I had just read in the previous book? if it was told from a different angle I would of had no issue with that but it was the same everything including conversations but from Ashlyn or Ryder's pov instead wheras in the previous book it was Becca or Jaycent's. This was my only negative.
In summary this is a great read from Selfish through to Selfless. I loved the drama's, the hotness, the swoon worthy moments and the characters.
These three books I found myself getting lost in, lost in the whole soap opera feel of it all.
Everything I love about Contemporary romance is In these books. Highly recommended.
Told in dual pov's. Leads to heartwarming happy ever after all round.
Arc gratefully received for review purposes
Selfish & Myself reviewed separately
GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28228285-selfless
ALSO AVAILABLE IN THE SELFISH SERIES
Mistakes? We all make them. But when you get the chance to right them, you don't think twice. You take what you know, and you learn from it. I realized I had a chance at something better. He was willing to give me himself. And I wasn't willing to let anyone take that from me again..
I should have never walked away. He wasn't right for her; we all saw it. But I did as she asked and let her go. No matter how much it hurt me. But I've been given another chance. Now that she's back in my life, I'm gonna make sure no one comes between us. Some aren't going to agree. Others are going to downright hate it. But I don't care. I'm doing what's best for me, myself and I ... and she is the best!
I love a brothers best friend romance, and Myself did not disappoint.
A story that runs parallel with the previous book with Ashlyn and Ryder's story Obsession so you get to see other points of view from Jaycent and Becca's side.
Jaycent is Ryder's best friend, has been since he was four, he's also 7 years older than Becca who has loved him since she was 11.
When Becca's reaches 18 Jaycent finally sees Becca for the beautiful young woman she has become but with plans of college nothing more happens further than a one night stand and Jaycent let's her go.
Becca has always been controlled by her father, her mother and now her boyfriend this book is Becca's time to finally be herself.
Years later and Becca and her best friend Ashlyn are on vacation celebrating finals when her brother surprises her by visiting and of course Jaycent is with him.
It's like a soap opera, things happening with Ashlyn and Ryder, Becca's boyfriend openly cheating on Becca and keeping secrets along with her own mother, Jaycent acting like the big brother roughing up Conner for treating Becca like trash (totally deserved it) because he secretly still loves Becca.
Jaycent is determined this time not to let the girl he loves slip away again even if it means telling Ryder.
I loved it!, the drama, the sex, the plot, everything in all the right places with no dips so you happily keep turning the pages I'm getting addicted to these characters.
Recommended that the first book be read first, they are all interlinked and the next book goes back to Ryder's and Ashlyn were that left off with their issues.
I'm loving Shantel's writing, the characters are so interesting and likable, I can't wait to jump into the next book in this series.
Meet the most wanted players in sports . . . one ridiculously hot alpha male at a time.
Chase: With a nickname like “Sin,” it’s no wonder they call me the bad boy of hockey. Opponents curse me. Fans scream my name—in the arena and in other, much more private places. Penalties or not, I’m not afraid to dish out a little pain. But pleasure? That’s my weakness. And no one knows it better than my best friend, Cassie Desrosiers. I’d have to be blind not to notice her rocking body and teasing grin. So when she invites me along on a trip to Vegas, my curiosity isn’t the only thing that’s aroused.
Cassie: Chase Barrett is a world-class A-hole. As his best friend, I’m allowed to call him on his BS.
Who else is going to do it? Certainly not the puck bunnies swooning at every flex of his biceps. Everyone knows that Chase is the love-’em-and-leave-’em type. There’s no such thing as commitment for the king of casual hookups. So why should I care? Maybe because all work and no play makes me a sexually frustrated girl. It’s time to put the hockey stud at my beck and call to good use . . . but after a week in Vegas with Chase, I might never want to go back to the real world.
This sexy standalone novel includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
BAD REPUTATION - AVAILABLE NOW
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/NEbbos1
A Best friends to lovers romance
Chase: Bad boy of hockey with a reputation on the ice for his time spent in the penalty box. He's rich, gorgeous and popular but a genuine down to earth guy, he loves nothing more than his sport and spending time with his long time best friend Cassie.
Cassie went through college with Chase they have been best friends for years, her family is Chase's and vice versa, she's a high profile exec, loves her job and spending time with her best friend Chase.
This is one of those stories where Chase and Cassie getting together is inevitable, Neither of them wants to ruin their friendship by becoming more despite what other people say they stand by there resolve that they are friends and nothing more, until...... a trip to Vegas changes things.
The story line isn't one I haven't read before and gets more interesting from 60% in both the friends to lovers & the trip to Vegas scenario but that being said Bad reputation is a good read with great characters you can't help but swoon over Chase.
The dynamic in the relationship between Cassie and Chase as friends is exhilarating and as lovers it's dynamic.
I really enjoyed Bad reputation told in dual pov's which can be read as a standalone and leads to hea.
Overall a sweet read, heartwarming with humour,hotness and great characters.
Looking forward to more in this series.
Arc received from netGalley for review purposes
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS GIRL?
In the middle of a fierce snowstorm in Gun Creek, Nevada, a teenage girl disappears without a trace.
The second girl in nine years.
Identical cases. Identical conditions. Only last time, the girl was found. Dead, stuffed in a well beside the creek that feeds the town's water supply.
The killer was never found.
As the small town mobilizes and searches for newly vanished Jennifer Thomas, one suspect comes to the fore. But did he do it? Or is there something else at play? Something nobody could have anticipated?
For Jennifer's friend Cassie Carlino, the worst is yet to come. As she pins MISSING posters to store windows and joins the search, she begins to suspect that Jennifer's disappearance might be much closer to her than she could have ever imagined.
The center of town is teeming with reporters when we arrive. The mood is somber, self-conscious, even. Can an entire town be collectively self-conscious? They’re shy, that’s for sure. We don’t get a whole lot of visitors in Gun Creek. Certainly not ones who stick microphones in your face and blast you with questions while you’re still half-asleep.
Damon parks the patrol car right across the front doors of the police station, his face drawn and tense. It must be a fucking nightmare, being in charge of an entire town like this. Especially when something like this happens.
I can only imagine how bad things are going to get at home if they don’t find this girl soon.
“These people are fucking vultures,” he mutters, and I make a noise signaling my agreement. He gets out, opening my door for me.
I muster up a plastic smile as Damon holds out my purse, the strap dangling on his outstretched finger.
“Thanks,” I say, taking the bag and slinging it over my shoulder. I put my oversized dollar-store sunglasses on my face, the day already too bright for me to bear.
“You okay?” Damon asks.
“Always,” I reply, walking away from him before he can say anything else. I should ask him if he’s okay, but that would mean pretending that I care.
I have something important that I need, something immediate.
I’m an asshole because I know I should care about the fact that a girl I’ve grown up with is missing, but I have more pressing personal matters.
I need to take care of myself, first. I head for the diner, fifty feet away, already late for my shift. I push past reporters, hanging eagerly at the doors they’re forbidden to cross. They have to hover outside in the snow for their pound of flesh, their soundbites, their newsworthy quotes from Jennifer’s distraught friends and family. I see Casey Mulligan, a girl I went to school with, twirling a strand of long blonde hair around her finger as she musters up a couple of fat tears for a news camera, and it strikes me, just like last time, that the people who get the most attention in this world are the ones who least deserve it.
Still, I’m glad it’s not me. Last thing I want is a camera in my face. I slip by, unassisted, unseen, an invisible girl with a hollow spot inside me. I notice the crates of milk that get delivered to Dana’s every morning are still stacked out front and I grab one as I approach, throwing my purse on top and bracing my stomach muscles to carry the thirty-odd pounds worth of liquid weight. One of our regulars holds the door open for me and I smile in thanks, lugging the milk crate through the diner and toward the cold storage out back.
I’m making my way down the main entrance, past rows of tables and customers talking feverishly about Jennifer, my arms full of milk bottles when it happens.
I see him. Him.
My arms stop functioning. I drop everything; the milk crate, my purse, my practiced neutral expression. The purse wafts to the floor, the milk bottles hurtle down with an unceremonious crash, and blue plastic lids burst off and go skittering in every direction.
I sink to my knees, in shock. People are looking at me, but I don’t pay attention to them. I’m too busy fixated on the green-eyed ghost standing in front of me. The splinters in my knees sting like fire-ant bites, and I curl my legs to the side, coming to a sitting position.
“Shit!” Leo says, dropping his backpack to the ground and crouching in front of me. “Cass. Cassie. Are you okay?”
My entire body is alight, little pinpricks along my skin that make me dizzy. The feeling spreads like wildfire, across my chest and through my limbs until I’m overwhelmed and frozen on the spot, sitting on my ass in the middle of the diner, voices and whispers all around.
I watch in fascination as milk spreads in a puddle in front of me, like spilled blood. It rushes at me like a miniature tsunami as a painful buzz begins in my head.
“You’re gonna pass out,” Leo says, his words sounding far away as he reaches out a hand to help me up. “Jesus, Cassie, you’re white as a sheet.”
I hold my hand out, the conviction in my reach laughable, and it’s like that moment of electricity that people talk about. I can feel it build in my fingertips, that arc of some invisible thing that wants to join with his invisible thing, but then a hand wraps around my wrist and yanks my arm away before I can make contact with the boy — no, with the man — I thought was still in prison.
“Did he hurt you?” Damon’s voice in my ear breaks my dream-like state. I open my mouth to say something and decide against it, swallowing air instead. I shake my head.
“How’d you get on the ground?” Damon asks, shaking me a little.
“She fell down,” Leo says, his arm no longer outstretched. He takes a step away from me, and Jesus, it hurts. He looks anguished. “She dropped the milk and she fell down.” I can’t stop looking at him. I can’t bear to look at him.
The milk has reached me. It seeps across my right knee, curled underneath me; the backs of my thighs, my palms. It’s ice cold, and I can feel myself shaking.
Damon is crouched next to me, his hand on my cheek, diverting my attention to him. “Are you all right, Cassie?” he asks, helping me to my feet, his tone gathering more urgency with each question I don’t answer. Amanda is picking up the milk bottles beside us, piling them high in her arms as I continue to stare at Leo. He’s… different. He has tattoos now. He looks exactly the same but entirely reconstructed. He’s eight years older, I realize. A third of his life, gone. A third of mine. It feels like it’s been forever. It feels like it’s been no time at all.
Deputy Chris appears, looking between me and Leo with uncertainty. Why didn’t anyone tell me? How the hell did Leo just materialize from thin air in the Grill?
“Cassie,” Damon snaps, and I know he means business.
I nod. “I’m fine. I’m okay.” I think of where I was going before I saw fucking Leo. Pills. Purge. “I need a minute.”
“I’ll take you home,” Damon says, his hand on the small of my back as he starts to guide me toward the front doors. I panic, pushing him away.
“You have a missing girl to find,” I say quickly. “I’m fine, really. I just need some aspirin.” And a fucking gun, so I can put myself out of my misery.
“I’ll walk you there,” Damon says, ever the hero. If they only knew, I think to myself, as Amanda opens the staff room door and ushers us inside.
“Give us a minute,” Damon says, giving Amanda a concerned look. She nods, closing the door and waiting out in the hallway as Damon closes the blinds and twists the lock on the door.
“Didn’t think he’d have the balls to show his face in public,” Damon says, and that’s when I understand.
I feel the blood drain from my cheeks as I realize. He knew. He knew Leo would be here today. I ask him with my eyes, searching, imploring. His expression tells me everything.
“You could have warned me,” I whisper.
His eyes narrow. “I considered it. Figured it was better you didn’t know in advance.” He pauses. “Didn’t expect you to fall to your knees in front of him.”
“Fuck you,” I seethe.
Damon’s jaw twitches. “I’m sorry,” he offers, almost as if he’s suggesting an apology rather than delivering one.
I reach for the lock, twisting it and cracking the door open. The temporary quiet we’ve had is pierced by the excited noise of a diner who’s just witnessed the tragic reunion of two star-crossed lovers, or maybe they’re all just gossiping about the missing girl.
“Jennifer,” I hiss at Damon. One word. It works. He shakes his head, his blue eyes fucking burning with anger, but he leaves.
Holy shit. As soon as he’s gone, I close the door again. I don’t bother locking it — who’s going to find me in here? Leo’s long gone if he’s got any sense, and as much as I don’t care about anything, the thought of Amanda having to mop up the milk I spilled makes me so fucking guilty I can barely breathe.
Pills. Purge. Yes.
I go into the staff bathroom, a small tiled square off the main staff room, and start to throw up as soon as the door is closed. I don’t even need to stick my finger down my throat — I’m so full of adrenaline from seeing Leo, I just open my mouth and everything comes out. It’s the kind of vomit that gets in your nose and burns behind your eyes and makes you cry with the way it chokes you.
When I’ve emptied my stomach and I stop gagging, I clean myself up, my head feeling like it might split in two. I’m so hot I think I might burst into flames. I take off my cardigan, my fingers clumsy and damp, and use it to wipe my face.
Pills. Yes. I go back out to the staff room, seeking whatever pharmaceutical bliss I can rummage up from my staff locker. I didn’t switch the overhead lights on when I first came in, and the windowless cave is dim, the only illumination coming from the slightly ajar bathroom door and the fluorescent strips that line its ceiling.
The staff room is empty. Except… it’s not.
Leo. He’s here. Somehow, the only person here with me is the one person I shouldn’t be anywhere near.
He looks at me with eyes that have seen violence since I last gazed into them. I know because I recognize the hardness inside his soul; it matches mine.
My face is a blank canvas, but inside I’m screaming.
Not with fear. With longing. And shame. I want the boy who destroyed everything to pick me up and take me into the bathroom and put his hands all over me. I want him to erase every trace of the last decade. Under my shirt, my nipples stiffen, and shame pools in my belly.
I shouldn’t want to be anywhere near this boy after what he did, but I do.
“I’m sorry,” Leo says. His voice. Oh, God. I don’t remember his voice being that fucking beautiful. It’s deep and full and if it were a food, it’d be honey. He’s not a boy anymore. He’s a man now. A stranger.
His face falls as he gestures to my stomach, concerned. “You have blood on your shirt,” he says, pointing from a safe distance. “Did you cut yourself when you fell?” He looks remorseful. Like he thinks the blood on my shirt is his fault.
My heart sinks. I shake my head tightly, tears springing to my eyes.
“Not my blood,” I say, my voice coming out like a squeak. Leo looks confused.
“The dog,” I stammer. “Rox. She — she—”
“I saw her yesterday,” Leo says, his eyes wide as he looks from my eyes to the blood on my shirt. I didn’t even realize it was there. I’d been wearing my sweater until I took it off just now.
“She’s dead,” I say. “I’m sorry.”
Leo takes a step back. Something passes over his face, a darkness, a fleeting suspicion. “How?” he asks.
I don’t know how to answer that. So I don’t. I push past him and start walking to the kitchen, as fast as I can, because I don’t have an answer for him. My shoulder burns from where I grazed his arm on the way out of the staff room. He might have ruined my life, destroyed my family, taken my future in one careless night — but Leo Bentley still makes me burn like hellfire.
What. Did. I. Just. Read ?
I'm still getting my head around this book, still trying to figure out the bits that snuck up on me when I thought I had the plot figured out only to be blindsided over and over.
A psycological thriller that you could say is unpredictable.
I was instantly pulled into the plot with the images of hearts and butterflies and the love of two teenagers with a dream of one day getting out of their small town despite living in a grubby trailer, a consuming love that gave Cassie and Leo hopes and dreams until it all went wrong. So very very wrong!.
An accident leads Leo to getting arrested serving Eight years in prison, Cassie mother is left in a coma and Cassie in the care of her stepfather who is the local law enforcement officer.
Looks can be deceiving, evidence can be a concoction of lies.
There are lies, so many lies. Gun shy is gripping, intense, hair-raising, not for the faint hearted and hearts and butterflies are long left behind and turn more into blood and bats.
There is so many twists and turns in this plot. Told in first persons pov from the journey of the characters.
Cassie life becomes a living nightmare that she just adapts to, molds to, she changes over time because of the darkness she's subject to while carrying on her daily life going to work, going home.
"Going mad doesn't happen all at once. It's a process"
I never expected the story of two loved up teenagers to go into the direction of hell but it did and what an intense and dark journey it was!.
*contains disturbing scenes & rape.
Recommended read for you blood thirsty, grit hungry dark readers, enjoy.
"In my rage I find my solace. In my rage, I vanquish my despair".
Arc received for review purposes
GUN SHY IS A PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER.
Take me away. Hide me. Love me. Save me.
🖤 I am a girl with a darkness inside me 🖤
** Coming October 6th **
From the dusty plains of Afghanistan to the sleek corridors of the New York Times, journalist MJ Buckman seeks the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. What she doesn’t expect to find is a man who’s her complete opposite … and fits her perfectly.
Marine Sergeant Jackson Connor knows that relationships don’t work for men in the military. He’s living proof of that. But when a steely-eyed temptress in a flak jacket, who carries her moral cause in front of her, crosses his path, he’s furious, curious, and all kinds of in-lust.
* * *
A grown-up love story about two people who aren’t looking for love, but realize how precious it is when they find it. They don’t play games and there are no stupid misunderstandings, just life standing in their way.
Can they compromise? And what does that look like in a modern relationship between two driven people?
Assignment Vs deployment.
They’re always traveling in different directions. What relationship can survive that?
Battle scars is a story of finding love from the most unexpected situations and places.
"Amidst death, I had found life"
In an Afghan village Maggie finds herself in a dangerous situation when the family's home she has visited to interview for the New York Times comes under fire.
Jackson is one of the soldiers who risks his life to save her and after reeling her a new one for being stupid and endangering herself and his soldier's he accepts her thanks and the invitation of a drink if he is ever in her area.
Maggie or MJ is a career driven woman as a reporter with no other commitments and goes wherever her work takes her.
Seargeant Jackson Connor aka Jack is married to the Marines.
Jackson surprises Maggie by taking her up on her offer and while on leave Jack visits her office.
Both of them hit it off immediately, Maggie has an understanding of Jack's career and has seen through her job what he has dealt with and Jack understands why Maggie feels she has to be the voice of the people who are suffering through war and other situations but obviously neither like that the other is constantly endangering themselves but it's part of the job.
Battle scars is a great read that deals with real life situations and decisions.
There's no heavy angst or drama and I found Jane's writing flowed with ease and easy to get into right from the beginning.
An interesting plot with research evident to deliver such a good military based romance.
As Maggie and Jackson grow closer and distance growing wider through work Jackson and Maggie try there best to make it work.
A heartwarming love story that involves sacrifices.
"Our relationship has been born from the most desperate of situations, warmed by friendship and respect, heightened by our physical attraction and tempered with the threat of losing it all in an explosion of dust and violence."
Told in first person dual pov and leads to a hea.
Arc received for review purposes
Amazon : http://smarturl.it/BattleScarsJHB
Barnes & Noble : http://bit.ly/2k5ien7
Goodreads : http://bit.ly/2wbEfSQ
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jane is a writer of contemporary romance fiction, known for thoughtful stories, often touching on difficult subjects: disability (DANGEROUS TO KNOW & LOVE, SLAVE TO THE RHYTHM); mental illness (THE EDUCATION OF CAROLINE, SEMPER FI); life after prison (LIFERS); dyslexia (THE TRAVELING MAN, THE TRAVELING WOMAN).
She is also a campaigner for former military personnel to receive the support they need on leaving the services. She wrote the well-received play LATER, AFTER with former veteran Mike Speirs.