The Imperfections by Sam Mariano
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book starts out with a bang… of triggers. That said, if you were able to handle Untouchable then you’ll probably be fine here.
Now that we have that unpleasantness out of the way, onward to the good stuff!
Oh, I so needed more Sam Mariano. And here she comes to save the day with another one of her otherwise unlikable anti-heroes. How does she do it?? How does she take a man, who by all accounts is completely unacceptable as a romantic interest, have them do despicable things, and yet by the end of the book scores of otherwise sensible women are ready to fight over him? It defies logic. And yet… whatever sorcery it is certainly works on me. Every damn time.
“If it counts for anything, I’m glad I didn’t kill you tonight,” I tell her.
“You’re a true romantic,” she spits back acerbically.”
Did I love Brant in the first few pages? No. However, I never love her anti-heroes within the first few pages. They need space to spread their terrible wings and do very bad things before she turns on her magic trickery to make us love them.
Brant is not what most folks would call a “good guy.” I say most because it depends on your definition. Does that person have to abstain from killing people? Well, Brant is out. Does that person have to abstain from kidnapping? Assault? Okay, well… he doesn’t pass that hurdle, either. Some might say you are being picky with these requirements, I’m gonna be honest with you. BUT- he doesn’t cheat on his romantic partners! And what’s more? He is very loyal to his family. So there! All is forgiven, eh?
We good here? Did I mention he is also hot, and kinda jerky sometimes? Yeah, I thought that last part would do it.
Alyssa is an interesting character. She is young, but due to growing up in a small, overcrowded house with several hot mess relatives she is somehow more laid back and logical than you would expect for a person her age. She also has a strange approach to threats and/or danger in that she just sort of… bends to it. Rather than being rigid and unyielding (and thus easy to break) she instead adapts to what comes her way. Figures a certain degree of pliability will protect her. And you know what? She’s right. My magic 8 ball predicts that some readers might accuse her of being a doormat, but I counter that with the argument that her ways are what saved her. Her ability to turn a would-be enemy into an ally isn’t weak- it’s enviable. Because if I got kidnapped? My dead body would be thrown from the moving getaway vehicle with a quickness, no doubt.
As is the norm for Sam Mariano the relationship that is eventually forged between these two is NOT a typical progression for a romance. Does she love him? Should she call the police? Is he going to sleep with her, or kill her? Could he possibly be more hurtful? I mean, possibly… but he did do a damn good job of it.
True to her style, this book had me hooked right away. The story popped out of the pages and slapped me right in the face before darting back with a sinister giggle. And quite frankly, that’s how I like my books.
Recommended as always, but be mindful of trigger warnings.
Triggers: non-con, dub-con, violence
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