While this book contains one of my favorite tropes (secret baby/pregnancy), I didn’t end up loving it as much as I’d hoped to love it. I still liked it, but something wasn’t quite there for me. Perhaps not enough suspense? Maybe the resolution was too quick when they hit a bump in the road? I can’t put my finger on it, but I am left feeling… unsatisfied.
This was my first read by this author. I liked her voice, and the hints of back stories made me curious about her other books. I did actually add the book that follows this one (due next year) to my TBR, so there’s something. I admit I added it because it’s an age-gap romance called Teacher (he is not actually a teacher, to my knowledge), and that sounds super hot.
Anyway, if you are a pretty straight contemporary romance reader this will probably be more up your alley. I read across multiple romance genres, and like a little more suspense/intrigue than what I got with this book.
Shucks. I guessed the twists on this one. It was still good, I still really liked the book, but there was a specific foreshadow that gave it away for me with each of the big twists. It spoiled the read for me a bit personally, but I won’t penalize the book with a lowered rating based on that.
This is a DARK read. Not one I would classify as dark romance- more erotic thriller. Bordering on erotic horror, if that’s a thing? It is graphic. And horrific. I swear, parts of me physically hurt from reading some of what happens in this book. So, consider yourself warned.
If you are looking for anything resembling a romance- move it along. This isn’t for you. If you are looking for a dark and twisty thriller, and can stomach graphic and depraved violence, then you should dive in to this book.
Not as riveting as some of the others in the series
I heard a podcast the other day discussing the merits of different points of view in a story, and it said that first person characters sometimes get caught up in their own heads.
That’s how I feel about this book. I liked it. I liked reading more about these characters and this world. But, it didn’t seem to keep the story moving at the same pace as the other books before it. I kept finding myself distracted. I was disappointed since I was a big fan of the first book in this series in spite of the fact that all three men who were interested in Eva in book one needed to drive off a cliff together to a fiery demise.
Anyway, I enjoyed the story of Dorothy and Hawk. I was hoping for a bit more drama with Jase being in the mix, but it was still good. And I thoroughly enjoyed the foreshadowing regarding ZZ, and the epilogue. I will definitely be reading his story, although I suspect he will be another “hero” that I hate and can’t find redeemable. Because, as of right now? He is an irredeemable dumpster fire of a person. Shoots his brother. Shoots his other brother, and beats him up. Betrays the club. Joins the enemy. Kills people. And then, because there might be some tiny bit of a soul hiding that he just has to burn out of himself, he leaps into trafficking women (or so it seems, anyway). What a prize. I kinda hope his book involves some kind of hideous comeuppance. Talk about an HEA. ❤
Again, I got distracted…
This book was good. If you’ve enjoyed this series thus far then you need to read this book for sure. It isn’t a standalone, and your enjoyment of it would take a significant hit if you tried to jump in here without reading the other books first.
Can’t wait for ZZ’s book to see what kind of completely deserved hell the author puts him through.
If rating this on the story of Cage and Tegen alone I was going to go with four stars, but since we also got Dirty and Ellie I’m giving five stars. Quite frankly, I loved Dirty and Ellie’s story even more than Cage and Tegen. Tegen seems a bit… shrill, to me. I get it- she and her mother both got hosed over by the men of the club. Still, she brings angry tyrant to another level. Seems a bit extra, honestly. If something or someone makes me THAT angry, I just cut it/them out of my life. Problem solved.
Anyway, I was amused by the comparisons between Deuce (who still hasn’t really grown on me, honestly) and Cage, particularly the denial of the same from both parties. I loved the whole “taming of the bad boy” because, truth time ladies, didn’t we all at one time fantasize about being the good girl who tames the bad boy? I sure did. Until I figured out that they don’t actually get tamed in real life. They keep on doing their bad things, but they lie about it. And thus the crux of why I love romance so much- the unrealistic fantasies we all have can be true in a romance novel! The mafia man can have a heart of gold. The serial man-whore cheater will give it all up because he meets the right woman. Even an addict can stop and go clean for the right woman. So what if I’m in my mid-30’s and still get heart flutters from these lies- don’t judge me.
I loved the story of Dirty and Ellie. Man, he might be the most broken man yet in this series. Actually, yeah… he is definitely the most broken. He believes he isn’t worthy of love. Believes he isn’t worthy of anyone caring about him. He reacts to save Ellie, but still thinks of himself as garbage and thinks she isn’t even safe around him. She guides him from his shell. She helps him past his tangled emotional mess so he can be more functional. So he can experience a part of life that he hasn’t ever tried to experience before- female companionship. Love. A relationship. And it’s wonderful.
Ugh. I am loving this series so much more than anticipated. ❤
To be clear: loving this series, not loving these heroes. I wouldn’t want any one of ’em near me, my friends, or my daughter. But I’m still loving this series. What sorcery is this??
I can’t explain why I love a dark romance series featuring heroes I don’t even like, but here we are. I did find Ripper more appealing than Deuce, I’ll give him that. Deuce was just heinous, both in book 1 and book 2. I still don’t think he’s redeemed, and I suspect he never will be. It seems to be part of his character- just unapologetically messed up.
Anyway, although Deuce and Eva were in this book it wasn’t THEIR book, so I’ll try to avoid talking about them.
The story of Ripper and Danny is a sad one. I did think that a particular element of what happened felt a bit glossed over. It popped up out of nowhere, happened over a few pages, and then that was it until it was brought up a couple of times later in the book. What happened was a big deal, and would have had some lead up, so I was surprised to see it get so little attention. I won’t go into it further to avoid a spoiler, but you’ll see what I mean.
The heat level between Ripper and Danny was high, and I thought the part where Danny had scars and wanted to hide them from Ripper was a clever inclusion.
Overall I am loving this series, including the sneak peek into the next book. I will definitely be continuing on. The drama, the angst… I NEED it!
Thoughts on Deuce: 13% Welp, you’re a bit of a creepy creeperson. She’s 16, sir. 19%: Welp, you’re a steaming piece of hot garbage. You’re (still) married, sir. 32%: Die. Just die. I’m done with you. 41%: That’s what you GET! Jerkface. 44%: You’re is still here? You didn’t die yet? Because I’d still like for you to die. And it’s getting worse, not better. You make Frankie look good, even after what he did to her. So… there’s that. 45%: Christ. 49%: Okay… maybe Frankie is too crazy, and you don’t make him look good any more. Also, I should’ve started a tally of how many times you address Eva as “bitch.” 72%: It’s curious that you have now come down on young men twice for being “disrespectful toward women” when earlier in the book you pushed a woman’s head back into place and told her, “B#ch, you stop suckin’ one more time, and I’m gonna slap you.” And in front of Eva, no less. I guess I’m not real impressed with YOUR respect for women. 75%: WHAT THE HELL!!! 78%: Wow. Real nice. What a prize you are, Deuce. 80%: #&%@^#@%!!!!!!! 😡🔪 At the end: Well, you seem to be trying. But I hope Eva’s people keep an eye on you in case you go back to old habits. Jerkface.
Overall it took Deuce ENTIRELY too long to get his head on straight with regard to Eva. And by the time he did he had done things so hurtful, so truly awful that I don’t think forgiveness would be realistic. Seriously. You can’t unsee the things he let her see (i.e. the other women). The things he said to her can’t be unheard.
I ended the book still not liking Deuce. For reals. Honestly I almost preferred lunatic Frankie, even with the terrible things he did. He did things that hurt Eva, but not on purpose. He just didn’t know any better because he was messed up. But Deuce? He hurt her on purpose. So, in that capacity Frankie was the superior partner. Also, Frankie never ran around on her. So there’s that.
I completely fail to see the appeal of this lifestyle for women, if what is read in MC novels has any truth to it. It seems to me that there is no good role for a woman in that world. Either way women are disrespected, cheated on, lied to, and who knows what else. So, what I’m saying is, I didn’t really like any of the male characters in this book. They were all pieces of garbage in their own ways. Again, Frankie was a homicidal psycho, but at least he was arguably good to Eva. He treated her better than these other club guys treated their wives.
Anyway, if you are looking for likable heroes then you need to just MOVE ALONG. You won’t find that here. And my tolerance for book-boyfriend nonsense is relatively high, so that’s saying something. However, if you are in the mood for a seriously gritty and dark romance where the “hero” is arguably not redeemed in the end, then this might be your jam. It definitely kept me reading. I had to know what happened. I had to see how the author would try (or IF she would try) to redeem Deuce.
Am I going to continue to the next book? Yep! That dang teaser at the end got me. Am I going in with the understanding that these guys suck, and I probably won’t like any of them? Also yep.
Well, shucks. I have so enjoyed the two series (Arsen and Dryas’ stories) associated with this book (Damen’s story), and was looking forward to this one. Unfortunately this book (more of a novella, really) left me wanting. Other than the initial introduction of Bianka and Damen we don’t get any happenings that aren’t included in the other series’ books, and there isn’t much in the way of backstory or development since the book is so short. I’d love to see Damen get his own series as well since this book, while a tasty nugget, didn’t provide much. It was more of an amuse-bouche than anything else.
Recommended if you’ve read the other two series and want a little more, just don’t expect very much more.
This was an entertaining series, and a solid read. I couldn’t put it down. I thoroughly enjoyed these crazy brothers, even if I didn’t particularly like them. Which I mostly didn’t, honestly. Arsen didn’t really redeem himself, he just got less mean. Which is still something, I suppose.
I enjoyed the pacing and suspense of this series, and this book. I was sort of expecting a little more explosive of a situation between Fiore and Dryas, honestly. I read Dryas’ series first, and there seemed to be a real beef between Dryas and Arsen in regard to something Dryas had done to Fiore, if I’m not mistaken. I didn’t really think anything that happened between them in this series was that big of a deal, so I found that puzzling.
Anyway, I enjoyed this series, and do recommend it for a suspenseful/erotic thriller read. I’m on the fence about it as a dark romance. So there you go.
He looks down at me, his steel grey eyes focusing on my face. “I should feel bad for putting you in the box. I should say that I’m sorry, but that would be a lie. I’m not sorry.”
Status update: I still don’t like Arsen, but I no longer wish a painful, fiery death on him. I DO still wish Fiore/Katherine could escape him. And her brother. Escape them both and go be her own woman. Make her own friends. Go to college. Not be a toy or a pet or a servant or a slave. Be free for the first time in her life. Now THAT sounds like a happy ending to me.
Alas, I suspect that isn’t in the cards for our poor Fiore/Katherine. She was born into a role of subjugation, then got sold into a different role of subjugation. Jesus, this poor girl.
I don’t consider this book to be a dark romance as much as an erotic thriller. I have no lady flutters for Arsen. I kinda hate him. I kinda think he deserves to be miserable and alone for the remainder of his sorry life. But, that’s just me… I tend to feel that way when dark reads go over my tipping point. And Arsen is over my tipping point. He purposely hurts and terrifies her. Without remorse. So… screw him and the horse he rode in on.
Anyway, as an erotic thriller this book is really good. I am thoroughly enjoying the suspense aspect, and can’t wait to see what happens next!
This book (which also contains the prequel Capture) gets this series off to a roaring start. I couldn’t put it down, needing to know what happens next. Wanting down into my bones for Fiore/Katherine to find her escape from Arsen/Monster. He thought to himself, even verbalized to Fiore, that he wouldn’t take what wasn’t his (i.e. force himself on her). But then he used threats and coercion to get her “consent,” so…
PSA: that is not consent.
So, what I’m saying is, I hate Arsen so far. He also thought fondly about how he’d made his last “girl” wish for death. Referred to her as “nothing but a whore.” Thought excitedly about breaking Fiore/Katherine down until she, too, wished for death. And then, in his infinite mercy, granting her that death. He makes me sick. I’m going to continue reading in hopes that she gets one over on him. That she causes him some pain. Man, in hopes that ANYONE causes him some pain. Because right now he is, as he is rightfully named, a monster. Irredeemable. And he can go to hell.
This is dark. If you’re looking for a sexy kidnap book, this book is not that. I’d say it is more of an erotic thriller. I can’t say what Arsen’s character will be like by the end of the series, or how I’ll feel about him, but right now I’d like very much for him to fall off a cliff. A big one. On to some rocks. Still, if you’re cool with an erotic thriller, this is a good one. Just don’t expect to like Arsen. At all.