BANE, the highly-anticipated standalone in the Sinners of Saint Series
by L.J. Shen is LIVE!
Naked surfer. Habitual pothead. A con, a liar, a thief and a fraud.
Last I heard, he was extorting the rich and screwing their wives for a living.
Which is why I’m more than a little surprised to find him at my threshold, looking for my friendship, my services, and most puzzling of all—looking humbled.
Thing is, I’m on a boycott. Literally—I cut boys from my life. Permanently.
Problem is, Bane is not a boy, he is all man, and I’m falling, crashing, drowning in his sweet, perfect lies.
Hot as hell, cold as ice.
I wasn’t aware of her existence until a fat, juicy deal landed in my lap.
She’s a part of it, a little plaything to kill some time.
She is collateral, a means to an end, and a side-bonus for striking a deal with her oil tycoon stepdad.
More than anything, Jesse Carter is a tough nut to crack.
Little does she know, I have the f****** teeth for it.
A godless thief.
My reputation was a big wave that I rode, one that swallowed everyone around me, drowning every attempt to fuck with what’s mine.
I’d been known as a stoner, but power was my real drug of choice. Money meant nothing. It was tangible, and therefore easy to lose. See, to me, people were a game. One I’d always known how to win.
Move the rooks around.
Change the queen when necessary.
Guard the king at all fucking times.
I was never distracted, never deterred, and never jealous.
So, imagine my surprise when I found myself being all three at once.
It was a siren with coal black hair who robbed me of riding the biggest wave I’d seen that summer. Of my precious attention. Of my goddamn breath.
She glided from the ocean to the beach like nightfall.
I crouched down, straddling my surfboard, gawking.
Edie and Beck stopped beside me, floating on their boards in my periphery.
“This one’s taken by Emery Wallace,” Edie had warned. Thief.
“This one’s the hottest masterpiece in town.” Beck had chuckled. Con.
“More importantly, she only dates rich bastards.” Liar.
I had all the ingredients to pull her in.
Her body was a patch of fresh snow. White, fair, like the sun shone through her, never quite soaking in. Her skin defied nature, her ass defied my sanity, but it was the words on her back that made my logic rebel.
It wasn’t her curves or the way she swayed her hips like a dangling, poisonous apple that warranted my reaction to her.
It was that tattoo I had noticed when she swam close to me earlier, the words trickling down the nape of her neck and back in a straight arrow.
My Whole Life Has Been Pledged to This Meeting with You
I only knew one person who went gaga over the Russian poet, and, like the famous Alexander, he was currently six feet under.
My friends began to paddle back to shore. I couldn’t move. It felt like my balls were ten tons heavy. I didn’t believe in love at first sight. Lust, maybe, but even that wasn’t the word I was looking for. No. This girl fucking intrigued me.
“What’s her name?” I snatched Beck’s ankle, yanking him back to me. Edie stopped pedaling and looked back, her gaze ping-ponging between us.
“Doesn’t matter, bro.”
“What’s. Her. Name?” I repeated through a locked jaw.
“Dude, she’s, like, way young.”
“I will not repeat myself a third time.”
Beck’s throat bobbed with a swallow. He knew damn well that I didn’t mess around. If she was legal—it was on.
Jesse Carter was going to be mine before she even knew me.
Before I even knew her.
Before her life turned upside down and her fate rewrote itself with her blood.
So here was the truth that even my lying ass wouldn’t admit later on in our story—I wanted her before.
Before she became business.
Before the truth caged her in.
Before the secrets gushed out.
I never did get to surf that day.
My surfboard broke.
Should have known it was an omen.
My heart was going to be next in line.
And for a small chick, she did one hell of a fucking job obliterating it.
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★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse
Right, why I had such difficulty reviewing Shen’s standalone in the Sinners of Saint series is quite simple. A plot that’s faster than the speed of lightning and complex to boot not only brought out all the feelings, but once again left me in awe of her writing. However, not letting on for the future reader was my main concern because doing so would certainly be a crime. Therefore, I’m going to try to be brief which, if you’ve read any of my reviews, isn’t like me at all! No holds barred; the author has delved into trigger issues. Upsetting scenes for the most seasoned of bibliophiles are reduced with a dry wit second to none, soothing those who could be affected. That being said, after getting to know the ins and outs of the protagonists’ problems convinced me never to judge anyone’s behaviour until all the facts are presented.
“We don’t remember every single day of our lives.” “And that’s a good thing, Jesse.”
Happenings in the life of Roman Protsenko, aka Bane and an incident in Jesse Carter’s story are narrated at a provoking pace, resulting in me doing an all-nighter. Did I like it? Hmm…I paid for my sleep deficit the next morning with an awful book hangover. I felt that they were too young to be exposed to such a harsh start. One thing I really liked regardless of all the sadness was the humour both protagonists had.
“Men in Black ain’t a verb.”
“Who are you, the grammar police? If so, you’d probably get jail time for saying ain’t.”
Bane managed to put himself at the top of my anti-hero-to-date list! Smug, no doubt about it! A reputation for getting away with blue murder, he has no wish to live said beliefs down and much less make excuses for himself. Dripping sarcasm, he’s a well-known manwhore. Yet I still fell head over heels for him. Why? Because regardless of what he thinks he is, underneath those layers of intrigue and lies, he’s a real softy with a huge heart. Question is, will his deceiving ways catch up on him?
‘Guilty. I felt guilty. And I never felt guilty in my life.’
My heart went out for Jesse. I felt her pain, understood how she felt, and would’ve gladly jumped into her story and given the people who made this merciful lass suffer a good-Kindle-hiding! Folk too close to home that couldn’t care less for her wellbeing made me so damn angry; others didn’t even deserve the time of day because if it weren’t their cruel actions, they wouldn’t have destroyed such an beautiful soul. Nonetheless, Jess is a fighter. How she comes back from a deep dark hole of depression makes for some really emotional reading…all I can say is thank goodness she had Bane to show her she was capable of facing her demons.
“You don’t need a prince, princess. You need a sword.”
Ooh. My. Word! The story reaches a crescendo of such intensity and didn’t just leave me on tenterhooks, nooo…it blinkin’ well gnawed at my very being! I couldn’t sit still, was nervous as hell and couldn’t turn the pages quick enough. The prize; however, is an epilogue bringing the reader much more than they could ever have wished for. All this, and the excellent secondary character development, and a compassionate tale told from two perspectives in past tense are not only details worthy of mentioning, but made Bane an epic read. Bravo Shen!
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About LJ Shen
L.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.
Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets peoples’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.
She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.