FRAGILE TRUTHS by D H Sidebottom and R M James A SHADOW OF SINS NOVEL

fragile truths SYNOPSIS

When an innocent young child inadvertently does something she was warned not to do, the outcome is so horrendous it will change her life forever. In her anguish, she carries the blame on her shoulders and although at the time she had no idea who the culprit of her loss was, Francesca swears undying vengeance.

Shadow and his two boys just happened to be visiting her father when Tate, the oldest of the brothers, sees this inconsolable little girl break down in a setting that couldn’t be more exquisite. She listens to his gentle words, and he names her after a bright star which will cause a lot of contrasting emotions years later in excruciating circumstances. As he becomes completely infatuated with her that night, he’ll try to keep his eye on her from a distance if he can.

Frankie dedicates years working on a case to bring down an infamous and untouchable criminal, Don Knight. Only a handful of people know she has the power to do it. Only she knows the real reason why she has to put this monstrous individual behind bars. Nevertheless, her obsession infuriates her lover and co-worker who also has problems of his own. His selfish attitude will influence her to take measures in their unstable relationship.

By involving the history of two families at loggerheads with each other, makes this bizarre love story orchestrated in an ominous place in London even more interesting for the reader. It is a complex. It is brutal. The dimensions diverse.

THE CHARACTERS

 FRANKIE

The reader has the pleasure of getting to know this heroin from the very first line of the story. Before I start illustrating her personality, it is definitely worth mentioning the portrayal of the co-authors’ vivid physical description which is beyond commendable! When I was reading into the early hours, I could literally see this woman’s long blond hair falling around her face while contemplating me with huge expressive doe blue eyes. One the other hand, after a supposedly casual encounter, she senses what her body was capable of. Her well-hidden dormant sensuality is woken up and provokes a storm of passion and lust difficult to control. Her incredibly strong will to abide by what she’d promised herself years ago, an unbreakably feisty spirit and her honourable candour is invincible under the most tortuous situations!

TATE

Ah Tate! This horrendously gorgeous man is painted as the bad boy in town. And of course, he is! Tall, dark-haired, rippling muscles in all the right places is a persecuted dark soul waiting for that someone to liberate him. He would never admit his weaknesses but as this Alfa male has more than one dilemma, more than one lie to tell, more than one grudge, you’ll have to read the book if you want to find out why he has this stance! A passage that bowled me over was when he called her beautiful and she said he was too. He answered; “Babe, please. I’m fine with hot, gorgeous, stunning, hell even handsome is okay but a man is never beautiful, we’re too rugged for beautiful.” Don’t doubt me when I say that this man is not just beautiful, he’s outstanding and a real softy under his hard exterior!

JUDE

Jude is estranged from his older brother Tate for reasons that will be unfolded in this story. But I will tell you that his part is probably just as important as the two main protagonists simply because he is the one character who tries his best to help them in moments of utter distress. He can’t fathom out why he feels a connection with Frankie or why he’s jealous of Tate’s relationship with her. His knowledge of Tate’s past and secrets untold have a gripping hold over the whole scenario. Actually, I found this hunk of a man totally underestimated but one can’t have everything in one go!

NIKO

The night Niko chats Frankie up in a casino is decisive for the protagonists in this story and this is where we see a change in the story. He’s rubbing shoulders with undesirable company and she feels more than uncomfortable about it. Then we see them together when Frankie and Tate have been taken to an abandoned mental home in London. Well done Ms Sidebottom and Ms James! You really had me fooled there! And since you ladies have not been very forthcoming with Nik’s physical appearance, I’ll have to use my imagination.

THE SHADOW’S VERSUS THE KNIGHT’S

Don Knight is an evil son of a bitch who feeds on others’ sufferance. He is unscrupulous and sadistic. His son Yard, ten times worse but without his father’s know-how. He is dangerous maniac who dishes out torture without a blink of the eye and he made me squirm. We still have time to get to know the more about the Shadow’s in I hope a follow up of this first novel in the Shadow of Sins series.

MY PERSONAL OPINION

What a bumpy ride these two ladies have taken me on. This book is so graphic that there were moments when I felt darn right queasy. In the next breath and in my utter desperation, I had sweaty hands. Then the love scenes in invisible brackets left my tongue hanging out and my heart palpating! Minuscule details haven’t been left out so for the faint-hearted, please heed my warning. The contents of this book are violent, first degree torture is used, disturbingly twisted and horrifying scenes are vividly explained. It is also an exceptionally beautiful love story with a difference. The sex is brilliant, the bad language tolerable, and if you think this book is for you, it’ll still make your hair stand on end!

Now then you lovely ladies—the authors! What can I say? I am lost for words which in my case, is difficult achieve!!! Your partnership has had without a doubt, awesome results. I really can’t find fault in what you have written so I’ll shut up and give your book a well-deserved…

                                        FIVE STARS.

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NUMBER THIRTEEN by Bella Jewel

thirteenI don’t usually start writing reviews this way; nonetheless, for you to understand a little about this intriguing plot without letting on too much, obliges me to tell you that this is not a run of the mill love story! It’s harsh, more often than not, violent, and extremely explicit. William is the protagonist whose past was complicated from the start of his young life. He lived with his mother while his twin brother had the opportunity to study in a different place. William wasn’t given that option. His father, who has a personal animosity towards him, was barely at home while he looked after his mentally sick mother.

He was too docile to stand up for himself and far too concerned about what his parents would think of him if he did. He was bullied beyond the point of expiration, and there wasn’t anyone there for him, to guide him, to save him. Something horrendous happened to William on a day which would mark his very existence. No-one could possibly have comprehended or imagined why he was so influenced by the number thirteen until  the reason is slowly disclosed in a story full of angst.

He kidnaps thirteen young women, eradicates their memories and takes them to his mansion where he slowly gives them the opportunity to recuperate their past by making them obey to rules and regulations which are by no means legitimate, in most cases, darn right cruel and exaggeratedly controlling. To free them from their sufferance, he demands subservience and is convinced that his unorthodox methods will be the only answer for them to be able to cope with the possibility of having a normal life. The girls are put into groups depending on the severity of the treatment they had previously experienced before he took them. Number thirteen is put together with number three, seven and twelve.

Number thirteen is different. She’s unruly. She doesn’t know who she is but this doesn’t dampen her strong will or spirit to survive. The constant questions she asks herself only seem to cause her more confusion and even more reason to rebel.  She stands up for his injustices and takes punishments when they’re not even deserved. How long will it take for him to break her? Does he? Will she reject him when she eventually finds out who this man is that hides behind a mask and the plans he has for her?

The most important woman in this unusual love story has a name. Emelyn. Incredibly honest, a natural leader of outstanding beauty and a fighter in a  losing battle, seems to gain this damaged man’s respect and love. Say no more!!! It’s definitely worth reading if you like a read with  a lot of sensuality with a difference!

I think that the reason the author hasn’t been given the credit she deserves from other reviews I’ve read is probably because this story is so bizarre! Although it is shocking, it is without a doubt, original. I couldn’t put it down and finished reading this book twenty-fours. If I haven’t given this Ms Jewel five stars, it was because this innovative plot left me hanging. Her style of writing and her description of her characters is flawless. Ms Jewel. I simply found the ending slightly rushed!

My favourite passage is a confession! “You needed to feel that fear; it was the only way I could get past the walls you had built so high.”

 

DOM WARS ROUND ONE by Lucien Bane

The newspaper advertisement caught Lucien’s eye and the more he read it, the more intrigued he became. A reality show was looking for contestants for the Ultimate Dom with a mouth-watering prize and this man not only needed the money to cover debts he hadn’t incurred but felt morally obliged to pay off, his personal experience and traits fitted the bill perfectly.

The young woman queuing for the audition in front of Lucien was a bag of nerves. She had absolutely no idea what she was letting herself into, and to say that Tara Reese was naïve would be an understatement but maybe, just maybe, this attractive man with all his amicably convincing words, whose offer to help her through something totally alien to her, could give her hope, could help her save someone dear to her heart.

Lucien is without a doubt irreproachable towards Tara. Although she huffs and puffs throughout a unique story of two people that need each other for completely different goals, eventually, Lucien’s expertise and outstanding humour, his complete and utter honestly regarding ways of dominance, makes Tara a more than willing partner in everything he asks her to do in situations that will make your hair curl if it’s not already!

The author of this book will probably strangle me for letting on! I sincerely hope not because there’s so much more to what initially appears to be a run of the mill Dom Sub romance. I felt that it was necessary to tell you a little about two fabulous characters in an incredibly unusual scenario. Mr Bane has a way with words and my only criticism is I wanted to read more!

I couldn’t possibly write my favourite passage as it would be a spoiler and a half! But I can write my favourite sentence. “Let it out love, I’m so sorry. I’m here. I’ll help you.” Only by reading this heart-rending love story with a difference, will you find out what happens!!!

A quick note to the author. Mr Bane, simply bravo!

DISTROYED by Pepper Winters

Hazel is perturbed young woman of outstanding beauty with an extremely complicated past for her years. But more importantly, she was not only a fighter, a survivor, a saviour, a woman of many identities, she was also the mother of a young child. Her heart of such immense dimensions never gave up on lost causes. One of them was her flatmate and best friend who had been there and back to hell.

Clue! A stunning oriental who would always be in the background of this story, loved Hazel like no other being. She managed to convince Hazel to accompany her to an extremely dubious club and although Hazel had got more important things to do at home that night, she was curious to meet the new love in Clue’s life.

Corkscrew, a gorgeous coloured man that had his head screwed on right fought at this club, adored Clue. But little did Hazel realise when she she walked through the threshold of what looked like a lion’s den with her friend, and seeing Fox fighting in the ring, would her dire desire to save the only person that couldn’t be saved, that didn’t want to be saved, change her life forever?

Fox is an untouchable machine! Inhuman. Horrendously attractive, grey-opaque eyes as cold as an iceberg, so highly trained, and breathes danger. This owner of the ring was unbreakable. Hazel was drawn to him. He was drawn to her. He wanted to own her. She didn’t know why this beast of a man wanted her to sign a contract difficult to complete for her services rendered and if she signed it, maybe there would be hope for her daughter. Could she break him? Will she be able to tame him? Did she sign precious days of her life away to such a magnificently tormented man for nothing?

Oscar is (Fox) Roan Avrin’s associate and only friend in an underground fighting ring that revolves around dark rooms, dungeons where Fox makes bronze statues of animals. The premises are dark, suffocating and depressing. He tolerates Fox because of his abilities. He gives him advice which, in turn, Fox chooses to ignore. Sometimes!

Clara, Hazel’s daughter is the key to this story. She is the sun that shines in this story of pain and suffering. She is the balm that will still troubled waters. Old beyond her years, you will fall in love with her.

This is definitely one of the most impressive love stories I have ever read about two lost souls that find each other in an impossible scenario difficult to read without a huge box of Kleenex at hand. The author has managed to convey an absolutely breath-taking novel by taking us on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, beautifully described and grammatically perfect. I can’t salute you enough Ms Winters. This word is too sublime for the work that you have accomplished! Phenomenal would be more fitting.

One of the passages in the book that made me think twice was, ” Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you. I’m still in control.”

THE BROKEN

River is a beautiful young women who lives with her older brother, Blayton, and a man she loathes with all her being, Danny. Even though she’s been in love with her childhood sweetheart and had envisaged spending the rest of her life with Sammy who lives across the road, Danny has a stronghold over her and her brother’s past when he was in the right place at the right time, deceiving them in such a way that they are both forced to have him in their lives. Regardless of Blayton’s addiction to drugs which help him with a profound depression caused by an abusive father and a mother that takes her life, he still wants to protect his sister above all costs. But by not telling her the truth, this will only make matters worse and escalate throughout the story.

Sammy’s heart is shattered when he founds out that on River’s sixteen birthday, Danny claims her for his own. In his confusion and anger, he leaves their home-town without asking for any explanations. After finishing his studies, he moves back home with his best friend Jasper and finds River having a more than heated argument with an undesirable character who is accompanying a friend of Sammy’s mother, Sandra. A loose woman and heavy drinker who had never cared for the upbringing of Sammy or his younger brother, Jase.

Sammy hasn’t got over River. She loves him more than ever. She’s not prepared to tell him why she’s still with Danny and he in turn, can’t fathom out why she lives with a jealously maniac bad guy. The plot thickens around abuse, violence and murder. Consequences that at all times are being observed by a neighbour, Derek, who in the long run will save the day, or not!

Just when you think that that their lives have found eternal happiness, everything comes crashing down into a horrendously intriguing cliffhanger!

I really don’t won’t to tell you more about this incredible love story because you must read it to judge for yourselves. Without a doubt, the author’s capability to describe details which will take us on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, is more than commendable. If you want explicitly hot, hot, hotter than hot sex, impressive grammar and vocabulary, “broken” characters who you’ll never forget, this is definitely for you!

My favourite expression; “Breathe for me Twink.”

INNER CORE (Stark #2)

Firstly, I would like to thank the author for giving me the opportunity to read the ARC of INNER CORE.

Secondly, I would also like to mention that this book review is totally unbiased.

Towards the end of Layers (Stark 1), Daniel reads an earth-shattering article about his most guarded private life, jumps to conclusions and accuses Haley of revealing details only she have could known. Although she denies being the culprit, he doesn’t want to listen to reason and breaks up with her. Broken hearted, she carries on with her plans to visit her parents and while there, she finds out that her brother is missing in action. When Daniel realizes he has made the biggest mistake of his life, he tries ringing her mobile which to his consternation, is disconnected. As he has a vague idea where she might be, he rings Hayley’s best friend and flat mate, Tasha. She tells him where she is, gives him her parents’ phone number and she also informs him that Hayley’s brother is missing in action in Afghanistan. By using his influences in higher places, he manages to get information about her brother’s platoon and books a flight to…

This is exactly where Inner Core kicks in. Haley can’t believe her eyes when Daniel gets out of the taxi in front of her parents’ house. Emotions run riot…I won’t tell you where, and they promise each other to be more truthful and communicative in the future. Even though you’ve met Hayley’s best friends in Layers, I must mention them again. Natasha, Ian and Haley are without a doubt, such a close-knit and self-made family, it makes one envious. Family underlined and inseparable! Tasha falls for Brad, a very dubious guy who just happens to have been one of Hayley’s ex one night stands! This makes matters more complicated because he was also an associate of Daniel. And Ian! Ian is the life of the party. Extrovert, loving and always ready to give good advice. After a night of debauchery, he is thrown out of his home by his landlady, and between him and Tasha, cajole Hayley into moving in with Daniel, something he’d been asking her to do for ages. Consequently, all Hayley’s insecurities are uncovered. I don’t want to share more of this tremendous love story because it wouldn’t be fair!

Ms. Ehrlich has not only an incredible ability of conveying the smallest detail regarding her characters’ personalities, she has been able to make us visually see their physical appearances too. Most writers in these type of romances, chose the dark haired, blue eyed boys and alpha male. Not her. Daniel is nothing but this. Strong personality, definitely, more down to earth though and with a lot of soft spots in between. I just loved his scar on his lip and the colour of his hair, everything about him. Haley is, what can I say? Outstanding, sexy, and if I was a guy, I’d say gorgeous! Inner Core is an apt title for a book that needs to be read. My personal recommendation to the author is to simply to keep up the good work. Bravo!

Her Master’s Courtesan

Rebecca just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Unbeknown to her, she was being observed by Aiden while enjoying a break with friends in the grounds where she studies the history of art. He follows her to an art exhibition, starts up a supposedly innocent conversation while she contemplates an erotic painting and asks her for her opinion. She doesn’t think twice when this attractive and well-dressed man invites her for coffee with the pretence of his ignorance regarding the art world.

Little does she know what Aiden has in store for her when she wakes up bound and chained to a bed in a cold dark room where he, the Master of Masters, is about to rip her life apart not only by torturing her physically, but also by breaking down her mind with a sadistically intricate psychology which makes her question her very existence. Converting her into a submissive slave for a more than dubious club member of a capriciously immoral men’s club which had existed for years should have been plain sailing for a man of such expertise. However; he had never envisaged Rebecca’s willpower to survive the constant mental and physical cruelty he dealt out to her. She was like no other captive he had ever trained and what had started out as a simple task, became a complex battle to dominate her. Constantly forcing her into situations of total degradation doesn’t stop her from fighting or loving him and he in turn, fights his underlying feelings for her in a perversely peculiar manner. Albeit he would never admit to himself that this woman had gained his respect, he suggests to Rebecca that instead of selling her to his highest bidder, a despot allegedly renowned for treating his slaves horrifically, they could fool the buyer by kidnapping her friend Kelsey who had long blond hair like her. She trusts him and willingly helps him do this. But when she accidently has access to her friend’s mobile and finds text messages between her friend and her first lover, she realises that she’s secretly been the laughing stock for many years. Her inquisitiveness to find a video recording of her first sexual encounter mentioned in a distasteful reunion is effective too and feeds her need for vengeance. Aiden only finds out about the video when Rebecca has a nervous attack. Although he gives her the opportunity to retaliate, it all backfires in such an unimaginable way that one is literally aghast by the outcome.

Aiden plays Rebecca like a fiddle. He deceives her, he lies outrageously to her, and he makes her body hum even when he rapes her. Aiden never makes love to Rebecca. Aiden’s sadistic ways will shock and disgust you. He is a masterful sinner you will hate from the first paragraph of the first chapter to the very last. There is absolutely no reason for you to like him. He doesn’t want to be liked. He is unconventional. He is indifferent.

Rebecca is beautiful, strong and unbreakable. She has also been cleverly manipulated to such an extent that even though she tries to give him as much as she gets, it’s hard not to get angry with her when she succumbs to his manipulations. Her total submission will annoy you but since she has no choice in the matter, you will forgive her, even pray for her. When she and Kelsey are trained, their future with devil’s advocate is only a matter of time!

I thought I had read shocking books. I was wrong! This author’s debut in a genre not easily categorised as erotica as there is so much torture in it, is a dark and difficult read. Notwithstanding; there is no argument that Ms White has written a masterpiece which will be talked about for an eternity. Why you may ask? Well, simply because every miniscule detail regarding the few protagonists’ relationship has not been left out. For this reason, not only did I find this novel suffocating and difficult to read, but at times I felt a desperate need to come up for air by taking a breather.

I salute the author for a book extremely well written. However; I would like to point out to future readers that this novel is certainly not for the faint-hearted.