Blog Tour + ARC Review & Excerpt: Damnable Grace by Tillie Cole

Welcome to today’s stop on the tour for Damnable Grace by Tillie Cole!

Deep Redemption by Tillie Cole
Series: Hades Hangmen #5 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
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EVEN THE BROKEN, THROUGH LOVE, CAN FIND GRACE…
Secrets never stay hidden.
The burden of guilt never lifts from the heart.

Born and raised in The Order of David, Sister Phebe knows nothing but cult life. Head of the Sacred Sisters of New Zion, Phebe was groomed from childhood for one purpose: to seduce. Prized as a harlot, as a New Zion whore, Phebe is taken from the doomed cult by Meister, the notorious leader of the Aryan Brotherhood. Taken as his possession. Taken to be the woman who will obey his every sexual demand. Under his heavy hand, Phebe finds herself in a place much worse than she could ever have imagined… with absolutely no one to help. And no glimpse of hope.

Xavier ‘AK’ Deyes is content with his life as Sergeant-At-Arms of the Hades Hangmen. Leader of the infamous ‘Psycho Trio’ and ex-special ops sniper, AK knows how to fight. Experienced in warfare and schooled in military operations, AK is vital to the Hangmen. When his Vice President needs help retrieving his missing sister-in-law, Phebe, from a Klan-funded trafficking ring, AK volunteers to go in. AK remembers the redhead from New Zion. Remembers everything about her from the single time they met—her red hair, blue eyes and freckled face. But when he finds her, heavily drugged and under Meister’s control, her sorry condition causes him to remember more than the beautiful woman he once tied to a tree. Saving Phebe forces hidden demons from his past to return. A past he can never move on from, no matter how hard he tries.

As AK fights to help Phebe, and in turn she strives to help him, they realize their secret sins will never leave them alone. Kindred broken souls, they realize the only way they can be rid of their ghosts is to face them together and try to find peace.

Despair soon turns to hope, and damaged hearts soon start to heal. But when their deep, painful scars resurface, becoming too much to bear, the time comes when they must make a heavy choice: stay forever damned; or together, find grace.

Dark Contemporary Romance. Contains explicit sexual situations, violence, disturbingly sensitive and taboo subjects, offensive language and very mature topics. Recommended for age 18 and over.

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & Noble • iTunes • Kobo

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I was excited when Tillie Cole announced that she would be writing more Hades Hangmen novels, featuring AK, Tanner, and Viking. Damnable Grace is AK’s book, one that I was highly anticipating, not just for AK… but also Phebe. We’ve known Phebe for a long time in the series, and I’m so happy that we finally get her story. Hers is one that is dark, painful, and devastating, but not without hope. If you’ve loved the previous Hades Hangmen books, you definitely don’t want to miss this newest installment.

As a ‘sacred sister’ Phebe has been groomed all her life to be a seductress and to tempt men to joining The Order. But when things started going south for the cult and Phebe saw it for what it truly was – a disgusting, hateful place – she was taken away by possibly an even more evil man known as Meister. She became Meister’s sex slave, forcibly addicted to drugs and used and abused by him. Honestly, I got a little queasy reading about the horrible things Phebe went through at the hands of Meister.

Since the day the Hades Hangmen destroyed The Order and he met the red-haired beauty, AK hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Phebe. He vows to save her from the hands of Meister, but when he does, he’s got a long road ahead of him to truly healing her. Her pain-filled past and addictions are a struggle to overcome, and even AK has demons from his past that he hasn’t let go of. These are two broken characters who find solace and healing in each other. It’s an emotional roller coaster of a ride, experiencing what Phebe and AK have gone through, but their ending is more than enough to make up for it.

The reason why I didn’t love this book as much as I’ve enjoyed the previous Hades Hangmen novels was because it was a little too slow-paced, and the graphic scenes started feeling gratuitous by the middle of the book. I had to skim a few repetitive scenes, but overall it was still an intense read that left me raw by the end. Again, I highly recommend you read Damnable Grace if you love the series, especially Deep Redemption. I’m excited to see where Tillie Cole will take us next with the series – and I can’t wait for Ash’s story! I love who his future heroine seems to be 😉


lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Now here’s an excerpt from Damnable Grace! ❤

excerpt button

“Well?” Ky asked.

Tanner ran his hand over his head. The brother hadn’t attended one of our cookouts or slutfests in weeks. Not that he ever entertained himself with sluts—still too hard for his piece of pussy down in Mexico. He’d been busy trying to track down Meister. Unlike most of the white-power shit Tanner and Tank grew up with, this Meister was untraceable and off the grid. As much of a computer whizz kid as Tanner was, Meister was proving to be one slippery fucking snake to pin down.

“Gotta be honest, I didn’t think I was anywhere close to finding anything on this prick.” Tanner nodded toward Tank. “We knew of him, of course. I knew he had dealings with my father and uncle, just never met him myself. He’s Aryan Brotherhood, but works closely with the Klan. And there’s nothing on him. No email traces, no invoices, no texts. Nothing.”

I gritted my teeth and glanced at Styx, who was listening closely. Ky wasn’t originally gonna tell the prez about the plan to get Phebe, because of his fucking wedding, but that didn’t last long. Styx knew something was up with his VP. He read him like I read Flame and Vike. So Ky fessed up, and Styx was all for the plan. He’d had to push his wedding back by a month anyhow to get the pastor Mae wanted to conduct the ceremony, so he had time to kill.

“But you found something?” Ky translated as Styx signed.

Tanner sighed, the black circles around his eyes showing how hard the brother had been working. “I got something.” He shook his head, and my blood ran cold. I knew whatever he had found wasn’t good.

Tanner opened the file in front of him and threw a photograph toward the prez. Styx looked at it, then gave it to Ky. “Some middle-of-nowhere ghost town?”

Ky passed the picture around. Vike handed it to me, and I studied it. It was an aerial shot, and the picture was grainy, but from what I could make out, it was just a huge piece of land scattered with decrepit old buildings.

I passed the picture along. “Fucker owns this?”

Tanner faced me. “Yeah, or at least his father did. He’s dead now, but the deeds are still in his father’s name. Been in the family for decades. Took me a while to trace it.” He shook his head. “Meister is notorious among the Klan. Right, Tank?”

“Yeah,” Tank agreed. “Never met him either, but we’d all heard of him. Prick has been mobilizing for years for the race war they think is coming. Real serious, Oklahoma-City-bomb shit. From what we’ve heard, the guy has a one-track mind when it comes to advancing the white race. You think Hitler was fucked up? Well, imagine if he had a kid who was one built motherfucker, with a fucking carbon copy of his psycho mind; and you’ve got Meister. Fucker ain’t even German. Just wishes he was, spouting German phrases around like he’s born and bred Berlin. Delusional asshole.”

“This ain’t gonna be easy,” Tanner finished, looking at me, Vike, Flame, Hush and Cowboy. It was the five of us who had agreed to go looking for Phebe. Hush and Cowboy nodded at me to let me know they were still in.

“So he’s in this ghost town?” Ky asked, translating Styx’s sign language again. “If so, we’ll all just go in and get him, make the fucker talk and tell us where he’s got Phebe.”

Tanner sat forward. “He ain’t just living in the ghost town or hiding out. That’s where he has his enterprise.”

“Enterprise?” Ky echoed. It was his own question this time.

Tanner nodded. “From what I can tell, it’s a fucking brothel. Members of the Aryan Brotherhood, Klan, or Klan sympathizers, can go there for a night or a few days at a time.” Tank shifted uncomfortably next to him. “Ain’t sure, but I’m thinking it ain’t just getting your dick sucked and fucked. It’ll be real fucked-up shit. If Meister’s reputation is anything to go by, we would be walking into an organized, armed hellhole.” Tanner’s eyes darkened. “I get the Klan has a reputation for being full of backward rednecks. I ain’t gonna lie—growing up, most of my father’s cronies were that way. Thick as fuck and couldn’t do shit without screwing it up. Skinheads, lower-ranked soldiers, you know?”

“But there were some members that weren’t,” Tank continued. He cast an embarrassed glance at Tanner. “We weren’t, for starters.”

Tanner nodded. “It’s not the norm, but some of us were good. Smart, strong fighters, or just outright fucking psychos. The skinheads and rednecks are the foot soldiers. The likes of us, the likes of Meister, are the fucking SS. The planners, leaders, the generals—the ones who believe in the cause so much that they’re fucking lethal with what they’ll do, what they’re capable of. Meister is true Aryan Brotherhood; he’s preparing for war. He’s the real fucking deal.”

“And now he’s in our neck of the woods to stir up shit?” I asked.

Tanner nodded. “Comes from northern Texas. Never moved our way before. But the Klan are building day by day, joining forces with other white supremacist gangs—like the Brotherhood—and with the shit that’s on the news twenty-four-seven, blacks and whites at each others throats, he’s moved to the headquarters.” The brother’s jaw clenched. “To my father and uncle, who’ll be protecting him from being found out by the feds.” He sighed and ran his hand down his face. “From what I can figure out, this ghost-town brothel of his has only existed in the last year or so. He’s looking to fund something.”

“They ain’t dealing guns?” Cowboy drawled. “I thought that’s what Rider said the contract with the cult was for?”

“Rider was sure it was guns. At least it was when he was dealing with the Klan—it was all about arms. The Klan was selling them on and taking a cut.”

“His fucking twin,” Hush spat. “He changed the arrangement, didn’t he? When Rider was locked up in cult prison?”

“Think so,” Tanner said after a few seconds of silence.

“Then what the fuck are they dealing? What was Judah giving them if not Israeli guns?”

“Women.”

Reading Order: Hades Hangmen series

It Ain't Me, Babe by Tillie Cole Heart Recaptured by Tillie Cole Souls Unfractured by Tillie Cole
  

#1 ~ It Ain’t Me, Babe: EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Heart Recaptured: My Review • EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Souls Unfractured: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Deep Redemption: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#5 ~ Damnable Grace: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#5.5 ~ I Do, Babe: Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads
#6 ~ Crux Untamed: Goodreads (release date TBA)
#7 ~ Darkness Embraced: Goodreads (release date TBA)

about the author button

Tillie ColeTillie Cole hails from a small town in the North-East of England. She grew up on a farm with her English mother, Scottish father and older sister and a multitude of rescue animals. As soon as she could, Tillie left her rural roots for the bright lights of the big city.

After graduating from Newcastle University with a BA Hons in Religious Studies, Tillie followed her Professional Rugby player husband around the world for a decade, becoming a teacher in between and thoroughly enjoyed teaching High School students Social Studies before putting pen to paper, and finishing her first novel.

Tillie has now settled in Austin, Texas, where she is finally able to sit down and write, throwing herself into fantasy worlds and the fabulous minds of her characters.

Tillie is both an independent and traditionally published author, and writes many genres including: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Young Adult and New Adult novels.

When she is not writing, Tillie enjoys nothing more than curling up on her couch watching movies, drinking far too much coffee, while convincing herself that she really doesn’t need that extra square of chocolate.

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Instagram • Goodreads


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Release Day Review: Dirty Souls by Karina Halle

Dirty Souls by Karina Halle
Series: Sins Duet #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: March 20th 2017
Links: EbookGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

From New York Times bestselling author Karina Halle comes DIRTY SOULS the much-anticipated, nail-biting CONCLUSION to the sexy and thrilling Black Hearts…”

Violet McQueen has always been a sensitive soul. Troubled and misunderstood, she never realized her place in the world, nor her true potential…until she met Vicente Bernal.

From birth, Vicente Bernal has always known his place in the world – he’s been groomed to be a ruthless king. Yet for a man whose soul has become morally bankrupt, it’s only through Violet he’s realizing the worth of someone’s heart.

But at what cost?

With a deadly game set in motion taking them from the stark deserts of California to the steamy jungles of Mexico, Violet and Vicente’s forbidden relationship will be put to the test. Boundaries will be pushed, lines will be crossed and souls will get very, very dirty.

Because how do you choose between blood and love when both might get you killed?

After the slightly disappointing first book in the Sins Duet, I was hoping that Dirty Souls would make up for what I didn’t feel in Black Hearts by actually making me grow invested in Vicente and Violet’s star-crossed romance. It didn’t, BUT I will say it was a hell of a conclusion to the McQueens’ and Bernals’ story. It’s nonstop action and insanely hot, filthy sex. It’s a no-holds-barred kind of read, which I admired. If you loved Black Hearts, you will most likely love Dirty Souls just as much!

I need to figure out how to keep this forever. Her, me, the open desert. I don’t fucking need anything else. I may be young but I know enough that sometimes you don’t need the world. You just need that one person to rule the world with.

Violet and Vicente are on the run from their parents. Violet has found out that her whole life and family has been a lie, and Vicente is trying to protect her from the people who want to harm her – his father and his men. But try as they might to make their world just the two of them, reality comes crashing down and both are taken by Javier to Mexico. Can Vicente and Violet’s love withstand the test of time, or will Javier succeed in breaking the both of them?

I love her with my dark and dangerous heart. I love her with my wicked and dirty soul.
I love her enough to raze the world around me to the very ground, just so we can be together.

I enjoyed Vicente and Violet’s characters more in this sequel, mainly because they didn’t feel as naive as they did in the first book. I loved the way they were around each other, but I have to admit I started skimming the sex scenes when I was deeper in the story because, even though they were hot, they started to feel like filler. Still, Karina Halle knows how to write erotic scenes filled with chemistry, but I just grew a little tired of them when there seemed to be too many scenes of them.

We get a lot more of Ellie and Javier’s POVs in this book. I liked the contrast between them and their children, the fact that their children are what they could have been if it weren’t for the lies. But then the book felt like it was focused too much on the parents’ past and story rather than Violet and Vicente’s, which was what I really wanted. That’s one of the main reasons I couldn’t love this series more, because I really wanted more of the main characters rather than their parents. But it was still nice to see beloved characters again, even if one of them (*cough* Javier) become a little unlikable.

The Sins Duet might not be a favorite of mine from Karina Halle, but it’s a dark, gritty read that had me on the edge of my seat. It was a crazy, intense ride, and while I didn’t love it, I’m still glad to have read it. If you love the author, you should definitely check this series out – especially if you love the Artists Trilogy or Dirty Angels series!


lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Sins Duet series

 

#1 ~ Black Hearts: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Dirty Souls: EbookGoodreads

The Sins Duet is a standalone spinoff series of The Artists Trilogy and the Dirty Angels series. Here are the reading orders for both series (which you don’t need to read before starting Black Hearts).

Reading Order: The Artists Trilogy

   

#0.5 ~ On Every Street: EbookAudible • Goodreads
#1 ~ Sins & Needles: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Shooting Scars: My Review •  EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Bold Tricks: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads

Reading Order: Dirty Angels series

Dirty Angels by Karina Halle Dirty Deeds by Karina Halle Dirty Promises by Karina Halle

#1 ~ Dirty Angels: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ Dirty Deeds: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#3 ~ Dirty Promises: EbookPaperback • Goodreads


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Review: Black Hearts by Karina Halle

Black Hearts by Karina Halle
Series: Sins Duet #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 19th 2017
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

I wasn’t supposed to know about her. I never should have found her. And I sure as hell shouldn’t have taken her…

From a New York Times bestselling author comes a BRAND NEW smoldering romantic suspense that will get your pulse racing, your thighs clenching and the pages turning.

For Vicente Bernal, truth is all he’s known. The son of an infamous drug lord, Vicente was born to help run the family business, which means he’s been raised on a throne of sordid pasts and dirty laundry, violence and pride. But when Vicente stumbles across someone he’s not supposed to know about – a woman from his father’s checkered past – he sets out to California to find her behind his father’s back.

What Vicente doesn’t expect to find in San Francisco is Violet McQueen, the woman’s twenty-year old daughter. Beautiful and edgy with a vulnerability he can’t resist, Violet tempts Vicente from afar and though he promised himself he’d stay away from her, curiosity and lust are powerful forces. Besides, Vicente has always gotten everything he wants – why shouldn’t he have Violet too?

Soon his wants turn into a sexual obsession, one that sweeps Violet into his games as they fall madly, deeply in love with each other, the type of first love that can drive a person mad.

In a world of hot sex, raw love and damaging lies, these forbidden and star-crossed lovers are going to have to fight tooth and nail for their happy ending.

Our families would die before they ever let us be together.

I was SO excited when I heard that Karina Halle would be writing this series. I was a huge fan of the Artists Trilogy when it first came out, and though I still haven’t read the Dirty Angels series, it’s been on my tbr because of none other than Javier! Now we finally get Ellie and Camden’s, and Javier and Luisa’s children’s story. This is a star-crossed lovers romance like no other. Violet McQueen’s mother and Vicente Bernal’s father were lovers turned enemies, and now their children get the chance at a love that could have been.

Vicente Bernal has known his drug lord father to be the ruthless, dangerous, insane, almost-cruel man he’s been all his life. But when he finds letters written by his father from a time when he was actually sane and possibly with a heart, he’s determined to find the woman who brought out the man Javier Bernal used to be – Ellie Watt, now Ellie McQueen. When he arrives in America with a fake identity, Vicente isn’t sure of the path that will get him to Ellie, but when her daughter, Violet, appears in front of him, it seems as if fate was deciding which path he should take.

“You’re everything I’ve ever needed,” he says through a lustful groan. He bites his lip, the corded muscles of his neck straining. “I was famished, starved, for you. For this.”

Violet McQueen doesn’t know why, but she’s always felt like her family was just a little bit… off. Her parents are hiding something, and when she finds out about a grandfather who was supposed to be dead her whole life had died only recently, she sets out to uncover the lies told by her parents. Along the way she meets the gorgeous, mysterious Vicente – the passion and lust between them is fierce, and it isn’t long before she finds herself falling and trusting him. But what will happen when she finds out that another person she loves has been lying to her?

“You’re mine, Violet,” I murmur roughly against her mouth, my fingers pressing into her cheekbones. “I don’t care how that sounds, but it’s all truth. You belong to me.”

I had high expectations for Black Hearts, but it fell a little flatter than I expected. I never connected with either of the main characters – Violet was too naive and trusting and Vicente felt wishy washy and immature. I never really BELIEVED in the love that grew between them. It seemed like one minute they were in lust and the next minute they were in love. I get that they were in moments of action so it would be hard for them to have any down time, but I would’ve liked to see the romance bloom more genuinely. I actually started disliking the parents too, which was a disappointment because I loved them in their own books. Much of the book was just a little too boring and aggravating, and I just couldn’t find it in myself to care that much about all the problems going on in the book. However, these feelings could entirely be just me, so if you were a fan of either of the original series, please don’t let this review stop you from giving Black hearts and the Sins Duet a try! Hopefully you’ll enjoy it more than I did!


lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Sins Duet series

 

#1 ~ Black Hearts: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Dirty Souls: My Review • EbookGoodreads

The Sins Duet is a standalone spinoff series of The Artists Trilogy and the Dirty Angels series. Here are the reading orders for both series (which you don’t need to read before starting Black Hearts).

Reading Order: The Artists Trilogy

   

#0.5 ~ On Every Street: EbookAudible • Goodreads
#1 ~ Sins & Needles: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Shooting Scars: My Review •  EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Bold Tricks: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads

Reading Order: Dirty Angels series

Dirty Angels by Karina Halle Dirty Deeds by Karina Halle Dirty Promises by Karina Halle

#1 ~ Dirty Angels: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ Dirty Deeds: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#3 ~ Dirty Promises: EbookPaperback • Goodreads


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Release Day Review: Riot by Tillie Cole

Riot by Tillie Cole
Series: Scarred Souls #4 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: March 7th 2017
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

BRUTAL. INTENSE. PASSIONATE. THE WORLD OF THE SCARRED SOULS.

They call me 901. I am a monster, a killer, a champion. In the blood pit I am a god. I have no name, no family, and no identity. When master says fight, I fight…until I am the only one left standing. I have one goal, to fight so well that I am freed. I don’t need friends, I don’t need women. They are weaknesses. I am strong.

Until I see her. She is gorgeous and kind and off-limits to me. She was stolen as a child to be the worst type of slave and now master wants her. What he wants, he gets. With a smile, she melts my brutal heart. I have never wanted anything more.

I need to make a choice. Freedom or Love. I cannot choose wrong.

I hadn’t read a good dark romance in a while, so I was in the perfect mood for it when I started Riot! Tillie Cole writes some great dark romances, with intense alphas and obsessive love, which is what I was expecting to get in this final Scarred Souls novel, and I wasn’t disappointed. This finale is a heart-pounding, dramatic ending to this dark, gritty series that I highly enjoy. Every moment in the series has been leading up to this book. If you’re a fan of Scarred Souls, you’ll definitely want to get your hands on Riot!

“You are the Arziani Pit Bull. You are feared. But to me, you are safety.”

901 is the most powerful fighter, the Master’s champion, of the blood pit. He was taken as an orphan and groomed to be the violent, killing machine that he is now. He is undefeatable and unfallable… until he sees 152, the High Mona who the Master uses for his sick pleasure. 901 has always known that to accept a woman into his heart would mean weakness, but there’s nothing that can stop him from falling for 152 as they embrace each other in this dark, hopeless world.

901 and 152’s story broke my heart. The way they were forced into this life and broken down… it’s awful. But despite it all, they both manage to find light in each other. Their romance grew slowly and beautifully (if a bit cheesy at times), and it was the light that balanced out the darkness of this blood pit underworld. But is there a way for these two to escape this broken world? Or will they forever be owned by the Master?

“Inessa and Ilya. Ilya and Inessa . . . more than just our numbers.”

Riot might not be my favorite of the Scarred Souls series (that belongs to Raze), but it’s definitely a fantastic conclusion that fans of the series shouldn’t miss. The build-up to the climax of the story was so well done – I loved it! All of the Scarred Souls characters have been through hell and back, and I’m so happy with the ending that they all get in this novel. The whole story is action-packed, suspenseful, and crazy intense – basically everything you expect in a Tillie Cole dark romance. The heroes are over-the-top alphas, the heroines are the perfect balance to them, the world is unabashedly violent and intense. If you haven’t read one of her dark romances yet, you haven’t experienced the genre!

“Inessa,” he said in a husky voice, “without you here with me, I’d rather be dead. With you in my heart, and me in yours, I am alive.”


lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Scarred Souls series

Raze by Tillie Cole Reap by Tillie Cole
  

#1 ~ Raze: My Review • Ebook • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Reap: My Review • Ebook • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Ravage: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Riot: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#1-2 ~ Scarred Souls: EbookPaperback • Goodreads


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Release Day Review: Menace by J.M. Darhower

Menace by J.M. Darhower
Series: Scarlet Scars #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: January 16th 2017
Links: Ebook • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Once upon a time, there was a guy who got so fed up with life that he resorted to murder and mayhem just to feel alive.

Lorenzo Gambini is bored. So f*cking bored. Most people either annoy him or avoid him, afraid to face him. Figuratively. Literally. With his face partially disfigured, scarred, he looks every bit the monster the stories make him out to be: the notorious menace they call Scar. They say he’s a sociopath. Maybe he’s a psychopath. Whatever path he’s on, people tend to stay far away from it.

Until one day, a young woman bumps right into him–a woman just as fed up with life, but for much different reasons. With a Scarlet Letter inked on her wrist and secrets buried deep in her soul, Morgan Myers is running from something… or maybe somebody. Lorenzo isn’t quite sure.

You can bet your ass he’s going to figure it out, though.

J.M. Darhower is one of my top favorite mafia romance authors, and every time she has a new release (which recently usually comes as a surprise), I get SO excited and ready for it. Menace is the first in the Scarlet Scars duet, which is a spinoff of the Monster in His Eyes series. Admittedly, I’d completely forgotten who Lorenzo was so I had to do a little reread of the Monster in His Eyes series, which I couldn’t complain about – it’s only my favorite mafia romance series ever. But thankfully the reread got me prepared for Lorenzo’s story, which was an absolute fantastic experience to read. I loved it so much, even though it’s not a typical love story. You just need to read it to experience it!

Lorenzo Gambini is anti-hero personified. He’s not a good man – in fact, many are terrified of him and you could say that he’s a sociopath. He’s got issues from his past and a scar on his face, but that doesn’t stop him from being top dog in his underworld. Nobody crosses him without getting punished, so it’s a surprise to him when he bumps into a gorgeous woman… who ends up robbing him of his wallet. Rather than exacting his revenge though, Lorenzo ends up intrigued and captivated by this woman, who’s internal scars match the ones he holds inside him.

“I’d wreck you for any man that came along after me, put them all to shame, because I’d give you exactly what you wanted.”
“How could you possibly know what I want?”
“Because,” he says, grabbing a fistful of my hair and twisting my head, forcing me to turn away from him. “Looking at you is like looking in a mirror, Scarlet.”

Morgan Myers, aka Scarlet, is mystery personified. Who is she running from? How is she involved with the Russian mafia? What is she looking for? Morgan is very different from heroines that I’m used to, and her tenacity and frankness felt like a breath of fresh air to read about. She knows what it’s like to struggle, but she keeps getting up every time she’s pushed down, and I loved her for it. I especially enjoyed the way she never backed down from Lorenzo. They were the perfect match for each other. I do want to warn you, though, the romance between them is very slow to develop. I liked the pace that it went at, but I will say that I’m excited for it to move more forward in the next book.

I know he’s just a man. A man with flaws. A man with his own problems. And I know he can’t solve my problem. Not really. He can’t fix what’s wrong with me. Nobody can. They can’t even understand. But being around him, it makes me feel things, things I’ve missed just as much as the music and the laughter, things that make me feel alive again.
He’s excitement. He’s adrenaline.
He makes my heart do stupid shit.

Everything about this book, from the characters to the story, took me by surprise in the best way. To say it was unpredictable would be an understatement. I was so impressed with the way I never really saw things coming. And the twist at the end was KILLER!! The ending isn’t too bad, but you’ll definitely want to get the next book asap. Sadly it won’t be here until next month, but I’m waiting with baited breath! J.M. Darhower honestly never disappoints, so if you love her books, you’ll probably love this new series. It’s a little funnier than her other books too – Lorenzo’s POV is hilarious. It’s crude and blunt, sarcastic and a little sassy. Not what I was expecting from this crazy man, but I loved it anyway!

4.5 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Scarlet Scars series

#1 ~ Menace: Ebook • Goodreads
#2 ~ Grievous: Goodreads (out Feb. 2017)

The Scarlet Scars series is a spinoff of the Monster in His Eyes series, though you don’t have to read the previous series to understand the new one.

Reading Order: Monster in His Eyes series

Monster in His Eyes by J.M. Darhower Torture to Her Soul by J.M. Darhower Target on Our Backs by J.M. Darhower

#1 ~ Monster in His Eyes: My ReviewEbook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Torture to Her Soul: My Review • Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads
#3 ~ Target on Our Backs: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads


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