Released: March 26, 2014
Genre: Dark erotic romance
Reviewed by Sarah
On the flap: "The monsters you really should be afraid of, don't need to hide in plain sight. The truly dangerous ones…have no need to hide."
When physical pain allows you to escape your reality; what do you do when the pain is no longer strong enough to quiet the emotional ache?
Diouana “Nikki” returned to her hometown six months ago to tend to her sick mother. She thought she’d left her “baggage” behind her on the opposite coast, only to find that it never left her side. As her self-destructive thoughts begin to consume her, her mother -- realizing Nikki’s torment -- pushes Nikki to complete her last wishes.
Eric Brenton, Nikki’s new neighbor, lives in a dark, chaotic world that is easily hidden behind his model good looks and cocky demeanor. Unapologetic about his dirtier intentions, he sets his sights on Nikki with an offer to help her. But his help comes with very unorthodox conditions and a huge price.
And Eric...comes with an extensive black box warning label.
Warning: Contains graphic language, frequent graphic sex, and dark themes.
Nikki has been gone from home for a very long time only to return to care for her sick mother. She’s a bit strange, definitely a loner, quite intelligent, and a little feisty. She wasn’t raised in a great family environment; her mom, while creating substantial wealth, has been a workaholic to the nth degree and her father was a philandering alcoholic until he passed in an accident. Nikki has her share of mental health issues as well. She’s a cutter, has anxiety disorder, and has spent time in a facility after trying to commit suicide.
Eric has recently moved into the home next door to Nikki. He enigmatic from the very beginning but also intrigued and enamored by his peculiar neighbor. From the onset, he almost appears to be stalking her showing up at the few places she goes including the hospital where it’s discovered he’s a doctor. As the story continues, we figure out he’s not the most upright citizen we thought. His layers get peeled away the deeper into the read we go.
First off, the complimentary copy I read has preface containing a warning stating the content deals with “slightly dark, twisted, dimensional romances, this story may not appeal to you—as it deals with mental health issues, sadomasochism, and the like.” It figures one of the few times I post a specific quote from a book, it’s a warning. Perhaps this should have been a light bulb moment, but I thought, “I’ve read some dark stuff. How bad can it be?” Dark is an understatement. This book is dark, morose, depressing but it’s also intriguing, curious, and captivating.
While it’s not my typical book and one I don’t think I could handle reading a second, it is amazing and well written. It has the feel of Sleeping with the Enemy but with mental issues on both sides of the coin. In some ways it doesn’t feel like a romance due to some of the subplots throughout but in the end it is very much a romance, just not one with a normal HEA. There are some very intense situations which I could surmise that most would find loathsome or at the very least violent. Yes, it did make me uncomfortable but as pointed out in the book it was consensual. Imaginably, this continues to speak to the dejection within the pages.
The relationship between Nikki and Eric is volatile at best but in the end they seem to complement one another. When all is said and done, I was left thinking “what just happened?!?!” As most here know, I reserve cussing in my reviews as a last resort but find it entirely appropriate and needed for this read. It is, by far, the biggest mind fuck. Although this isn’t my standard happy and somewhat fluffy read, I am glad that I took the right.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Amazon | Goodreads | Author
I have a large appetite for books with pensive alpha males. I tend to lean towards erotica and contemporary romance. I am completely addicted to my Kindle and feel naked when it’s not with me. If you have any recommendations, feel free to email them. I’m a single-ish woman with two crazy dogs. I also love football and basketball. Living in Oklahoma City, my teams are the Thunder and Sooners.