Review: Tortured by Nicole Williams

 

 

 

 

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When he left for a twelve-month deployment, she knew it would feel like forever before they saw each other again. She didn’t realize how right she was.

When Lance Corporal Brecken Connolly gets taken as a POW, Camryn hopes for the best but steels herself for the worst. In the end, steel was what she needed to survive when he didn’t. She moves on the only way she knows how—gilding herself in more steel.

Years go by.

She builds a new life.

She leaves the old one behind.

Until one day, she sees the face of a ghost on the news. Brecken seems to have risen from the dead, but she knows she can’t perform the same miracle for herself. While Brecken was held in a torture camp for the past five years, she’s been trapped in her own kind of prison. One she can’t be freed from.  

The man she mourned comes back to join the living, but the girl he wanted to spend his life with isn’t the same woman he comes back for. Brecken isn’t the same person either. The past five years have changed them both. While he’s determined to put the pieces back together, she’s resolved to let hers rot where they shattered.

 

Broken or not, Brecken wants her back. He’ll do anything to achieve that. Even if it means going against the warden of Camryn’s personal prison—her husband.
“It’s been six years. Everything’s changed. I have. You have.” My eyes lifted. “Why? Why are you trying to win me back?”
He exhaled, his lips parting. “I’m going to win you back.”
When his hand slid around the bend of my waist, winding behind my back, I jerked. His touch was different tonight, hungry, determined. My head clouded, blocking out reason or letting it surface to the top, one or the other.
“I married him,” I whispered even as my hand found his chest.
“But you belong to me.”
My eyes closed as he bowed me against him. I wasn’t sure how two bodies that had been as broken as ours could be so strong when joined. “How do you know?”
“I can see it in your eyes. Every time you look at me.” His other hand lifted to my chin, tipping it until our eyes connected. His brow rose slowly, like I was proving his point right that very moment.
“That’s a confident statement.” My voice shook, but my body felt steady. Unwavering.
“It’s the truth.”
My chest was moving so hard, it brushed his with every breath. What was I doing? Where had I found myself? The man holding me had died only to be resurrected six years later. It was too late, but it wasn’t over.
No matter what, Brecken Connolly and I would never be over.
“Twenty-six days,” I said slowly. “That’s all I have to give you. That’s all I have to give. Four weeks. Once he’s back, you know the way it has to be.”
His face broke, but his hold didn’t budge. “It’s not enough.”
My fingers curled into his shirt, looking for some way to hold on to him. “I know.”
His other arm suddenly looped around me and he lifted me off the ground, his grip going around my backside when my legs tied around him. “But a fucking eternity wouldn’t be enough either, so it’ll just have to do.”
He carried me through the sand and up the stairs of the cabin, then he propped me against the wall so he could open the screen door. Something slipped out of my mouth when he flexed his hips into mine.
“Told you it wasn’t a morning issue,” he whispered in my ear, but I could hear the smile in his voice. “Just a Camryn one.”
He made the same motion with his hips, applying a little more friction this time, causing a louder sound to echo from my lungs.
Opening the screen door as silently as he could, he carried me inside.
“You can set me down, you know?” I whispered.
“I know,” he said, his arms tying tighter. Once all of the lights were off, the cabin closed up for the night, he padded down the hall.
“You know where you’re going?”
His head nodded beside mine. “I’ve always known.”
My hands went behind his neck. His skin was warm and familiar. “And where’s that?”
He exhaled against my skin as he closed the bedroom door. “Toward you.”
He set me down once he’d untied my legs from around his waist, and he took a few steps back. He stared at me for a moment then reached for the lamp on the dresser.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Turning on the lights.”
I watched him flip on another. “Why?”
“Because I want to see you. Because I want to watch your face as I move inside you. Because I want to see your skin flush when I make you come.” He flipped on one more light, then all of his attention turned to me. “Because I want to see everything.”
My heart took off as I imagined being intimate with him with every light in the room on. My body wasn’t the same one he’d left. It had carried a burden; it bore the scars of a shattered soul and a broken body. “I don’t want you to see me. Not like that. In the dark, you can imagine the way I was before.”
When I reached for the closest lamp to switch it off, he stopped me. “I don’t want to imagine.” His hand curled around mine, guiding it away from the lamp. “I want the real thing. I want the real you.”
“You’ve seen my body. You know what I look like beneath all of this.” I motioned at the fresh clothes hanging off of me, covering me from my wrists to my ankles to my neck.
“When I look at you, I see beauty and strength, and the one person in the world who gives me a reason to live and a reason to die.” He drew me to him, his face creased in lines of concentration. “That’s what I see when I look at you.”

 

MY REVIEW:

This story is not for the faint of heart. It’s probably not for readers who have lost a soldier or been abused, either. But it’s a wonderful story. There’s a lot of heaviness and I cried not a few tears, but this hero is a hero. And he doesn’t like it when men pick on women. Especially when one picks on the woman he thought he’d be marrying once he got home from the nightmare in which he was imprisoned for five years.

Camryn has been through a hell of her own. Partially, it’s of her own making and she therefore feels defeated. She has a small son to protect and always puts his security above her own safety, which is a certain brand of strength.

There are all kinds of gray areas in life, and this story touches on some important ones. Five stars.

 

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Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

 

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Review + Giveaway: The Reason for Me by Prescott Lane

 

 

 

 

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Holt
She likes it quick and dirty.
I like orders and rules.
She hates small talk.
I hate to share.
She’s an open book.
I’m a closed dresser drawer.
She rides a Harley.
And that drives me f’ing nuts.
Annalyse and I have both lived in our own personal hells for half a decade.  She’s learned to love the warmth, and I’m still consumed.  But my new neighbor is stoking more than my libido these days.  We agreed on only pleasure.  But she changed the rules.
And now I’m not even sure what they are.
Maybe there’s a reason she found me that night, maybe there’s a reason I can’t stop thinking about her, maybe there’s a reason for the pain.  Maybe not.
We all look for reasons in life.  Reasons for death, love, pain.  Why one thing happens and not another?  It’s human nature.  We’ve been looking for the meaning of life since the beginning of time.  But maybe the reason for all of it — life, love, loss, heartache — is the curvy brunette living next door.
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Annalyse

“You should have on a life jacket.”  

“When I kayak or when I ride my motorcycle?” I ask.

He tries not to smile, but he does.  “Pissed, huh?”

“Observant, aren’t you?”

“Motorcyclists are twenty-five percent more likely to die and five times more likely to be injured than a passenger in a car,” he says.

“You looked that up just to lecture me, didn’t you?”

“Not the point,” he says.  “No more motorcycle.”

Did he really think he could go all alpha male on me?  Usually, it would be hot as all-get-out to see a man in control, dominant, but right now alpha equals asshole!   Note to self — I should do a blog post on that.  Where have all the good alphas gone?  “Who do you think you are?” I say, walking away.  “You’re not my husband or my father.  Come to think of it, I wouldn’t let my father or husband order me around like this.”

His fingers lightly touch my elbow.  It isn’t a grab.  I barely feel it, and as quickly as he touched me, it’s over.  “I’m a doctor.  I’ve seen what . . .”

“You’re a gynecologist!  You’ve seen what a motorcycle can do to a vagina?”

Oh God, I’m in trouble.  He’s got the dirtiest look in his eye.  “I’d imagine the vibration would feel pretty damn good.”

I can’t help it and bust out laughing.  “You are impossible.”

“And it’s the law to carry a life vest for every person in a kayak,” he says.
I roll my eyes.  “You like rules.”

“I like order.”

“Ordering people around,” I say.

“Only certain people,” he says.

Don’t ask me why, but the thought of him “ordering” me around made my legs clench together, or maybe it was the mention of vibrations.  Either way, the idea of him taking control of my body didn’t sound bad to me at all.  It would be nice to not think so damn much all the time and just feel something good for a change.

 

 

My Review:

It’s always great to find a female lead character who knows her own mind and isn’t afraid to set boundaries.

Halloween is the anniversary of horrible events for both Annalyse and Holt. Both would prefer to ignore its existence but a chance encounter leads these hurting souls to bond.

Annalyse wants to unravel the mystery of Holt. I particularly enjoyed her blog posts about him. When we do learn his secrets, they’re heart-wrenching. I admit to an unexpected ugly cry.

Humour relieves the sad elements in this book so that it never becomes unbearable. I adored the maturation of both leads and I still have a book hangover a week after reading this. Five stars.

 

 

$50 Amazon Gift Card

 

 

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Prescott Lane is the Amazon best-selling author of Stripped Raw. She’s got five other books under her belt including: First Position, Perfectly Broken, Quiet Angel, and Wrapped in Lace, and her new release, Layers of Her. She is originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, and holds a degree in sociology and a MSW from Tulane University. She married her college sweetheart, and they currently live in New Orleans with their two children and two crazy dogs. Prescott started writing at the age of five, and sold her first story about a talking turtle to her father for a quarter. She later turned to writing romance novels because there aren’t enough happily ever afters in real life.

 

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