After reading Undeniable a few months ago, its sequel had become one of the most anticipated reads of the year for me. I had become somewhat reluctantly but nevertheless hopelessly addicted to Ms Sheehan unique brand of gritty romances – her stories, more than any others I have ever read, have the power to completely disconnect me from reality and, in what I can only explain as an out-of-body experience, make me feel everything I would never feel in real life. I am convinced that either Ms Sheehan has some Jedi Master mind tricks up her sleeve that we don’t know about, or these books have subliminal messages in them because that is the only explanation I can offer my super-confused brain to justify this intense level of enjoyment on my part given the themes and the crudity and explicitness of the scenes in them. The Undeniable series is like crack of the worst best kind, but instead of killing you, it invigorates your imagination, it takes you out of your comfort zone, slaps you a few times for good measure and it pushes the limits of everything you ever believed a romance novel should be like.
This is the story of Erik “Ripper” Jacobs, the Hell’s Horsemen sergeant at arms, and Danielle “Danny” West, the Horsemen’s president’s daughter. Their clandestine love affair starts when Danny is only eighteen years old, during her prom night, when Danny loses her virginity to a man fourteen years her senior whom her father trusts as a brother but would never consider worthy of his eldest daughter. Ripper is a broken man, his scarred body being only a small reflection of the deep emotional wounds festering inside him. The horrendous torture that his body had endured and survived has left him feeling ruined and ashamed of his ordeal, the “ugliness” that he sees in the mirror reminding him every day that he is no longer worthy of beauty. And, in his eyes, Danny is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen or tasted in his life.
“Baby,” he said gruffly. “Man like me got no business with a girl like you. You’re nothin’ but f*ckin’ beauty and I’m a whole lot of f*ckin’ ugly who’s already halfway to hell.”
Danny does not see the ugliness of Ripper’s scars. They are as beautiful to her as the man behind them, the only man she has ever loved in her life. Her heart never doubts her feelings for him, she is prepared and willing to scream it from the rooftops, but his reluctance to make their relationship public makes her continuously doubt his commitment to her, thus feeding the insecurities of a young woman in love for the very first time.
“Ripper,” I whispered, clinging to his neck as he carried me from the bathroom into his bedroom. “I think I love you.”
Laying me gently down on his bed, he climbed over top of me and covered me with his body.
“Yeah, baby,” he whispered, sliding back inside of me. “Ain’t no other explanation for what a girl like you is doin’ in bed with a man like me.”
When tragedy strikes, their fragile relationship takes the hit, but even through prolonged separation and heartbreak so intense that it will crush you emotionally just reading it, their bond stays as strong as ever and the force of the passion binding them makes their story impossible to put down. Even for a second. Danny’s love changes Ripper, it makes him the man he never thought he would become, and it gives him the home he forever longed to have. Nothing comes easy for them as a couple, but their fight for each other is relentless, heart-wrenching at times, their story being both tragic as well as oh-so beautiful. This might not be a stereotypical romance and yet it is truly one of the most compelling and romantic stories I have ever read.
“Flipping around in his arms, Danny looked up at him, grinning. Her hair was matted with sweat, her face flushed, her blue eyes shining, and he just stared. She was the most perfect thing he’d ever seen, ever touched, felt, kissed. She was the most perfect thing he’d ever known.”
But this is not just a story of Ripper and Danny – this is also the continuation of the torturous tale of Deuce and Eva, and their struggle to finally find the calm waters they so desperately deserve. After decades of ups and downs and having had their devotion to each other tested to the extreme, they are still fighting to stay together, both haunted by old demons and tempted every single day to just run away from everything and escape the heartbreak that their relationship has morphed into. We watch them love each other so deeply but unable to overcome their past. Each scene reminds us why we fell so helplessly in love with these characters, became so invested in their fate and why their story is so addictive.
“You’re my reason, Deuce,” she whispered through her tears. “You always have been.”
Two stories intertwined, each breathtaking in its own right. However, if you are easily offended, don’t read this book. If you are happy to stay under the illusion that all heroes should come galloping on white horses and save the helpless heroines, don’t read this book. If you do not wish to even entertain the idea of love not fitting a mould and that beauty can come even from the ugliest of contexts, don’t read this book. But, if you are open-minded, if you value stretching your imagination over any instant-gratification kind of romantic scenarios, and if you can enjoy a great story at face value without listening to those little voices inside your head telling you what you should and should not draw pleasure from, then brace yourselves because this book will rock. your. world!
“Love is a feeling, a real, raw, and unscripted emotion so sensationally pure, unable to dull even under the strain of a world against it, strong enough to heal the broken and warm even the coldest of hearts.
And sometimes, love is unconventional and it breaks all the rules and blurs all the lines and basks in its glory, shining as bright as the sun, unapologetically glowing even under the narrowed stares of society and its screaming, self-righteous morals, berating and judging that which it doesn’t understand.”