Familiar authors rarely surprise me anymore, as I can usually foresee the bounds of their comfort zones, but I am gladly proven wrong from time to time and, let me tell you, this was definitely one of those occasions where I simply did not know what hit me. Never in a million years did I expect this author to so boldly delve into the taboo world of dark sexual fantasies by giving us a character that I wanted to kiss and punch all at the same time. This book was a thrilling ride from beginning to end I hope to see much more of such ‘boldness’ from someone I now call one of my favourite authors.
“I get off on watching other people’s pleasure. Or I get off when pain is involved. Or I get off when something is far, far over the line of normal. I don’t get off by my own participation.’
Dominic Kinkaide is a bad boy by name and an ever kinkier one by nature. World famous actor, adored by legions of women everywhere, he appears to have everything he could ever want, but no one really knows the real Dominic. He lives a scandal-free public life, whereas his deviant personal life where pleasure and pain are sinfully entwined together remains a fiercely protected secret, only known to those closest to him. His every sexual proclivity is driven by the darkness of his past that has trapped his soul into an endless loop of self-hatred and distrust of the world around him.
“I love watching pain. It distracts me from my own.”
When Dom meets Jacey, a young waitress at one of his brother’s infamous house parties, he is drawn to her girl-next-door type of beauty and intrigued by her wild streak, but he quickly dismisses her as just another groupie who would do anything to sleep with a famous actor. Life, however, seems intent on keeping their paths crossed and after a series of unexpected events, Dom and Jacey find themselves facing ninety days of community service to be served together at a local youth club. As they spend more and more time together, their attraction grows, but for very different reasons.
“I’m giving someone a chance, for the first time in a long time, to prove to me that she’s not like everyone else.”
Jacey has always been a wild child, known for her reckless and irresponsible ways. The tragic culmination of her latest relationship fiasco having finally set her in the right direction, determined to learn to stand on her own, make something of her life and stop picking flawed men who only use and abuse her. Dom appears to be like every man she has ever dated, emotionally detached and unpredictable, but Jacey’s heart senses also a very vulnerable and broken part in him that she cannot help but want to fix. She is attracted to his good looks, but even more to his inner turmoil and self-deprecating ways which bring out the carer in her and make her desperate to save him. She sees the pain he hides and sees her own brokenness through his eyes.
“It’s like he saw me… He saw that there’s something so fundamentally wrong with me that my own parents don’t want anything to do with me. That I’m flawed.”
When they agree on a friends-with-benefits arrangement to satisfy the growing attraction between them, all they expect is a no-strings-attached affair of mutual convenience, where they get to ‘scratch an itch’ and fulfil each other’s fantasies. But, from the very beginning, the pace of their relationship is driven by Dom, creating an imbalance between them that triggers the emotional remnants of every bad relationship Jacey has ever been in. As she quickly finds her voice and forces Dom to start opening up to her, she opens a Pandora’s box she never expected to find. Old memories re-emerge, past tragedies come back to life and Jacey finds herself facing more of Dom’s emotional baggage than she ever bargained for. And a man who believes himself to be unfixable.
“… I’m just a shell, completely empty inside.”
This is a beautiful story of emotional recovery, of two weary souls finding each other, unexpectedly falling for one another and exorcising each other’s demons simply by letting themselves be loved and loving in return. Regardless of how broken these two people are or how unworthy of love they believe themselves to be, we are given another heart-wrenching tale filled with hope and promise, where taking a chance on happiness outweighs any possible downfalls. If you love a flawlessly written, meticulously interwoven story that will make your heart race and clench at the same time, I urge you to meet this bad boy and the girl whose love saved him from himself.
“I’m very, very capable of hurting you… but not if you don’t let me.”