I fear I do not have enough stars to offer to a magnificent story such as this one, because even my highest rating would not do this book justice. And as accustomed as I’ve become to this author’s flawless writing style and her unparalleled ability to manoeuvre our emotions into whichever direction she wishes, I was not prepared for this story, its many startling twists and turns, or the overwhelming pull I felt towards its two leading characters. It might appear as a simple story at first glance, but the deeper we delve into these characters and their many colourful facets, the more we realise that there is nothing ‘simple’ about this story, or the way its every exquisite word ends up touching us, transfixing us, making us quiver top to toe. I remain amazed by how much Ms Jackson’s voice can transform from one book to the next, her seductive prose perfectly matching the tone of each story and even adding its own pulse to the pages, and this entire series is a mind-blowing example of that. With each new story of hers that I read, I feel she only raises the bar for any book that I might pick up next, and even though I am always left incapable of moving on for weeks at a time, I get the shakes just thinking what she might have in store for us next.
“You think I don’t see you, Red. Watching. Wanting. Just because you refuse to let the words fall from your mouth, doesn’t mean they’re not true.”
As the lead guitarist of the ever-popular heavy metal band Sunder, Lyrik West is no stranger to attention from the fairer sex, his dark, smouldering good looks garnering him willing bedmates wherever he goes. But for the past year, he has not been able to stop thinking of one fiery redhead who has no qualms about telling him of all the ways she does not want him. And while he remains seemingly casual and unaffected by her during their every interaction, his eyes hold a million promises of what he’d do to her body if only she’d let him.
“Give me one night. Show me who you are. Show me that anger. Show me why. Fight it out with me with that hot little body. Or tell me no, Red, tell me no. Say it, and I’ll walk away.”
Tamar King is a riddle—a beautiful, enigmatic, self-assured young woman who hides her true self behind a façade of tattoos, makeup and brightly coloured hair, fiercely protecting a broken version of herself whose painful past makes her afraid to move on or stop watching her back. She is always in control, her tough exterior keeping men at bay and guarding her heart from opening up again, but under Lyrik’s penetrating gaze, she loses all hold of her emotions, unwillingly revealing someone fearful of her own heart and of the power he seems to have over her. But as intrigued as she is by the dark rockstar, she remains determined not to become just another one of his faceless, short-lived conquests, knowing all too well that a man like him could break her.
“I’m here for the next two months. Let me spend it erasing every memory of that bastard from every inch of you. Until he no longer exists and I’m the only thing you know.”
“What if it hurts…when you leave?”
Lyrik, however, is not a man familiar with rejection, and the more Tamar pushes him away, the more he sees her as a sexy little contradiction he is desperate to decipher. The brazen fire in her is as irresistible to him as the fleeting glimpses of sweetness and vulnerability that she tries so hard to hide, and he does not give up until he crushes through every last one of her defenses. But what he discovers underneath them makes him incapable of walking away from her, even though he knows that the last thing she needs in her life is a black heart like his.
“You are everything I never expected. Never anticipated. Everything I never knew I’d need.”
They expose each other’s weaknesses, baring their souls to one another and succumbing to the want and desire bristling between them, only to realise that they are more alike than they ever imagined. But eight weeks is all they agree on, eight weeks to explore each other’s bodies, lose themselves in one another, and give in to the pull that neither of them seem capable of resisting, knowing that at the end of those two months, they’d both walk away with no chance of it becoming more. This is the tale of a man who closed his heart a long time ago, promising to never love again, now completely defenseless before a woman whose every touch slowly strips him of his resolve, and of a woman who comes to life in his arms, feeling unafraid and free to be herself for the first time in years. They are each other’s missing piece, each other’s only salvation…if only they’d let themselves be free from the shackles of their own pasts.
I was besotted by this story, by the devastating beauty of Ms Jackson’s poetic prose, and by the compelling complexity of these characters. Every time my mind returns to Tamar and Lyrik, I feel the urge to revisit their story, to re-read the countless passages I found myself highlighting page after page, to lose myself in them once again, because this is not a story you easily walk away from. You hesitantly totter away from it, forever glancing back longingly.
I hated him for chasing me.
Hated him for exposing me.
Hated him for making me feel this way.
Hated myself for needing him so much.
And God, how I loved it all.