Where Darkness Lies by Bella Jewel

It’s Finally Here! After waiting basically a year to read what happens next we finally have the chance to find out what happened to Jess! I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Bella’s book (Thank You Bella!) and as part of her Release Day Blitz here’s my review!

Where Darkness Lies Cover
Synopsis

Anger and pain brought them together, but their passion might just set them free.

Dimitri
wants only one thing: revenge. His stepfather, Hendrix, has caused him
nothing but pain and heartache. At last Dimitri can take
something—someone—important to Hendrix and make him pay: Jess.

Jess
is feisty and strong headed. Her past haunts her and connects her to
the dangerously dark Dimitri in an unexpected way. Dimitri keeps his
secrets locked deep inside, and Jess is drawn to this broken man like no
one before.

With little to cling to besides their haunting
pasts, both could have been doomed to lives spent raging against the
darkness that holds them prisoner. Instead, it seems that as their pain
draws them closer together, it is their desire that will set them free.

 

Review

So we know from the ending of Book 1 Enslaved by the Ocean that Jess, a dear friend of Hendrix and also the medic on his ship, has been kidnapped by his stepson Dimitri. Hendrix had taken care of both Dimitri and his mother but when she was killed and Hendrix left to live a life on the seas, a young Dimitri blamed him for both his mother’s passing and the horrendous ordeal he went through afterwards. Wishing to cause Hendrix the same level of pain that was inflicted on him, he takes Jess, someone he assumes Hendrix cares about, in the hopes to make Hendrix suffer and to draw him into his trap.

Jess is thrown into the depths of Dimitri’s ship praying that Hendrix will be able to save her soon – he knows these waters inside out after all. But when the ship docks and she’s shoved into a car, taking her further and further away from the water and further into the woods her hope starts to diminish. Trying to escape him and his goons is futile and only makes him angrier – he’s cold, angry and stubborn but isn’t half bad to look at!

Taken to his house where she’s given a large sumptuous room she decides it could be much worse…that is until she’s handcuffed. With a horrific past and the mental scars to match Jess is nearly pushed over the edge and its from here Jess and Dimitri start to realise that they aren’t that much different, both baring the scars of their pasts and although they shouldn’t, their relationship takes on the form of one so much more than just Captor and Captive…Especially after Jess had showered and eaten properly for the first time in days, leaving her less like a zombie and more like the young beautiful women she is, something that Dimitri doesn’t fail to notice.

Whilst staying with him, Jess learns that this plan of revenge has been in the works for years, his hatred so embedded it’s all he’s lived and breathed for so long; fighting to gather information on Hendrix’s activity and gaining allies. As the two of them grow closer Jess tries to tell him what Hendrix is really like, that he’s got it all wrong but not to any avail even as their trust and desire for one another grows.

But when Jess’ past finally catches up with her, her only hope is for the two men now in her life to work together – but after hating Hendrix for so long, can Dimitri get over his anger, even for Jess?

I must admit I’ve been waiting on tenterhooks for this book for SO long now that I was worried when it finally did land on my Kindle it would be a bit of an anti-climax but OH BOY was I so wrong to worry! I stayed up into the early hours so I could read this beauty from beginning to end in one sitting it was that good! I immediately loved Jess, she’s feisty and determined but at the same time she has this vulnerable side which made her so relatable. And then there was Dimitri…..there’s just something about a slightly damaged bad boy isn’t there?! One minute he’s this strong arrogant fighter and the next he’s coming out with incredible things that just make your panties melt off or your heart squeeze.

Heart Wrenching, Heart Racing and Heart Stopping-ly good, Where Darkness Lies deserves a massive 5 stars and is a must to add to your ONE-CLICK RIGHT NOW pile! With an incredible story and the characters to match cancel all plans for the day, get in a tonne of coffee and snacks and find some spare panties because once you start this beauty you will not want to stop, not even to sleep, and with a man like Dimitri you’re going to need the extra underwear!

Links to Buy
AMAZON US / UK / AU
Author Bio

Bella Jewel is a self published, USA Today bestselling author. She’s been publishing since 2013. Her first release was a contemporary romance, Hell’s Knights which topped the charts upon release. Since that time, she has published over five novels, gaining a bestseller status on numerous platforms. She lives in North Queensland and is currently studying editing and proofreading to further expand her career. Bella has been writing since she was just shy of fifteen years old. In Summer 2013 she was offered an ebook deal through Montlake Romance for her bestselling modern day pirate series, Enslaved By The Ocean. She plans to expand her writing career, planning many new releases for the future.

 

Author Links
Giveaway
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Enslaved by the Ocean by Bella Jewel

So very soon Where Darkness Lies by Bella Jewel is going to be published and I thought to prepare myself fully for it’s brilliance I’d re-read and review the first book in the Criminals of the Ocean series – Enslaved by the Ocean. Here’s the blurb…

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Enslaved by the Ocean

Indigo has a troubled past and there’s no denying it. Tired of being scared, she sets sail aboard a private yacht, hopeful that the open waters of the Atlantic will give her and best friend Eric a much-needed respite.

As if trouble followed her, the yacht catches fire. Stranded in the ocean, cold, hungry, desperate, and alone, Eric and Indi struggle to survive.

Just when they think things couldn’t get much worse, they are captured, held hostage by a band of modern-day pirates. Now they’re in even more trouble than they could have ever imagined.

What Indigo couldn’t have predicted is how broodingly handsome Hendrix, their captain, is. The moment Indi lays eyes on him, she feels sparks fly and a carnal attraction she’s never felt before. Hendrix is pure alpha male: hotter than hot, determined, powerful, and hard to crack.

Hendrix has plans for Indi, dark plans that will put her life at risk. If only Indi could connect with him, it might be more than just lust on the line…it might save her life.

Enslaved by the Ocean is a steamy romance and the first in the Criminals of the Ocean series.

♠♠♠♠♠

Having never read a pirate book before I went into reading this with a completely open mind. I was expecting to read some back-in-day swashbuckling adventures but as it says in the blurb this is a tale full of modern-day pirates and not the kind you find in Pirates of the Caribbean. They’re the kind that use mobile phones and computer tracking systems…though oh course they still use guns and swords, and even wear head bandanas! Not forgetting the tattoos, crude language and the panty-dropping winking *sigh*.

The story begins with our heroine Indigo (awesome name!) running off to her new life in England away from her past. Her best friend Eric, a very black-and-white guy agrees to accompany her to London on business before heading back home. Of course getting a plane there would be far too easy so instead Indigo hires a yacht to sail them over deciding the adventure and the ocean air will be good for her. A couple of days into the trip tragedy strikes and their yacht catches on fire, killing the captain and leaving Indi and Eric alone on the life boat. Starved, sun burnt and on the verge of insanity they’re both relieved when they catch sight of a ship in the distance….until they spot the black flag decorated with a skull and crossbones flying from the mast.

Once aboard they meet the elusive Captain Hendrix, a man fierce enough to strike terror into any passing sailor. Expecting someone older with an eye patch and a beard Indi is shocked when she meets the piercing eyes of the young and devastatingly handsome Hendrix. Thrown into the cells they’re left to pass the rest of the journey only with the same four walls and each other for company….along with Hendrix’s last words – Indi is to be sold to settle a debt and Eric to be used as leverage for her good behaviour.

Left with the terrifying future of being forced into slavery Indi comes up with a plan – if she can make Hendrix feel something for her, to show some kind of emotion, then surely he wouldn’t be able to sell her. But what Indi wasn’t expecting was to feel something back…how can you have feelings for your captor, a man willing to sell you to another man as payment?

Maybe it has something to do with the awesome-waterfall-on-a-beautiful-tropical-island-sex? Just saying, can’t hurt can it?… 😉

This book was so much better than I was expecting, obviously anything from Bella Jewel is going to be brilliant but this story was a lot deeper and more complex than the quick pirate romp I thought at first. Both Indigo and Hendrix were brilliant characters, Indi’s sass and no bullshit attitude made for great reading and trying to solve Hendrix’s complex character was definitely one of my favourite past times! A tough exterior paired with a troubled past which still haunts him, Hendrix was one tough nut to crack but his way with words and alpha male attitude towards Indi is enough to make any pair of panties drop.

I thought the secondary characters were great too, Jess is a real sweetheart and provides another outlet to showcase Hendrix’s sweeter side and the other pirates like GG and Drake made reading the scenes containing the rum a lot more fun too! However, Eric’s character did annoy me, he came across as a bit of a coward and an all around annoying wet blanket – he seemed to care more about himself than Indi when she was the one being sold! But then if all the males were as yummy and alpha as Hendrix then how could you choose between them?!

Full of passion, heartache, and swashbuckling adventures Enslaved by the Ocean will leave you high and dry and begging for more. If you love cocky alpha pirates, bad pirate jokes and panty melting scenes of seduction then this is the book for you!

Read Enslaved by the Ocean for yourself:

Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)

Read more reviews on Goodreads or check out Bella’s Facebook

Let me know what you think in the comments below and stay tuned for my review of Book 2 Where Darkness Lies this December!

It Ain’t Me, Babe by Tillie Cole

So I’ve reached the last book to review in my Tillie Cole series! (At least until Sweet Fall is released at the end of August anyway!!) And this book is a little different to those I’ve reviewed before….There’s still heart break, despair and a hottie to get your blood pumping…. but this time around? There’s a Biker MC and a religious cult thrown in the mix too…

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It Ain't Me, Babe by Tillie Cole

Sinning never felt so good…
A fortuitous encounter.
A meeting that should never have happened.

Many years ago, two children from completely different worlds forged a connection, a fateful connection, an unbreakable bond that would change their lives forever…

Salome knows only one way to live—under Prophet David’s rule. In the commune she calls home, Salome knows nothing of life beyond her strict faith, nor of life beyond the Fence—the fence that cages her, keeps her trapped in an endless cycle of misery. A life she believes she is destined to always lead, until a horrific event sets her free.

Fleeing the absolute safety of all she has ever known, Salome is thrust into the world outside, a frightening world full of uncertainty and sin; into the protective arms of a person she believed she would never see again.

River ‘Styx’ Nash knows one thing for certain in life—he was born and bred to wear a cut. Raised in a turbulent world of sex, Harleys, and drugs, Styx, unexpectedly has the heavy burden of the Hades Hangmen gavel thrust upon him, and all at the ripe old age of twenty-six—much to his rivals’ delight.

Haunted by a crushing speech impediment, Styx quickly learns to deal with his haters. Powerful fists, an iron jaw and the skillful use of his treasured German blade has earned him a fearsome reputation as a man not to be messed with in the shadowy world of outlaw MC’s. A reputation that successfully keeps most people far, far away.

Styx has one rule in life—never let anyone get too close. It’s a plan that he has stuck to for years, that is, until a young woman is found injured on his lot… a woman who looks uncannily familiar, a woman who clearly does not belong in his world, yet a woman he feels reluctant to let go…

Dark Contemporary Romance/New Adult Novel.

Contains sexual situations, violence, sensitive and taboo subjects, offensive language and mature topics. Recommended for age 18 years and up*

♦♦♦♦♦

When I first read the blurb for this book I was both intrigued and wary – having read some MC books before, I was wondering how Tillie Cole was going to pull it off as her previous books are nothing like this! But I should never have doubted Tillie’s writing ability because once again it’s utterly flawless and completely compelling.

In the opening scenes we meet a young boy named River who accompanies his MC President Dad to bury a body. Wandering away from the car he comes across a high metal fence around a large compound of some kind, and sitting at the edge is a young girl who must be either his age or younger. Seeing she’s crying he tries to talk to her but River suffers with an awful stutter and apart from his dad and best friend Ky he has to use sign language to talk to everyone else. But somehow he manages to talk to this girl making her his number three. This girl, though she barely speaks a word, enthrals River with her long dark hair and wolf eyes – she’s also his first kiss. His dad calls him away before he finds out her name and for years since he tries to find the compound again and the girl with the wolf eyes but he never does and the rest of the club believe he dreamt it all.

Salome (or Mae as her sisters call her) has lived in the commune her whole life – one of the four Cursed women whose beauty is believed to cause others to sin, she’s spent most of her life in solitude, locked away and treated abysmally for supposedly being created by the devil himself. Along with her two blood sisters and her best friend Lilah she’s suffered sexual and physical abuse since a young age but unlike her sisters Salome was chosen to become Prophet David’s (the leader of the commune) seventh wife on her 23rd birthday but after a horrendous event Mae manages to escape the commune but badly injured and finds herself outside the Hades Hangmen MC.

River, now known as Styx, has recently become the club President and finds Mae outside covered in blood and on the verge of death. Seeing her eyes he realises this may be the wolf eyed girl he discovered all those years ago and doesn’t hesitate to take her in. The rest of the story describes Mae’s new life in the world outside the fence, a world she was only taught is full of evil but now she realises she truly knows nothing about. She struggles with outside customs, the MC and her growing relationship with Styx – but can she ever really escape the commune’s clutches? And what about her sisters she left behind?

This story is full of grit and also tackles so many issues that I previously didn’t know anything about. Mae’s religious cult is something else – and the ‘Lord’s Sharing’ as they call the sexual abuse Mae suffers is horrifying, especially as the stories shared are based on true ones Tillie was told during her University studies. Again with Styx’s speech impediment, I really loved watching his journey as he slowly tries to find his voice for Mae. Much like all of Tillie Cole’s characters you can’t help but love those found in this book. Mae’s sweet naivety and determination to find herself a better life mixed with Styx’s strength and adoration of Mae makes for a great read.

Along with the fab characters, Tillie always adds a great twist into the story and boy is there an absolutely brilliant one in It Ain’t Me, Babe!! I loved her take on a biker MC book and the depth that the cult added to the story – it was completely compelling. It’s dark, gritty and hot as hell – with some hunky bikers to boot! Yet another Tillie Cole bestseller to add to your collection!

To read It Ain’t Me, Babe by Tillie Cole for yourself check out…

Amazon.co.uk (UK) or Amazon.com (USA)

To find out more about author Tillie Cole check out her website or Facebook page

What did you make of It Ain’t Me, Babe? Let me know in the comments below!

Bring on Book 2!