Doing it at: 64%
Catnip: Motorcycles, He’s Basically a Criminal, Opposites Attract, Cults, Sexual Healing, Bathtub Sex
Shame Scale: It’s a romance between a guy from an MC and a girl from a crazy religious cult, but it feels Real, so low shame. Plus that cover is kind of fetch, right?
Fantasy Cast: Jared Padalecki, Alexis Bledel
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…
Cleone: Wanna hear a super cat-nippy synopsis? Bad boy motorcycle club (MC) president, who is mostly mute because he has a stutter, falls hard for a girl who has escaped from a crazy polygamous religious sex cult and heals her with his cock. It’s got EVERYTHING.
Mary: Cleone was telling me about this great book she was reading, something like:
C: “The hero has a stutter but he’s super Alpha.”
M: “So he’s like, s-s-suck my c-c-c-cock?”
C: “Yeah basically, but it’s really doing it for me.”
I pretty much had to read it with her after that. Also, apparently I bought all these books without even realizing it. #Problems.
C: I was reading a book recs thread on Joanna Wylde’s facebook group page (my whole life is trash books), and Souls Unfractured was mentioned about thirty times. A quick search revealed it was already in our library and another search told me that Mary had one-clicked all three of these, so I (for once!) decided to do the whole series in order. I’m so glad I did.
M: I didn’t even realize these books were a series. They kept popping up all over and I thought it was the same book, and I kept thinking, “I could have sworn that I already bought that, but oh well, must not have.*Click*”
I did this three times.
C: Styx and Mae had met very briefly as children. Mae had just been ‘awakened’ by the disciples of her religion, and Styx was in the woods waiting for his MC dad to dispose of some bodies. They were mesmerized by each other, and Styx gave Maddie her first kiss through the high razor wire fence of her compound. The two never forgot each other. Especially Styx. Mae is only the third person in his life he’s been able to speak to.
Styx has an awful stutter when he speaks, so mostly chooses not to speak at all, and his best friend Ky acts as his translator with the MC. Styx signs and Ky is his voice. I wasn’t sure how I was going to like the stuttering at first, but I ended up appreciating how it added a layer of softness to bad ass Styx. These guys are not biker-lite, they’re violent and scary and think that bitch is an actual term of affection for ladies.
M: Fast forward a bunch of years, grown-up Styx is the leader of the Hades Hangmen, a huge motorcycle club that has it’s hands in all sorts of illegal economies and practices biblical justice. We usually look to Joanna Wylde’s Reapers MC series when we’re in the mood for bad boy bikers with questionable morality, but I think these guys were actually a little bit “badder.” Way more killing and degradation towards women, but a little less rape-y? And I’m in no way saying any of these characteristics are negatives for us. We’re into it, even when we’re a little embarrassed by that. #modernfeminism
Mild plot spoilers to follow. If you want to avoid them, scroll down really fast from one Biker We’d Like To Bang to the next.
C: When Mae shows up at the Hades Hangmen clubhouse, near dead from blood loss, Styx recognizes her as the little girl with the wolf eyes from all those years ago. She’s older, obviously lived a life of horrific abuse, and unconscious; but he knows its her.
M: Styx has been obsessing over Mae for years. As a child he begged his dad for the location of the body drop so he could go rescue Mae and make her come sail away with him. Unfortunately, his dad and everyone else thought he was insane, and then he died with the knowledge of the secret location of the compound. Coming face to face with his childhood dream was a huge shock, so Styx tries to fuck all the emotions out (as one does) with one of his regular club bitches, Lois. To be clear, I hated Lois, even though she was really nice and didn’t deserve my ire.
C: Mae is really really gorgeous. In her life at the cult Mae, and three other women, were kept segregated from the rest of the population and subjected to horrible abuse because they’re considered so beautiful that they’re evil. They’re pure sin, sent to tempt men and lead men to the devil. Everything that Cole has written about the sect is very fucked up. The abuse is not easy to read, trigger warnings are in place for a reason. Mae has been systematically sexually abused since she was eight. She has been brainwashed to think she is dirty and evil.
M: She basically looks like Snow White. Styx keeps calling her Wolf Eyes, and I can’t with that nickname, sorry.
C: Styx assigns one of the other MC brothers to take Mae under his wing while he goes on a month long run to take care of some club business. He instructs Rider to get her healthy, teach her about the world outside the cult walls, and for fucks sake not to let any of the guys touch her. Styx thinks that Mae is too good for him, and doesn’t intend to pursue her, but he doesn’t want anyone else’s hands on her either. Typical.
M: This was a bad move on Styx’s part. Mae and Rider have way too much time on their hands with him being gone for practically forever, and they form a pretty tight, tender friendship. And of course Rider is not immune to Mae’s many charms.
C: Rider falls hard for sweet, innocent, God-fearing Mae before his brother returns home to claim her.
We get the book title in action in this one with Styx telling Mae, more than once “It Ain’t Me Babe,” so I had this song in my head more than once.
M: Meanwhile, I’m all like…
C: Styx might have it bad for Mae, but since he’s still insisting they’re not going to happen, he’s putting his dick in club chick, Lois. Mary really really hated Lois.
M: I hated her so much. I hated her name, I hated her stupid sad face, but mostly I hated her because Styx was fooling himself, doing that dumb, ‘I can’t fuck the one I want, so I’ll fuck the one I’m with’ thing with her. It wasn’t a fair hatred, she was actually a pretty nice girl, but I hated her all the same. Text spoiler alert:
C: Styx and Mae give in to their simmering tension right at the wire, at 64%, edging in before our not-at-all-arbitrary 65% doing it requirement. Mae is tending to an injured Styx in the bathtub and ends up in the water with him. We are pro bathtub sex here at My Book Shame, despite knowing it’s real life limitations.
“Let me sh-show you” His large hands dropped into the water and he held my thighs in his hands, pulling me flush against his length. Let m-me inside, babe. P-put me in-inside you.”
“But you are injured. You are in pain,” I protested.
“Th-that’s why you n-need to ride me. You f-fuck m-me babe. I’m n-not so hurt that I don’t w-want your tight pussy milking my cock. You’re in con-control.”
C: It Ain’t Me Babe is definitely a sexual healing book, Styx shows Mae that sex isn’t a scary, painful punishment. He teaches her to own her pleasure and to not feel ashamed of her body. She’s a quick study.
M: I was pleasantly surprised to see that most of the sex hangups in this one stemmed from Styx’s reluctance to subject a damaged and abused Mae to his lusty needs. Mae was stronger than I expected, all “I want what I want, now give it to me.” Get it, lady.
C: There is a lot of violence in this book, in flashbacks to Mae’s abuse, in scenes of Styx and his brother exacting revenge in the name of club business. The violence isn’t danced around or seen as something that the men do only because they have to. These men enjoy their killing. This is not the book to lend to your sweet Great Aunt Edna who likes Danielle Steel.
M: Seriously. There are some romance genres that you could think of as “advanced,” meaning, not the book you want to read to dip your toes into the romance waters. I’d put dark romance, abuse victim romance, and MC romance all under that umbrella, and this book had all three. So probably not a good gateway book for a novice, but if you’re an experienced romance reader, already deep in the shame-y book hole tearing up underground fighters, sexy priests, and One Direction fanfic, then by all means, step up your game and buy this book. It was really, really great. Fantastic writing, well developed, interesting characters, and an engaging, original plot.
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