Doing it at: 52%
Catnip: Forbidden Romance, Russian Mobsters, Killing Machines, Family Ties, Dual Narrative, Strong Female Lead, The Hamptons, Tame Me, Beauty and the Beast
Shame Scale: It’s a romance novel about a man who has been turned into a literal killing machine and the daughter of his family’s sworn enemies. They’re all Russian Mobsters, and the cover has amazing back porn. Whatever, low shame. We are owning this now.
Fantasy Cast: Kellan Lutz, Clare Bowen
Raised as a prototype for the Georgian Bratva’s obedience drug, 221 fails to think, act, or live for himself; he’s his master’s perfectly-crafted killing puppet. Standing at six-foot-six, weighing two-hundred-and-fifty pounds, and unrivaled in to-the-death combat, 221 successfully secures business for the Georgian Mafiya Boss of NYC, who rules the dark world of the criminal underground. Until his enemies capture him.
Talia Tolstaia dreams to break from the heavy clutches of Bratva life. She dreams of another life–away from the stifling leash of her Russian Bratva Boss father and from the brutality of her work at The Dungeon, her criminal family’s underground death-match enterprise. But when she stumbles upon her family’s captive who is more monster than man, she starts to see the man underneath. A powerful, beautiful, damaged man whose heart calls to hers. But sacrifices must be made–blood for blood…life for life…souls for scarred souls…
The Shame Girls are Tillie Cole fan-girls. Over the past three months Mary and I have sped through the Hades Hangmen series, and now both books of her new Scarred Souls series. Cole writes for-real anti heroes. Her men are dark, brooding, and have no problem getting blood on their hands. Her writing is good enough to make the violence not only bearable, but almost enjoyable. Plus we kind of have a thing for Russians here at My Book Shame. Can we count ability to handle your vodka as a catnip?
Zaal has spent most of his life as number 221. A slave to a sadistic Russian mob boss, who used human subjects to test out mind control drugs, and to fight to the death in his underground MMA style matches. The Master is a complete psycho evil bastard:
“547 is the prototype for our Type B drug. It too offers obedience. A full willingness by the slave to do anything, and I mean anything. It’s infused with hormones that increase the woman’s libido and makes her pussy wet for hours, promising your clients endless fun. It also boasts a powerful contraceptive, so no unwanted pregnancies will occur.
Zaal was the first prototype of a new kind of soldier, on a new kind of drug, who is mega strong and operates under total obedience. He follows his master’s orders to the letter. If his master tells him to keep f’ing a female slave until they’re both bleeding he will do just that, no questions asked. He is hulking, he is broken, and he is the twin brother of a man who figured prominently in the first book in this series, Raze. 221’s brother’s dying wish was for 221 to be rescued from the clutches of this maniac, so Raze sets out to free him, and succeeds.
A tiny kink in this plan is that Zaal is the last living son of a rival mafya house, and Raze’s father (while thrilled to have his son back from his own years of torture and brainwashing) isn’t going to allow Zaal to recuperate at his home. So, when Raze rescues Zaal, he is taken to the family’s Hampton’s Estate. Where Raze’s gorgeous, single, baby sister is having a solo vacation to try to get a clear head, AWAY from her over bearing Russian family.
Talia is horrified that this enemy of her family has been saved, and that now her father’s men are supposed to care for him. He’s chained in the padded basement cell – that her father has used to torture enemies over family holidays – naked and detoxing from the drugs that were pumped into his system to keep him under master’s complete control. Her horror slowly turns into sympathy and a strange but potent attraction. She can’t stop watching him on the security camera, and when she turns on the feeds one day to discover him lying so still that she fears that he’s died she goes rushing into the basement lair to check on him; to save him if he can be saved.
This is when things in Reap start to get seriously hot. Talia is tending to Zaal, who has almost no memory of life outside of his prison. He doesn’t remember things like telephones and kisses, and the sun scares him when she leads him out of the basement for the first time. He thinks that Talia is a fellow slave at first, a present from Master. He asks her repeatedly if she is for him. It’s terribly sad and terrifically romantic.
Releasing his hand, I walked around him. Then he lightly grabbed my wrist. “Where do you go?” His voice betrayed an edge of panic, so I stroked my finger long his forearm. I blushed as I stated, “I’m going to cleanse myself.”
He looked down at my body, clearly wondering why. Then he fixed his gaze on my pussy and his cum coating my thighs. His face turned stormy. He pulled me back, wrapping me tightly in his embrace. “No,” he ordered aggressively. “You stay with me, like this.”
My pulse raced, blood coursing through my body. the way he dominated, he owned, he possessed inflamed my already tingling skin. A finger lifted my chin. I found myself falling into his deep green gaze. “Do not cleanse,” he said in his strong Georgian accent.
Reap 100% qualifies as a sexual healing book and as an alpha hero book, though Zaal still isn’t as alpha as Mr. Let-Me-Lick-You-Like-A-Lion Remy. It’s also violent, tragic in spots, and engrossing. The blood sport, and the retelling of Zaal’s life of torture aren’t pretty, Cole pulls no punches. However, I dare you to pick this up and then try to go about your life without wishing you were turning pages. If you’re a fan of darker romance you can’t go wrong with Reap. Plus it includes a sweet little update on Raze’s main character’s that fans of Cole’s work aren’t going to want to miss. I’m already ready for book three in this series, gimme!
Check it out: