There's something wrong with Leigh.
She's known it her whole life. She knows it every time she spreads her legs. Every time she begs for the pain, the pleasure, the heat of a hard man driving deep inside. She's a slave to her own twisted lusts--and it's eating her alive. She loves it. She craves it. Sex is her drug, and she's always chasing her next fix. But nothing can satisfy her addiction, not even the nameless men she uses and tosses aside. No one's ever given her what she truly needs.
Until Gabriel Hart.
Cold. Controlled. Impenetrable. Ex-Marine Gabriel Hart isn't the kind of man to come running when Leigh crooks her pretty little finger. She loathes him. She hungers for him. He's the only one who understands how broken she is, and just what it takes to satisfy the emptiness inside. But Gabriel won't settle for just one night. He wants to claim her, keep her, make her forever his. Together they are the lost, the ruined, the darkness at the heart of Crow City.
But Leigh has a darkness of her own. A predator stalking through her past--one she'll do anything to escape.
Even if it means running from the one man who could love her...and leaving behind something more precious to her than life itself.
If the romantic character study is a genre, this fascinating contemporary novel is its exemplar. McCade digs deep into the difficult topics of rape, incest, and sexual abuse via the remarkable voice of Clarissa Leigh VanZandt. She's a 26-year-old runaway from the glamorous but vacuous and superficial world of extreme wealth and privilege. She lives by her wits and sleeps wherever her considerable sex drive takes her; she keeps her emotions to herself, sharing them with no one. Not even Gary, the avuncular tavern owner who gives her occasional work and lets her use his washing machine, is allowed in. He introduces Leigh to former Marine Gabriel Hart, and it soon becomes clear that Gabriel is a perfect match for her, because he too is broken. Piece by painful piece, McCade graphically reveals the acts of abuse and degradation that brought Leigh to her present state. Then, buoyed by her fondness for Gabriel, she begins to take baby steps toward redemption. McCade's trigger warnings are warranted, but the explicit flashbacks add depth to the intriguing story. (BookLife)
Unforgettable, emotional and dark!!!
This book kept my emotional state on a razors edge.
Clarissa Leigh Van Zandt is an extremely complicated character. She was so lost, by herself, and didn't have any direction when she ran. No compass! I thought she'd found her salvation in Gabriel Hart but he was almost as broken and lost as she was. I can't claim to understand her reasons or his for that matter but I could feel their pain. The pain of wanting everything to be OK but knowing it wasn't. Then it might never be. Wanting hurt worse than not having it at all.
This is a brilliantly told story that was real and awkward. It was tragic and beautiful. It eased my soul when I heard the answer to Wally's question "Do you know what you want now?" That was "my" closure to the story. You must read this book yourself to see what you get from it, as I believe everyone will get something different by the time they're finished. I thank this author for the Trigger Warning at the beginning and the Afterwords at the end. Knowing that I wasn't reading the fantasy romance novel but was reading about something real and tragic, made it easier to read some of the things Leigh had been through. Hard to read because of the tragedy of it all but still a great book! Not a true story, only fiction but close enough to be real for some.
Received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I was not compensated for my review.
I was not required to write a positive review.
The opinion expressed is my own.