I hope you are all having a great weekend.
Today, I am part of the blog tour of “Tortured Soul” (Mercy’s Angels #3) by Kirsty Dallas – a dark romance that made me feel a great range of emotions. Besides my review, you will find a tour wide giveaway for you all to enter as well.
Title: “Tortured Soul” (Mercy’s Angels #3)
Author: Kirsty Dallas
Genre: New Adult Dark Romance
Release Date: 22nd February, 2014
Blog Tour Host: Bookslapped
Emily Donovan didn’t know love, she didn’t know gentle and her future wasn’t hers to own. Because HE owned her. There is only so much one soul can take before it is broken beyond repair and she had reached that milestone long ago.
Braiden Montgomery had secrets, secrets that would see a special place in hell reserved just for him. He was trying to make amends, trying to find his own form of redemption when a waif of a girl with jet black hair and pale blue eyes seized his heart.
Emily’s soul had been tortured by men like Braiden, so trusting the dark haired Dom would be one of the most difficult things she would ever do. For a man with skills like Braiden, keeping ‘Em’ safe would be a piece of cake. Bringing her frozen heart back to life might just prove impossible though.
***Third book in the Mercy’s Angels Series. Can be read as a standalone, or in series read order:
Saving Ella – book 1
Fighting Back – book 2
Tortured Soul – book 3***
ARC received by the author in exchange for an honest review
Having just read a couple of great, but lighter romance novels, I needed something slightly darker, and I am happy to say that “Tortured Soul” fulfilled that need.
I was immersed in the story from page one; when we first meet Emily, she is a slave to Jonas Levier, a truly vile and despicable man. I will not call him a “human being” because that is most definitely not the way he behaves. He is sick, twisted, sadistic…Well, I am sure you get my meaning.
Emily has been a slave to Jonas for seven long years, and is actually rather surprised herself for holding on for so long. In the beginning of her captivity, she fought back, of course, but Jonas found a way to break her eventually. She no longer has her own opinions about anything – she does not eat unless allowed by her master, she sleeps when she is told to sleep, and she has no hope whatsoever left in her soul. There was a time when she escaped, but Jonas threatened to kill her sister, Rebecca, if she did not come back to him willingly. Knowing how ruthless this man’s nature is, and that he does not make idle threats, she did what she was told.
Jonas is, however, no longer satisfied with Emily and he has decided to sell her – he relishes her fear of this, but Emily resigns herself to the fate of never becoming free again.
“Someone was in here, but I no longer knew who. The girl inside was broken, damaged beyond repair.” (Emily)
Then enters Braiden Montgomery: he has met Emily before, when she was in hospital after her escape, and has since that day been determined to save her from the clutches of Jonas. A former contract killer, he believes himself to be tainted, soiled and beyond redemption. He now runs a security firm with his cousin, Dillon, and has not seen his family since he removed himself from their “business” years before.
Having succeeded in rescuing Emily, Braiden takes her home to Claremont, the town she wanted to escape as a teenager. To say that Emily cannot adapt would be an understatement: always fearing punishment, she cannot let go of her “slave persona”, and even though it breaks Braiden’s heart seeing her like this, he is not surprised. After all, Emily has been stripped bare, losing herself and her personality in her years of captivity, and she needs extensive help in order to return to society.
From the time Braidem meets Emily, he finds her attractive, and he is repulsed by his lustful thoughts of her. He is a natural dominant, though, and he cannot help being drawn to her submissive nature, so in order to not go too far, Braiden leaves Emily and goes hunting: he wants Jonas’ blood.
Now, as you all know, I do not usually want to give away too many details of the actual storyline in a book, and it is no different with this one.
It should come as no surprise that I have absolutely no first-hand experience with the human trafficking world; having said that, however, I found Emily’s emotions, her loss of self so realistic and believable. I admire her for her strength, her need to keep her sister safe, and her will to survive. I could absolutely understand her confusing feelings towards Braiden, and I had no problems connecting with her. Also, the way we learn about the atrocities Emily went through in her years as a slave made me feel nauseous, and even though I could not put the book down, I almost wanted to take a break from time to time.
And Braiden? Well…wow! Simply…swoon-worthy. He is so gentle with Emily, denying himself to show his true self in order to not hurt her – both mentally and physically – and his feelings of self-loathing are understandable, yet they made me very sad as well. Braiden shows strength, kindness and his attraction to Emily definitely made me smile like a goof: and yes, I also blushed sometimes *wink* Honestly, Braiden now holds a very firm spot on my list of BBF’s.
I could really feel the way these two characters are drawn to each other, and I am not simply referring to the dom/sub pull: no, in different ways, they are both tortured souls who want to find a way out of the dark and into the light, and the way they help one another reaching this goal is very well written.
“I don’t want what other women can give me, Em. I want you, just as you are. Scars, tears, anger, nightmares, fears, I want it all. I need you, Em, and I think you need me, too. I don’t know if now is the right time or not, but I’ll be damned if I can stay away.” (Braiden)
The pacing of the story runs smoothly, and I honestly believe that Miss Dallas excels at showing the reader that although Emily finds freedom, she is not free of her past. No, she has plenty of relapses and suffers from nightmares as well – the traumas Emily suffers from seem to be very realistic, and that is a major factor as to why I give this book such a high rating. Also, the secondary characters provide the reader with some rather funny moments at just the right times – so please do not think that it is all “doom and gloom”.
All in all, I enjoyed this book very much, and I will absolutely recommend it to anyone who likes their romance to be slightly darker than most. Yes, you will cringe and cry while reading this story, but I believe that you will also laugh and sigh happily from time to time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’m just a little Aussie girl with a big imagination, so much to write and so little time to do it. When I’m not writing (or reading) I am kept smiling and sane (for the most part) by my 5 year old daughter. She is the light in my world. I have a wonderfully supportive family who keep me completely grounded. Trust me, they will never let any success go to my head!! And I love them for it. I enjoy ice cold ciders, barbeques, music and art. I hate cooking, in fact I think I have major kitchen allergies. My feet rarely grace anything other than flip-flops and even in the middle of a hot Aussie summer, I love my jeans!!! To sum me up in a few words (and you know how hard just a few words is for an author) ~ easy going, laid back, dreamy and passionate.
I hope you all love reading my novels as much as I love writing them.
Be sure to enter the giveaway below before you leave!