Published by Rachel Van Dyken on August 29th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, New Adult, Romance, Suspense
provided by Between the Sheets Promotions
The demons keep me company....the darkness is my friend. I ran away from him, ran away from the memories and tried to start over. A fresh start at college was just what I needed and for a while it worked, unitl my past began to catch up with me. I'd always been the party girl, the one you could count on for a good time, but it was all a lie. I so wanted to be the beauty in the story--when really I knew I was always the beast. When guys touched me...I felt nothing but pain. When they kissed me...I felt nothing but rage. Until he walked into my life. I wasn't prepared to fall for someone--ever. My scars were too deep, the wounds too raw. But he offered me peace, he offered me security and love. I should have known it was just another lie--I should have known that falling in love with my professor was a bad idea. But I was powerless to stop myself from falling. And he was powerless to catch me. You think you know my story, but you don't....after all everyone has Shame in their lives--you're about to know mine.
I am feeling a bit out of the loop. How is it that I am just now discovering the writing of Rachel Van Dyken? Rachel has so many books out and a few series even. Shame is part of the Ruin Series. This is book 3 of the Ruin series, actually. All the books can be read as a standalone. This book tells us Lisa’s story. A story that had to be told. By the middle of this book I was so hooked on Lisa’s story I read straight through to the end. I had to find out if Lisa would live through this.
I felt a bit lost in the first quarter of the book to be honest. These characters all know each other and trust each other without doubt. I know that something must have happened to make Wes and Gabe so protective of Lisa and I was worried it was something in another book that would not be fully revealed to me coming in so late. One thing kept me reading and driven to see it through, no matter about the back story. It was Taylor’s Diary entries. These little gems start off every chapter. We get a good look at the mind of sociopath. A man who breathes deception and breeds misery. His twisted thoughts laid out for someone to read and follow kept me rapt at attention.
Betrayal, mind games, obsession, and mendacity run amok in this story. It is tough to tell the truth from fiction, friends from enemies. I was so fearful for Lisa after reading some of Taylor’s diary entries. My initial thoughts of Lisa as some spoiled little princess changed completely. Lisa’s ex was bad news of the most severe kind. This story starts off with Lisa in school by herself, all of her friends are gone to start their lives with their partners. Lisa has changed her identity to start over. Lisa is so damaged and being stalked by someone that knows who she really is. Her friends check in on her often and even try to set her up with a friend. This friend just happens to be Dr. Tristan Blake, one of her professors.
Oops! Not really though. Tristan is only teaching at that school to be close to Lisa. He was driven there to get to her. The reason for his quest gets misplaced once he gets to know Lisa. Her over protective friends knew that he was a professor at the school, they even know why he might want to get close to Lisa. So it’s all bad. No one is really honest with Lisa. I have no idea why they would set her up with him, and at a masked benefit of all things. They fall for each other and then I felt really bad for her.
I closed my eyes and leaned my forehead against hers. A shaky breath escaped her lips. “I’m going to kiss you now.”
“Are you trying to prepare me or ask permission?” she whispered, her voice beckoning me like a siren’s call.
“Both.” My lips hovered near hers. “I figure it’s only fair.”
“Fair?” She pulled back slightly. “How so?”
“Ten thousand.” I angled my head and watched the pulse jump on her neck. “That’s how many nerve endings, on average, are in your lips. Consequently, when your body anticipates pleasure, the build-up is the best part. Imagine, those ten thousand nerves are swelling, allowing blood to surge through them in anticipation of… what?” I swept my tongue across her lower lip and whispered, “Of being touched. I ask permission, not because I’m being a gentleman. It’s actually the complete opposite. I ask permission so your brain anticipates the pleasure before I’ve ever even touched you.”
I tasted her lower lip again and abruptly dipped my tongue into her mouth. Then just as quickly retreated. “The human body is an instrument. Know how to master it… and well…” I let my voice drop as I moved my hands slowly to her shoulders and tugged her body flush against mine. Our mouths met softly at first. I deepened the kiss, memorizing her taste, knowing I wouldn’t experience a kiss like this again in my lifetime. The way her scent, her soft moans destroyed my body, wrecked me from the deepest part of me, was nothing short of life-altering.
And I’d like to think I’d kissed a lot of women.
I’d studied the psychology of sexuality.
I was an expert in pleasure.
But she was schooling me, absolutely wreaking havoc on every logical thought as her soft whimper cascaded over me. Blood surged through my body as it tightened with awareness at her proximity.
She pulled back, her lips swollen. “That was… not a good enough warning.”
Laughing softly, I cupped the back of her head and gently drew it toward mine and kissed her again, angling my lips differently, searching her, consuming her, drawing pleasure from her lips as if it was my life goal to discover every single secret she owned.
Her arms wrapped around my neck. She was shy; she didn’t push against me, didn’t wrap her legs around me or moan into my mouth like I was having sex with her rather than kissing her.
My hands moved down her corset to her hips, and I lifted her into the air and walked her backward toward the brick wall. The whole time, our masks collided. In frustration, I ripped hers off, then mine. The shadows of moonlight hid our faces as I kissed her harder, losing myself in her.
Her nails dug at the back of my neck as she jerked my head harder. Groaning, I let her fall to the ground as I placed my hands on the brick wall to keep myself from ripping the dress from her body.
Shouting started from the ballroom.
“Eight,” I whispered against her mouth. “Seven.”
“Six.” She sighed, her breathing labored as her tongue found mine again. “Five.”
“Four, three.” I pulled back and trailed kisses down her neck.
We broke apart, both breathing heavy. “One.”
People burst out onto the balcony as the fireworks started, lighting up the sky. And our faces.
And the only thing I could say as she gasped in horror was “Oh, shit.”
I can’t say too much more. I loved this story, but I really think I would have loved it more by reading the first two books. Getting Wes and Gabe’s story would have given me a better perspective on why these three are so bound to each other. I definitely want to read more from this author. This book had lust, mystery, suspense, and drama. I have to go back and read the whole series now.
Lucky for me both books are only $.99 right now. (pic shows #1 Ruin #2 Toxic and Fearless which is actually an expanded epilogue, all three come with boxed set) So I can go back and read all the details I think I missed in this story.
About the Author
RACHEL VAN DYKEN is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers!