Most men only see what they want to. The flirty stripper, the gloss and glitter and sex.
They don’t know I dance to the songs in my head–to the psalms I can’t forget.
I learned about power from within holy walls, always following the scriptures, always obedient until the day I escaped. No matter how much paint I wear, I can never cover up the girl they made. My conditioning runs too deep.
Ivan sees what I am.
That’s the thing about showing a mouse to a cat. He wants to play. And it’s terrifying, even for me. Because the only thing darker than my past is his.
Books in the Stripped series
½. Tough Love (prequel)
1. Love the Way You Lie
2. Better When It Hurts
3. Even Better
4. Pretty When You Cry
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for a honest review.
“You asked me once what makes you different.” He holds my wrists still, keeping my hands tight to his body. “This is what makes you special, little one. Countless people have tried to hurt me, to kill me. You were the one to slay me.”
“Pretty When You Cry” is the third book in the Stripped series, and it can be read on its own. It’s a dark erotic romance about two broken souls. This is my first time reading Skye Warren’s work, as such I did not know what to expect. However, this much I can say. She took me outside my comfort zone and had me questioning my moral values.
What motivated me to read this novel was its fascinating summary. I could not wait to peel away the layers of what appeared to be a dark, yet engrossing read.
Candace lived in a religious cult for sixteen years where she experienced emotional abuse. When the chance came or to escape the horrors of the cult she did not hesitate. However, she was not prepared for the sudden exposure to the outside world. She was brainwashed to believe that the outside world was sinful. All she wanted was freedom from her past, as such she felt that the outside world would be the lesser of the two evils. However, she would come to realise that no matter where you go your past is always lurking, waiting for the moment when it will come back to haunt you.
Ivan is the owner of a strip club named Grand. He was a powerful man who was feared by his employees, associates, and enemies. He rescued Candace, and for three years he kept her sheltered from his world. However, after three years of being sheltered from his world, Candace wanted more. It was at that moment the nature of their relationship changed. Ivan’s true nature was revealed. He treated Candace like a prisoner. She could go nowhere and do nothing without him knowing.
“I discovered too late that it’s not the bars that make a jail, but the jailor”.
I wanted to hate Ivan but that was easier said than done. Ivan had suffered his share of emotional and physical abuse as a child. It was this experience that shaped him into the unfeeling bastard that he had become.
The connection between them was volatile. Candace was aware that Ivan’s treatment was not normal. However, when it came to him, she was helpless. She was addicted to the control he had over her heart and her body.
The story was told from Candace’s point of view, which allowed me to feel everything she was going through. In some instances, this was good, but there were times when I wished that this was not the case. I wanted more of Ivan’s history. I know that he is a broken man who does not have the capacity to love. However, there was limited information on who or what made him that way.
“Don’t mistake me for one of the girls at the club. I’m not going to tell you how I’m feeling or open my heart. There’s nothing left to open.”
The ending was disappointing. I did not like how the issues surrounding Candace’s past was resolved. It left me with more questions than answers. In regards to the relationship between Ivan and Candace, I felt that it could have been better resolved.
If you are looking for a sweet romance, then Pretty When You Cry is not for you. The relationship between the main characters is not typical of the romance genre. However, if you are looking for the type of story that will stretch your imagination and move you outside your comfort zone then this book will hit the spot.
Overall, I found this to be an interesting read and I will be reading more of this author’s work.
Nadene's addiction to reading began at an early age, when a family friend gifted her a copy of Wuthering Heights. From that moment she was never without a book.She will read anything as long the material is compelling enough to hold her attention. She gained many experiences through the pages of the books she had the opportunity to read.She created this blog to share her love of books with like minded individuals hopes that in sharing reviews of the books read visitors to the blog will discover their next addictive read. When not reading, Nadene enjoys cooking, listening to music and watching television.
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