Top positive review
Smutty and Dark with a hint of romance
Reviewed in Canada on May 1, 2020
So, just to put it out there, this book has incredibly problematic themes. This a dark bully romance and TWs include attempted rape, physical abuse, sexual abuse, toxic masculinity, and just about any other TW you can think of. These are potentially harmful topics so if you are sensitive to any of these matters PLEASE educate yourself before reading.
That being said, this author did a fantastic job of weaving all these topics through an exciting and sexy narrative. The story follows Rika Fane, a young woman whos finally about to spread her wings and make a name for herself, beyond the one she was born into and the people around her who do nothing but coddle her. But Rika knows she is so much more. And Michael Crist, a devilishly handsome and dangerous man has seen that fire in her eyes too. They've grown up together, orbiting around each other but never really making a move. Michael knows she likes to play the game and in her, he's found a formidable opponent. Amidst their whirlwind sexual escapades, through a narrative that alternates between present-day and 3 years prior, we discover how something that happened on Devil's Night 3 years ago (Halloween Eve) has changed Rika and Michael's lives forever, as well as Michael's friends Kai, Damon, and Will. Rika betrayed them all, and they demand revenge.
This book is a roller coaster. You will find yourself loving and simultaneously hating every character. Rika is rash but she fights for what she wants. Michael has serious anger issues (for real I hope at the end of this book he goes to some therapy) but he's loyal till the end. His friends, however problematic they are and their desire to take what isn't theirs, are a product of the white rich American suburbs. I don't know if Douglas did this intentionally, but I found this book as almost a critique of toxic masculinity and its presence not only in high school but the world beyond those gated communities. Michael and his friends, for most of their lives, are able to evade any repercussions of their actions. They destroy and wreak havoc because they can. But in the end, your past always catches up with you.
Truthfully, I enjoyed the romance. I won't apologize for liking a novel with problematic themes because I don't think that's fair. Its like kink (which btw this book has a lot of!!!), just because you enjoy it between the sheets doesn't mean you'll stand for it in the streets. But also, maybe you do and that's totally fine!! Either way, its ok to like books maybe society says you shouldn't. Reading is about pleasure and enjoyment, and this book definitely brought me that.
The sex scenes were A1, probably the best I have ever read before. The building tension and romance were sickeningly delicious. If you're a fan of Douglas' other works or just dark smutty thriller romances in general.. you will devour this!