How fitting this title is, Knotted, seeing the author had my stomach in a knot the entire freaking time while reading this book. From beginning till end. This book was filled with so much heartbreak and sadness, but so much power and strong characters and hope. Reading this book left me feeling raw and exposed in the best ways possible. I can’t begin to find the words to tell you what this story made me feel. But wow, did it MAKE ME FEEL.
I’ve heard that this author’s other dark romance books have triggers in them a lot of the time, and with this one that’s the case as well. Please be aware of this. This book can be brutal and raw and dark and if you are triggered by rape/murder/abuse I think this one is best left unattended.
I try to forget her.
Growing up together, Conor and I shared all our firsts.
First love, first kiss, first…
Not all our firsts.
We were sixteen the night she was violently assaulted while I helplessly watched.
I’ll never forget the sounds of her suffering.
Or my inconsolable agony when she left Oklahoma.
Years later, she returns to honor our teenage pact.
Except the boy she loved is gone, replaced by a ruthless cattle rancher knotted with secrets.
She doesn’t know my dark cravings or the trails of sin that lead to her.
I don’t deserve her, but one truth remains.
“She’s my past, my present, and my future.
I’m everything when I’m with her and nothing without her.”
When I started this book, I knew something terrible happened to these characters that I came to love so much during the read. What I didn’t expect was the author focusing on this particular night right away and show us in detail what truly happened (I was expecting flashbacks or something like that you know? Lol). Holy shitballs, that was so frigging intense and heartbreaking. I wanted to crawl inside that book and kill some people off, that’s how worked up I was. I wanted to crawl inside the book and hug these characters and tell them things would be alright, that’s how sad and heartbroken I was. I felt like these characters were so real, like I could reach out and touch them and talk to them, that’s how connected I felt with this story. I just couldn’t stop reading anymore. Tears were streaming down my face on numerous accounts and I gladly suffered alongside these characters, that’s how much in awe I am of this book.
“I let it all out, sobbing trembling, screaming until my throat shreds, until a mess of snot and sweat covers my skin, until I’m utterly depleted. I cry until all that remains is a loveless, empty, unfeeling core of nothingness. I become that hardened center and shed the tender, tear-soaked wrapper. It falls off like tattered clothes and litters the ground. Then I step away from the debris. I leave the bruises, the soggy flesh, and the puddle of susceptible emotions. I leave the girl who loved a boy with her whole heart. I abandon her there on the side of the road. Let her rot in post mortem. Feeling lighter, calmer, I embrace the void of nothing at all and walk away. I leave Sandbank.”
It’s listed as a BDSM book, and there are some bits and pieces of it in the story, but it’s really mildly in my opinion so if you like some more intense BDSM, you won’t necessarily get that in this one. The sexual tension and the intensity of the chemistry between these two characters make up for it though. It really does make up for it… be still my beating heart.
These characters are on FIRE!! And seeing how raw and emotional the story is in itself, I think the author did a good job on writing the BDSM mildly, seeing all that’s happening in the book. I did love the bits and pieces of it added to the story. It added a lot of development for one of the characters in particular and I loved how she wove the BDSM elements into it all.
Conor and Jake… I love how they’ve been sweethearts from such a young age. I love how intensely their fire burned for one another at the age of 16 and how they knew they’d be together always. I loved reading about them finding their way back together again after 6 long and brutal years, even though it tore me apart while reading it. Reading towards that end goal, that HEA, was worth everything. It was so beautiful to see them fighting for a future together. This is second chance romance at its best. I was, at the same time, utterly destroyed for what happened to these characters. It seemed like it’d never end for them. It all felt so real and raw and emotional and it had me constantly on the edge of my seat. I was constantly on the verge of crying and my heart was about to beat out of my chest, so hard as it was beating during this read < And boy do I love it when a book has me feeling so intensely like this one had me feel!
I’m in awe of Conor’s strength. I cannot believe how strong she is and how she fought her way through all of this over the years, a lot of which she spent utterly alone, and come out stronger. I felt for her so badly and cried alongside her when she thought she had no one left anymore. My heart broke for and with her < and seeing her climb out of the dark hole, was therefore so much more beautiful. Because I felt so much for and with this character from the start. Despite having her innocence being taken from her, I love how she continues fighting for herself and her future. I’m really amazed by how the author wrote this character and her development down.
“He cares what I’m thinking and feeling, perhaps more than I do, and it moves me. He could’ve spent the last three hours blaring music and enjoying the drive. Instead, he attacked my trigger, lowered me into the darkness, and joined me there. Something clicks inside me, like a turning key.
I’ve been wandering aimlessly, so lost and far away from myself.
But I just found the door that leads me back. He’s the other half of me,
and he holds the pieces that will make me whole again.”
Same goes for Jake. He has suffered at least the same amount as Conor did over the years, and kept on fighting for himself and Conor as well. Seeing the depths he goes to, to make sure Conor is safe and to help her overcome her trauma’s from the past; it was so beautiful to see him like this. I loved how real these characters felt. There were really dark times for them as well in which they are not perfect and do things that are definitely not perfect either. I love the morally gray elements the author added to them. Jake goes to hell and back for her and I loved reading about that so much. I loved how utterly devoted he is to her, how he lets her be her strong self, but how he knows to ‘dominate’ her at the right times. Gosh, I could go on and on about Jake. He is PERFECTION personified even though he isn’t really perfect at all, but that’s what makes him perfect to me. Sigh. He can tie me up anytime, anywhere, lol. I’d love to go on a ride with this dark cowboy *insert heart eyes*
“I broke her heart, because I love her.
I’ll make sure she realizes her dream, because I love her.
I’ll bleed for her, because I love her.
I’ll kill for her, because I love her.”
So yeah, the characters and their character development in general was just so good, so so good. They had me hooked right from the start and I felt a connection to them instantly. I loved reading about the friendships in this book as well. The secondary characters added more depth to the story and they had me falling just as hard for them as the two MC characters did.
“She leans into the breeze as she rides across the field. Hair whipping behind her, she twists her neck to shout back at me, “Catch up!” I swear I see a glimmering smile before she kicks Ketchup into a gallop. With a grin that bares my teeth, I do what I’ve done my entire life. I chase her.”
The author’s writing had me crying in no time, like it was the easiest thing to do for her. This story, these characters… they touched me on such a soul deep level. The twists and turns the story took, had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. It had me shocked, in tears, heartbroken and also happy, amazed and in awe, from one moment to the next.The story and the characters and the depth written into it all is just utterly amazing. The sexual tension and the chemistry was written to perfection. Actually, all of the elements in this book, are just in perfect balance with one another and I truly am deeply in love with this author’s writing.
This book utterly destroyed me but in the best ways possible. It tore me apart and left me feeling completely raw and it stitched me back together bit by bit while I continued falling in love more and more with the characters, this story and the author’s writing.
“It’s impossible to describe the bond we share. We’re too great for words. Too sacred. We’re a feeling that goes beyond starts and stops. We’re stronger than hellos and goodbyes and deeper than beginnings and ends. We’re an existence that can’t be measured. It doesn’t matter where she is or what I’ve done. We’ll always come back to this place. A place that can’t be found on a map or a time line. Nothing in the world can touch us here.”
This was my first read by this author and I immediately purchased book 2 and 3, so I can start reading 2 right away (And I’m definitely planning on getting the printed copies as well. I NEED THESE BABIES ON MY SHELF). This dark cowboy romance was everything I didn’t knew I was looking for and I’m so glad I finally picked it up.
If you love dark romance, you really need to pick this one up. Really! The author’s writing is something you just HAVE to get aquatinted with. This is a story you should’ve start reading already, like yesterday. Thanks for reading!!
“My blood sinds in awe. No one does courage like Conor Cassidy. “You know what I find so remarkable about you?” I lift off her shirt and unclasp the bra. “Lower your arms.”
“Hm?” She drops her hands to the counter.
“Through the rise and falls…” I feather the backs of my fingers down her bare spine. “Through the ups and downs…” Leaning over her shoulder, I touch my lips to her neck. “You never let the shit in your life define who you are.”
“I went through some pretty horrific redefining moments.”
Remorse pinches hard in my gut. “But you’re still YOU. You absorbed the good and the bad, and the core of you endured. You never broke.”
“Give it time,” She laughs nervously. “The night’s not over yet.”
I spin her to face me and fasten my mouth to hers.
With my hands caressing her breasts, I kiss her until her muscles loosen and her knees buckle. Then I step back.
“Go to the bedroom. Remove the rest of your clothes.”
My groin tightens. “Lie face down on the bed and wait for me.”
As she willingly walks toward a long night of terrifying memories, my stomach knots with trepidation.
They’re not just her memories. They’re mine, too.
I failed her that night. Under no circumstances can I fail her again.”