Can love come from pain?
Evie always dreamed of seeing the world, but her first night at a motel turns into a nightmare. Hunter is a rugged trucker willing to do anything to keep her—including kidnapping. As they cross the country in his rig, Evie plots her escape, but she may find what she’s been looking for right beside her.
Author note: Wanderlust is a dark erotic novel which explores dubious consent, captivity, and power play.
Please do not read this if you’re uncomfortable with the subject matter or under 18 years of age
Review by Jenny & Gitte
Gitte: So Jenny, this story broke my heart and had me in absolute fits of tears, at times I felt sick to my stomach and I was dreading turning the pages. It was emotionally harrowing yet had bursts of humour, so extremely dark and disturbing yet sensual; it pained me and I was in absolute turmoil with the strength of my feelings which were definitely conflicted at times. This Author completely stole my attention, my mind and played puppeteer with my emotions, I saw this story play out. Unquestionably brilliant, intense, provocative and haunting writing with a thought provoking and challenging story and amazing characters that just pulled you in to experience their journey with you.
“Can Love Come From Pain?”
Jenny: When this one came up on our TBR list I have to admit I knew nothing about it. I went in completely blind and wow. I don’t know what to say about this one Gitte. Skye Warren’s writing felt somewhat lyrical. It was beautiful and haunting and made this a truly pleasurable, albeit gritty, raw at times shocking, disturbing and addictive read. I did keep asking myself how much one person could bear. The story of two broken souls did test me and the author did such a fantastic job of keeping me engrossed in this story and these damage characters from the very first page. Oh they made me ache.
“I had traded one prison for another”
Gitte: Evie bless her, she has had a traumatic life. She has been used and abused both physically and mentally. This girl was so sheltered, naïve, innocent, inexperienced and had never really known compassion, love nor has she had any stable normality in her life so far growing up. My heart ached for this girl. She was intelligent and realised her life needed to change, she needed to experience it and her courage astounded me.
“Not all those who wander are lost….I felt very alone and a little bit lost.” – Evie
Her anxiety ridden Mum has warned her of all the pitfalls of the real world and knowing the dangers she decides that to save herself and her sanity she needs to start her journey into the world. She has been warned of attacks and scary streets filled with dangers.
The anxiety is high. But this brave, sweet girl decided to brave it, to make something of herself and live.
“Happy Birthday.” I whispered. My present to myself: to finally see the place I’d dreamed about….for all twenty years of my life. For room to breathe. For freedom.” – Evie
Oh how I wanted to pick her out of my kindle and make her safe, remove the darkness that entered her life as a consequence of her bravery. Then she adapted, she understood and she got strong yet fell but let herself be picked up again by the ‘danger’ as she realised who he really was when separated from his action.
“I didn’t know if I could let this happen without a fight. I didn’t know if I could fight him, knowing I would lose, that I would end up hurt.” – Evie
Jenny, this girl and her journey…I can’t even put into words how much she affected me, same for you right?!
Jenny: Oh Gitte, I don’t even know where to begin with Evie. She really did affect me and how many times did I message you saying this girl was breaking my heart! Honestly…how much can one person suffer? How much cruelty can be thrown at a person both physically and emotionally before that person reaches breaking point. Before they reach their absolute limit. Evie was brave and possessed such a naive understanding of the world despite what she had experienced in her past. It was testament to her beautiful soul and spirit that she sought a way out of her surroundings. She wanted to live a life, to experience the world beyond her miserable existence.
“But the thing that decided me was that I couldn’t not do it. I couldn’t walk away from this challenge, from this chance to finally live”.
Gitte: The enigma and the perpetrator, the man who as a reader we should abhor, fear and vilify; the man who took something that was not his, taken under duress. This man is Hunter and he left me questioning my sanity as I read this story completely conflicted on my emotions dictated by my head and my heart.
He entered Evie’s life and when he saw her he wanted this beautiful innocent girl so he took and he kept. Hunter is not an easy man to read about. He is rough, aggressive and man-handles Evie making assumptions that belies her initial impression on him. What should have been one nightmare of a night for Evie at the hands of this man turns into something else entirely heart-breaking when Hunter realises he hasn’t had enough. Hunter’s presence is overwhelming; he has no need for force or threats. His eyes and his voice are weapons all on their own.
“Up close, I realized he was one of the most handsome men I’d ever met….I never would have expected him to look twice at me…” – Evie
Once their journey continued this man changed, perhaps he relaxed, perhaps his true side began to filter through, perhaps he realised?! I saw a different side to him, the complete and utter mind fuck began as he started showing what was underneath that violent, dominating and vile behaviour and my head started arguing with my heart for the rest of the story. Can Hunter persuade the reader that despite his and Evie’s beginning we loved their ending?
“You make it bearable..” – Hunter
Jenny: Hunter appears in the story in such a sinister way. Your heart is in your mouth at the anticipation of their meeting. The scene where Hunter enters Evie’s life was harrowing to say the least. This carnal, primal and imposing man with demons of his own saw something in Evie that he needed. Something he desired and wanted and he just took. Without pause, without thought. I was prepared to hate Hunter with every fibre of my being. I wanted to hate him so bad, but I couldn’t. I saw something in him, some light that would spark every now and then that made me yearn for Hunter in a way that I felt he needed protecting. How could I feel this way about this man who switched between cruelty and kindness at the flick of a switch?
“But in another way he wasn’t broken. He lived, he felt, he suffered like any person”
Gitte: So Jenny, this is the kind of story I love to read; where every single one of my emotions play a part; where I am challenged to question my rationale and my perception of what is right and wrong. Where the scenery surrounding the characters is so vivid and beautiful that it highlights the ‘ugly’. Where I get so swept away by exceptional writing that I understand what perhaps I would not under different circumstances. If a person is so severely broken and lost does he or she inevitably recognise that in another and can you then only heal when brought together? Do two wrongs make a right?
“Why did you take me? When will you let me go? How could you do this to me when I had finally broken free?” – Evie
Jenny: You’re spot on Gitte. This story challenged me, absolutely and it’s such a unique experience when this happens. I love it when I question my own sanity over my feelings for a book and its characters and Hunter most definitely did that to me. This man. This tormentor How could I possibly have any sort of compassion for this man? The fact that I did is absolute kudos to the clever writing in this story. Hunter had me completely and utterly had me transfixed throughout this heartbreaking and gritty tale. Do two wrongs make a right? Can two broken souls make one complete soul? I don’t know the answer to that but I do know that this book took me out of my comfort zone, provided me with an amazing read and had me devouring every word.
Gitte: 4.5 Stars
Jenny: 4.5 Stars
Arc supplied by author for an honest review