Standalone anti hero romance
Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte
“My Grandmama once told me that love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances. The passion is the same. The pain is the same. That weird thing that bubbles in your chest? Same. I didn’t believe her until I met Baron Spencer and he became my nightmare. Then my nightmare became my reality.’
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt about L.J. Shen it’s that she is a master at writing an antihero. She takes us to the brink, really to the brink, wondering if there is any way her character can redeem himself whilst making us fall head over heels in love with a cold, arrogant and vindictive bastard. Although he may seem otherwise, we always know that underneath the ruthlessness lays a heart that’s open for love, beating beneath a callous prickly exterior!
‘This is what he did to me, Vicious. He broke me. Again and again and again.’
It happened in Sparrow and now it’s happened in Vicious! We fell head over heels for bully turned tyrant, Baron Spencer aka Vicious Spencer, who lived up to his nickname, because he was one heartless cock with a dirty, snarky mouth who hit all the right spots! What does that say about us?
‘He was made to be painted. A masterpiece of nature.’
At 17 and in her senior year, Emilia (Millie) LeBlanc moves into the Spencer family mansion with her sister Rose when her parents are hired as cleaners/caretakers for the sprawling Spencer property and Vicious never lets her forget she is the ‘help’ and not welcome in his circle of rich, entitled friends. The story opens in present day when Millie and Vicious are 27 and their paths cross again after Millie was forced to flee the Spencer estate when she turned 18. Why did she leave and what did Vicious have to do with it? And just what is his story?
‘He was a toxic, poison, and he was going to kill everything beautiful in my life if I let him.’
Millie was down to earth, an eclectic artist who didn’t conform to anyone’s standards, she was her own woman, but one man could shatter her resolve and that man was Vicious! No matter how many cruel barbs he threw at her, she took them and most times gave back as good as she got but he got under her skin in other ways!
Vicious Spencer was rich through his family but also a self-made wealthy man thanks to a company he stared with his friends, Dean, Trent and Jaime. The four of them gods at All Saints High School, and known as the Four HotHoles, the most popular guys in school, a popularity they took into adulthood making their company very successful.
Millie is down on her luck, struggling to look after her sick sister, Rose and so Vicious makes her an offer she can’t refuse, asking her to come and work for him while he’s in New York but Vicious has other motives for wanting Millie around. Motives that suit himself.
“Ask me what I want again,” he snapped
“What do you want?”
“I want to fuck you and watch your face while I do. To see how you drown in me as I hurt you as much as it hurts me to have to see your goddam face every day.”
There are past/present switches which are written with fluidity, the hate between these two was palpable and at times very witty! The chemistry positively crackled! There’s no denying Vicious was an emotionally void and cunning man, but with one line, four words, he redeemed himself and brought us to our knees. We couldn’t wait for Vicious’ story to be uncovered and the majority of the time we were so incredibly invested, but there moments when the push/pull became a little repetitive losing us somewhat along the way, at times wondering what it was that constituted these two having such intense feelings for each other when
Vicious clearly ostracized her and made her life hell. We couldn’t feel an emotional connection other than physical until quite late in the story. What transpired then was something we would have loved to have been privy to in earlier flashbacks because we felt it came a little late in the story. However, in saying that, we could not put this book down and when the moment did transpire….wow! We felt it and it was beautiful, the epilogue served to be a perfect ending to this story of hate, revenge, love and forgiveness. And the relevance to this hot cover was fabulous!
Also check out Sparrow (Standalone) by LJ Shen
A TBB 2016 5 Star Top Read