“We were two broken souls who had found each other in a world of shadows. We were held together by a connection of secrets, dark and fearful and reluctant to leave. Their depth was seductive and overwhelming, an endless ocean of black that threatened to cover the brilliance we kept reaching for with each other.”
With her art career flourishing and the mansion predators no longer a threat, Charlie is creating a new life. Her desires have changed, and she has a chance at a healthy, loving relationship with Cameron—if they can bury the memories and doubts that plague them.
Can they overcome the destruction of their clouded pasts, or will the revelation of more painful, shocking secrets pull them back into the shadows?
Reviewed by Gitte
4.5 Raw and Emotional Stars
Now, this is book two in the Shadows series and must be read in order and though I really enjoyed book #1 – Seductive Shadows; I had my reservations. Well, any lingering reservations were soon shot to bits as soon as I re-joined Charlie and Cameron. I was blown away and seriously loved every minute reading this sequel. It had such emotional depth and the raw sensuality drew me into a dark, eerie and chilling romance that had so much pain, fear and anxiety at its very core.
“..I don’t know what my life would be like without you. And I don’t want to find out.” – Cameron
The word dark is bandied around describing the content and setting of the story. However, in this case not only does it portray a dark thrilling and intense mood; the Author perfectly manages to place darkness inside the reader to the level of feeling absolutely everything our characters go through both physically, mentally and emotionally. I was shrouded in darkness and I felt this overwhelming sadness whilst reading interrupted by timely moments of hope and passion.
‘We were two broken souls who had found each other in a world of shadows. We were held together by a connection of secrets, dark and fearful and reluctant to leave. They recoiled whenever light reached them. Their depth was seductive and overwhelming, and endless ocean of black that threatened to cover the brilliance we kept reaching for with each other.’
The writing was intensely sensual and beautiful. Like I said in my last review Marni Mann’s writing is extremely artistic; I would say its equivalent of an artist’s expressive, confident and colourful brush strokes across a naked canvas. Every word counted and hit that raw and exposed part of the heart that feels every nuance and deliberate intention. It was astounding and compelling throughout.
“Because light is defined by the darkness it illuminates.”
The journey of Charlie and Cameron’s relationship and the tying up of loose ends were complex, extremely seductive and harrowing. I could not put my kindle down as I was immersed in this highly emotionally charged sequel. I applaud Marni Mann for sweeping me up and through her flawless writing, taking me into a dark and chilling part of the art world where secrets are exposed as one soul mate heals the other, weighed down by self-imposed restrictions and feelings of guilt. The passion and the artistic healing is plentiful; the road to recovery and self-realisation fraught with despair yet also seduction, beauty and empathy. I re-connected fully with these two broken characters struggling to become who they were meant to be individually and together after struggling for so long whilst throwing a couple of twists in there too that I did not see coming.
‘I stood at the edge of the canvas, our bodies glowing under the light. The mix of brightness in the relative darkness was almost blinding.’ – Charlie
I struggled in book #1 with Charlie’s character at times. She was an extremely sexual being who made decisions that boggled the mind at times. However, in this instalment this artistically gifted girl really came into her own. Her struggles were believable, her maturity and growth inspiring.
‘Maybe I’ll never be free of that house of horrors. It was my choice to enter; it was my choice to destroy it as well, and I accept whatever comes to me as a result.’ – Charlie
As for Cameron…sigh. This man is amazing. He’s had such a traumatic past and a broken but not yet irreparable soul that not only heals Charlie in the most magnificent way but in return is healed as well.
‘Cameron…my dawn. He had broken through the darkness – my darkness- and pulled me from its depths.’ – Charlie
Their story is not only tragic; it’s unbelievably beautiful and heart-rending. Some scenes were so inherently poignant and vivid that I involuntarily shivered from the eerie chills, felt myself heat up in their passion as well as felt the dark hopelessness of confusion at the size of obstacles thrown in their path.
“Sometimes I look at you and I’m amazed that you’re mine.” – Cameron
So, I did not want to talk about the story too much as if you haven’t read book #1 Seductive Shadows, my review will completely spoil the crux of the story. Instead I wanted to go for how I felt about the characters and their journey as a whole. The only reason for why this is not a 5 star read boils down to one revelation which in itself just didn’t sit right with me. I felt it was too unbelievable and handled with too much acceptance and understanding after everything that had happened, as well as the relationship of the main people involved. That’s as far as I will go on that one though and is my personal opinion.
Overall, I highly recommend this series, which in my opinion, takes a storyline from a well-trodden path to a new level of originality and uniqueness through the quality and the artistic flair of its Author. Marni Mann; I salute you!!!