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‘I’ve always believed Noah was the other half of my soul. Something otherworldly connected us, his heart called to mine and that’s why I was so obsessed with him. Because we were destined somehow. Fate made me believe it, but that bitch lies.’

We’ve been eagerly awaiting Brutal Play by Alison Rhymes since reading Broken Play which we loved and is where we meet Noah and Lorelei. We fell in love with the dominant and gorgeous Noah, who was a bit of an enigma but had a backstory that we had a feeling would break our hearts. And as for Lorelei, well, she was the villain in Broken Play, the marriage breaker, the backstabber, and the complex and disturbed former friend of both Noah and Drew. Could she be redeemed?

‘Delusions drove me to spitefulness. Fear drove me to my delusions. Abuse drove me to fear.’

Redemption of a villainous character is like catnip to us, and we love it when it’s done so well that we feel complete vindication for the character in question. Alison Rhymes nailed it. But not only that, this Author made us really think about social judgement and the unbalanced placing of blame. Misogyny is alive and well, and how many times is the heroine villainised, yet the hero walks away scot-free?! Mind you, we didn’t particularly think that highly of Drew at times in Broken Play and perhaps even less so in Brutal Play. Though complex characters demand dislike, like, and understanding.

‘You don’t realize how much you’ve missed someone until they’re right there in your life again. Now I have to experience the pain of losing him all over again. Not that I really had him this time.’

Unwritten rules in society dictate that single women should be judged more harshly than married men when infidelity is involved. This made us think about why? When you remove the emotion of scorn and hurt, is it not the married man who ultimately breaks his marriage vow and takes that important moral step that crosses the line in the first place? Yes, a woman pursuing a married man is not viewed as morally right either, however, is that really worse than a married man having his cake and eating it too? Many times its women judging women -the harshest-, sadly. There’s a case for both and it’s not always black and white. Rather there’s a huge grey area. For Lorelei, it wasn’t as simple as choosing to go for a married man. Lorelei and Drew had a history, and Drew was as responsible, if not more so.

“You want me splayed open, heart to head, so all my secrets and nightmares spill out at your feet.? You have to fucking earn that.”

Lorelei had an incredibly complex and horrendous childhood, the more we learnt, the more we understood why and how she came to be, from when and where we met her in Broken Play, to where she is now in Brutal Play. As her layers are unravelled, her character burrowed deep into our hearts, and we became immensely protective of her.

‘It’s not that I’ve forgotten what we had. It’s that I remember it all too well, including the trauma of its ending.’

Noah shows his controlling and arrogant side from the get-go; however, it hides yet somehow also strangely reveals, his hurt and vulnerable side, seeking revenge for Lorelei’s actions when they were a loving couple in college. And seeking revenge is definitely at the forefront of his mind as he venomously reduces Lorelei to a shell of her former self. He was a bastard, yet confusingly he does so whilst at the same time sheltering her the only way he can. It’s incredibly contradicting, yet a blatant recognition of his heart’s inability to let the love of his life slip through his fingers again. This, no matter how much she hurt him, and him also hurting her in return when he sees the chance to do so.

‘Lorelei thinks she needed me more than I needed her. That’s not at all true. I did need her. I wanted her.’

Brutal Play was brilliantly written. It was hard-hitting, clever, and extremely evocative in its emotion as well as passion. This Author didn’t hold back, rather Lorelei’s redemptive journey was full of twists, surprising revelations and so much angst it overflowed. It was an emotionally exhaustive journey, but one that we relished as our emotions and feelings were pulled in multiple directions. You know those moments that have you so enraged you want to either jump into the story and throttle someone or even throw your kindle at the wall? Yeah…Brutal Play has these moments aplenty! Another winner from Alison Rhymes.

“I want that mouth. Kiss me like you mean it.”
“I always mean it,” she says softly.
“Then kiss me like you’ll die if you don’t.”


Lorelai has been called every name in the book. Except for the ones she’s always dreamed of.
My love.
Noah Anders is the only man to have ever owned her heart. But it’s her soul he wants.
Theirs is a battle of wills, tempers, ego, friendship, and loyalty.
He wants retribution.
She just wants to survive.

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