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Our Review

‘I know my brothers well – all of them. They’re loyal. No disputing that, but they’re individuals too. Knox – the thinker. Dante – the muscle. Shaw – the questioner.’

When Sinners Hate by Hart De Lune is the second book in the very dark and disturbing series about the Cortez crime family. It’s definitely not a conventional romance series for the faint of heart, these brothers are not heroes in any way shape, or form, but we love them nonetheless, and this series satisfies that craving we have every so often of disappearing into a fictional world that is the polar opposite of sugary sweet. And we must stress that we absolutely believe that beauty and romance can still be found in the darkness. This duo of Authors writes so incredibly well together as once again this instalment was seamless and flowed in the most compelling of ways. Whilst this series is super distressing, tragic, and violent at times, we found Lexi and Abel’s book the least disturbing so far in House of Skin, but perhaps this is because we’re hardened dark romance readers! So if you are too, come walk on the dark side with us, but beware of the trigger warnings.

“As my wife, I’ll expect you to do exactly what I ask when I ask it. Any form of denying me will end in your harm. Do you understand?”
“Are you threatening me?”
“If you disobey me, yes.”

The undertone of the romance aspect felt completely different in When Sinners Hate in comparison to Darker Shades, the prequel and When Sinners Fall, which was Dante and Wren’s book. Whilst the disturbing storyline from Darker Shades and When Sinners Fall continues, this is Abel Cortez and Alexia Ortega’s story. The relationship between Abel and Lexi began as a business deal and wasn’t easy to read at times, however, we felt a tangible connection from the beginning. What a story theirs is, we just couldn’t put it down!

‘He holds me close, making sure I don’t fall. And in that moment, amongst all that pain, suffering and doubt that have shaped me into the person I am today, I finally feel safe and that I belong.’

Abel is controlling and completely effed up in the head of the brutal Cortez family yet harbours strong family values and an intense sense of loyalty and protection. But only to those that matter to him. He’s formidable in his anti-hero villainous ways. As his background comes to light, as well as the sacrifices he’s made for his mum and siblings, we get a real insight into this damaged force of nature that bleeds from his violent and unethical pores. An enigmatic powerhouse of a man who seeks vengeance, control, and domination. Whilst his actions at times freaked us out and had us wanting to look the other way, we completely saw his heart and his own version of love.

“It’s done then. All in. Heed the warning, darlin’, because we don’t fuck up from this second on.”

Alexia Ortega is a pawn in her father’s unsavoury world and has been to hell and back by his hand. She now must take on a role to wreak family revenge after what transpired in When Sinners Fall. Whilst at times we found her incredibly vulnerable and a helpless victim in this evil world, she also had an armour of strength and a hardened exterior as well as a girly softness lurking beneath, waiting to come to the forefront. Her sense of self needed to go through a hell of a lot to find its true place and true love, the Lexi version.

“I choose you, Abel. For everything you’ve done to me, for everything we’ve been through in these few weeks, you mean more to me than blood.”

When Sinners Hate is another well-written addition to the House of Skin series. We’re absolutely addicted to this world and can’t wait for more to come. We highly recommend reading this series in order despite each book being about a different brother, as it has a continuing storyline running through it.


I knew nothing of hate before I met him.
He was a monster hiding in plain sight, wearing fine, cut cloth and pouring champagne. And after that day, he broke me.
Abel Cortez.
Menacing. Possessive. Cruel.

Note: The House Of Skin Series deals with themes some may be uncomfortable with. These are bad men who make no apologies for their particular trade.

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