Publication Date: November 15, 2015
Publisher: Penelope Douglas LLC
Genre: Dark Contemporary Romance
Riki (Erika) has known Michael her whole life and always been interested in him but he has never shown any interest in her. That changes when she is 16 and he has come back from college, along with his best friends, to take part in a hazing event the night before Halloween. The events of that night are the catalyst for what is happening in the current day between Riki, Michael, and his group of friends.
I have read a few bully romances but this is the most brutal one that I have read. There were times that I was super uncomfortable reading this which is a pretty rare occurrence for me. In my Goodreads review I said that this book was a total mind f*ck for me but I think I liked it. Now I can say with confidence that I liked it because I love the way Penelope Douglas writes characters. They are so flawed and so real which makes the romance feel so believable.
The friend group with Michael, Damon, Kai, and Will was so twisted and at different times they were all unlikeable. One more than the others but they all also had moments where we understand them and can see the goodness inside. Riki was a character that I immediately connected with and while she was definitely too forgiving (more than once) I found her thought process behind her actions to be believable.
The romance between Michael and Riki was something that I spent at least half the book wondering how they were going to get there. At the same time, we would get flashbacks of what happened between them when Riki was 16 and the chemistry between them was so good that I was rooting for them to figure it out and get together. When they finally did get together, even though it was still messy, it was also incredibly hot.
Along with the bully aspect of this story, the level of heightened suspense that Douglas built was another reason why this book was a difficult read for me. While the ending was pretty predictable the road to get there was an insane level of tense. I never knew what to expect or exactly how far Douglas was willing to push this story.
Since this book is DARK and made me uncomfortable at times I don’t really know who to recommend this book to. I think that if you are a fan of dark romances and want to have your limits pushed then I would suggest you try this book out. It is a Kindle Unlimited book so if you have that service you don’t have much to lose. Also, if dark romance isn’t your thing I still highly recommend Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas. It is still the best age gap romance I have ever read and one of my top books of last year.