After her brother is beaten and put in the hospital, Nicky is desperate to clear his debts with cartel boss Paulo Garcia. Not realizing that she’s walking into a lion’s den, she shows up with the money and demands her brother be left alone. But she’s unknowingly $5000 short, and Paulo doesn’t plan to let her go. One of his henchmen, Andre, finds himself drawn to Nicky and can’t stand the idea of sharing her with the others. So in exchange for covering her remaining debt, Nicky now belongs to Andre with the caveat that if Paulo ever wants her, he gets her.
The plot follows the usual sex slave falls in love with her hated torturer theme, but it was still so much more. Living in the house with other men, men that wanted to rape her, Nicky was always on alert and that translated well to the page. Any time she wasn’t alone with Andre in his room, my stomach cramped with dread knowing that eventually Paulo was going to come for her.
I loved Nicky. She was strong and defiant, but knew when to play scared. Andre was harder to get a read on. Sometimes, he was almost like a knight in shining armor… if your knight was keeping you against your will and raping you.
Other times, I hated how weak he was. How he just did Paulo’s bidding, no questions asked, and would then take his aggression out on Nicky made me want him to suffer, just a little.
The ending was what’s keeping this from being 5 stars. Keeping it vague to prevent spoilers, Nicky goes through something pretty terrifying and life-changing. But literally the next day she seems all hunky-dory and comforts Andre, not the other way around. It just seemed too fast and dismissive of her experience.
Trigger warning: dubious consent, rape, violence, and some violent rape that may or may not include a gun.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.