Author: Mercy Celeste
Cover Artist: April Martinez
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Buy Link: Let It Go
Genre: Western, contemporary
Length: 84081 words
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Andrea
Review Summary: It started out as an excellent story of healing after trauma but unnecessary drama turned into a train wreck by the end.
Blurb: Creed was the main focus of Eli’s fierce temper. For ten years the two men left a trail of destruction in their wake, with rodeo, beer, and fists all they had in common. Until a judge had enough and sentenced them to house arrest—in the same house. They’d either learn to get along or they’d kill each other.
Trapped on Eli’s rundown Florida ranch, Creed discovers Eli’s secret, one that he shares. But he didn’t count on Eli learning all of his secrets, especially the one that would shatter their newfound truce.
Scarred to his bones, Eli avoided relationships like the plague. Yet something about the quiet Creed had always pushed his buttons. Falling in love with him was never part of Eli’s plan. When it happens he’s unprepared and out of his league.
When a shared enemy comes calling Eli can only think of keeping Creed safe. He never dreamed that their lives were linked or that Creed’s former life could destroy them both. Will love be enough to save them?
Warning: This book has repeated physical abuse and rape (flashbacks as well as current events). If those are triggers, you will want to avoid this book. The violence is frequent and very detailed.
This was a tough book to read and review. The strange part was that it wasn’t the violence which made it a difficult read. The violence was actually pretty easy because there was so little emotion involved. Eli and Creed both coped with abuse by detaching from the moment. That made it much easier for the reader. I never once got emotionally involved in what was happening. I never felt angry or upset while reading.
Creed and Eli have known each other for 10 years. Even though they hated one another, their lives have still revolved around each other. When they are finally forced to truly get to know the other, they find that everything they thought they knew was wrong. They had based their opinions on the lies and deception of a man involved in both their lives. As they get to know and see each other for who they really are, they begin to see the other differently. Eli and Creed are wonderful and have a great dynamic together. I really liked them both and I loved them together.
My biggest issue with the two of them was the way Creed dissociated from sex. He spent his teenage years as a whore. Sex was never about pleasure, it was a way of earning money. The only thing separating one encounter from another was the level of pain involved. I get that, but when he finally starts having sex for pleasure, it read the same as the rape scenes. I knew Eli was enjoying himself but I had no idea what was going on in Creed’s head. He said the exact same things and reacted the same as he did in the earlier rape scenes. The author did that for a reason, I get it and I can appreciate it, but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed reading it.
The next problem was something I think most people will notice. The beginning of the book was all about revealing the depth of abuse, finding a safe place and beginning to heal. Neither Creed nor Eli have given into their emotions or even allowed themselves to feel them. Once they begin to open that door it’s overwhelming for them. I really loved that part. Then the book took a turn. Somewhere between the halfway and ¾ mark it became more about suspense and communication issues (that’s my non-spoiler way of saying it 😉 ). While they did play into the overall story, they also took away from the book as a whole. In my opinion, they should have been greatly reduced or maybe even have one of them eliminated altogether.
For the majority of this book, I loved it. The first part was great, worthy of 4 or 5 stars, but the last bit brought it way down. It was kind of saved at the very end but not enough to overshadow the train wreck of the suspense/miscommunication part. In all honesty, this is a book which needs to be reworked by an editor who can fix the suspense/miscommunication part and help it blend into the story better. There was so much potential for the book, but in the end it didn’t hit the mark. It felt incomplete and left me disappointed.