Author: Courtney Lane
Genre: contemporary romance, romantic suspense, dark
My name is Hanley Harper—for now—and I’m the anti-heroine of this story. Revenge is my fuel; it energizes me when I'm running on empty.
Elias Cari is a tool for retribution and the beginning of the new start. Unbeknownst to him, there is more to me than I will ever show him. He will know exactly who I am when it’s too late—when I’m done with him.
I'm quickly closing in on the the perfect place to avenge the crimes committed against my family. The place where Elias is least likely to expect an enemy to be.
A problem hits me unexpectedly.
Elias has become a welcome addiction, and I've become his obsession. He won't stop exerting control over me until I've become his exclusive possession.
How can so many things go wrong and feel so right?
My plan is damned…or is it?
Content contains violence, graphic sex, coarse language, and scenes that some readers may find objectionable. Reader discretion is advised.
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Delusive by Courtney Lane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
4.5 **what just happened?** STARS
“When two dangerous people collide, very interesting things happen.”
“Good. I'm glad to know it does.”
This book...oh my god, this book. I feel like I just went through a meat grinder. My feelings are still all over the place and for the longest time I had no idea if I would be able to even rate it. Delusive took a toll on me. Not going to lie, it was a struggle read until I hit the halfway point, but after that to my great surprise it was majorly addictive and spellbinding.
And...spoiler...I loved it, a lot. Fucked-up, messy and insanely hot!
“I sat at the devil’s table and relished in the way he made me sin.”
I’m not going to give much away here, because I think the less you know the more the deception and lies will work in your favour…
Hanley Harper has come into town for revenge. Revenge for her family and the things they had to endure in the past.
She has a very clear idea of what to do and how she can get it. Problem is Elias Cari...her target, the tool to get her to the bigger fish. He takes matters into his own hands far too soon and to her own surprise with way too much determination.
Nothing ruins your best laid plans more than a mark being too domineering, psychotic, unpredictable and infatuated with you.
What is real? Which lies do you believe? Who can you trust? What does anyone know at any given time?
Those questions just scratch the surface of all that is going on in Delusive. Everything and everyone is very guarded and obscure.
At any given time Hanley was playing a version of herself. Even though the book is written in her POV it is rather difficult to get to know her. She is very strong and determined, but appears to be thoroughly out of her depths when confronted with Elias.
He is an even more enigmatic and difficult character, I don’t even know where to begin. His personality is only revealed layer after layer and what you see is a little thrilling and a whole lot terrifying.
Elias is possessive, moody and highly dangerous. I guess you would call him an anti-hero, but to be perfectly honest even mentioning the word 'hero' gives him too much credit. He is the epitome of unredeemable and unapologetically evil. I love him.
“There were so many reasons why I shouldn't have been with him and better reasons to leave. If my heart worked on logic, it would’ve protected itself from being broken and never would have craved the toxic, but gratifying, connection I experienced with Elias.”
At first I didn't fully understand his attraction to Hanley. It’s very much an insta-lust thing, but not in a bad way and once you get to know him the obsession makes a lot more sense. For Hanley pursuing him is clearly a calculated move albeit sooner than she would have thought, but deliberate nonetheless.
And together they are highly dysfunctional, but also combustible both in a really hot and a very destructive way. Now put into that mix family members and friends like Skylar and things spin out of control in a heart beat.
When reading back over the things I said about Elias and Hanley you probably think this was a bad one for me, but honestly all those difficulties and volatile characteristics make this book a very intriguing read and an incredibly brave endeavour on the author's part. Fantastic writing and pure commitment to the strange. For some reason it all just works.
“Breathing. Thinking. Heart-Beating. I was in his world and everything paused around us when he touched me, spoke to me, or looked at me that way.”
Delusive is a standalone - dark romance and if nothing else this book deserves this title. A lot of books get labeled as ‘dark romances’ these day, but this one truly is dark. The characters are flawed beyond imagination and have very little to no redeeming qualities. Also, there are a few noteworthy triggers here. [F/F, M/F/F, graphic violence, very rough - almost abusive sex and asphyxiation fetish. ] (<- highlight to read spoiler)
This book is not for everyone, you have to be able to embrace the darkness and deal with some straight up psychotic behaviour, a truly evil 'anti-hero' and some insane revelations. But if you do and rejoice in the crazy, you might find a new favourite read. I know I did.
**ARC very kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
“Hmph.” I leaned back on my elbows and looked up at the night sky. “I’m in my late twenties, Elias. I think their job is done. I’m an adult. My parents are no longer responsible for me.”
“Their job is never done. With the way my parents continuously intercede in my life and my decision-making from a distance, believe me, I’m not just talking out of the side of my mouth.”
“Talking out of your ass?”
He cut his eyes at me.
Sitting up, I tried to stifle my laugh. “What the fuck is the deal with you and the little to no cursing? It’s so weird.”
“There is a time and a place. I definitely do my fair share of abusing the English language when needed, or when I’m in the bedroom.” His expression transformed to one that stopped me cold and aroused me at the same time. “I shouldn’t say bedroom since I don’t confine sex to just one place. I can have a very salacious mouth when I’m in that mode.”
I quickly crossed one leg tightly over the other with my hands between my thighs. “Mode? You’re in a mode when you have sex?”
His intense stare intensified along with the reaction he evoked from my body. The effect he had on me was easily shown through my hands. “Sex is an all-consuming, mind-manipulating act to me.”
“Sounds like very serious business,” I rasped.
“Which is why I’m not a skirt-chaser. Regardless of what you were told, I don’t invite every woman who is interested in me into my bed. I need a connection first.”
“What’s your idea of a connection?”
He slipped my free hand from my lap and intertwined his fingers with mine, closing his fists around my hand. The flutters in my abdomen turned into tickles when he brought my hand to his soft lips. “The way we are when we’re simply talking.” He allowed my hand to fall to my lap, but maintained a firm grasp. “The way your body shakes when I say certain things to you. The way I know I make you feel when I touch you. That is the connection I’m referring to, Hanley.”
“How do you know I feel anything and I’m not just reacting to the weather?” My vocal chords failed me, ensuring I could barely be heard. “And doesn’t a connection flow both ways? Do you feel anything?” He opened my hand and brought it up to his chest to hover over his heart. The swift beat startled me. Underneath my palm, I could feel the hard curves of a well-conditioned body.
His demeanor tempered on the verge of phlegmatic when he was with me. It was impossible to know if I had any effect, if at all. “I can see it, and I can feel it. I am, however, very glad that you stopped breaking out in hives.” With my hand in his, he lifted my chin. “Your body has shown me that it’s desperate for me to fill every single fuckable hole you have.”
I clenched my thighs tighter around my palm, cutting off the circulation in my hand.
“As I’ve said,” his smile tempting me further, “some occasions call for the use of the word fuck.” With his eyes half-closed, he smoothly released his hold on me. “Keep in mind there is more than one way to penetrate someone. If you thought I was talking about sex…” A coy smile turned into a deviant one and made my unfettered reaction to him worse. “Maybe I was. Maybe I wasn’t.”
Fuck me. My hand had begun to fall asleep with the way I tortured it between my thighs.
“Do you need a change of topics, Ley?” He didn’t ask the question in a way to soothe the burn, he did it in a way that made it worse. Every word that fell from his lips exploded with pure seduction.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
COURTNEY LANE has been creating her own little world since she was very young. When she was eight years old, she began to bring her worlds to life with a pen and paper.
Although she's had a few short hiatuses, writing has been her passion for a number of years. Until 2013, she'd always viewed her writing as a personal hobby and a purgative process: She never thought about sharing her very personal works with anyone outside of her friends and family. On October 8, 2013, she took the plunge into self-publishing and began making her works available to the public.
While many of her works touch several different genres, she has an archetype when it comes to the female protagonists in her stories — they have to have certain brand of strength, be deeply flawed, and harbor layered personalities. In her books you will find themes that reflect the darker side of life with a tremendous amount of depth and complexity. She also has an affinity for characters that aren't necessarily the girl or boy next door, or the people you'd encounter in everyday life. In other words, she prefers to explore characters who aren't easy to fall in love with.
Currently, Courtney can be found either working on her next book, playing the latest role-playing game on her X-Box (preferably a game by Bioware), or spending time with her family.
$20 Amazon e-Gift Card - 3 ebooks authored by Courtney Lane (gifted through Amazon)
The Sordid Promise, The Sect, The Teaser (The Vamp Experience #1), AfterPlay (The Vamp Experience #2), Punk (StrangeHer Love #1), Shock (StrangeHer Love #2), Love Society (The Vamp Experience #3), or Delusive.
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