A Terrible Love, by Marata Eros.
"We're terrible together," I say, meeting his eyes, the savage truth hanging between us like an unmovable weight.
"It's not about true love, Jess." I see the conviction in his eyes and it is equal parts horrible and a comfort. I don't want a relationship, I want this burning ache to abate. The fire for him to subside.
I answer even though it's not required, jerking my backpack up off the ground as I begin to walk away. "If it were love then it would be a terrible love."
I don't wait for his response.
I've had this novel in my book pile for a while, and am just now getting to it - and now I wish I had read it sooner, as it was fantastic. I have another book by the same author, The Darkest Joy, that I will also be reviewing soon, as well as giving away two copies. This novel followed Jewell MacLeod, self-renamed Jess Mackey, a college student hiding from an abusive past and trying to connect without giving away too much information about herself to others.
Jess Mackey is living a meticulously fabricated lie of necessity. She's left the secret tragedy of her past behind along with who she was and is forging ahead with a clean slate. Jess soon discovers that passion can't be left behind; her own and that of the one man that sees who she really is. Whose presence caresses her soul in a way that may breach the peaceful life Jess has made for herself.
Devin Castile sees a young woman that is the missing puzzle piece to his existence and who is also the victim to a heinous crime. Devin convinces himself that he can remain emotionally distant even while indulging his physical desire for her. When the lies that Jess has made crumble before their attraction and the truth is revealed, one of them might pay with their life... or their very being.
I seem to be reading a lot of YA/NA books lately where the main character has an interesting or secretive past (here and here, for example), and this one was no exception. Jess's stepdad is a senator who is now running for president, and his son used to sexually abuse her. She ran away from them but has to keep a low profile, since her stepdad is constantly on the news, talking about his campaign and also how the search for Jess is going. Her mother chose to ignore what was going on - she "made her choice," Jess repeats throughout - and there was no other option for Jess except to run away.
Jess finds herself caught between two guys: Mitch, the "safe" option, who wants to be her boyfriend, and Devin Castile, "Cas" for short, who just wants sex, no strings attached. Jess opts to partake in both of these choices, until she learns some things about both men that make her reevaluate.
My *only* complaint about this novel is that we don't get to see into Devin's psyche as much as I'd like - however, I think the reason for this is because of A Brutal Tenderness, released recently on e-book ($5.99), which is this same story but from his point-of-view. I will definitely be adding that to my TBR list, as Cas continues to be a mystery to me after reading A Terrible Love, for the most part.
4.5 stars out of 5.
*Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.
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