Author: Amanda Mackey
Genre: Dark Romance
Life is sweet in The Sanctuary—until Lillian Harris is thrown the curveball of her life.
Lillian is perfectly happy cocooned within the lofty perimeter fence of The Sanctuary. Her Sanctuary—a vast oasis for rescued lions, tigers and elephants. The animals are her world. So when Lillian’s dad tells her a nineteen-year-old criminal who’s fresh out of prison is coming to The Sanctuary as part of a rehabilitation program, Lillian is more than a little apprehensive. She interacts with animals more than humans—and definitely not criminals.
Justice Armstrong is more arrogant than a Silverback, but something darker lurks behind his eyes...
It isn’t until Justice swaggers toward her from the parole officer’s car—pierced, confidant, and more than a little hot—Lillian knows she has her work cut out for her. His stare has the power to rob her of all thought. His words, although crude and nefarious, bring a part of her to life she never knew existed. How is this criminal suddenly turning her world upside down?
He has the power to drag her to the dark side....
Pain—his drug of choice. A vice he can’t survive without. Then he meets her—Lillian Harris. Little miss hellcat. Fiery, strong, and all woman. She challenges him at every damn turn, and watching her tame those fierce big cats...well, it just makes his need for her that much stronger.
He wants to do things to her...wicked things. She makes him crave pain in a whole new way.
When a teen with a dark past bumps heads with the feisty rescue worker, will it be love over lust—or a matter of life and death?
Wow! Pain by Amanda Mackey was not at all what I was expecting in the best way possible. This book is raw and emotional. There are parts of this book that were disturbingly difficult to read as it deals with some child abuse. Then there are points of light and redemption for the characters.
The book begins with one of the difficult moments. You can feel young Justice's hate and fear of his "caretaker". He knows the difference between right and wrong, but he has no choice but to make a gut wrenching decision to do wrong. He was a young, abused child with no way out. Fast forward 10 years and he is just getting out of prison. As part of his parole, he is staying and working at an animal sanctuary aptly named The Sanctuary.
Lil is The Sanctuary owner's daughter. Her father charges her with helping Justice get settled and showing him the ropes. They butt head immediately. She is determined to show him that she will not take his crap. He is determined to show her that he doesn't need her and doesn't take orders from anyone. Underneath all the head butting is undeniable attraction.
Their attraction gets the better of them and it is explosive. They soon get under each other's skin and start to care immensely for one another. However, Lil is harboring her own dark secret. Nothing as horrendous as Justice's, but awful enough in its own right. As Justice begins to trust Lil little by little, he starts to see redemption and love (two things he craves) at the end of the tunnel, but of course, there are many (huge) bumps in the road along the way.
I thought Lil and Justice were perfectly paired. She has a soft spot for the lost and abused (and not just animals). Justice is the epitome of lost and abused. Not only that, just add in alpha and insanely hot and there is no way Lil can resist. On the flip side, Justice sees a challenge in Lil. She should be off limits, but her take no prisoners attitude that can flip into loving and caring quickly makes her into someone he craves to dominate.
This is a perfectly balanced story of dark and light. Justice's "upbringing" and his thoughts are so dark, it's a wonder he can see beyond that. Then there is Lil. She has plenty of darkness, but she insists on living a life of nurturing and rescuing. No, I don't think the author could and put together a better match. She also created secondary character who helped bring the story to life. Each one contributed to the story and made it so much better. Amanda Mackey created and well rounded, solid story. I can't wait for more from her!
Amanda Mackey was born in New Zealand and moved to Australia when she was 12 years old with her family, where she has lived ever since. She has loved books since an early age and is an avid reader. This has helped lay the foundation for her writing. She's published 2 non-fiction books and has her a fiction novel titled, Instinctual out now. Instinctual is a 2 book series. Book 2 will be out Sept. 30 2014.Amanda hopes to make writing her full time career.