Saturday, October 19, 2013

Rotten review

Growing up on the outskirts of Las Vegas as the daughter of notorious strip club owner, Stephen Knox, and a mother who abandoned her at birth, life was less than kind to a young Antoinette.

After a failed teenage suicide attempt, Toni hit the road in search of a life free of undeserved cruelty and any resemblance to her past. 

Years later, Toni is lost in a dead end marriage and makes a painful confession that sends her back to the one place she always wanted to escape. But can she really right the wrongs that haunt her? Toni soon finds that the only place where things stay the same is in your mind.

When her path crosses with David Stark, childhood playmate turned one night stand, she cannot deny the spike in temperature she feels every time he's near or the scorching dreams that flood her at night.

Digging through the years of heartache, Toni soon finds herself torn between the man she is committed to and the one who has always held her heart. As each layer unfolds before her, she discovers the root cause of her pain. Always believing the source was external, nothing could prepare her for the truth.

*This book contains sexual content and adult language. Intended for readers 17+.

4 Stars

I honestly didn’t know what to expect with this book. I was really intrigued by the synopsis. It turned out to be a really pleasant surprise. At the core of this story is the subject of bullying, the short and long term effects. We follow Toni as she tries to shake off the effects of a childhood of being bullied and recreates herself.

Toni was bullied because of her father owning a strip club. She left town after her failed suicide attempt. She made up her mind to never return. She seemingly reinvents herself into someone respectable and reputable. Someone she thinks is totally different from her past. On the surface everything is perfect down to her wonderful marriage. But looks can be deceiving. She learns this lesson when she is forced to go back to her childhood home after her father suffers a stroke and ends up in a coma. Her father, it seems, isn’t who she always thought. Despite his rough outward appearance, he has a heart of gold.

“My father was keeping this town alive….He was blowing his money making sure that the kiddos had new uniforms, or that the families had enough to eat. He sacrificed so others did not have to do without.”

Once she arrives in town, she is forced back into contact with her childhood friend, crush, and eventual lover, David Stark. To say her world turns upside down would be an understatement. She tries to fight feelings that she thought she had pushed away long ago.

He walked up behind me and gently pulled me against his chest, holding my shoulders as he leaned down over me. It was intimate without being sexual, familiar and affectionate.”

I really like David; he’s great.  I feel like, even though this is Toni’s story, he is the rock. He is always there for her, being whom and what she needs at the time. He doesn’t push her to be who he wants, but lets her grow on her own while offering support.

“I fucking love you, Toni. God, I love you, woman. You drive me crazy as sin, but I would kill for you.”

Their love for each other isn’t instantaneous. It has grown since childhood. As such, it is something more understanding, supportive, and true. Running alongside that love, is the blinding passion they have for each other.

“I ruined you, didn’t I? I broke you in and made you mine. From the first moment I penetrated you, your pussy recorded how I felt inside you, knowing that it would never feel that way again. I couldn’t be rough with you then. Not like now. Now I can really fuck you hard. Do you want me to fuck you hard? Tell me, Toni.”

Even as David was a rock for Toni, she was also a source of strength and comfort for him. Though it was her father lying in the hospital bed, he was also David’s father figure. I loved watching their friendship become comfortable again, and I loved watching them accept their love for each other. They are great together.

“Standing to stretch his arms and legs, he walked to the bedside and looked down at the man I knew he loved as much as I did. It wasn’t just my daddy in that bed, it was his, too – blood or not.”

Another theme running through this book is Toni’s Catholic faith. She leans on God, gets angry and yells at Him, and lets Him mold her. Take note that THIS IS NOT Christian fiction. Toni’s faith is a big part of her character and at times, it dictates who she is and her actions. Through a lot of soul searching and heartache, and armed with her faith, she looks back to her roots and finds herself again. She learns that it is okay to not always be perfect, and the point of life is living.

“Saints are sinners that keep on going.”

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying affects us all, whether directly or indirectly. It comes in all shapes and sizes. There is NEVER an excuse for bullying and should NEVER be tolerated. Too many are lost as a result. Do your part and fight back by standing up and speaking up. For more information on what you can do to help, please visit

As I cracked the old bathroom door open, steam rushed out in vapor clouds before me. David looked up as I approached him in nothing but a towel. Still not saying anything, I used my ankle to kick his knees apart. He looked at me oddly until the towel dropped to the floor in a large heap of cotton. Crawling up onto his lap, I used the palm of my hand to push his forehead back into the fabric of the sofa and pressed my naked body into his chest.

“Are you going to run away again?” I whispered.

His hands tentatively caressed the damp skin on the back of my thighs while licking his lips. “No ma’am.”

JL Brooks is a former columnist turned novelist. What started as a bet changed her entire course in life. With a passion for adventure, she believes everyone has a story to tell. Chances are she will try to convince you to tell yours.

To connect with the author, please follow these links:


Previous works: Distractions, Stories for Amanda (Contributing Author)

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