Pretty When You Cry by Skye Warren
Genre: Dark Romance
Release Date: October 20, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
“Dark, perverse, and unbearably erotic, Pretty When You Cry is Skye Warren at her gritty best.”
~ Anna Zaires, USA Today bestselling author of Twist Me
A new dark romance novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Wanderlust and Prisoner…
I came from a place of dirt floors and holy scriptures. They told me the world outside was full of sin, and the first night I escape, I find out it’s true. Ivan saves me, but he does more than that. He takes me. He makes me his own girl.
My conditioning runs too deep. Ivan sees what I am.
That’s the thing about showing a mouse to a cat. He wants to play. And it’s terrifying, even for me. Because the only thing darker than my past is his.
Author’s Note: Pretty When You Cry is a STANDALONE dark romance novel set in the dark, sexy Stripped series world. Not intended for those uncomfortable with the subject matter or under eighteen.
The bed is the largest one I’ve ever seen, but somehow too small for two people. Too small if one of the people is Ivan. He’s physically large and, more than that, terrifying. What will he do to me? I can’t fight him. God, I’m not sure I want to try. Home.
In the end I push back the heavy blankets, almost as thick as my sleeping pallet in Harmony Hills, and climb onto the bed. The pillow is perfectly soft, so clean, and I let myself drift away. I’m floating on a cloud, plush and high up.
I dream in those moments. I dream about color and light. I dream about the sky.
There is a deep voice from above and all around me, telling me to get on my knees. Commanding me to pray. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever skipped bedtime prayers. The first time I haven’t begged for salvation. I’m not going to beg, not ever again.
The hand on my face doesn’t feel angry. It isn’t a slap for my insolence. It strokes down my temple and cups my cheek. My eyes flutter open. Ivan.
His hand falls away.
“Candace,” he says in the same deep voice of my dream.
And there’s a look in his eyes, the same look Leader Allen gives Mama. The same look he started giving me. That look is the reason Mama sent me away.
“You’ll stay here,” he says softly. “I don’t want you to dance, but you can stay.”
The allure of it beats through me, a heart of its own, thumping away to a dream that isn’t mine. Safety. Home. I want those things, but I want freedom more. I want the flash of lights and of skin. I want the power those women had onstage.
Ivan wants to put me in a cage, but what I really want is to fly.
“Okay,” I lie, because one sin becomes many. Leader Allen taught me that, and he was right. I’ll convince Ivan, though. One day I’ll dance on that stage, and Ivan will watch me.
One day he’ll teach me everything there is to know.
The praise washes over me, undeserved and darkly pleasurable, a stroke along my spine. It feels good, but I know what it is. A trap. A chain around my ankle to keep me on the ground. In this moment, it locks me so tight that I’d accept anything he did to me. If he were to touch me the way the woman with the kind eyes meant. The way Leader Allen touches Mama during prayer.
Ivan leans down, and I hold my breath. Large hands take hold of the blanket, lift slightly. I feel everything between us—anticipation and denial, lust and fear corded together. We feel them together, breathe them in through the air, pulse them with each beat of our hearts. It’s a kind of knowledge, this feeling, connecting a thousand nerve points to the core of my body. This is what he meant by teaching me. This and so much more.
Then he pulls the blanket higher, tucking it around me. “Good night,” he says, eyes glittering in the dark.
He is silver and light, made even brighter by the shadows behind him. It’s strange, the disappointment I feel that he isn’t going to touch me. He isn’t going to teach me. Not tonight. “Good night,” I whisper back.
Then he’s gone, shutting the door against the dark, locking me in. And I slide away into sleep, without dreams, without color, with only the shameless black of contentedness, knowing I am safe for the night.
★✩★✩★ 5 – Dirty, Bloody & Dark as Hell – Stars ★✩★✩★
~this review may contain minor spoilers~
I want freedom. I want to feel safe. Those two things are opposite desires, and they tear me apart. He turns me on. He conditions me for this. But it's not either of those things that keep me here. It's hope, that one day he'll somehow do both of those things for me-he'll set me free and catch me when I fall.
Normally when I do a review, I start off with my own little breakdown of the story – a blurb of sorts. I am not even going to attempt that with this one because I wouldn't even know where to begin. As a fan of dark romances, I dove into this series with gusto and have loved every minute of it so far – this one took the depravity to a whole new level. I have been looking forward to Ivan's story, from the glimpses we have gotten from him up til this point, he has always been a huge mystery wrapped in danger that I was super excited to unwrap. Nothing could have prepared me for what I got – from both him and Candy. Individually, their back stories were more than a little fucked up, but together... Holy. Shit. These two were not just made for each other, they need each other, crave each other, feed off each other – it was a match forged in hell but perfect for them. They say everyone has their kinks and these two prove that theory with a vengeance. I do have to admit, they made me a little uncomfortable a time or two. I don't like to do any spoilers, but I have to at least warn you in case this would be an issue for you but... let's just say, the word 'Daddy' gets thrown around in here, and were not talking about their actual father – and I'm just gonna leave it at that. It wasn't enough to turn me off of the book, and the sex was still hott as hell, but I would be lying if I said it didn't skeeve me out just a bit. My Daddy issues aside, this was still one helluva ride. Candy's past comes back to haunt her in a big way and Ivan goes all badass to protect her. What I loved, even as it drove me nuts, was that – even though Ivan didn't fully understand his feelings towards Candy, and fought them tooth and nail, every time she went running, he immediately went after her. There was no doubt he needed her in his life, even if he didn't understand why. And Candy, for as much as she reveled in her submission to Ivan, she wanted to be treated as an equal when her clothes were ON and fought for it – and I respected the hell out of her for it. She spend her entire youth being controlled to within an inch of her life and she was determined as an adult to take some control back. We get some glimpses of the main characters from the previous books in the series, which was wicked, but we are also introduced to some new ones that just added to the intrigue and made me want all of their stories. I don't think I could ever get enough of this series, or these people, and if the previous books hadn't already turned me into a Skye Warren addict, then this one would have done it. It you like your romances walking on the dark side, with a little bit of blood, a whole lotta grit and kink, then go grab this series – you will love every filthy minute of it.
He found me lost, alone, and helpless-and gave me a place to call mine. This basement, this building. The space where he watches me, both of us held by our own dark desires, in these moments before he gives me my reward.
We are made of the same thing, he and I. Of sin and hope, of power and pleasure.
Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of dark romance.
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~Praise for the Stripped Series~
“It’s gritty, edgy, and sexy, served to you in the well-written, absorbing style that Skye is so talented at delivering. I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the Stripped series.” – Shameless Book Club
“A jagged, layered and enthralling adventure that weaves darkness and light with precision and purpose.” – the lusty literate
“It’s dark, mysterious, sexy, and I loved every page of it! There were twists and turns that I never saw coming! I love when an author is able to keep me guessing until the very end of the book.” – Book Fancy Book Blog
“Love The Way You Lie was heartwarming, exhilarating and tantalizing with just the right tinge of darkness.” – Warhawke’s Vault