“Echo (Bleeding Hearts #1) by A. Zavarelli
Synopsis: A Dark Billionaire Romance
How far would you go to save someone you love? Would you give up your body? Your mind? Your heart?
I did and it cost me everything.
He says he owns me. And it’s true.
I’ve signed over complete control of my body and life for six months to a man I don’t know. Five years he’s been planning this. They say revenge is a dish best served cold. But my blackmailer serves it up white hot. He’s addicted to my innocence, and I’m addicted to him.
He likes to hurt me. I love to let him. He brings me to life. He sets me free. He makes my heart feel things it shouldn’t.
But he also scares me. He holds the fate of my brother’s life in his hands. A life behind bars for crimes I know he didn’t commit. My blackmailer can’t give up his revenge on my family, and I can’t be with him if he doesn’t. But I’m nothing more than a butterfly caught in his net. Do I really have a choice?
3 out of 5 stars
Warning: Triggering for rough sex and violence
Ok, let me explain. I got this as a free sample on my Kindle app and didn’t have anything else with me to read, so I read the sample. Then I bought the stupid book.
To begin, I have not read “50 Shades”. Nor have I seen the movie. I have no desire to do either as I prefer my kink more real and mostly queer and I really feel weird about Twilight fan fic portrayed as an introduction to BDSM.
So, onto this book. There are so many things that I should not like about it – all the tropes have been rehashed here. The virginal young woman who came from nothing and doesn’t know she’s beautiful and also enjoys P in V sex immediately (and P in everything else, I might add). The dark, mysterious alpha male with steel blue eyes who is also a billionaire and who only has eyes for her and wants to possess her.
The writing is often stilted and long winded. So many instances of agonizing glances that took a paragraph to describe. A lot of underdevelopment that was confusing until the “big reveal.”
Heaven help me, I really liked this book!
The book begins with our main character, Brighton, in her family’s trailer as she waits for her twin brother to be sent to prison the next day. It’s the day before her 16th birthday and she meets her brother’s “friend”, Ryland. He kisses her before walking out.
She doesn’t see him again for five years when she finds herself working for him as an intern. A note is delivered to her one day with information that could get her brother out of jail if she agrees to be the note writer’s slave for six months. No questions, everything must be obeyed. If she goes to the police, everything will be destroyed.
This book is not your typical Sexy Rich Guy wants Not Traditionally Pretty Girl story. Instead it’s an elaborate revenge story years in the making. It’s at times very dark, as is the sex.
Let’s talk about the sex scenes. I’m all for any combination of genders (or lack thereof) in a sex scene as long as it’s well written. The scenes in this book are exceptionally well done and very steamy! There is a bit of suspension of disbelief (if anyone on the planet has had anal sex as their second sexual encounter in their whole life, my hat’s off to you) and there is a lot of violence tied up in the sex. Ryland likes things rough and, as it turns out so does Brighton. Very hot indeed.
I would not call this a BDSM romance. Not at all. This, for me, is a dark romance with some kink and violent elements. My main reason for not calling this BDSM is the way two particular scenes are written. Brighton and Ryland are having sex, and during the scene he starts beating her with his belt. At first I was confused trying to picture the logistics of this and could not for the life of me figure out how he was hitting her with a belt while having sex. Then I pieced together that the sex was with him behind her, and he was hitting her on the back.
On the back.
With a belt.
Maybe that’s someone’s thing but it’s not mine and I found it very off putting and not at all realistic. Maybe that’s the author’s thing – getting hit on the back with a belt.
That said, I did really like this book, with all it’s flaws. I will ashamedly admit I will most likely buy the second book in the series.
The cover … eh.