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?
Worldbuilding: This story takes place at The Sanctuary, in Sierra County, California. A six-hundred-acre rescue home for exotic animals.
Characters: The main characters in this novel are Lillian “Lil” Harris and Justice Armstrong. Lil is perfectly content in her own little safari world. Taking care of rescued lions, tigers, and elephants is the best part of her day and she doesn’t want anything to change that. But little does she know that her little world is in for a long overdue shake up. Her father informs her that he wants their little oasis to be part of a juvenile rehabilitation program for teens in jail. And their first parolee is coming to stay for a couple of months. Lil is floored and skeptical at best and after meeting the arrogant and extremely attractive Justice, she doesn’t think he’ll last out there. And as much as she wants to give him the benefit of the doubt, he knows exactly which buttons of hers to push to get her riled up. They butt heads constantly and can’t deny the electricity that zings between them, every time they are in each other’s presence. The more Lil gets to know Justice the more she wants to help him but he will be damned he if will trust anyone ever again, after what he’s been through. Can Lil break down his walls and show him how amazing his life could be? Or will invading Justice’s personal space result in a catastrophe that neither Lil or Justice will recover from?
Plot: This was originally a romance between Lil and Justice, that evolved into a story about not letting past demons take control of the future. Justice had a lot of skeletons in his closet, that he was able to overcome over the course of the novel.
Writing: This novel is written in first person points of view of Lil and Justice. There are themes that might be triggers for some readers such as suicide attempt and rape, so if those themes make you uncomfortable then do not read this novel.
Curb Appeal: The cover is dark and definitely relates back to the story. The blurb gives a great rundown on the characters’ situations but doesn’t let on how dark things get for the hero.
Ultimately: This novel was darker than I expected it to be. There were so many gut wrenching memories that Justice flashed back to, that were pretty hard to get through. All in all, if you are in the mood for a love hate relationship that is a little more on the serious side but has a great ending then come check out Pain!!
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