The devil came to me in disguise. Too bad I didn’t notice until it was far too late.
The devil doesn’t always wear an evil mask.
Sometimes, he appears in the most beautiful form.
Like the super-hot bad boy with the dirty-blond hair and a wicked glint in his blue eyes who swept in out of nowhere, stealing all the air from my lungs.
I thought he was my savior.
But he’s my ruination.
And he’s just taken a machete to my heart.
For years, my rage seethed under the surface. Hidden behind a cloudy haze of my poison of choice.
But now, the fog has cleared.
And I’m out for blood.
I will annihilate those responsible for taking my sister from me.
Except he’s not here, so I go for the next best target.
The woman he abandoned.
Until it suited him to drag her into this messed-up elite world.
Sucks to be her.
Because when I’m done with Vanessa, she’ll wish she was dead.
A STAND-ALONE dark romance set in the Rydeville Elite world. You do not have to read the previous books in this series to enjoy this book as it’s a new couple and it ends with a HEA. Due to mature content and themes, this book is recommended to readers aged eighteen and over. Some scenes may be triggering. Full length, 126k word, novel.
Spoiler alert: This is a standalone but this story is a spoiler for things that happen in the earlier books so I recommend reading these in order.
This book is EVERYTHING. No exaggeration, it’s one of the most engrossing stories I’ve ever read and I loved every second of it. This was a can’t put-it-down, where-have-you-been-all-my-life book and I was obsessed, giving up sleep to see how it ends right now because I couldn’t wait a moment longer. I truly can’t remember ever being so emotionally involved in a book as I was in this one.
There are so many things I loved about it, I don’t even know where to start and have been trying to write this review all day. I’ll start with Jackson because I loved him in the earlier books. To be honest, I hated him for a bit in this one but Siobahn Davis is such an incredible author and does such a stellar job of telling his story, it’s impossible not to sympathize with him. That doesn’t mean I condoned his stupidity because he really pissed me off more than once here, but it was easy to see where he was coming from and why he was in such a terrible mindset. So many authors make their characters hotholes just for the sake of it and the backstory doesn’t quite cover it but in Jackson’s case, everything made sense.
Vanessa is one of the saddest, strongest, most likeable characters I’ve ever read and she’s immediately likeable. We’ve all done embarrassing things as teenagers, so her struggle to reinvent herself is so relatable, even if it’s on a much larger scale than yours or mine. Her story is tragic and possibly more heartbreaking even than Abby’s; Even in her darkest moments, Abby had Drew and her friends but Vanessa has never had anyone in her corner, until Jackson.
He has ulterior motives and breaks her heart but tries to justify it to himself in various ways. If only she hasn’t been afraid to open up to Jackson or Sawyer, or eventually Abby and Sondra, so much heartbreak could’ve been avoided. At the same time, Jackson may never have come to terms with his many faults without witnessing her suffering and owning his responsibility there so it was for the best since it ultimately brought them together in the end.
As I writer, I can only hope that my characters will touch readers the way Vanessa’s story touched me. I’m awed at Siobahn Davis’ skill and also at the depravity her mind conjures because holy hell, the elites just keep getting worse every time I think we’ve seen it all. I’ll be counting the days until Sawyer is released in June and also Drew, which is coming next year because the saga with the elites hasn’t ended. However, the end here isn’t a cliffhanger per se, which is important because I would have been furious at an author for toying with my emotions that way.
Make no mistake, a great story and amazing characters are not the only tricks in Davis’ bag here, there are quite a few others. One thing I adored about this book is that this story is going on at the same time as the events in Charlie, so I loved seeing the action taking place from different angles and multiple points of view. This isn’t just rewriting a few scenes, it’s so much more.
We also learn more about the elite and how they’ve regrouped since the showdown at Parkhurst. Spoiler alert: the evil villains are doing just dandy and seem to have enough government officials in their ranks and pockets to make all the problems go away. Among the various disgusting tricks in their bag, they traffic women and children on a private island belonging to a senator, much like the rumors surrounding Epstein’s island and his powerful political friends.
Separately and together, Jackson and Vanessa both kick ass and their story captivated me from the first page. As usual, I skipped the description and dove right in but began to panic about halfway through, worried about an abrupt ending like the previous story. I’m happy to report this is a full length novel, more than twice as long as Charlie, thank my lucky stars.
The elite subplot really comes in later in the story and though the current events wrap up nicely, there’s an excellent set-up to continue in future books, however I fear that we’ll have to wait for Drew for that because Sawyer’s family isn’t involved and is story seems to be headed in a different direction. The teasers for Sawyer are tantalizing though and it seems like Xavier will figure prominently, which is awesome. We get a lot more of Sawyer, as Vanessa’s childhood friend, and also of Xavier (squeee!!), as he and Vanessa quickly become friends. The first part of the story is all about our MC’s with some Sawyer and Xavier but it takes a turn further in where we get lots of Abby, Kai, Shondra and Drew as well.
If every book were as good as this one, I’d be a complete hermit. Thank goodness Siobhan Davis can’t churn out books constantly.
Footnote: there are 7 books in the Rydeville Elite series (so far) but Abby and Kai’s story is a complete series to me. Books 1 and 2 end in cliffhangers so the story flows uninterrupted for three full novels while books 4-7 are stand alones for various characters we’ve met in Abby and Kai’s story (Charlie, Jackson, Sawyer and Drew).
Other reviews in the Rydeville Elite series
- Cruel Intentions – book 1
- Ruse – book 1. 5 bonus content Cruel Intentions prologue from Kai’s POV
- Twisted Betrayal – book 2
- Sweet Retribution – book 3 (finishes Abby + Kai’s story)
- Charlie – book 4
- Jackson – book 5
- Sawyer – book 6
- The Hate I Feel – book 6.5 (short story in the Hot Summer School Nights anthology)
- Drew – book 7 – scheduled for 2022 release