Book Review, Romance Review

Review: Blood To Dust by LJ Shen

Blood To Dust - LJ Shen dark romance
Blood To Dust – LJ Shen

His name is Beat, and I should hate him.

Bound, blindfolded and bruised, I’m tied in his basement, waiting for the men who stripped me from clothes and humanity to collect his debt to them. Me.

His name is Nate and I should hate him, but I don’t.

I’m not supposed to know his real name, even worse, I’m not supposed to care. He is nothing to me but means to an end. The plan is simple: break free, collect the pieces of my broken soul, kill the bastards and run away.

His name is Nathaniel Thomas Vela, and I’ve never seen his face, though I hear that it’s beautiful.

Behind the rugged and handsome exterior, there’s a quiet murderer, a killer who thinks guns are for pussies and ends people with his bare hands.

His name doesn’t matter, neither does his face, but what does matter is my heart. And right now, sadly, it’s his.

I’ll get right to the point here and say flat-out that this is an amazing story with awesome characters, so good I’ve read it more than once. I’ve read everything in the LJ Shen catalog and this is one of my favorites. It’s very different from her usual plot but it’s a fast-paced book with an intriguing premise and characters you shouldn’t like but can’t help loving.

Prescott Burlington-Smyth is the most badass, kick ass heroine ever written, better than any superhero. She grew up rich with an absentee mother and her corrupt politician father. The only good thing in her life was her brother, Preston, who was disowned by his parents at eighteen when he came out to his family. He disappeared shortly thereafter and finding Preston is the only reason Prescott has stayed in California because there’s nothing she wants more than to leave this life behind. A few years back, she fell in love with the son of her father’s business partner and she had no idea what she was getting into with Camden Archer.

He’s the son of organized crime boss Godfrey Archer and Prescott suffered unimaginably at his hands, first as his naive young lover and later as his captive. She managed to escape from him at one point, taking enough of his dirty money to disappear across the Atlantic and start a new life in New York City but her own father ratted her out the Archer. He begged her to come home because her brother was missing and she’d felt guilty leaving him at home when she moved to London with Camden, so she went back to California against her better judgment only to find Archer and his henchman waiting for her. Prescott is resourceful and managed to escape captivity. She collaborated with a local motorcycle club who had a drug territory beef with Archer’s organization. Camden, Godfrey and Godfrey’s right hand, Sebastian, were supposed to die that night, but Camden escaped while the others went to prison and they’ll never stop hunting Prescott. She survived on the streets of Stockton for a bit, selling drugs stolen from Archer in the failed massacre attempt but they’ve managed to find her once again.

Prescott is now being held hostage by two low-level soldiers. She sees an opportunity with Nate “Beat” Vela and tries to convince him that they should be allies. When that doesn’t work, she seduces him and her new plan is foolproof. Not only is she young and beautiful, Nate was recently released from prison and he’s a young guy full of testosterone who’s been denied female contact for years. His story is almost as sad as hers. Nate’s a good guy who went to prison for defending his mother from his viciously abusive father. He hasn’t had an easy life and he’d kill again in a heartbeat but Nate has standards and is only violent to those who deserve his wrath. It’s vigilante justice but Nate is a likable, sympathetic character and I was rooting for him the whole time.

They forge an alliance to seek vengeance on those who have wronged Prescott, with a specific plan to split up at a certain point and go separate ways. It has to happen so they can stay alive and out of prison, but they quickly develop feelings for each other and that could cost them everything. This isn’t a story for the faint of heart and it’s a nail-biter. This is one of those books you read through in one sitting because it’s impossible to walk away from for any length of time. There’s a lot going on and too much at stake, so this isn’t a casual read of a chapter here, a few pages there. This book hooks you right from the start.

The tension is almost unbearable in some parts and the sexual tension between these two is off the charts. It’s a very steamy read and the love scenes are some of Shen’s best. It’s a story of loss and suffering and redemption and it’s worth every minute of your time.  

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