Bane, by LJ Shen, is one of my favorite books in the whole world so it’s no surprise Bane and Jesse are two of my favorite characters of all time. They’re both fascinating and leave you wanting to know more. Bane is gorgeous and mysterious, part businessman, part escort, all stoner and surfer. He’s the kind of guy you’d love to hang out with and grab a drink just to find out more because you know he’s got some fantastic stories to tell. Jesse is one of the most heartbreaking characters I’ve ever read.
Her story can only be described as brutal. She’s been through the unthinkable and come out stronger but she doesn’t know that because she’s cut herself off from the world. Her poor excuse for a mother has done nothing to protect Jesse or help her heal and has done her far more harm than good. Jesse really has no idea how to function in the world but she’s smart and tough and just needs a push out into the world.
Bane is courting investors for a business deal and Baron “Vicious” Spencer declines but refers him to oil tycoon Darren Morgansen as a potential backer. He’s eager to make a deal with Bane but wants something in return: companionship for his troubled stepdaughter. Her dad died when she was young and she’s been through severe trauma, so Jesse rarely leaves the house anymore. Jesse is lonely and hurting so Darren wants her to get a job and make a friend. He has two stipulations, one that Jesse never know about this deal and the second that Bane will not touch her.
Once they have a deal, Darren shares Jesse’s story and it makes a huge impression on Bane. He wants to help this tragic girl and admits he’d do this job for free.
“My whole life has been pledged to this meeting with you.”
These two have something incredible in common before they even meet, which is what draws Bane to want to help. He finds a way to bump into her and offer her a job in his coffee shop and they become acquainted. The attraction is mutual and immediate. The chemistry between them is intense and the heat off the charts. Bane struggles to ignore his feelings because laying a finger on her breaks the contract and means he forfeits the six million bucks Darren was investing in his surf park dream but it’s more than that. Jesse’s complicated background cements Bane’s decision to refrain from getting closer. She’s still healing and Bane thinks he’d be bad for Jesse, for various reasons but as their bond grows, Jesse isn’t willing to take no for an answer.
They click from the beginning and we see Jesse blossom, coming out of her shell with his support and with new friends around her. He goes to great lengths to show he cares, despite his determination that their relationship remain platonic. When he finally gives in, I thought they’d both get their HEA but then everything comes crashing down. There’s a second something in the past that connects them and the discovery is intense but nothing is as bad as when Jesse learns of Bane’s deal with Darren. He was trying to tell her but she found out elsewhere first and it was heartbreaking to watch.
“You don’t need a prince, princess. You need a sword.”
Even without him, Jesse is strong and determined to get justice for herself. It’s not easy and her awful mother has made this even more difficult for her, but Jesse is tenacious. She’s also smart, driven and fierce so she’s a force. The men who hurt her and the bullies who blamed and taunted her as she suffer are all in her sights.
“Spoiler: the princess saves herself in this fairytale.”
This book is dark and emotional in places but so sweet and funny in others. It’s a story of loss and suffering and hope and redemption. It’s one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever read and has one of my favorite quotes ever (below). I loved everything about this book and have read it more than once. There’s an epilogue available from the author that isn’t part of the book, showing them a little further in the future and I loved every word there, too.
Although this is book 5 in the series, it’s far and away my favorite. The first four need to be read in order to avoid spoilers but these are all standalones. The fourth book, Scandalous, is where we briefly meet Bane but that context isn’t necessary to read his story. Bane does have some spoilers in it for Scandalous though so if that’s a deal breaker, read them in order.
“Where have you been?’
‘Gail’s, Pam’s, Mrs. B’s. Just…around?’
‘No, Snowflake. Where have you been before? Where have you been all my life?’
‘I was right here. Waiting for you.’ I pressed my palm against his heart, smiling.”
Bane on Amazon
by LJ Shen
Sinners of Saint series book 5
Roman ‘Bane’ Protsenko
Naked surfer. Habitual pothead. A con, a liar, a thief and a fraud.
Last I heard, he was extorting the rich and screwing their wives for a living.
Which is why I’m more than a little surprised to find him at my threshold, looking for my friendship, my services, and most puzzling of all—looking humbled.
Thing is, I’m on a boycott. Literally—I cut boys from my life. Permanently.
Problem is, Bane is not a boy, he is all man, and I’m falling, crashing, drowning in his sweet, perfect lies.
Hot as hell, cold as ice.
I wasn’t aware of her existence until a fat, juicy deal landed in my lap.
She’s a part of it, a little plaything to kill some time.
She is collateral, a means to an end, and a side-bonus for striking a deal with her oil tycoon stepdad.
More than anything, Jesse Carter is a tough nut to crack.
Little does she know, I have the teeth for it.