We are thrilled to be a part of the Shame blog tour!! This book comes out 10/6 and if you’ve read the rest of the Ruin series you are in for an amazing ride! Enjoy friends because I know I did!! ~ Amber
Everything done in darkness, will eventually be brought into the light.
I ran, but all it did was keep me one step ahead of my past. I tried to start over; new name, new identity. But you can’t change your soul.
A fresh start at college was just what I needed. For a while, it worked. I was the party girl, the one that seemed confident, but it was a lie.
When guys kissed me–I felt only pain.
When they touched me–Nothing but fear.
Deep inside, every girl wants to be the beauty in the story, to find someone that will see you as their world.
But the truth? I was the beast. And as much as I wanted redemption, I wasn’t fool enough to think I’d ever get it.
Until he walked into my life.
I wasn’t prepared to fall for someone. My scars were too deep, the wounds too raw. But he offered me peace, he offered me security. I should have known it was just another lie–I should have known that falling in love with my professor was a bad idea.
But I was powerless to stop myself from falling.
And he was powerless to catch me.
Because the darkness finally caught up to me, and as fate would have it, a cruel twist almost bled me dry. But I’m stronger than I knew. I’m stronger than you think.
You think you know my story, but you don’t….after all everyone has Shame in their lives– and I’m no longer afraid to show you mine.
Shame is usually a very negative word, but shame in this case means a truly amazing book filled with so many emotions and while some of those might have been sad this book was by no means a sorrowful story! The third in the Ruin Series, Shame is by far the most intense as we learn Lisa’s full story and the demons that she continues to fight. Rachel did a masterful job with this story that included some very heavy subject matter. I was so impressed that despite themes of domestic violence and cyber bullying, this story was not heavy and dark but full of hope.
We really get to see Lisa completely here and I’m so glad Rachel gave us her own book! She is such a strong and determined character despite the darkness that threatens her. I love how despite the hard exterior that we really see how vulnerable Lisa really is, but also she has a strength that keeps her moving forward to try to overcome her past mistakes. The sadness for me was that Lisa feels like she will never find her own happily ever after that her friends have found because of the mistaken belief that the dark can never let her have the light of love.
There were so many twists and turns in this one that kept me guessing til the end. From the journal of Taylor to Tristan’s identity to the threats that Lisa was getting; they all proved to make this so much of a page turner! Add to that the wonderful way that Rachel has of including Wes, Kiersten, Gabe and Saylor to the story. They were just as integral in this installment that the previous books, plus the fact that Tristan had history with them as well! That is something I always love about Rachel’s writing, how she integrates and develops her characters, well that and the humor of her characters. The humor in this one was just as important, maybe more so at times because of some of the storyline. But underneath it all was the attraction between Tristan and Lisa. I loved the interplay between the two of them, because it was downright combustible. I won’t tell you more about it, but let’s just say that there was some definite love/hate happening initially until the masks come off!
All in all this may have been my favorite of this series. Though I think I’ve said that after each of the books in this series – Ruin, Toxic, Fearless (novella) – but it was beautifully done and I loved that it wrapped this series in such a complete way. I love that each of these characters has come out the other side of darkness and heartbreak to find a sense of completeness and family amongst these friends. Well done Rachel, well done!
I closed my eyes and leaned my forehead against hers. A shaky breath escaped her lips. “I’m going to kiss you now.”
“Are you trying to prepare me or ask permission?” she whispered, her voice beckoning me like a siren’s call.
“Both.” My lips hovered near hers. “I figure it’s only fair.”
“Fair?” She pulled back slightly. “How so?”
“Ten thousand.” I angled my head and watched the pulse jump on her neck. “That’s how many nerve endings, on average, are in your lips. Consequently, when your body anticipates pleasure, the build-up is the best part. Imagine, those ten thousand nerves are swelling, allowing blood to surge through them in anticipation of… what?” I swept my tongue across her lower lip and whispered, “Of being touched. I ask permission, not because I’m being a gentleman. It’s actually the complete opposite. I ask permission so your brain anticipates the pleasure before I’ve ever even touched you.”
I tasted her lower lip again and abruptly dipped my tongue into her mouth. Then just as quickly retreated. “The human body is an instrument. Know how to master it… and well…” I let my voice drop as I moved my hands slowly to her shoulders and tugged her body flush against mine. Our mouths met softly at first. I deepened the kiss, memorizing her taste, knowing I wouldn’t experience a kiss like this again in my lifetime. The way her scent, her soft moans destroyed my body, wrecked me from the deepest part of me, was nothing short of life-altering.
And I’d like to think I’d kissed a lot of women.
I’d studied the psychology of sexuality.
I was an expert in pleasure.
But she was schooling me, absolutely wreaking havoc on every logical thought as her soft whimper cascaded over me. Blood surged through my body as it tightened with awareness at her proximity.
She pulled back, her lips swollen. “That was… not a good enough warning.”
Laughing softly, I cupped the back of her head and gently drew it toward mine and kissed her again, angling my lips differently, searching her, consuming her, drawing pleasure from her lips as if it was my life goal to discover every single secret she owned.
Her arms wrapped around my neck. She was shy; she didn’t push against me, didn’t wrap her legs around me or moan into my mouth like I was having sex with her rather than kissing her.
My hands moved down her corset to her hips, and I lifted her into the air and walked her backward toward the brick wall. The whole time, our masks collided. In frustration, I ripped hers off, then mine. The shadows of moonlight hid our faces as I kissed her harder, losing myself in her.
Her nails dug at the back of my neck as she jerked my head harder. Groaning, I let her fall to the ground as I placed my hands on the brick wall to keep myself from ripping the dress from her body.
Shouting started from the ballroom.
“Eight,” I whispered against her mouth. “Seven.”
“Six.” She sighed, her breathing labored as her tongue found mine again. “Five.”
“Four, three.” I pulled back and trailed kisses down her neck.
We broke apart, both breathing heavy. “One.”
People burst out onto the balcony as the fireworks started, lighting up the sky. And our faces.
And the only thing I could say as she gasped in horror was “Oh, shit.”
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at www.rachelvandykenauthor.com