Destroyed by Pepper Winters
She has a secret.
Not broken or ruined or running from a past I can’t face. Just complicated.
I thought my life couldn’t get any more tangled in deceit and confusion. But I hadn’t met him. I hadn't realized how far I could fall or what I'd do to get free.
He has a secret.
I’ve never pretended to be good or deserving. I chase who I want, do what I want, act how I want.I didn’t have time to lust after a woman I had no right to lust after. I told myself to shut up and stay hidden. But then she tried to run. I’d tasted what she could offer me and damned if I would let her go.
One secret destroys them.
Kelly - 4 Crowns
Destroyed is everything its title promises. It’s a story of heinous acts, loss of innocence, dark desires, overwhelming needs and the dream of seeking hope in the sweet voice of reason. Roan and Hazel’s story will have you nervously hanging onto the edge of your seat until the very end. - Kelly, Perusing Princesses Blog.
Yes, this book can be very upsetting! Your emotions will be put through the gamut in the most brutal of ways, but through it all, that glimmer of hope remains strong. Bright and fierce as a whirlwind that comes encased in dark hair and 8-year-old innocence with an intelligence past her years, and her Mother, a feisty strong-willed woman who knows what it means to live a life of pain and disappointed hopes shrouded in secrecy.
Obsidian Fox is a ghost. An assassin who can kill on demand. His conditioning has sculpted him into a man who cannot bear to be touched, except for receiving or delivering pain to expel the hate, the guilt, the nightmares, and the subconscious voice of his previous handler who turned him into a vicious monster.
Roan Averin is a lost six-year-old boy who was brutally captured by a secret Russian Organisation, whose lesson in the art of breaking the human spirit and stripping away the soul left him nothing but a shadow of his former self.
The murky lines that separate Roan and Fox are about to become blurred, because he about to be awakened by a selfless single-mother, who knows what it means to have fate hand you a bitch slap. And by an insignificant child, who shows him what it means to believe in finding redemption in love, and a second chance in hope.
“My past was my past, it sculpted me. My actions and wrong doings were my penance. My future and aspirations my vengeance.” - Roan
From the moment he saw Hazel, the overwhelming need to connect to another is confusing. He doesn’t understand the pull and that frightens him. Not used to conversing with people, he hides in the shadows, his fight club his crutch as it gives him a lucrative income and a personal outlet for pain and control.
Taking her against her will at knife point probably wasn’t the smartest move, then offering her $200k to seek escape within her body for a month on his own terms, a step in a whole new direction.
Hazel is mortified at his request, but the idea of that much money is too hard to refuse. It could be the answer to her prayers, as she agrees to the offer and signs a contract to remain at Club Obsidian until the month is out and the contract expires.
It should have been easy, straightforward, noncommittal sex. A quick release from the pain of day-to-day living. Alas, it proves anything but because everything changes when ‘Fox’ nearly kills her in a blind panic after she touches him without permission, and she realises that for this man to find freedom, he has to let go of his past.
Her selfless nature and need to focus on something else for a short while is all she needs to base her decision on - her decision to help him find freedom from those shackled chains. Hazel can see the good in him, she knows it lingers beneath and she wants to expel it, show him what it means to let in and trust another - she just hopes its not too late.
“Fox was unlike any man I knew. I couldn’t hate him. Not with his gigantic heart and the sweetness lurking in his violence. But I did hate that he spoke the truth. It wasn’t a game he played. He honestly couldn’t control whatever lived inside him, and my life would be forfeited if he lost control.” - Hazel
As far as story lines go, this was so unique, so different to anything I was expecting. I had a few issues with some of it, but I cannot deny the allure of the characters, even though this story was so far-fetched at times I’d be lying if I said I didn’t struggle a little through the middle of it.
This isn’t a love story in the traditional sense because half the time I wanted our heroine to run for the hills and never look back. Fox is damaged beyond broken, there was no coming back from the horrors of his past. He is brainwashed. Almost robotic in nature, and touch was the ON button, the deadly catalyst.
I don’t think this book needed to be quite as long as it was. I felt myself getting whiplash with Fox’s inner dialogue, his emotions were so screwed up. One minute he wanted to love Hazel, and in the next, snap her neck. This happened throughout the majority of the book and I felt it a hard concept to grasp considering he was slowly making progress. But, I persevered because I love Pepper Winters’ writing and I knew something HUGE was on the horizon, and I can honestly say the last 30% or so blew my mind! I reached for the tissues and sobbed like a baby and by the end I felt that release. All the tension roiling in my book loving soul, finally ebbed and lifted away. I was able to breathe again. Because regardless of my few reservations, I pretty much read this book holding my breath, awaiting that one pivotal moment where I could breathe again. And yes, it came.
I can’t give anything else away with regards to the plot. The spoiler is a big one and I don’t want to ruin it. Just be prepared to invest in tissues and delve into the psyche of a tormented and very hostile man, whose fight to find his inner light, truly inspiring.
Emma - 4 Crowns
So I finished this book several hours ago, and it has taken me this long to digest and absorb this very unique book by Pepper Winters.
Hazel otherwise known as Zel, is a troubled single mother living in Sydney, Australia. With a traumatic past she is fighting to give her daughter the best future possible. The book starts on a night out with her best friend Clue, arriving at an illegal fighting club called Obsidian to meet up with Clue's boyfriend Corkscrew (an expert in Muay Thai) Zel has major things going on in her life and just wants to leave, but Clue insists she stays with her.. She soon realises that she has caught the eye of Obsidian Fox the owner of the club and he is captivated/obsessed by her.
Very out of character for her she is also inexplicably drawn to him...
He makes her a offer that disgusts her as much as it intrigues her and what follows will either change both their lives for the better or destroy them, leaving both their lives shattered even further than they already are.
Zel is such a strong yet damaged character. Being a mother has been her redemption, she lives her life for Clara and also her friend Clue. She is a determined character that goes after what she wants and thinks others need without thought for the effects they will have on her. she has a need to save people and this is a lot of what draws her to Obsidian.
Obsidian Fox/Roan, I don't know where to start with him.. he is the darkest character I have ever had the pleasure to read about. I don't want to say too much about him as this will spoil the book, suffice to say he is SERIOUSLY damaged due to a unimaginable horrors in his life. He has managed to physically escape those horrors, mentally he lives it still every hour of every day. At 28 he is unable to have any type of relationship with anyone. He thrives on pain and cannot even be touched without the compulsion to kill! He is one seriously F'd up dude!! He is compelled to have Zel though, but only on his terms... this will have traumatic and damaging effects for both himself and Zel!!
We have a further 4 characters: Clara, Zels 8 year old very sick daughter, Clue the best friend (who Zel saved), Corkscrew/Ben, Clue's supportive and understanding boyfriend and Finally Oscar, Roan's business partner and regular punch bag.
This book is without doubt the darkest book I have ever read!! it is seriously deep and the characters are both twisted in there own ways.. They both hope each other will offer redemption... however there salvation comes in the most unlikely form and event that is absolutely heart breaking.
If you are easily offended then this book isn't for you (think of what would offend and most will be covered in this book). However if you understand that unfortunately (in the words of Forrest Gump) life isn't a box of chocolates, you will enjoy the emotional journey this book takes you on. If I am honest, this book was a little heavy for me, hence the 4 stars but lovers of dark (I want to say romance, but I can't) stories will devour it. I have never read a Pepper Winters book before, but it was a joy!
Her writing is stunning. The choice of words and descriptive phrasing adds such a dark depth that draws you in. I am not one to quote, however this quote sums this book up for me:
"I'm a walking battleground between my past and the future I want."
This book is truly writing at its best.. so if you love deep, dark and heavy, Destroyed will blow your mind!