Sinning never felt so good...
A fortuitous encounter.
A meeting that should never have happened.
Many years ago, two children from completely different worlds forged a connection, a fateful connection, an unbreakable bond that would change their lives forever…
Salome knows only one way to live—under Prophet David’s rule. In the commune she calls home, Salome knows nothing of life beyond her strict faith, nor of life beyond the Fence—the fence that cages her, keeps her trapped in an endless cycle of misery. A life she believes she is destined to always lead, until a horrific event sets her free.
Fleeing the absolute safety of all she has ever known, Salome is thrust into the world outside, a frightening world full of uncertainty and sin; into the protective arms of a person she believed she would never see again.
River ‘Styx’ Nash knows one thing for certain in life—he was born and bred to wear a cut. Raised in a turbulent world of sex, Harleys, and drugs, Styx, unexpectedly has the heavy burden of the Hades Hangmen gavel thrust upon him, and all at the ripe old age of twenty-six—much to his rivals’ delight.
Haunted by a crushing speech impediment, Styx quickly learns to deal with his haters. Powerful fists, an iron jaw and the skillful use of his treasured German blade has earned him a fearsome reputation as a man not to be messed with in the shadowy world of outlaw MC’s. A reputation that successfully keeps most people far, far away.
Styx has one rule in life—never let anyone get too close. It’s a plan that he has stuck to for years, that is, until a young woman is found injured on his lot… a woman who looks uncannily familiar, a woman who clearly does not belong in his world, yet a woman he feels reluctant to let go…
Contemporary Romance/New Adult Novel.
WARNING: Contains sexual situations, violence, taboo subjects, offensive language and mature topics. Recommended for age 18 years and up*
Emma - 5 Crowns
Wow!! it has taken me a week to digest this book before I felt able to give it the type of review it deserved.
I had seen the many amazing reviews and you would have to be living under a rock to have not seen the buzz it has on social media sites. I will be honest and say that this always worries me going into a book as I always think it will be a let down with over inflated hype..... I was so wrong. This is a extremely good and well researched book and deserves all the praise being bestowed on it.
This is Mae and Styx's story.
The book begins many years in the past. River/Styx is a boy of 11 in the middle of a forest with his father who is the president of the Hades Hangman MC. Whilst his father is off burying a victim of the club, River wanders off and stumbles across a huge wire fence surrounding a compound. By the fence is a crying girl who we later find out is Salome/Mae. The girl is shocked to see someone on the other side of the fence and looks frightened at first. River finally persuades her to come closer and gives the girl his 1st kiss. This is a major moment for both children, one they will never forget. For Mae, it gives her hope for a better life. For River, he has found his 3rd.
14 years later...
Styx is now President of his club; he is a feared man amongst both his club and outsiders. He has built a reputation on his ability to crush his enemies and goes by the name of the Hangman Mute. Styx has 2 weaknesses and 1 is his inability to communicate with his voice. Suffering from birth with an depilatating stammer, he talks in sign to everyone except his now dead father, his lifelong friend and VP Ky and his other weakness, the young girl with the wolf eyes; his 3rd. He has never forgotton that girl, infact he looked for her for years without success.
Salome is trapped in a world she no longer believes in. As part of The Order, she has grown up in a religious cult, segregated from the outside world and abused in the name of God from a young age. Along with her 2 sisters and best friend, she is deemed to be cursed. Believing that the 4 young girls are too tempting to men, they are kept away from the rest of the commune and are used for the lords sharing by the Elders of the Prophet David's Order.
When Salome is chosen to be the 7th bride of Prophet David on the quidance of God.. she decides that this isn't the life she is destined to have. Her sister Bella is missing and she doesn't know where fate will lead her; she is scared. Just before her wedding she discovers Bella beaten and dying in a cell. Her sister urges her to escape and find a life for herself. Unable to convince Maddie and Delilah to join her, she makes her escape. When she is found and injured she finds the inner strength to continue her escape into the outside world. After dragging herself through the forest she is able to flag a car down. After driving for several hours she asks her rescuer to drop her at the nearest building she can find. After much convincing, the lady agrees and Salome makes her way into the compound.
Styx is outside his club cooling down after a heated meeting when he discovers a body... At first he thinks she is dead and arranges for the body to be removed. When however they realise that the girl is in fact alive...just, he asks Rider his road captain and medic to do all he can to save her. Styx not known for his empathy cannot explain why he has the need to do this, but compelled to do it, they set about trying to save her life.
What will happen when he discovers this woman is his 3rd? Will they still have that unexplainable connection that has kept them both going over the years? Will Mae find her salvation in Styx? and will Mae be Styx's redemption?
This is a seriously good book. The characters are so bloody dark and mysterious and the storyline as twisted as you can get.
Salome/Mae is so innocent to the world and life in general, but she has this amazing inner strength that has been developed over years of sexual and emotional abuse. Styx really does give her this new found confidence, he is truly a life line for her and gives her hope. The transition you watch her make from someone completey unaware of life outside the order in which she lived, to the acceptance of life with Styx is breath taking.
Styx is a really complex character. Dark, violent and damn right scary; he struggles with his inability to speak. Ruling his club with an iron fist, it is his entire life and destiny to lead the Hades Hangman. Mae is his one true weakness, an elusive ghost until she falls back into his world. Styx struggles with his want for her, but also his need to protect her not only from himself but from the only lifestyle he knows.
The other characters adds a darkness and depth to this book and truly export you to the violent world they live in. Ky the VP and Styx's best friend is scary and ruthless but incredibly loyal to his President. Rider is a relunctant protector of Mae and you feel his every emotion. Flame is seriously warped and adds a real twisted element to this group of hardened criminals.
We of course get to meet characters from the commune as well. The Elders: Gabriel, Moses, Noah and Jacob are sick, twisted, sexual predators who twist the meaning of the bible to quench there thirst for complete control over The Order. The only person we don't really get to see is Prophet David, although we do meet his brainwashed heir apparent Brother Cain.
This is one of the most grittiest biker stories I have had the pleasure to read. The MC is not the romanticised version of men we usually read about; its about a group of men who live their life on the edge of society. It's a violent life and they make no apologies about it. it's a kill or be killed way of life. The Cult element just adds another layer of darkness and depth to the story, making you believe that the MC are actually the knights in shining armour. Maybe to a point they are, but these are certainly not good people. I commend the author for they way she has created this element within a very woven, detailed and quite obviously well researched book.
I have never read about a cult before, but like most people of my generation I remember the Waco siege in Texas and this is very reminiscent of that. I have watched many documentaries on these religious orders that commit sexual abuse in the name of religion. It is obviously sickening to most people, but the author has dealt with the subject in a sensitive way. If however these subjects are triggers for you, you may want to seriously consider whether this is a book for you.
I really cannot recommend this book enough. No cliffhanger, but the end is left open so we may get more stories. I think Ky, Flame and Rider warrant their own book; hopefully with the huge success this book has had we may just get them.
Kelly - 4.5 Crowns
From a cult commune to a one-percenter compound, this is unlike any other MC series out there. A refugee hailing from sexual debauchery and repressive incarceration in the name of god, to finding solace within the arms of the notorious and feared ‘mute’ Prez of the Hades Hangmen MC. Two very different churches, two very different worlds, and one woman’s journey as she finds freedom in the heart of a sinner.
This plot is unique, the extremist religious background was brave and the events that unfold throughout this book violent and bloody, but wow… what a ride it turned out to be.
Styx and Mae’s story is gripping, dark, and at times, beautiful. This is a case of cult vs club - both characters born into something that has shaped their lives, their futures, and both beyond their control. The difference is Mae is a victim, abused since she can remember by the disciples that take God’s name in vain and spin the bible, rewriting the christian faith to gratify their own selfish needs. River ‘Styx’ was born into the MC and a life of crime, murder and protecting what is rightfully is, is all he has ever known. His speech impediment has made him strive to be the most revered and feared and at only twenty-six, his title of the Hangman Mute precedes him.
At age eleven he stumbled upon a fenced area in the middle of a dense forest. His father was only a few hundred feet away, dumping the body of a dead Mexican when he saw the young girl. Crying, broken and bleeding, he never forgot her face or her dark midnight hair and wolf-blue eyes. For years she haunted him because he believed he would never see her again when his continued searching for that prison like place turned up empty… that is until she finds a way to escape, but not before succumbing to some serious injuries.
Finding a bleeding lifeless body behind the dumpster is not a rare occurrence in Styx’s world, but it is when it’s in his gated compound. The young woman is malnourished but there is no mistaking the hair… the eyes… his Persephone has returned, and life as they both know it is about to change, forever.
The synopsis covers the direction this story takes perfectly, so it will be difficult for me to add much more without giving away spoilers, but what I will say is if you don’t mind delving into the taboo, then jump in head first and give this book a go. I’m always wary with anything that tells of an extremist religious cult but Tillie Cole has intertwined both elements very well.
My only gripe is that some aspects did feel very unbelievable. Anyone that suffered the horrors of these young girls would undoubtedly be in a darker place emotionally, physically and psychologically, but then I appreciate that this is a work of fiction, and the notion of a repressed and confused religious girl falling for the Hades Hangman MC Prez was great escapism and a compelling page-turner that I just couldn’t seem to get enough of.
There are many interesting characters here too. Rider was the doting, kind friend that Mae so desperately needed. Beauty, the old lady with sass was a great confidante and the Hades MC trio were pretty damn scary, giving this book another notch on the ‘brutality’ belt.
Yes, this story is brutal but there were also other aspects to it. A feeling of family, togetherness and of course… love. Love dictates, love decides and sometimes, if we embrace it, it can take us to places we never believed existed. To witness bad and only see the good may demonstrate that Mae is naive, but actually, she is brave, a survivor and believes in things that others struggle to see. She is forgiving and I loved her character. Styx is just all out bad-ass. You wouldn’t mess with this guy, but his ability to fall in love and protect his girl with his life makes him a keeper and I cannot wait to see where this series takes us.
Now, this is where I beg the author to give us Flame and Maddie’s story, and Lilah and Ky’s, because going by this first instalment, it’s going to be another hell of a journey.
It Ain't Me, Babe by Tillie Cole
It Ain't Me, Babe by Tillie Cole