5 "The Darkness Within" Stars!
“Revenge is a dish best served cold. That’s the way I am serving it – cold, empty, broken, and completely fucked up.” ~Dimitri
Where Darkness Lies is book two in Bella Jewel’s Criminals of the Ocean series. It has been a long and torturous wait for this one as this series was picked up by a publisher soon after the first book was released. It was a long wait especially considering the agonizing twist we are rocked with at the end of book one. With this being said, it was most certainly worth the wait. This author has penned yet another rough, raw, gritty and edgy romance that completely enthralled me from start to finish. Dimitri and Jess captured my heart and refused to let go until the very last page of their story was read.
Dimitri has spent the last ten years of his life seeking out a man for revenge and retribution. His stepfather, Hendrix (from book one), abandoned him when he most needed him and for that Dimitri will never forgive him. For that, Dimitri wants to make him pay. His need for vengeance is all consuming and has brought Dimitri down a very dark path. Instead of turning away, he is embracing the darkness. Dimitri is finally now in a position to make Hendrix pay. He has taken someone in his close inner circle to finally bring the man down on his knees. But what happens when his prisoner is the one person who can reach into the depths of his soul and make him forget about his vengeful mission?
Jess has been living on Hendrix’s pirate ship for the past two years. She has lived through hell and Hendrix was the one that rescued her and pulled her from the clutches of despair. He gave her a place where she could belong and he also gave her a safe haven where she could recoup and find her inner strength once again. She owes her life to Hendrix so when his nemesis kidnaps her, Jess is unwilling to go down without a fight. She is also not going to be the one to give anything away regarding Hendrix. But what happens when Jess becomes drawn by the brokenness in her captor? After all, when she looks at her captor she see herself.
“Revenge is all I’ve breathed for the past ten years. Now she’s making me question my sanity. She’s making me question everything I am.”
“Fuck, Jess, what do you want from me? I stole you. At what point did I go from being the enemy to fucking Prince Charming?”
As Jess spends more time with Dimitri they both begin to recognize how similar they actually are. Both have survived horrific circumstances and are haunted by their pasts. The longer Dimitri holds Jess captive the more he sees her sassiness and strength shine through, the more he craves her. He also experiences her at her most vulnerable and every single part of Jess calls to him like a siren calls to a sailor. It’s not hard for Jess to see just how damaged Dimitri is; however, underneath it all is a man who wants to break free from the prison of pain he constantly lives in. Jess and Dimitri find themselves giving into the ever-growing connection between them. But, can they both trust each other enough when they have such conflicting feelings about the one person that binds them together?
“...more than anything, I feel you, Dimitri. With everything I am.”
I loved the romance between Jess and Dimitri. What developed between the two of them was powerful and profound and it occurred despite the fact that they both resisted their attraction towards one another at first. There were so many obstacles in their path, so many issues they both had to deal with. I admired Jess’ tenacity and strong will. She had already lived through an excruciating experience and there was no way she was going to let the fact that she was kidnapped break her. She fights, attempts to escape, and she never gives up. As her feelings for Dimitri began to grow, Jess begins to wonder if she can be the bridge that can bring Dimitri and Hendrix back together. For Dimitri, he has to decide what is more important – his future or hanging on to his past.
Watching everything play out between Dimitri and Jess was exhilarating and thrilling. The heated sexual tension between the pair was sizzling and when they finally venture into a smoking hot physical relationship, you get such pure sweetness mixed together with some seriously hot chemistry. With all this being said, watching Dimitri and Jess fight their way into a happy place was definitely a journey filled with passion, heat and some tenderness that left me happily sighing.
All in all, Where Darkness Lies was a wonderfully gritty and angsty adventure. This book is a MUST READ. Bella Jewel has a distinctive writing style that has always managed to draw me in. I can’t seem to get enough of her books. Next up in this series is a story about Drake. So excited about that one!
****An advance reading copy via NetGalley of Where Darkness Lies by Bella Jewel was generously provided to me in exchange for an honest review.