You Loved Me At My Darkest is the first book in Evie Harper’s You Loved Me series. It can be read as a stand-alone as each book in the series focuses on a new hero/heroine. I do recommend reading this book first as I imagine if you jump into the second book in this series without reading this one you will miss a big piece of the overall story arc. When I first ventured into this tale I really had no idea what to expect. Firstly, the synopsis is rather vague. Secondly, I have not read anything by this author and one never knows when you pick up the unfamiliar. Well, this turned out to be a rather gripping and sordid tale that had me enthralled from start to finish. It is one of those books that will ruthlessly take hold of you and refuse to let go until every last word has been read and absorbed. I absolutely love being swept away by a story, no matter how gritty and brutally tragic it is. And, trust me, this book did have darker undertones. There is something to be said about being able to stand strong and get through all that life throws your way. It may leave you marked; but, when the journey ends and you finally walk into the light, the victory is that much more sweeter.
After the devastating loss of their parents and then having to take on the responsibility of their family farm in Australia to ensure that it stayed up and running, Lily Morgan and her younger sister, Sasha, decide to take a much needed break and go on a trip of a lifetime with one of their stops being New York City. Their dream vacation quickly turns into a nightmare when they are kidnapped and whisked away into the dark world of sex slave trafficking. Upon arriving at an unknown location Lily and Sasha are separated. Sasha is to become a working slave to be auctioned off to the highest bidder when the time comes and Lily is to be kept apart as part of the infamous “collection” owned by Marco O’Connor, the king of the black market and a man as lethal as he is crazy. There is only one certainly in Lily’s new world. She will do anything to protect her sister.
Jake is the guard assigned to look after Lily. He has made a name for himself as one of Marco’s men in his role as one of the men that searches cities hunting for more “collection pieces” for Marco. The collection is well known in the dark underground society, a group of women Marco has nefariously acquired and who are showcased at exclusive parties and auctioned off for the night to the most lucrative bidder. Jake’s ultimate role is to become a guard for the collection pieces, the ultimate position for those under Marco, and nothing will stand in his way.
Jake and Lily are drawn to one another despite their circumstances. As Lily is introduced to exactly what it means to be a part of the collection and as she desperately tries to protect her sister, she finds herself inexplicably turning to Jake for comfort. Jake is this enigma. He can be cold and calculating but there are moments where Lily sees pain and regret in his eyes. Jake is unwilling to risk all that he has worked for. No matter how badly he desires Lily, Jake is too close to accomplishing what he needs to throw it all away now. As their attraction grows and the connection they share becomes more profound, Jake and Lily both find themselves fighting against something they are unsure they can withstand. But, not all is what it seems and as the twists and turns come at you it becomes clear that sometimes you will do anything for the ones you love.
All in all, You Loved Me At My Darkest was a great read start to finish. The overall story arc was well thought out and even though I did guess some of the twists that occurred, I was captivated and wanted to see how things would work out for Lily and Jake. This is a tale about survival and how love can blossom even when we are going through our darkest moments. Well worth the read!
*****A review copy of You Loved Me At My Darkest by Evie Harper was generously provided to me in exchange for an honest review.