(March 14, 2017; Forever; Dark Desires series; Book 2)
Rating : 5 out of 5 stars
In a family of cold-hearted black sheep, I, Axel Rutherford, am the blackest. Abundantly despised by my three brothers, actively hated by my father.”
Dayum, this romance was compelling, it kept me hooked to the last page. Zara Cox’s riveting storytelling took my breath away, I was consumed by the story of Axel and Cleo, two childhood sweethearts doomed from the start by their parents’ greed. Black Sheep is epic, amazing, intoxicating!
Axel Rutherford is haunted by demons from his past and by Cleo McCarthy’s betrayal. She was his one true love but she chose his father, Finnan Rutherford, over him. Eight years later, Axel is worth billions but money didn’t bring him happiness or redemption. He is bitter, tortures himself with his longing for the woman he can’t have and is plotting his revenge. He intends to dismantle his family’s business, linked to the violent world of underground crime and trafficking. This character is fascinating, calculating, intense and multilayered! His need for punishment was heartbreaking.
Cleo is nothing but a pawn in Finnan’s Rutherford twisted game to regain his son’s cooperation. Finnan is cruel and manipulative, blackmailing and abusing her. She complies but is bent on revenge and is biding her time. Axel and Cleo are bitter enemies, but their hatred for each other is based on false perceptions and deception. Cleo is convinced that Axel killed her parents in cold blood and Alex can’t forgive Cleo’s betrayal. There is a fine line between love and hate, though.
Axel is cunning, dominant, powerful but under his compelling exterior, he is utterly vulnerable. Cleo is his weakness, his addiction and he can’t break her, even if he wants to. For years, he has tried to shut off his emotions, he feels exposed and raw. Cleo and Axel’s feelings are unchanged and their reunion really packed a powerful emotional punch! Their sexual chemistry is intense, dark and highly erotic.
I was mesmerized by the deep layers of emotional complexity, palpable tension and angsty feels throughout this dark and mysterious story. Black Sheep is the second installment in Zara Cox’s Dark Desires, but it can be read as a complete standalone. I highly recommend it and will read anything this author comes up with next!
An advanced copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher, via NetGalley.