Synopsis from book 1, Hard Truths:
“I’m Everly Marrs, and I’ll be damned before I lose myself to the men that kidnapped me.
I had plans, big plans. I had my pretty little life outlined: Graduate school and get a job in social work—maybe even one day marry a nice man who actually knew what he was doing in bed. But everything changed when I woke up in a strange place with five men who insisted I call them D, W, J, K, and T.
They told me that the world wasn’t what it seemed. I lived my life thinking that I was in control of my own destiny, but in actuality they controlled everything. The world was their playground and I was just another ant, marching in line to the beat of their drum.
The Letters kidnapped me to force my father’s hand, and they couldn’t promise me safe passage. I knew my place in all of this but still found myself losing who I was to their games.
I’m Everly Marrs, and I’ll save myself if I have to.” -Amazon
Recently, I finished reading the Kiss Her Goodbye Trilogy, written by Rebecca Royce. A trilogy I would happily stick with my re-read pile of books. You know, the ones you return to and never get sick of reading over and over again. *Sigh…
Author Rebecca Royce divulges in the preface of each book that this series is a dark themed trilogy, but will have a guaranteed Happily Ever After (HEA) at the end. After reading it myself, I wouldn’t necessarily classify this trilogy as a dark read. Most dark reads do not have happy endings for their characters, but rarely some do. If I had to classify this trilogy in a darkness scale, I would grade it a light-dark. Granted, the novels do have dark elements, and/or themes. I.E. Kidnapping.
The main character Everly Marrs is kidnapped by a group of men who refer to themselves as an individual letter instead of their actual name. Not much anonymity if you can see their faces, but I suppose they didn’t care. So while kidnapping is a darker theme, the lettered men never hurt, or abuse her while she is their captive. Any form of abuse Everly receives is at the hand of other characters, and for the most part it is referred to as past tense. She talks about her abuse, and what had occurred, but the reader does not really experience trauma with Everly.
In book 1, Everly is kidnapped from her home and her life. She wakes up in a strange mansion with a group of men who refer to themselves as individual “Letters.” Slowly as a captive with a surprising amount of freedom, she builds a relationship with them that isn’t hostile. You get to know Everly, a little bit about the guys, and why they kidnapped her. Everly is gobsmacked because nothing is as it seems and everything she knew to be true…isn’t. Book 1 sucked me right in. I started it at 9pm, like a genius…and next thing I knew it was 3am and I was staring at a hell of a cliffhanger.
I loved the kidnappers because they are so different from your average harem. They are the bad guys. Not the heroes. They are also in their 30s, like me, and described to be quite the hotties. We’ve got a crazy assassin, a computer hacker who is the money man, a technology guy who controls cameras and satellites, a narcissistic liar who is a grifter, and a pseudo leader that is a doctor. Oh, and they want to take control of the world. “What do you want to do today Brain? Same thing we do everyday Pinky. Try to take over the world!”
Book 2: Clearly, after that doosy of a cliffhanger that you’ll just have to read and find out for yourself, I HAD to move on to book 2. Yes, it was 3am, but I needed answers! Without giving spoilers to book 2. Everly has gone through some serious trauma. Here is our dark element, as she has received some verbal abuse and physical torture over a 6 month period. Do we read about it play by play? No. We as readers only know the gist of it, and bits and pieces of what Everly tells us.
Everly at this point is suffering from PTSD. She doesn’t trust anyone. She is in a state of fear. And she just wants to go home. Everly is a walking target because she wasn’t supposed to survive her captivity. She has a closer relationship with the formerly known as lettered guys, but she doesn’t even trust them. This book ends on a cliffhanger!
Book 3! Not out yet, but I received an ARC copy of it. Trust me, you’re going to love it! Everly does what she originally set out to do in her young life. She now holds a college degree in Social Work. She works as a bartender at a hole in the wall establishment. (Those are the best kind of bars.) She’s changed. She has officially become a different person than the person she used to be when she was kidnapped in the very beginning. She isn’t sure if she likes the new her. The new her is dark and apathetic. At this point she is saving money to move off grid because once she was exposed to the letters, things she was never supposed to know, and life as she knows it is not the same. She can’t go back to how it was before her original kidnapping. Of course, shit hits the fan and Rebecca Royce takes us on quite the adventure in the final book. It does leave us readers with a happily ever after. I loved the character development of all of the characters. Everly. J, D, T, W, & K.
It’s not fair. I want her harem, and all their crazy. Hopefully I was able to explain the majority of that without confusing you because I don’t want to ruin it for you. Trust me, read this trilogy! ❤ As always, Happy Reading! -Quare Eligere