Author: Tillie Cole
Series: Hades Hangmen Series #3
Publisher by: Independent
Published on: August 11, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Page Count: 371
"For fractured souls are like magnets.
Drawn to collide into an impossible bliss…"
Labeled a ‘Cursed’ woman of Eve from birth, Maddie has endured nothing but pain and repression at the hands of The Order’s most abusive elder, Moses. Now living with her sister in The Hangmen’s secluded compound, finally, Maddie, is free. Free from the suffocating faith she no longer believes in. Free from endless years of physical and mental torment.
At age twenty-one, the timid and shy Maddie is content to live within the confines of her new home—safe from the outside world, safe from harm and, strangely, protected by the Hangmen’s most volatile member; the heavily pierced and tattooed, Flame.
The man who ceaselessly watches over her with his midnight dark and searing eyes. The man who protects her with a breath-taking intensity. And the man who stirs something deep within her numbed heart.
But when circumstances conspire for Flame to need HER help, Maddie bravely risks it all for the broken man who has captivated her fragile soul.
The Hangmen’s most infamous member, Flame, is ruled by one thing—anger. Plagued by haunting demons from his past, an all-consuming rage, and isolated by an abhorrent hatred of being touched, Flame's days are filled with suffocating darkness, pierced only by a single ray of light—Maddie. The shy, beautiful woman he cannot purge from his thoughts. The woman he has an overwhelming need to possess…
... the only person who has ever been able to touch him.
Flame’s mission in life is to protect Maddie, to keep her safe. Until a trigger from his troubled past sends him spiraling into madness, trapping him in the deepest recesses of his disturbed mind.
His Hangmen brothers fear that Flame is beyond saving.
His only hope of salvation: Maddie and her healing light.
Dark Contemporary Romance.
Contains explicit sexual situations, violence, disturbingly sensitive and taboo subjects, offensive language, and very mature topics.
Recommended for age 18 years and over.
Always fucking eleven!
This book, for me, is the defining example of BOOK HANGOVER.
Even after days of thinking on this, I still find myself at a loss to express how amazing this book is. Heartbreaking. Gut-wrenching. Gruesome. Yet all the while, one of the sweetest, most innocent love stories. It’s difficult to write a review because there are so many elements I want to mention, but don’t want to give anything away to readers. Just be ready to experience a full gamut of emotions while reading this book.
Flame has been a definite wild card in the previous books, but when he sees fragile Maddie something changes within him. He is unable to be touched by anyone, and years of abuse in the cult has lead to Maddie terrified of all males.
“And my heart broke at the unfairness. The unfairness of us two, so fearful of what nightmares the deliberate touch of another might evoke.”
Flame has been unlike any other character I’ve previously read. I knew going into this book that Flame’s past had to be damn tragic to bring about havoc. It wasn’t that he killed those who went against the club. He tortured. He mangled. And he liked it; needed it. And in the mists of a this we see his ever present self-mutilation. But still, nothing, and I mean nothing would prepare me for what I read. It had me questioning whose childhood was more fucked up: Flame or Maddie?!
“She would never want me. I’m a fucking retard.” I hit the side of my head with the heel of my palm as my eyes blurred. “I don’t think right in here. I’m fucked up – I don’t get people, they don’t get me. And I ain’t ever gonna be able to read people…”
Up until this point we have only seen Maddie as withdrawn and timid, shut off in her room, too terrified of the men. But not Flame. She knows deep down he would never hurt her and will always be there to protect her. This devotion that Flame shows her leads to a transformation I was not at all expecting. I anticipated that Flame’s love would somehow rescue her from her nightmares. What I didn’t foresee was the magnitude of Maddie’s ability to rescue Flame from his.
“Because that is my Flame in there. And he needs me. No one else. Me.”
In addition to reading Flame and Maddie’s POV, we also get a few bits from Rider/Cain, giving us snippets of his redemption. I cannot wait to hear his full story because you know although raised in the cult, after being in the outside world for five years, that shit going on there, it just ain’t right. Bring on Deep Redemption!
The hand resting near her head inched forward in my direction. I stopped breathing as I thought she was going to touch me. But her hand stopped about an inch from mine.
I wondered what she was doing, when she said, “I like how your hand looks next to mine. It is so big and mine is so small. Yet I feel they look compatible.”
I focused on our hands and noticed that my hand was bigger than hers. Maddie’s little finger then extended, landing right next to mine. I thought of ripping my hand away, but something stopped me. I didn’t want her to touch me; I didn’t want her to be hurt. My touch only ever caused people to be hurt. But I left my hand where it was, our little fingers staring at each other.
“I sometimes imagine what our hands would look like, touching. What they would look like with our fingers intertwined. I wonder if it would make me smile. At times I daydream that it would be something we could do.”
Maddie’s voice was so quiet as she spoke. I couldn’t take my eyes off our hands. I tried to picture in my head what she described. I saw her hand reaching out for mine, but then I thought of how it would make me feel, and I shook my head.
“Our hands can’t ever touch. I can’t… I couldn’t do it.”
Maddie’s lips pulled into a half smile, but water filled her eyes and her voice hitched.
“Why are your eyes filling with water? Why is your voice breaking?” I asked, confused. I had to understand what she was thinking. What she was feeling. I didn’t know, and I had to.
“I am sad, Flame. It makes me sad to know that we can never touch.”
The muscles in my stomach pulled tight with the knowledge that I’d made her sad. Then that warm feeling I’d felt cooled and I no longer felt good. “I don’t want to make you sad. Not you. I just can’t be touched. It makes the flames worse. I can’t touch you.”
“It is okay, Flame,” Maddie said in response, then she looked up at me and added, “Because I cannot be touched by a man either. But I dream about it regardless.”