Review: Breaking Him (#1, Love Is War) by R.K. Lilley

Irresistibly explosive and edgy with melt-the-pages tension that will have you furiously flipping pages and clamoring for more.

5stars

Synopsis

Oct-13SCARLETT

It was the kind of relationship where I invested more than I had to spare.

I gave it everything.

And so when it failed, I lost myself.

It changed me. He changed me.

I went down with the ship.

My soul, burnt embers in the aftermath.

The fire of him ravaged it all.

He burned me.

Broke me.

Scarlett had always dreamed big. She was headed straight for Hollywood. Destined for silver screen greatness.

But in her wildest dreams she never imagined she’d be broke and single at twenty-eight, doling drinks at thirty-five thousand feet.

She was a glorified waitress in the skies.

It had been years since she’d seen him.

But one day, there he sat, gazing intently at her, ready to set everything ablaze once more.

Dante wanted her. Again.

Sure, she’d play along…but this time, it was his turn.

She was breaking him.

After all, love is war.

My Review

You know those scenes from movies? Where two people scream at each other, throw things at each other, sling every hateful word at each other—I hate yous and never agains and worse? Scenes where you think they’re about to murder each other, but instead… suddenly… rapidly… they dissolve into a frenzied, urgent, inescapable fit of kissing and touching and needing? You know those scenes? Well, this book is 300+ pages of that. Sky-high intensity with a volatility that had me clawing at the pages… I couldn’t flip them fast enough. Not only that, all kinds of emotion and history tether the story together, but only just barely because you feel as if it’s a raging volcano aching to erupt.

Admittedly, I knew the very high-level premise of the story, but I’ve never seen R.K. Lilley incite such fervor, such major angst on the page. Tristan and Danika seem downright grounded after meeting Scarlett and Dante. Even their names evoke passion and fire, and they are all that and more. Because if there is one thing that becomes crystal clear, it’s that love is war, and war is most definitely hell.

“I was humming Seven Nation Army. My battle anthem. Because this was war.”

When Dante Durant invaded Scarlett’s airplane cabin, her anger surged. But before she could unleash her wrath on the man who had ruined her, she changed into her five-inch stilettos and applied a rich coat of blood-red lipstick. Donning her armor, she strutted down the cabin to where he sat, prepared to unleash the first verbal strike.

“He thought I was the devil, and as far as he was concerned, I sure as hell was.”

Immediately, we see not sparks fly, but rather, spontaneous fire ignite and rage between these two ex-lovers who know exactly how to fuel the flames. From this very first interaction, their chemistry incinerates the pages.

Scarlett is not your usual heroine. She’s had a terrible childhood, grew up largely alone, until she’d met Dante, who saved her as much as he ruined  her. And now, years after their split, she embodies the battle cry against love. She’s tough as nails. Relentless. She fights mean. And she fights to win.

“Breaking him until he was as broken as me was the only thing that would ever be enough.”

Dante is bound to her. Always has been. But with her red-hot, spirited demeanor, and an inescapable history, Scarlett is just as big a trigger for him, and he is to her. But this time, his visit and the news he’s come to deliver, changes everything once again, drawing her back into the lion’s den.

“We were landmines with each other.”

The story marches forward in alternating past and present tenses, through Scarlett’s perspective, as we see how they came to be, and how they’ve come undone. The scenes from the past pulse with tenderness and warmth as we see how Dante protected Scarlett during a time where the whole world threw proverbial stones at her. The juxtaposition between their entwined past and their emblazoned present is striking, making us want to know more of how and why it all fell apart. But as we near the end, more questions assail us with some unexpected twists that drove me mad in the best possible way.

Scarlett and Dante’s story just bleeds intensity, running over with equal parts love and hate. Betrayal and secrets weave through the story however, and by the flip of the final page, I was left desperate for more. I loved every nail-biting, agonizing, sexier-than-hell minute of this book.

“Love is never satisfied with half-measures. It won’t take parts of you. It will own all of you, every single, longing piece.”

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This book is the first in a duet.

About R.K.

rk lilleyR.K. Lilley lives in Texas with her husband and their two beautiful sons. She’s had a lot of interesting jobs, from being a first class flight attendant, to being a stablehand, but swears she never knew what hard work was until she had children. She’s been addicted to both reading and writing fiction since she can remember. She loves to travel, read, hike, paint, game, watch anime, and make the most of every single day.

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