ARC Review: TORRENT (Condemned) by Gemma James

I received this book for free from the in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review: TORRENT (Condemned) by Gemma JamesTorrent by Gemma James
Series: Condemned #1
on July 22, 2014
Genres: Dark Romance, New Adult
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She sent an innocent man to prison. Now, eight years later, he's returning the favor...

I’ve been obsessed with Rafe Mason since I was thirteen. The twisted part of this story is that I still want him, even now.

Now that he's holding me captive on an island.

Rafe has his reasons for doing what he's doing, and if I'm honest, I can't blame him. I’m the girl who sent him to prison for a heinous crime he didn't commit.

But now he's free and the tables have turned...now he's the one driven by obsession.

TORRENT is a new adult dark romance with disturbing themes and explicit content, including sexual scenes and violence that may offend some. Intended for mature audiences. Part one of the CONDEMNED series. This is not a stand-alone read.Approximately 43,000 words.

review

❝I wasn’t a monster. If I told myself that enough times, maybe I’d believe it.❞

TORRENT by Gemma James is a story about obsession and revenge, and how it can drive people further into the darkness. It can drive a human being mad, and push them in ways you would never even imagine. This well done dark romance will mess with your mind, tear at your heart, and transport you to a state of sympathy and uncertainty. TORRENT comes with a WARNING, so I was prepared for things to unsettle me, but in the end, you can’t really prepare for the feelings that this book brings out of you. The characters in this book will test you. Will you be able to sympathize with an innocent man turned monster? Will you understand the motive behind it all. How fine is the line between LOVE and HATE? I believe fans of the Dark Romance genre will be utterly pleased with TORRENT, not only with the storyline, but with these great characters that you will LOVE to HATE!

Alex sent the man she loved to prison. Rafe has had EIGHT YEARS to plan his revenge on the girl who sent him away for something he never did. Alex WILL NOT believe that the man holding her captive is the same man she gave her heart to so many years ago. Guilt-ridden and ashamed, Alex knows what she did was wrong. Can she tell Rafe why she did it? Does the shame run so deep that the secret is worth dying for? The moment he sees her, his anger deepens, as does his lust for her. The battle in Rafe’s mind begins. Will he really become the monster that everyone perceives him to be? Or is there a chance in HELL, forgiveness will win out in the end?

Ms. James takes us on a wild, twisted, powerful journey. Brutal and honest at times, you will not know where your heart will lie until the very end. We get to witness these amazingly complicated characters battle their demons, and it’s heartbreaking and amazing all at once. TORRENT is Book One in Gemma James Condemned Series and I have to warn you, this book comes with the cliffhanger from HELL! So don’t be surprised when you feel the urge to throw your reader out the window. I also know that after reading the synopsis, you can probably figure out in your head, how the plot is going to go, because I thought that very thing. I’m here to tell you, TORRENT will surprise you in many ways. Being a brand new author to me, Gemma James has more than earned her spot at the top of my TBR!

❝You’re my beginning, my end. You’re my everything.❞

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excerpt

The moment had arrived, the one I’d dreaded for years, but my mind drew a blank. What could I tell him? There was no excuse or explanation that would make this right. Even the truth didn’t excuse sending an innocent man to prison. “I’m sorry, Rafe,” I said, fighting tears. “You have every right to be angry.”

“Are you refusing to give me an explanation? Don’t you think I deserve that much?”

I dipped my head, thick hair falling forward and shadowing the shame warming my cheeks. What he deserved was nothing less than the truth, but it caught in my throat, perpetually trapped by my need for him to never find out about Zach and me. “I can’t give you one. It won’t change anything.”

“I see.” He came closer, hands bunching at his sides, and ordered me to lower my arms.

I backed up, hating how my body throbbed with indecent anticipation. My eyes burned, but I hadn’t cried in a long time, not since my mother died and Rafe had embraced me while I lost it. That seemed like a lifetime ago. I blinked several times, willing the tears to dry up, but the sight of him lowered the gates. Something fundamental in him had changed.

My fault.

My doing.

A tear slipped free. With casual ease, he scooped it up and sucked the moisture off his finger. “Hands at your sides, now.”

I shook my head, and the gesture probably came off as defiant, but really, I just wanted to crawl into myself and die. The thought of putting my body on display for him sent me into a panic. This body betrayed me, it attracted the wrong attention and glorified in it. All it would take was one touch of his hand for him to realize how I wanted him.

“I-I don’t understand.”

“What do you not understand, Alex? Sounds pretty clear to me.”

“Don’t do this,” I pleaded, retreating until I bumped into the bars with nowhere to go. I hid myself as much as possible, thighs pressed together and palms covering my breasts.

He unbuckled his belt and pulled it from his jeans.

“Please—” I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t budge even as adrenaline coursed through me.

“Do as you’re told, or I’ll make you wish you’d listened the first time.”

My arms weren’t part of me. Somehow, all on their own, they dropped to my sides like two sticks of deadweight. His eyes traveled over me, starting at my feet and slowly lifting to my belly before roaming higher.

“Look at the set of tits on you.”

I stood on a precipice of indecision, and taking the plunge could bring about two different outcomes. Fear, the kind that made your heart beat so fast, your mind tricked you into believing you were seconds from death. Or, I could take a free-fall into insanity. Rafe Mason was, essentially, the love of my life. I could lie to everyone else, but not to myself. Nothing he did would change that.

Even now, as his hand formed an angry fist around that belt, I came alive. Or maybe it was because he posed such a threat. God, I was fucked up. I knew what he was capable of. A memory of swollen and bloody flesh sprang to mind, so vividly I could describe it in Technicolor. That last cage fight before they’d arrested him, the one to trump all others, burned in my memory.

His attention lingered on my breasts, and the mere heat of his stare branded me. Here was a man furious, a man few would blame for wanting to do horrible things to the person who’d wrecked his life.

That person was me, and despite the threat in his expression, something about the way he caressed my body with a single glance reduced me to a puddle of need. It pooled between my legs until everything was tight and wet and hot.

With careful patience, he feathered the back of his hand across my nipple, and I felt his touch everywhere, especially between my legs where I ached and burned from the inside out. Until now, I’d never known what it was like to be on the receiving end of Rafe’s attention. He was the only guy capable of making me feel this way.

Hot.

Alive.

Needy.

Our gazes entwined, and the feelings spearing through me were too intense to ignore. I’d lost count of the number of fantasies I’d had of this moment when he would touch me. Really touch me. Not as the kid he treated like a sister, not as the bothersome girl who mercilessly drove him to madness, but as a woman.

A woman he wanted.

His hand drifted lower, fingers skimming over quivering stomach muscles. Breath eluded me. The circumstances mattered no more. Fear evaporated into particles of mist that lingered but weren’t powerful enough to douse the feelings I thought I’d buried years ago. All that mattered was his hand, lowering…lowering still. I clenched my thighs to keep from spreading them and braced my back against the bars, hands balled at my sides.

His body pressed into mine, and I closed my eyes, cataloging each sensation from the way his chest flattened my breasts to the heat of his thighs. He lifted my arms above my head and curled my fingers around the bars.

“Don’t move,” he growled, hands squeezing one last time before falling away. “You are such a fucking tease.” His words drifted across my cheek. “I never touched you. No matter how much—” Abruptly, he sprang away as if I’d burned him. “I never touched you.” He reached for the belt that must have fallen to the concrete. “You destroyed my life,” he said, fingers playing with the buckle. “I was this close to making it to the UFC, and you snatched it from me.” He snapped his fingers. “Just like that, you took my freedom, my reputation. You fucking took everything, Alex. I have to register as a sex offender now? Did you know that?”

“I’m sorr—”

The belt landed across my breasts hard, and I cried out as the breath stole from my lungs. My arms dropped, automatically moving to protect, but he struck again with a powerful crack. I gasped and clung to the bars as my nipples burned.

“Don’t you dare tell me you’re sorry! You’ve had eight fucking years to be sorry, but you left me there to rot.” The belt slid to his feet, and he kicked my legs apart before shoving a finger inside me.

My eyes grew wide as he probed me, though his jerky thrusts were far from gentle.

“I rotted while you dated that jerk who probably doesn’t know the first thing about setting you off.” He added three more fingers, wrecking my concentration, his touch stretching and reaching higher. “Did he make you feel this good?”

I squeezed my eyes shut and began counting. Five in, hold, five out. Repeat.

“Answer me!”

“He didn’t.” Lucas’ kisses and wandering hands had made me feel nothing, but Rafe…he made me feel everything. I swallowed past the self-loathing constricting my throat, tried to ignore the slippery plunder of his fingers, but a strangled moan escaped anyway.

“Do you want me to stop?”

Yes.

“No.” I extended to my toes, fingers gripping the bars for support, and barely breathed as his thumb rubbed circles on my clit. “Rafe!” I pushed my pelvis against his hand even as tears leaked down my face. His mouth opened over my throat, and I inhaled sharply, my pulse throbbing an erratic beat underneath his tongue.

This wasn’t happening. My body wasn’t betraying me again. No, no, no, no…

“I still remember how to touch a woman,” he said. “I bet my fingers are the best fuck you’ve had. Can you imagine my tongue on your pussy?” He licked up my throat, and I whimpered, imagining it all too well. I saw myself on my back, legs spread wide and his dark head disappearing between quaking thighs. The visual was too much, and I hurtled into deep space. I saw the celestial heavens.

“I’m coming,” I sobbed.

“Yes, you are, sweetheart. Enjoy it because it won’t happen again.”

I clawed at his dark T-shirt, my spine bowing and knees threatening to give. The orgasm came in waves around his fingers, each one more intense than the last, and each one filled my heart with so much shame my chest was heavy with it. Riding the waves, I howled his name, my cries resembling a cat in the throes. Afterward, as my heartbeat slowed, I collapsed to the floor.

“You’re at my mercy,” he said, crouching to eye level. “You don’t eat unless I allow it, you don’t drink. You don’t get clothes or a shower or even a bed to sleep in unless I say so. I control every piece of you, including your fucking pussy.” I wrenched my head to the side, pained by the hardened features of his beautiful face, but he pressed his fingers into my jaw and forced me to meet his gaze. “You’re going to earn every damn privilege known to man. Do you understand me?”

“Yes.” The force of his fury penetrated deep, and I would have agreed to anything in that moment.

“You are nothing to me, Alex. You will never be more than a piece of ass.” My heart cracked as he let go, forming a jagged chasm I feared would forever remain. I watched him walk away, tears sliding down my cheeks, one after the other in an endless stream of regret. He exited the prison without looking back and the lock clicked into place with an unsettling echo. He bent to retrieve a pile of neatly folded clothing—my clothing, by the looks of it—and then climbed a staircase. An instant later, the light shut off.

Total blackness.

I couldn’t stop crying. Not because I was scared. Not because he’d just humiliated me. I muffled heaving sobs into my palms because his utter contempt sliced to my soul. And now I knew.

He was going to break me.

© 2014 Gemma James

 

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RAMPANT (Condemned #2)

Release Date: October 2014

synopsisLife is twisted. Cruel. After being ripped from the safe haven of Rafe’s arms, my new kidnapper is waging a sick game. Unable to make my body do his bidding, he’s resorting to psychological warfare. He’ll bend my mind until I break, and when I do, that just might be my saving grace.

I’ll forge through hell to get back to Rafe, body and spirit broken and bleeding, but I’m unprepared for what I find. He’s done what I can’t: he’s erased eight years of pain and betrayal. I don’t know how to bring him back to me, because bringing him back means ripping him to shreds all over again.

RAMPANT is a new adult dark romance with disturbing themes and explicit content, including sexual scenes and violence that may offend some. Intended for mature audiences. Part two of the CONDEMNED series. This is not a stand-alone read.

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Available for PRE-ORDER at B&N, iBooks, and Kobo!

About Gemma James

Gemma James is a USA Today and Amazon bestselling author of a blend of genres, from new adult suspense to dark erotic romance. She loves to explore the darker side of human nature in her fiction, and she’s morbidly curious about anything dark and edgy, from deviant sex to serial killers. Readers have described her stories as being “not for the faint of heart.”

She warns you to heed their words! Her playground isn’t full of rainbows and kittens, though she likes both. She lives in Oregon with her husband and their four children–three rambunctious UFC/wrestling-loving boys and one girl who steals everyone’s attention.

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