⭐️⭐️ Straight up psychotic male lead

Hating You (Blackthorn Elite #1)

Bad or good, I always want to read a book that makes me FEEL something, because if it’s boring, then what’s the point? That’s probably why I’ve read so many books by this team of authors, because they are absolutely, 100%, never boring. Unfortunately, the male lead in this one (I cannot, for the life of me, refer to him as a “hero”) is just straight up psychotic. We do NOT see any redeeming qualities in Parker as he terrorizes Willow, and maybe some part of her likes what he’s doing, but any consent she gives in the book is given under duress. This REALLY rides a fine line into big old R territory, and if you have any triggers whatsoever, I’m betting this will hit on one. I’m all for a dark romance, but this crossed a line for me big time.

The story follows Willow, a college freshman who is happy to get away from her dad and the drama at home. Two years ago, she testified on her sister’s behalf and ended up putting Parker’s brother in jail. Feeling that his brother was wrongly accused, Parker has made it his life’s mission to get revenge on Willow, not just for her accusations, but also for ruining the budding feelings he had for her in the past. When she doesn’t heed his warning to get away while she can, Parker takes that as her acceptance that she’ll be his plaything.

The writing itself is actually really great, which is probably why I made it all the way through the book. It’s so easy to get sucked into the story and overlook Parker’s actions, hoping that he redeems himself in the end (if he does, it’s not nearly enough). The sexual tension is palpable (the book is off the charts steamy) and I could see this turning into something great, but I’ve read several books by this team of authors and this is the first one that made me HATE the male lead. Parker is not right in the head, and his treatment of Willow is unforgivable. Pair that with what Parker’s brother is accused of doing to Willow’s sister, and the whole thing gets a lot slimier. It was around the time that Parker included his friends in the sexual torment while Willow was restrained that I started to disconnect from the story, and let me tell you… it really doesn’t get any lighter after that. This isn’t the kind of dark romance where things start to get lighter part way in; it’s non-stop obsessive torment by Parker culminating in a “HEA” for these two. It’s laughable to believe that Willow would love Parker after everything he’s done. So was the book boring? Not a chance. But did I love it? Absolutely not. I’m sure I’ll read books by Beck & Hallman in the future, but I’ll steer clear of the rest of this series.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

Hating You by J.L. Beck. My rating: 2 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

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