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Heartaches: Bad Boy Vibes Kindle Edition
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And that is a fine prelude to reading the Bad Boy Vibes books. Yes, this will be considered by many to be Chick Lit as there is romance and passion and copious scenes of steamy erotica – all written very well indeed. But the difference is the fact that Irwing’s main characters are bruised by their pasts. Rape - individual and gang rape – play a significant role in this book, but that is not the driver: the point is finding solace and overcoming the past by finding a mate who will have a forgiving and understanding heart.
The synopsis outlines the basics - ‘Anna Simmons is a broken soul searching for meaning in her life. Shattered by a number of people she trusted, she was almost on the brink of utter despair when her savior came from an unlikely source. Rafe Brown, ex-army commando, returned to Australia from abroad with a soul fractured to splinters. Moving through life in an aimless search to seek retribution, he meets Anna and she happens to be what he needed but never expected. Love, lust and passion ignites but beneath it all, two soul unite forever.’
The shattering reality is that Rafe come into Anna’s life having been individually raped by his officer Eric in the military. But this important fact is well written by Irwing: ‘And Eric, like Anna, was willing to do anything to have him. But Rafe was hers now. Hers to keep. Hers to protect. She loved him. She would not fail him. She could not fail him. But Rafe was right, this wasn’t going to be easy. They really were up against this themselves. There was no one else they could turn to. Rafe clutched Anna tighter to him, wishing they could simply leave, take off to paths unknown; but he knew that was not an option. He owed it to all those men who died under his leadership, to see to it that Eric Dayton paid for his actions. He owed it to them. He owed it to Anna, who looked to him for protection, and he owed it to himself as well. He had turned to the army in hopes of bettering himself. Of escaping that ineffectual hopelessness he’d felt in being unable to save his mother or seek justice for her. But while he had served the first nine years relatively unharmed, doing his bid for his country, the last year had been hell. Being shattered and under Eric’s manipulative thumb had been soul destroying. It was knowing the men needed to be avenged, that he had a purpose beyond himself, that the darkness he was submersed in faded away to allow him to emerge. Renewed and vengeful. It was that that set him off on a collision path with Anna, and then meeting her gave him back to himself. With her he felt a sense of self-worth again that went beyond what was driven by a need for vengeance. With her he felt alive and a new need to continue amongst the living with her by his side. With her he could do and be anything. With her he felt loved. "Together," Anna whispered to Rafe. “We will do this together.”
And there is a subsequent book to follow. Rest assured that there is plenty of sexual play and the erotic scenes are well delivered. It is just that there is much more to these characters than the usual Chick Lit novel offers. Grady Harp, January 18
Anna and Rafael became a sort of refuge and strength for each other after experiencing a similar, traumatic event. The old saying, “you will surely find what you ran away from waiting at your next stop” became true for Anna and Rafael when they left her assailants’ for military school. The man who instigated Rafe’s rape was behind multiple drug trials and abuse that they both had to decide to go or fight a battle they probably will not win.
I can see where it would appeal to many readers though. It tells a heartbreaking story that is something we, unfortunately, deal with in the real world. And, I see the value in stories portraying the harsher glimpses of reality. For Anna and Rafe, this involves horrific sexual abuse. As the novel is already graphic in nature when it comes to sex, it is not surprising that it is also graphic when it deals with sexual abuse. However, major trigger warning to anyone who has suffered a rape or other form of sexual abuse. There is no hiding it here.
Again, while the book was out of my comfort zone, I was impressed that Irving managed to give hope even in a dark situation, which is why I went on to read the second book.
The story is strong and so are the characters. They are messy and complicated and have ups and downs, good and bad inside of them. Being like this makes them more relatable. Although fictional, there’s a lot in here that will speak close to the heart of the majority of readers. A very interesting book and definitely a “do not judge a book by his cover” case.