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Reap: A Scarred Souls Novel Kindle Edition
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**See goodreads.com/NMmomof4 for my full review with spoilers**
Brief Summary of the Storyline: This is Talia and 221/Zaal's story. Luka, who is Talia's brother from the first book in the series, is desperately needing to get revenge on his friend's captors, and he finds out that his friend actually had a twin brother that was being held captive by these same bad men. He breaks 221 out, and he detoxes him off of the drug that's been in his system since he was 8 that made him into an obedient killer. Talia happens to be in the house that Luka takes him to detox. She is enraged when she first finds out that he is a member of one of their biggest rival families, but she soon cannot deny her curiosity and pull towards him. She helps him learn his new world, and they fall in love...and get a HFN ending.
POV: This alternated between Talia, Zaal, and Luka's POV.
Overall Pace of Story: Good. I never skimmed, and I thought it flowed well.
Instalove: Kind of. They connect instantly. It wasn't the kind that is irritating to me though.
H rating: 5 stars. 221/Zaal. How can you not love him?!? His story was so sad, and he was so honestly sweet!
h rating: 4 stars. Talia. I liked her strength, and I really felt for her loneliness and wanted her to find her one.
Sadness level: Low/moderate. I never needed any tissues, but it does have some sad scenes.
Heat level: They have some good chemistry and scenes.
Descriptive sex: Yes
OW/OM drama: No
Sex scene with OW or OM: Yes
Closure: This had ok closure, but (of course) I wanted more! I wanted a (further) jump ahead epilogue to see them down the line as a functioning and successful couple. I'm calling it a HFN ending, but I am sure we will see them again in the next book of the series.
How I got it: I paid the $3.99 for it on amazon
Talia Tolstaia is the daughter of a powerful man within the Bratva – the Russian mob – and leads a somewhat isolated life. Because of the family business, a normal life isn’t in the cards for her, she always needs to be careful and is being watched by her bodyguards. During her childhood she was very close to her babushka – her grandmother – and enjoyed her stories, especially the one about finding your true love. When her life in Brooklyn gets too much, Talia escapes to the family estate in the Hamptons to spend some time on her own. Her plans are disturbed when her brother Luka rescues Zaal, the twin brother of his friend Anri, a promise he made when Anri died. Despite the hatred between their families, Talia feels a connection to Zaal, the connection her grandmother told her about when she was a young girl.
“I would never be normal. Therefore I would no longer crave normal. And because if that, I knew when I arrived back in my Hamptons home tonight I’d be going to see Zaal. I had to touch him again. There was no choice. I had to be close. Because something inside me had snapped, and just as my babushka had proclaimed, I knew I would never be the same again.”
Zaal Kostava was eight years old when his life changed for the absolute worst – his family was slaughtered by an angered associate and he and his twin brother Anri became his property. For the past twenty years, Zaal has been his masters dog and test-subject, being regularly injected an experimental drug made him a total obedient and extremely dangerous fighting machine and killer. Along the way he has lost all memories of his childhood and family, even Anri and his own name. All he knows are the cruel words and actions of his master, a sadistic man. When he’s freed by Luka, he is brought to the Tolstaia estate to get of the powerful drugs he’s being injected with for the major part of his life. When he meets Talia for the first time, he thinks he’s still with his master, and can’t comprehend that the beautiful woman has nothing to do with the evil man.
“I looked into her eyes trying to detect deception. I couldn’t see any. Was it true? Was I being released so she could care for me? No one ever cared for me. No one ever spoke to me unless it was to give me orders or call me a dog. No one ever touched me unless it was to bring me pain.”
Being abused and exploited for so long, it’s not a surprise Zaal reacts so strongly to the first gentle touches of a woman. Talia knows the monster he is, but she sees right through and recognizes the human being hiding behind the bruises and scars. From the moment she meets him in the basement of her getaway, she feels attracted to the man, becomes obsessed by him. Even when she learns his lineage, being the lost heir to a rival family, she just can’t stay away. Through Talia, Zaal learns to become human again, to speak, to feel and to see the outside world. Talia and especially Zaal aren’t experienced in love and relationships, their bond is pure and primal – they just can’t be without one another.
Reap is the second book in ‘the Scarred Souls series’, and brings the reader back to the world of the Bravta, the brutal life of underground fighting and slavery. Luka and Kisa, the main characters from the previous book, had a prominent role is this one. They are still dealing with the aftermath of their story; rescuing Zaal is a necessity for Luka to move on and find the peace he and Kisa need.
Reading the horrors Zaal has experienced – the murder of his family and his life as a slave – made me feel so sorry for him. I can’t imagine people do this to an innocent child, but knowing it actually happens in the real world makes this story so much sadder. I loved that Talia was able to see past the scars and brutality, saw the sweet and gentle man Zaal truly was and stood up for him against own family.
“You are … for me. No other male. Just me. And me … for you. This is my, ‘I love you.’ These are my words from my scarred soul. They are not borrowed words, but words from my full heart, and my heart only.”
Even though the brutality of what happened to Zaal, I adore this book. It’s written in Tillie Cole’s beautiful style, and makes me feel so much for the characters. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.
I give this story 4.5 stars.
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