Title: Better When It Hurts
Author: Skye Warren
Genre: Erotic Romance
Type: Standalone book 2 of Stripped series
POV: First Person – Female
Five years ago we lived in the same house. He was the ultimate bad boy. And my foster brother.
Now he’s back. Tougher, harder, meaner. All of it aimed at me, because I was the one who sent him away. It’s payback time. He wants his pound of flesh, and I am helpless to say no.
Copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
Hannah Bowman grew up as a foster kid. Being shipped from home to home taught her one thing. If she wanted something, she had to be willing to deal an exchange. Now all grown up, she became Lola, a stripper at The Grand, using her body the way she knew very well.
Blue Eastman was the head security of The Grand. Five years before, he and Lola lived with the same foster family. They used to love each other until the day she betrayed him. Now he’s back expecting to collect on the accrued debt in the only method he desired. A deal was brokered – it would either heal them, or break them.
Better When It Hurts was certainly different than the first book in the series. This once centered on the notion of guilt and revenge, with slightly darker and more angsty tone.
I’m just the tease he needs to fuck to forget, the bitch he needs to punish. I’m the sentence, and this night, this is a period.
Blue was shady character in the previous book and it took some effort for me to warm up to him in this one, which is a little weird because I’m usually like a moth to a flame when it comes to unscrupulous characters.
He was a self-righteous prick who thought it was his god given right to take whatever he wanted from Lola. Granted, she screwed him in the past, but he was so cold towards her considering they had a past.
But on the flip side, it was exactly the thing that made this book so damn hot! The raw and gritty, semi-consensual sex scenes could definitely burn a hole in your panties. His animosity towards her added to the tension in the story.
I feel degraded. It’s just a natural state for me, as easy as breathing. But there are a few seconds when the entire room is looking at me, panting over me, desiring me—and I feel like a goddess. Those seconds make what’s about to happen bearable.
Lola was a strong female character with but a major vulnerability when it comes to Blue. She ended up as stripper because it helped paid the bills – even just barely – because she felt responsible to others. It was the thing that made her agreed to the deal with Blue.
Her guilt played a big part in her acceptance of Blue’s “punishment”. There were parts where I wanted to slap her around for not having the guts to stand up in what she believed in.
I love the story overall, but one thing I felt incomplete was the question of Blue’s wealth. It was brought up, but wasn’t really explained/elaborated.
I am definitely looking forward to Candy and Ivan’s story and wonder which direction that one is going to take. I’m sure Skye Warren will do justice to them.
I’ve read plenty of stripper books and one thing I’d like to see in such books is for the character not only chose and enjoyed being a stripper, but also stayed in the business even when she/he was in a stable relationship – for the love of the “art”.
This review is also available on Goodreads.
Skye Warren is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of dark romantic fiction. Her books are raw, sexual and perversely romantic.