Hellooo! Hope you’re all good. 🙂 This week was less busy and I was glad I could enjoy more great reads. The book I’ll review today is by my current favorite author Cora Kenborn and it was offered in exchange for an honest review. Be prepared for a new novel full of complex characters, action, and suspanse. ❤ It’s the first of a new series but it can be read as a standalone.
Genre: New Adult, Romantic Suspense
Publication Year: 2017
Pages: 309 (Kindle)
Part of a series?: Yes, Book 1 of ?
It won’t come out until April 4th but you can pre-order it HERE from Amazon.com
This is the 3rd book by author Cora Kenborn that I read and it was different from her previous series, Lords of Lyre (which you should totally read if you like rock star romances with lots of suspense and high sexual tension, BTW!). This book is towards the dark romance genre more than new adult, but perhaps it’s just me being used to action, gritty and violent scenes, that I am not shocked anymore. XD Anyway, you decide. I don’t like to put books into categories.
Blurred Red Lines is the story of two people who lead very different lives. Eden Lachey is a bartender who has an uneventful existence made of arrogant drunkards and a drug-abusing father. Among the clients of the bar, there’s one man who catches her attention every time. She’s attracted to him, but she knows fair well that he is danger. Valentin ‘Val’ Carrera moved to the US from Mexico when he was young. Boss of the Houston leg of the Carrera cartel, he has to keep his identity a secret not to hinder his ‘business’. This becomes hard whenever he visits the bar owned by his lieutenant where an alluring cherry-haired bartender works. They both know that they shouldn’t look for more than a swift exchange of words, but they can’t help the pull that there’s between them. Sometimes the people we want to avoid at any cost are the ones that understand us better.
As usual Cora is good at writing strong female characters, and Eden was no exception. She always tried to stand up for herself despite the situation, and every choice she made was her own. She was the kind of character who thinks with her brain and not with the male character’s balls.
Val is one hell of an alpha hero. He is Mexican, and this part of his character fascinated me because I love Latin characters (I study Spanish, duh!). He was confident and ruthless, but had a warm side but he never becomes ‘soft’.
If there is one thing that I love about Cora’s characters, is that they evolve through the book but they stay loyal to themselves. You can understand their journey of self-improvement as you move along the pages. It’s interesting to observe how the single character and the couple starts off and how it ends, because the personalities of these people are really palpable. It’s awesome how she’s able to build one-of-a-kind characters who stand out of the crowd and give them lots of moments of self-reflection and great hate-sex. The sex in her books is not the simple copy-and-paste act I’ve read in many other novels which turns out to bore the hell out of me at some point, but a raw, lustful, passionate kind of experience that blows your mind and personally makes me think: “holy f***!”. The characters can also be romantic and mellow, but not of the kind that gives you diabetes, lol.
Val and Eden are that kind of couple you never think could make it. They both have abandonment issues, especially daddy issues. They were left alone early in life and had to take care of themselves and/or of their older men, ignoring their inner desires.
Eden uses sex to cope with the loss of her mother and the absence of her father, who is a drug addict. Her only significant presence in life is her brother, but their relationship is difficult as well because he doesn’t accept her choices. Eden’s way to resolve her issues, the sex with strangers that interest her, is a clear way for her to try to catch the attention of her family but at the same time, it isn’t. Since her mother left her and her brother (who knows, perhaps she could appear later in the series) she’s wandered around in the search of an equal figure, hence the hopping from a man to another; it is the reaction to the abandonment she’s suffered. When she has sex with men, even if they don’t satisfy her sexually because of course it’s only lust and not love, it’s like she compensates the lack of affection she’s received with the sexual act, where the primal need to have sex is linked to the primal need to be loved by your parents. When she eyes Val in the bar, she is attracted instantly because he is the kind of man that she has sex with. He is dangerous, mysterious, and it’s the epitome of what she’s looking for, he is “death” personified. No wonder in the book he is known by other cartels with the name “El Muerte” (The Reaper). Val represents the almost-death experience she needs to have to get high. She’s equally drugged as her father but her substance of choice it’s sex. Her encounter with Val will prove her that while he’s indeed a Reaper, he can also take her to the brink of eros. Their relationship swings from Eros to Thanatos, and the amazing sex scenes they have as well as the witty banter prove it. This is why I think Eden adapts to the life Val has so soon. Because that’s what she needs to live. For her, the chaotic life Val leads is peace.
Val has a similar problem. He was born into a powerful cartel family, and he HAS to follow his father’s footsteps or else he’ll end up dead, no exception. He seems to be okay with living like a reckless boss, but you can tell that is hard for him because had he the power to follow another road, he would’ve probably taken it. But now it’s too late to change, and when he meets Eden he realizes it. I can’t see him stop being a boss, but at least he discovered his feelings aren’t buried in a dark side of his soul. When he meets Eden, she is just another whim for him, the usual woman he wants to have for his own pleasure. But when he talks to her, sees her skills (he wants a drink made in a certain way and only Eden knows how to make it) and how she fits into his world despite he sees her as a light force in contrast with his person, he realizes that she can push his buttons in the right direction and make him a better man despite his life. Besides the fact that she’s able to tame him, it’s always the sexual experience that is a sort of epiphany moment for the both of them, but for Val works the opposite way. For him, meeting Eden and merge with her in the sexual act reunites his “good” part with the “bad”.
Long story short, Val and Eden complete each other in such a fantastic way I don’t even know how to explain it anymore. lol.
The story is a well-constructed plot full of action and suspense, like I already said. You can’t take a breath because every page there’s something waiting in the dark to crush the characters and nothing will be the same ever again. And when it seems the story would resolve blandly, the author does the opposite of what you thought she would do. The amount of UST and hate-sexy is amazing as well. I would have read it faster but since the story was steady yet full of events, I wanted to take into mind what happened, so that I could appreciate how the story was crafted even more.
If you’re looking for a gripping story with complex characters, high-level sexual tension and many other things, then you should definitely read this book. It can be dark but believe me, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. I forgot to mention, even the secondary characters are interesting! I wonder if the second book will still be about Val and Eden or perhaps about Mateo? He was cool. 😉
RATING: 5/5 stars