Author: Lisa Henry (Writing as Cari Waites)
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 01/11/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Drama, Erotica
Those who dare to scratch the surface of ordinary, everyday life may be horrified to find a sick underbelly beneath—a nightmare world populated by villains and victims, predators and prey, where the rules of society no longer apply.
Where you’ll find people like Danny, the boy who sells himself to pay for his father’s gambling debts and ends up in a situation more twisted than he ever imagined. Or Troy, the cop whose obsession with saving a brutalized human trafficking victim turns deadly. Or Drew, the mental patient who begins to suspect his nightly delusions of abuse by his doctor are actually real. Or David, the cuckolded husband who decides the best way to get revenge is to seduce his wife’s barely legal son.
Stealing Innocents is an exploration of our darkest human impulses, where sex is power, love is horror, and there’s no such thing as a happy ending.
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NOTE: This collection contains edited second editions of three stories that were previously individually published, plus one all-new story, by Lisa Henry writing as Cari Waites.
Fair warning, the stories in this collection are not for the faint of heart. Calling them dark would be an understatement. And that’s exactly why I loved them. Sometimes slipping into the shadows can be cathartic, especially in books, because you know you’re going to make into the light, even if the characters don’t.
The first story in Stealing Innocents is Gamble Everything. Daniel is a young man, just turned 18, who agrees to sell himself to the man his father owes massive gambling debts. Peter Archer is a man in his forties who has watched Daniel from a far and wanted him…for various reasons.
It initially looks like Archer is strictly after sex and submission, but looks can be deceiving. There is some domination/submission in the story but not much other strict BDSM. The sexual activities were pretty hot, even the fisting scene, an activity I don’t enjoy reading about.
This story started slow but quickly amped up and I couldn’t put it down until the ending. And the ending was fan-fuckin’-tastic. I loved the twist. I saw it as an HEA or at least a HFN, others might disagree.
The second story Crazy was definitely dark and twisty. Owen is a mental patient who is suffering from horrible nightmares where he imagines being sexually assaulted.
But are they dreams or reality? Even if it is real no one would believe him.
I adored the last few lines of this fascinating tale.
He’s not crazy.
He’s probably not crazy.
He’s just outvoted.
The third story was one that I found the most interesting. First and Only features David a man who decides to take revenge on his cheating wife by seducing her son.
I’m a big fan of May/December romances, though I wouldn’t even begin to call this story a romance. Though there are some very hot scenes. The plot is porny but the author elevated beyond a trope and made the characters realistic and relatable.
David sets up the perfect scenario to seduce Sage and successfully gets the young man in his bed. Nothing came off as phony here. Sage was horny and David used it to his advantage, despite Sage’s concerns.
This was definitely dubious-consent, something I admit to enjoying. Sage never says no to the seduction though he does complain about the pain and does some begging.
“David. Pl-please. Please!” he whimpered, his sobs growing louder.
Point of law, Sage: No means no, but only if you say it aloud.
It didn’t matter that I knew I was hurting him. It didn’t matter that I knew he wanted me to stop. One tiny word, and for some reason Sage couldn’t force it out.
Even with the violence I still liked David and understood both his anger and his desires.
Afterward, Sage is understandably freaked out and insistent it’s not going to happen again. And by the end of their first encounter things have changed for David.
I didn’t want to hurt him.
Now I wanted to protect him.
Sage submits again but while David is fine with it, Sage is not. He’s torn and confused and the author does a commendable job for showing his emotions despite being in David’s POV.
Things might have ended differently if Sage hadn’t brought a friend into visit. Though I would’ve liked to have seen David and Sage end up together there really isn’t a plausible scenario where that could happen. Or is there?
Falling Angels was by far my favorite of all the stories. It covers years in the life of a porn star and a cop investigating a sex trafficking ring.
Beautifully written despite the sad subject.
If you like stories that are sunshine and roses this is not the collection for you. However, if you like tales that will fuck with your brain and take you to scary places you’ve never been or imagined, then check this book out.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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