Series: Sinners of Saint
Author: LJ Shen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release: January 1, 2017
They say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true.
The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares.
He is a brilliant lawyer.
A skilled criminal.
A beautiful liar.
A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover.
Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him.
She is a starving artist.
Pretty and evasive like cherry blossom.
Ten years ago, she barged into my life unannounced and turned everything upside down.
She paid the price.
Emilia LeBlanc is completely off-limits, my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. The woman who knows my darkest secret, and the daughter of the cheap Help we hired to take care of our estate.
That should deter me from chasing her, but it doesn’t.
So she hates me. Big fucking deal.
She better get used to me.
“If you’re looking for a book that’s a little bit dark, a little bit twisted, with a character driven story that leaves you panting more than once, Vicious is it.” – 5 Obsessed Stars – Reader Review
“Absolutely amazing book! You will never find another guy like Vicious and you will never find another book like this ever.”- Tongan Book Lover 5 Stars
“Christ. Just Christ. The naughty bits are hot and steamy, the love story is unique for sure, and the writing is fucking epic because LJ Shen.” – Mells View 5 Stars
As the old saying goes, there’s a thin line between love and hate, and when it comes to, Vicious, L.J. Shen’s latest release that thread is as flimsy as they come because when a girl is claimed by a boy, but only feels his hatred and wrath, the only kind of relationship that can be formed from that kind of treatment is one that will either bury both of them or allow the boy to destroy everything pure and good about the girl who he declared as his, long before he ever contemplated how honest that declaration was.
I can’t believe this is my first book by L.J. Shen! I adored EVERYTHING about Vicious. She’s an amazing storyteller who fluidly goes back and forth between past and present to illustrate the beginning of Vicious and Emilia’s tenuous relationship and the steps he takes to prove to himself and to her that he loathes every single thing about her and will stop at nothing to show her and those around them just how unworthy Emilia is to live in a city like Todos Santos and go to All Saints High, a place where her angelic ways will only get tarnished by the true sinners who run that school – the Four HotHoles.
Through much of the story, I tried to truly understand Vicious and his tendency to destroy everything good in his life. It continually amazed me how a boy who considers himself anti-social…who is cold, callus, and a bastard still has people bowing down to his assholeness…girls who will do anything they can just to say that they had Vicious, even if it meant absolutely nothing to him.
Then, when the story shifts to present day, I still couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that a ruthless and vindictive man could have the whole world at his fingertips…could basically treat every single person/acquaintance in his life like they were worthless while Emilia, a woman who works her ass off for EVERY LITTLE THING in her life couldn’t seem to get even a little bit ahead so that she could follow her dream of being an artist, allowing the lightness and warmth inside of her to be created in a tangible way for the world to admire.
Throughout the course of the story, the push and pull of Vicious and Emilia’s relationship plays out in a complex and non-linear way; their feelings for each other are overwhelming, and for the most part, they’re ones of ill will and anger, and because Vicious’ treatment of Emilia has no bearing on the person she is and was, there’s no way for her to rectify his treatment of her…there’s no way for her to truly understand why he is the way he is with her and accept it because the way he punishes her is completely unwarranted.
Vicious is such a complex and daunting anti-hero. The torture of his past and the secrets that he keeps rule his life…provoke him to act out in reprehensible ways. He thrives off of destruction, particularly when it came to destroying the girl he desires just as much as he detests. His heart is hardened and he isn’t ready to allow any goodness…anything beautiful into his scarred and darkened soul, so he does the only thing he can…the only act that protects him from her and himself – he treats her like a nobody…he treats her like she’s nothing more than the cheap help when she actually is everything good in his life; in a way, Emilia is Vicious’ conscience but he has too many scars for him to recognize her true place in his life…he’s carrying too many secrets…too much pain and those unrelenting feelings need an outlet, and he torments and ruins her simply because he can’t deal with his true feelings for her, because in his mind, he can’t have her the way he truly wants regardless of the fact that he won’t allow her with anyone else.
Because of Emilia’s purity, Vicious wanted to dirty her up in horrible ways so her brightness no longer blinded him…no longer made him crave something he couldn’t have…or didn’t deserve to have because he was the villain and her goodness was something he didn’t know what to do with besides destroy every last bit of it.
Emilia never fits into the falsity of Todos Santos – in a place filled with “liars” and “pretenders.” And because she never allows herself to get wrapped up in that world of materialism and status…in Vicious’ kingdom, she’s shunned and treated as a small and insignificant part of her peers’ lives, which definitely shapes who she is but she refuses to allow it to define her for the rest of her life.
With a more than cruel past and a tormenting present…how can Vicious and Emilia’s futures be anything but chaos? Because for much of story, I wondered if he was truly incapable of love or just so full of hatred, rage, and torment that he couldn’t allow a lighter and perhaps stronger emotion to overrun the attributes he needed to payback those who not only wronged him but his mother as well.
L.J. Shen delivers one hell of a story in Vicious, and the way that Vicious and Emilia’s relationship plays out is exactly how it should due to the extenuating circumstances that surround them and the douchebag façade that Vicious can’t seem to let go of even when it’s clear that his cruelty and selfishness just might destroy any ounce of goodness that could come into his life.
Vicious is definitely a sinner, and it might seem odd that he claims Emilia, who for the most part is a saint, as his since the very beginning, but the plot twists in the story, the truths that are exposed, and ultimately, the darkness within him can only be purified by the one person who even while treating her like shit has come to mean everything in his messed up world.
5 Poison Apples
“You’re pissing me off,” she said quietly, her eyes still searching my face.
“And that’s turning me on,” I retorted, my voice flat. “So you might wanna tone down the hate glares if you don’t wanna find yourself being fucked on this desk with the blinds still open.”
I was still staring at my screen, working on the merger deal I was eager to get signed before Christmas, but I could see from my peripheral that she had paled. I liked how—once again—I’d gotten under her skin. Quickly.
“You’re disgusting,” she muttered, still staring at me—but not in a way that suggested she was appalled.
I cracked my neck, opening my browser and checking the stocks on the screen, skimming through the greens and the reds. “That may well be, but I’m balls deep in your fucking head, Help, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Her eyes glittered with rage, and fuck, I was so hard, and fuck, she was so beautiful. This was so on. I was going to fuck Dean’s ex-girlfriend, use her for my personal needs, and toss her away when I was done.
And after choosing the wrong guy, there was no doubt in my mind, she deserved it too.
“You just gave Floyd a lecture about the inter-office fraternization policy. No mixing business and pleasure.” She leaned forward. Her elbow touched my finger accidentally, and she jerked it away.
I met her halfway, erasing the space between us across the desk. “Correction—guys like Floyd won’t give you pleasure. Men like me would. Besides, the man likes Arrow,” I drawled, as if this alone was a reason to fire him.
To me, it was.
“You know what your problem is, Vicious? You still haven’t decided if you hate me or like me. That’s why you act like this every time I’m around other men.” There wasn’t a trace of embarrassment in her voice. She owned up to this.
What she didn’t know was that I knew exactly how I felt about her.
I hated her, but was attracted to her. It was really that simple.
“You know what I feel right now, Ms. LeBlanc? I feel like you need to pack a fucking bag and start making the necessary arrangements. You’re coming with me to California, whether you like it or not.
L.J. Shen resides in sunny California with her husband, son, chubby cat and wild, wild dreams.
Her passion is to write badass stories, sushi, UFC and her awesome family and friends (not in this order, though. Obviously, sushi comes before writing. Oh, and also the family part.)
She spend the first half of her twenties traveling the world and is now paying all the fun with extra shifts in front of her MacBook. Feel free to contact her on her Facebook page. She loves to hear from her readers.