I try to forget her.
Growing up together, Conor and I shared all our firsts.
First love, first kiss, first…
Not all our firsts.
We were sixteen the night she was violently assaulted while I helplessly watched.
I’ll never forget the sounds of her suffering.
Or my inconsolable agony when she left Oklahoma.
Years later, she returns to honor our teenage pact.
Except the boy she loved is gone, replaced by a ruthless cattle rancher knotted with secrets.
She doesn’t know my dark cravings or the trails of sin that lead to her.
I don’t deserve her, but one truth remains.
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I have to admit that even though I’ve read many of Pam Godwin’s dark romance stories, I wasn’t prepared for Conor Cassidy and Jake Holsten’s brutal tale. I wasn’t ready to endure Conor’s hellish reality at the ravine when she was 16 years old or the emotional torture and heart wrenching hits that just kept coming.
I’ll be honest…the knots in my stomach never loosened…they remained knotted together until Conor and Jake dealt with their past, allowing them time to grieve and time to process everything that occurred, working faithfully and endlessly for a future that should have been theirs since the beginning.
“Not everything’s meant to be, but Jake and I are inevitable. We’re knotted together, and damn if he doesn’t know how to tie a knot that withstands the test of time.”
Even when Conor was just a young girl, she believed in the ‘inseparable bond’ and ‘extraordinary closeness’ that she shared with her brother, Lorne, and the Holsten twins, Jake and Jarret, and while Conor’s feelings for Jake went behind familial, the four of them grew up together, supporting each other no matter what and protecting one another no matter the cost.
But when the cost came due, the men in Conor’s life made decisions without her consent, alienating and rejecting her, which made the knot that tied them together…the one that she thought would see them through no matter the miles…months…cities…years…became frayed and loosened by acts of betrayal and lies, costing all of them more than they ever imagined possible and irreparably breaking the binds that had always kept them linked.
I can’t put into words just how emotionally overwhelmed I felt while reading this story. It may have only been told through the perspectives of Conor and Jake, but Pam Godwin’s writing forces readers to confront exactly how each one of the foursome felt throughout this devastating time. I grieved with Conor and raged with Jake; I felt helpless like Jarret, and I felt agony like Lorne, partly because his hands were tied and he had very little luxuries due to where he was and partly because his protective nature forced him to agree to unequivocally alter Conor’s entire life, destroying what made Conor her and fracturing her heart and her soul into fragments of what they used to be.
I’m so glad that Pam Godwin included Jake’s point of view; his personal insights and his reasonings are so essential to the plot line and they help soothe apart of readers’ hearts when they learn the reasons behind his callus actions and just how much he’s been a part of Conor’s life even when he seemed like he abandoned her along with everyone else.
Knotted is one hell of a layered and multifaceted plot, which is exactly what I’ve come to expect from Pam Godwin’s stories, but in some ways, Conor and Jake’s story went even further, graphically illustrating the heinous offenses of some of the characters as well as the emotional and mental toil that one night caused a number of people.
In the story, because of what was done to her by both strangers and those she loved the most, there’s a process that Conor has to go through in order to heal or at least in order to start healing. Due to the amount of time that has passed and the damage that has been caused on a number of levels, I really didn’t know how everything was going to play out and if Conor would be able to return home and reestablish the knots that have always tied her to Jake, to Jarret, and to Lorne.
But let me tell you what is made abundantly clear is that Jake is going to do whatever it takes to get Conor to forgive him and to give her everything that she’s been without for six long and traumatic years.
Knotted is a story that will stay with me for a long time to come. The storytelling is beyond amazing; Pam Godwin weaves a tale of devastating heartbreak and bone-chilling anguish, but what she also does is keep a small flicker of hope burning, allowing readers to remember when Jake explained at the very beginning of the story that he is everything with her and nothing without her, and somehow, he would always lead her home and claim her as the woman she’s always been – his.
5+ Poison Apples
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