Bane, the highly-anticipated next standalone in the Sinners of Saint Series by L.J. Shen is LIVE
Naked surfer. Habitual pothead. A con, a liar, a thief and a fraud.
Last I heard, he was extorting the rich and screwing their wives for a living.
Which is why I’m more than a little surprised to find him at my threshold, looking for my friendship, my services, and most puzzling of all—looking humbled.
Thing is, I’m on a boycott. Literally—I cut boys from my life. Permanently.
Problem is, Bane is not a boy, he is all man, and I’m falling, crashing, drowning in his sweet, perfect lies.
Hot as hell, cold as ice.
I wasn’t aware of her existence until a fat, juicy deal landed in my lap.
She’s a part of it, a little plaything to kill some time.
She is collateral, a means to an end, and a side-bonus for striking a deal with her oil tycoon stepdad.
More than anything, Jesse Carter is a tough nut to crack.
Little does she know, I have the f****** teeth for it.
Roman Protsenko doesn’t really roll off the tongue nor does it illustrate the man who owns this name; in fact, in a way, the only thing the name has going for it is the fact that it sounds foreign and unique, something that very much encapsulates who this baddest of the bad boys seems to be.
L.J. Shen’s newest Sinner’s nickname ‘Bane’ aptly depicts the personality of this ego manic jack hole, not only because he epitomizes the definition of bane – a cause of great distress or annoyance, something, especially poison, which causes death, but also because he seems to be the bane of everyone else’s existence, wreaking havoc and igniting mayhem everywhere he goes.
But as much as Bane’s persona capitalizes on the fact that he doesn’t give two shits about anyone or anything, proving himself to be an asshole to his core, beneath his emotionless layers, beneath his backbone that was built from his ability to not care who he hurts or what he has to do to get ahead lies an imperfectly perfect man whose flaws, fractures, and felonious acts don’t truly define all that Bane is.
Once again, L.J. Shen has created the perfect heroine for her anti-hero. Jesse Carter is probably the only woman who could get Bane to give a shit about something other than surfing, stealing, or lying. That doesn’t mean that things are easy for Bane and Jesse; in fact, due to the reasons behind their ‘connection,’ as well as the hellacious circumstances she had to endure and the issues that still consume her due to her past, I wasn’t quite sure how anything would work out for them, but I do have to say that out of all of the couples who Shen has introduced readers to in her Sinners of Saint series, this is the one that I cheered for from the very beginning, and while I’m not exactly sure why this relationship resonated with me more than any of the other ones, but I knew beyond reason that even though Bane and Jesse would have to deal with quite a shitstorm of things and work their way through them, I never doubted what they would become, quite frankly because of everything they had already survived, especially Jesse.
One aspect of L.J. Shen’s writing that truly highlights how gifted she is at characterizing her heroes and heroines is her ability to construct complex and layered characters who are so much more than the façade they seem to wear. For the most part, Shen’s male leads are more anti-hero than hero, but as their story develops, other facets of their character is explored and with that exploration, readers truly begin to understand how they became the jackholes that they did while still holding on to qualities that have lain dormant due to a variety of reasons and are only being brought to the forefront because of a certain female lead who challenges who the heroes are and who they actually could be.
I have to admit that it took me a bit to get into Bane and Jesse’s story; it moved a little too slowly at the beginning, but I knew that if I held on, absorbing everything that Shen wanted her readers to understand before the angst and assholeness reigned, that I would find myself in one hell of a love/hate relationship with Bane and completely and utterly enthralled with Jesse Carter – her sass, her strength, and the fact that despite a shit past she was able to survive.
L.J. Shen’s Sinners are quite the group of enigmatic and charismatic characters, and what I find most remarkable about them is the fact that these hotholes wear that label with pride while still each being unique in the alpha male qualities they possess. I don’t know if I’ll ever meet a group of book boyfriends who aggravate the hell out of me as much as their filthy mouths enamor me.
4.5 Poison Apples
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A godless thief.
My reputation was a big wave that I rode, one that swallowed everyone around me, drowning every attempt to fuck with what’s mine.
I’d been known as a stoner, but power was my real drug of choice. Money meant nothing. It was tangible, and therefore easy to lose. See, to me, people were a game. One I’d always known how to win.
Move the rooks around.
Change the queen when necessary.
Guard the king at all fucking times.
I was never distracted, never deterred, and never jealous.
So, imagine my surprise when I found myself being all three at once.
It was a siren with coal black hair who robbed me of riding the biggest wave I’d seen that summer. Of my precious attention. Of my goddamn breath.
She glided from the ocean to the beach like nightfall.
I crouched down, straddling my surfboard, gawking.
Edie and Beck stopped beside me, floating on their boards in my periphery.
“This one’s taken by Emery Wallace,” Edie had warned. Thief.
“This one’s the hottest masterpiece in town.” Beck had chuckled. Con.
“More importantly, she only dates rich bastards.” Liar.
I had all the ingredients to pull her in.
Her body was a patch of fresh snow. White, fair, like the sun shone through her, never quite soaking in. Her skin defied nature, her ass defied my sanity, but it was the words on her back that made my logic rebel.
It wasn’t her curves or the way she swayed her hips like a dangling, poisonous apple that warranted my reaction to her.
It was that tattoo I had noticed when she swam close to me earlier, the words trickling down the nape of her neck and back in a straight arrow.
My Whole Life Has Been Pledged to This Meeting with You
I only knew one person who went gaga over the Russian poet, and, like the famous Alexander, he was currently six feet under.
My friends began to paddle back to shore. I couldn’t move. It felt like my balls were ten tons heavy. I didn’t believe in love at first sight. Lust, maybe, but even that wasn’t the word I was looking for. No. This girl fucking intrigued me.
“What’s her name?” I snatched Beck’s ankle, yanking him back to me. Edie stopped pedaling and looked back, her gaze ping-ponging between us.
“Doesn’t matter, bro.”
“What’s. Her. Name?” I repeated through a locked jaw.
“Dude, she’s, like, way young.”
“I will not repeat myself a third time.”
Beck’s throat bobbed with a swallow. He knew damn well that I didn’t mess around. If she was legal—it was on.
Jesse Carter was going to be mine before she even knew me.
Before I even knew her.
Before her life turned upside down and her fate rewrote itself with her blood.
So here was the truth that even my lying ass wouldn’t admit later on in our story—I wanted her before.
Before she became business.
Before the truth caged her in.
Before the secrets gushed out.
I never did get to surf that day.
My surfboard broke.
Should have known it was an omen.
My heart was going to be next in line.
And for a small chick, she did one hell of a fucking job obliterating it.
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About LJ Shen
L.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.
Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets peoples’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.
She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.
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