Envy, an all-new emotional and romantic standalone from Dylan Allen is now LIVE!
If envy is a sin, then let me be damned.
Graham was born to be a star.
Once upon a time, that star shone only for me.
Now, I have to share him with the rest of the world.
For a while, I thought I could do it. Because, beneath the hypnotic smile, gorgeous body and God-given charm that made him famous, I still caught glimpses of my best friend.
Of the boy who called me sunshine and loved me.
I wore that love like a crown . . . until he placed it on another’s head.
Losing him was agony, distance felt like the only cure.
When tragedy reunites us after years apart, it only takes one touch to erase the past. Just like that, I’m back in his arms.
He promises this time will be different. But I’m afraid to believe him.
Because behind his star’s blinding brilliance is a darkness that doesn’t want to let him go.
I know a star that bright can’t belong to just one person, but my jealous heart doesn’t want to share him.
I want all of him . . . even if wanting what doesn’t belong to me leads me to ruin.
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I have a confession to make…I’m so not a lover of excessive angst; in fact, a lot of the time I don’t understand its necessity to the plot line and I become disengaged because of it. But if the drama is well written and seemingly instrumental to the characters’ finding their way amidst the chaos, amidst the maelstrom that has become their lives then I can hang in there and reap the rewards of their struggles and revel in the fact that they endured…that they survived because I’m a huge believer in second chances, which makes me want to give characters the benefit of the doubt, even when they destroy their own lives and those closest to them without truly thinking about the repercussions OR feeling that it’s their only option regardless of the pain caused.
The reason I prefaced my review with the above insight is because Dylan Allen’s Envy caused my heart to hurt, tied my stomach in knots and had me going out of my mind with the trials Allen put her characters through…BUT, her poetic prose and her ability to create perfectly imperfect characters forced me to ride out the emotional torture and accept that the journey may be bumpy when it comes to Graham and Apollo’s journey, but the payoff was worth the trauma caused to my head and my heart.
Graham and Apollo’s initial interaction illustrates the uniqueness of these two characters as well as how effortless their bond begins, and because Allen provides readers with a firsthand account of the journey that Graham and Apollo take to become so much more than childhood friends, we can’t help but be their biggest supporters and wish to be their voice of reason when everything seems to go wrong and the decisions that are made force two people apart that should have never left one another’s side.
Sunshine, Graham’s nickname for Apollo, is the perfect moniker for, her not only because she brings light to his darkness, but also because that term perfectly describes her constant presence in his life, even when they’re apart. There’s such a purity to Apollo…a genuineness that is very rarely found in people. Her honesty, her truths and her ability to see beyond the fractured facades of those around her provide hope and love to someone like Graham who hasn’t had those things in his life for quite some time and even though he lost them at one point, the fight to get them back and the realization that they wouldn’t come without a dedicated effort proves to readers just how much Apollo means to Graham and why he’ll do anything to revel in her lightness once again.
Graham’s misguided actions sent me into a tailspin of frustration and anger…I get that he did the only thing he felt he could and I also understand how damaged his sense of self is/was due to his step father’s mistreatment, but I physically hurt for Apollo and I grieved for her and her dissolved relationship with Graham. They meant EVERYTHING to one another…they saved each other…they loved each other with abandon and then it all ended and those years apart were disastrous for these two lost souls because they didn’t have their other half…they didn’t have the person who spoke to their heart and to their soul without saying anything aloud. It was so effortless between Graham and Apollo, until it wasn’t, and it’s in those times and in those moments that I couldn’t help but want to shake Graham and wake him up to what his decisions caused and continued to cause until he finally resolved to make things right, to reclaim his Sunshine and the sole keeper of his heart.
Graham and Apollo’s story is one that illustrates the complications that life brings when sacrifices have to be made and hearts get broken in the process. Even though these two were apart and struggling, their memories of their time together and the love they felt/still feel never truly diminished and it’s that thought that allowed me to remain hopeful despite how heartbroken their disconnect made me feel.
Dylan Allen is a masterful storyteller – one whose stories demonstrate how passionate she is about her profession and how every part of who she is plays a part in the tales she crafts. I’m so glad that I was introduced to her books, and even though she mangles my heart, she always puts it back together and makes me realize how precious and necessary love is.
4.5 Poison Apples
“I’ve been saving something for you,” he says softly. His breath is warm on my mouth, and I part my lips.
My pulse is thudding in my ears, but I hear myself ask, “You have?” right before his lips touch mine. It’s just a touch, reverent and tender and it says …
He lifts his lips off mine and breathes. “Can I do that again?”
“Oh, God, please do it again,” I say in between gasps of air.
This time, his lips linger, and when I kiss him back, he groans and drags his lips away. He presses his forehead to mine, his breathing ragged.
“I ache, Apollo. I’m fuckin’ dying.”
His voice is making me ache.
Inside and out.
From the roots of my hair to the tips of my toes. I wonder briefly if it’s possible that my legs are dissolving because, standing up suddenly feels impossible.
As if he can read my thoughts, he grasps my waist and holds me fast to him.
His hands. His touch. They are my body’s favorite. It’s been far too long since I’ve felt the addictive pulsing between my thighs that only Graham has ever inspired.
My nipples pucker so fast and tight that it stings.
“Graham, I need … I’m …” I can’t form a coherent sentence.
“Shhh, I know baby,” he whispers before his tongue sweeps my bottom lip. I press myself into him and whimper when I can’t get close enough. His powerful hands cup my ass, and he grinds himself into me.
I lift my leg and hook it around his waist in a desperate attempt to get closer.
“More,” I moan.
“Everything,” he whispers. Then he lifts me off my feet and walks us until my back hits the wall.
He pins me there, both of his hands on either side of my head.
He holds me up with the deliciously warm and heavy weight of his sexy as fuck body and captures my mouth again. It’s messy, greedy, uncoordinated. All of our kisses are like this. Desperate attempts to make up for all of the ones that we should have already shared.
Graham’s lips pull away from mine, and they travel down my chin. I throw my head back, and Graham nips my neck before he sucks it so hard that it stings. And then he works his way down my chest, sucking, biting.
He presses his hand to the space between my breasts and with one swift yank, rips my shirt right down the middle.
“Fuck, I’ve been dreaming about these sweet nipples,” he growls before his mouth closes over one of my aching peaks. The moan that tumbles from my mouth is guttural and comes from an untouched place inside of me. I look down and gasp as waves of pleasure catapult through. The sight of his head at my breast. His eyes closed while he suckles, licks, bites, and kneads my breasts.
His hair skims my collarbones; his fresh, clean scent surrounds me. His mouth is devouring. I feel like I’m being consumed by the collective force of all of our longing and need.
Surely, it can’t be a good thing to feel so much all at once. I haven’t felt this way since …
It’s time for you to leave.
The words that I’d managed to forget now barrel through the thick haze of lust clouding my brain.
No, I can’t do this.
The master of my ruin is ravishing me, and I’m letting him.
Even as I shove at his shoulders to push him away, I writhe against him. “Babe?” He releases my nipple with a pop and looks up at me through those eyes that just make me want to forget everything and give in.
I look down at myself and stare at my still wet pulsing nipple. I want to put his mouth back. I also see the small, already dark bruises his mouth and teeth have left all over my shoulders and chest. The stinging on my neck tells me I’ll find the same thing when I look I the mirror.
“Apollo, what’s wrong?”
“Let me down.” I unhook my legs and shove at his shoulders.
He doesn’t move.
“Please,” I beg. I can’t meet his eyes.
He swears under his breath and steps away from the wall and lets me hop down. I clutch my torn tank top, mortified at how easy that was for him to walk in here and just have his way.
I step around him and run to the kitchen. I pick up one half of the stupid spatula and hold it in front of me.
“Oh, Apollo,” he sighs, his mouth turned down in the corner. “Tell me what you’re afraid of.”
“I’m not afraid. I just don’t like it.”
He throws his head back and laughs.
I see red.
“Why are you laughing? You’re ruining my life! Again!” I scream at him. I am wild with frustration and fear. Worst of all, I’m so turned on I want to shove my hand into my panties and finger my pussy until I come.
I want to do it right now. And, I want him to watch.
Oh my God.
What is wrong with me?
He’s turned me into a sex crazed exhibitionist who is ready to abandon every single one of my principles and let him fuck wherever he wants, however he wants.
All in less than four hours.
I don’t want to imagine the rubble I’ll be reduced to if I gave him more time.
Dylan Allen is a Texas girl with a serious case of wanderlust.
A self-proclaimed happily ever junkie, she loves creating stories where her characters chase their own happy endings.
When she isn’t writing or reading, eating or cooking, she and her family are planning their next adventure.
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