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“There was a boy once. A boy who wasn’t strong enough to save me when I was taken.”
“There was a girl once. A girl called Tess Snow who sat with me in the dark waiting to be sold.”
“There was an owner once. An owner who bought me, entrapped me, and made me his unwilling goddess.”
Eleanor Grace is a naïve dreamer. Trusting and young, she believes her book-loving boyfriend can save her when her freedom is snatched and sold. Squirreled away to an island at midnight, delivered to a man even darkness won’t touch, she’s bound by a contract.
Five pieces of her soul.
Sullivan Sinclair is the giver of fantasies. Any wish, any desire—he is the master at quenching even the filthiest appetites. His private paradise and perfectly trained goddesses are there for one purpose: to ensure every guest is extremely well satisfied.
He bought her.
He trapped her.
She belongs to him.
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Pepper Winters’ dark romance series, Indebted, owned me in a way that a series of that many books never has…and while Jethro and Nila’s story was by no means an easy read, the way that Winters crafted the world and created such multifaceted characters who could not be solely defined by their words and their actions showed me that there was no such thing as good guys and bad guys…that there was a gray area where many resided, indicating that no one is unequivocally corrupt or innocent, cruel or compassionate, right or wrong. So, with that idea in mind, I ventured into book one of Winters’ newest series, Goddess Isles, ready to fall down the rabbit hole, once again, prepared to take this new journey with my eyes wide open and my mind focused on the idea that there is more to the characters than what readers are privy to and that the only way we’ll get answers is if we follow Winters’ various plot lines and hold all judgments until the final book is read.
Like most first books in a series, there are a number of components that need to be expounded on, setting up the basic story by introducing the central conflict and the players involved, which is why Once a Myth begins with Eleanor Grace’s abduction and the path she takes to arrive on Sullivan Sinclair’s isle of pleasure. That journey is abysmal and it’s strewn with the non-stop tears, the overwhelming emotions, and gut-wrenching fear that these kidnapped women must deal with while they’re sold to the highest bidder.
For much of book one, Eleanor locks down her emotions and works to stay in control of her reactions, refusing to give her captors the upper hand when it comes to what they take from her, but while she remains steadfast until she arrives at her final destination, once there, she succumbs to the dynamics of the situation, which is only further exacerbated by what she’s given as she becomes Goddess Jinx.
Sinclair is quite the contrary man and entrepreneur; the service that he provides is immoral, illegal, and unequivocally reprehensible, but he doesn’t see it that way, and it’s those beliefs that should make readers despise him, make them not want a single positive thing to happen to him or the men who visit his isle and his ‘kept’ women. Sullivan is truly a man of many tastes and talents, and I feel like Winters has only scratched the surface of who this guy is, why he does what he does, and why his new ‘goddess’ has cast her own spell on him, even though he’s supposed to always have the upper hand. It will be interesting as the series continues just how many details readers learn about his past and the reasons for the creation of this secluded paradise.
There’s still so much to unravel in this story line, and I know that with each revelation and each explanation, more questions are likely to come, which means that the answers to those will not be fully revealed until Winters and her characters want them to be, which is the perfect way for the author to keep readers on their toes, ensuring that they pick up the small clues that she provides along the way, with the understanding that nothing is to be taken at face value and both looks and behaviors can be deceiving.
Bring on book two!
4.5 Poison Apples
“You’re saying you’re a loss?”
“I’m saying I’ll cause you untold problems if you keep me here.” I narrowed my eyes. “I’m not afraid of you.”
He stepped toward me quickly, crowding me, bringing naked, masculine flesh and scorching body heat.
I backpedalled, losing ground, hating myself the second I tripped.
He laughed coldly. “Not afraid? I think you’re fucking petrified.”
Digging my toes into the sand, I cocked my chin. “I meant what I said, Sully Sinclair. Keep me trapped against my consent and I will make you pay. I’ll find some way to curse—”
“Curse me?” His arm shot up, his hand sinking into my hair. In a single heartbeat, we went from apart to linked. His fingers curled tight around the strands, tugging my scalp, sending more chills scattering. “You’ve already cursed me. You cursed me the second you arrived.”
I tried to pull away, but his hold turned aggressive.
“Let me go.”
His eyes flashed navy in the darkness as his tongue ran over his bottom lip. “Let you go? I should, shouldn’t I?” His stare landed on my mouth, and lust became a sapphire fire in his gaze. “Too bad I’m not going to.”
Pepper Winters is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today International Bestseller. With a catalogue of over twenty titles, she’s hit the bestselling lists over thirty times.
She loves romance, star-crossed lovers, and the forbidden taboo. She strives to write a story that makes the reader crave what they shouldn’t, and delivers tales with complex plots and unforgettable characters.
After chasing her dreams to become a full-time writer, Pepper has earned recognition with awards for best Dark Romance, best BDSM Series, and best Hero. She’s an #1 iBooks bestseller, along with #1 in Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense, Contemporary, and Erotica Thriller. She’s also honoured to wear the IndieReader Badge for being a Top 10 Indie Bestseller.
After releasing two books with Grand Central, Hachette (Ruin & Rule and Sin & Suffer) Pepper is a Hybrid Author of both Traditional and Self-published work.
Represented by Trident Media, her books have garnered foreign interest and are currently being translated into numerous languages, including already released titles in Italian, French, Hebrew, German, and Turkish. Audio Books for her entire back-list will be available soon.
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