Author: Clarissa Wild
Genre: Dark Romance
Release Date: October 7, 2015
On her 21st birthday she’s taken. Collected by a rich family as an unpaid debt. Her body sold. Her mind his.
For 21 weeks she carried a burden no girl should ever have to carry. Now she loses her freedom to a man born to destroy her.
His name: Angel DeLuca. His mission: to break her in 21 days before she sees through his lies. But she won’t give up without a fight.
It takes only 21 minutes for their lives to be forever entwined.
21 seconds to spill. Time is running out.
Secrets ruin them … but not all truths are worth the price.
This is a STANDALONE Dark Romance novel. WARNING: contains explicit situations, dubious consent, graphic violence, drug abuse, and other disturbing content.
Twenty-One was a thrilling adventure from start to finish, definitely earning its spot as my favorite Clarissa Wild book to date. This story was a fantastic mixture of all of my favorite things about this author and it really captured her wide range of writing abilities and allowed them shine. Twenty-One was dark, cruel, and filled with intrigue and suspense. However it also had that spark, the magical connection between the main characters that made it impossible not to become invested in them. Twenty-One is very much a dark romance and there are plenty of unsavory things about the story that had me cringing, but I knew what I was getting into so I easily found myself enjoying every maddening second of this book and was pleasantly surprised to see how the story evolved to become something so much more. I fell hard for Sky and Angel, enthralled by their absolute disaster of a “love story” and addicted to the angst that Twenty-One provided.
“My name might be Angel, but I’m far from a saint. In fact, I’m a fucking killing machine. I was born and bred for one purpose; murdering those who stand in the way of Cosa Nostra.”
Clarissa Wild always manages to write characters whose heartbreak and anguish just rips right through you and Angel and Sky were certainly no exception. Sky’s entire ordeal, even before her time as a captive, was devastating. As the pieces of her past began to fall into place I wanted to yell and throw things on her behalf. In the face of her nightmares she stood strong, refusing to give into the torment befalling her, proving herself to be incredibly fierce. Angel, on the other hand, maintained a sense of invincibility only to find himself caught off guard by Sky. She seemed to shed a light on his darkness, forcing him to see his world in an entirely different way. Clarissa Wild did an amazing job at relaying his inner conflict. Even when I wanted to hate him, Clarissa made sure my heart was still breaking for him and that his turmoil remained palpable. His growth as a character was crucial to the development of the plot and Clarissa executed it masterfully.
“Our eyes are locked in what seems an endless storm of silent screams. It would be worse if she could see behind the mask.”
Twenty-One definitely took me by surprise. I went in totally intrigued by the synopsis but at a total loss as to what I was really in for. As always, Clarissa Wild kept me on my toes as my mind scurried to keep up with all of the twists and turns of her plot and my heart fought to make sense of the constant hurricane of emotions. Parts of this book were unquestionably dark and twisted, written with an intensity that hit me like a train wreck you just can’t look away from. I was tied up in knots, unsure how I was going to get through this crazy journey, only to be doused with a totally unexpected sweetness that made me giddy despite everything. Twenty-One had a great balance of suspense and romance that appealed to me beyond the depravity of most dark romance novels. Clarissa Wild has written another winner with Twenty-One, delivering Sky and Angel’s story with a deeply scarred heart, but a heart nonetheless.
I push past my father, still furious as hell. I walk straight to her cell, do the retinal scan and press the numbers to open the door, not even caring to put on my mask.
What I find is a broken girl.
Her body lying on the floor like a wet rag.
Buckets of water thrown on the floor near her.
A chair in the middle painted red from blood. Her blood.
Red welts and puncture wounds mark her body. Welts and wounds that aren’t mine.
How fucking dare they.
As I step into her cell, I take a second to wipe my bloody hands on my shirt. No matter how hard I try, it won’t disappear completely, and for some reason that makes me feel bad. I look at her small, frail body and wonder how the hell I’m going to fix this. She’s been beaten to the point of losing her will to live. I never thought he would go this far … that he would ruin her to a point of no return. This shouldn’t have happened … and it’s all my fucking fault.
Going on one knee, I gently pick her up and hold her in my arms as I get back up. She’s cold, and she isn’t even shivering to make up for it. Holding her close to my body in the hopes that it’ll make her a bit warmer, I walk out of the cell and into the light. Right now, the only thing on my mind is her safety, and nothing’s gonna stand in my way of securing it.
My father stands in the middle of the big hall, watching me, along with the three women who’ve been working in the kitchen all day. Their silent looks tell me enough, but nothing will stop me. Rage has taken me beyond what I thought I was willing to sacrifice. I feel invincible, capable of destroying the world, if that’s what it takes to keep her with me.
“Don’t,” my father says. “You’re making a mistake.”
“No, you did, the moment you took me away from her! Don’t fucking dare to interfere again.”
“You might be my father, but I’m the best you have, and you know damn well no one in this company can win from me, so don’t even try to take her away from me. You’d better not get in my way.”
“I can’t let you take her out of this place,” he says.
“Watch me,” I growl, walking toward him.
“Angel, you know this place is specifically designed to contain our prisoners. If you take her out, who knows what will happen. She might escape, and this time for real. You don’t want that to happen. You know what the consequences are.”
“She won’t,” I spit.
“You don’t know that.”
“I’ll make sure of it.”
He blocks my way, standing in front of me, so I stop next to him. He doesn’t attempt to grab my arm, even though I suspected he would. He’s smarter than I thought.
“So you’re just gonna leave? You do realize this will never end well?” he says.
I glance at him. “I will give you your information. But I will do it my way. Where I want. How I want. My terms.”
“You know it will fail.”
“We’ll see about that,” I growl, gripping her body tight. “Now leave me the hell alone.”
I walk past him, blowing out a deep breath as he lets me pass. He doesn’t attempt to stop me like before. Probably because he’s seen my determination and realizes it has its strength. Or maybe because he fears it.
With Sky’s life hanging by a thread, I wrap my hands around her body and let her head rest on my shoulder. For a second, as I walk through the hallway, I glance over my shoulder. An unfamiliar feeling rushes through me the moment I see my father’s stupefied face. Amusement, maybe. But it feels more like pride.
“Where are you going?” he yells after me.
With a confident sneer, I answer, “Home.”
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Clarissa Wild is a New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author, best known for the dark Romance novel Mr. X. Her novels include the Fierce Series, the Delirious Series, and Stalker. She is also a writer of erotic romance such as the Blissful Series, The Billionaire’s Bet series, and the Enflamed Series. She is an avid reader and writer of sexy stories about hot men and feisty women. Her other loves include her furry cat friend and learning about different cultures. In her free time she enjoys watching all sorts of movies, reading tons of books and cooking her favorite meals.
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