Title: Forever Marked
If you were a marked woman, how far would you run?
At only 23 years old, Ellora's life is turned upside down. She captures the unwanted attention of a dangerously ruthless man, who'll stop at nothing until he possesses her. Haunted by nightmares of the brutal attack she survived, Ellora flees the country desperate to hide. But, the longer she runs the deeper his obsession grows.
Behr is a hard working bachelor who's life is stuck on repeat. Every single day is filled with the same people, and the same routine. That is, until a beautiful stranger stumbles into the local pub and into his heart. Even though he's immediately drawn to her raven black hair and deep green eyes... he knows she's hiding a secret. One he's determined to uncover.
Can Ellora stay safe in this small harbor town?
Ellora raced down the hallway as fast as her legs could carry her. Dread gripped her when she
heard his heavy footsteps pounding on the hardwood floors behind her. His powerful presence echoed around the eerily empty house. It didn't matter how fast she ran, he was always right on her heels. Ellora quaked violently when she made it to the stairs. If she couldn't make it out of there, she'd never survive. Reaching out, Ellora gripped the railing with both hands and used the leverage to fly down the steps. She skipped so many at a time, it felt like flying. He thundered down the steps, after her. The smell of his rancid panting, snaked its way over her shoulder. The stench stung her nose. Ellora risked looking back. His large black eyes, vicious with a murderous rage she didn’t understand, were only a few feet behind her. He was close enough to grab her. Oh. My God, this is it. He reached out... and she lunged, taking a giant leap before she got to the last three steps. She successfully made it over the carpeted runner at the bottom. Her ankles stung as she landed hard, on her bare feet. Easily ignoring the pain, Ellora sprinted to the front door. She heard him land on the runner and crashed to the floor, as it slipped out from under him. Shaking, she fumbled with clumsy fingers, trying to unlock the deadbolt and door knob lock.
After several slips from her bloodied hands, she finally heaved open the door. She skidded on her own blood, which was trickling down her legs and pooling onto the floor. The cool air rushed in, sobering her. Chills raised goosebumps on her skin as she dashed out the door. Ellora looked back to make sure he wasn’t behind her. This action caused her to lose her balance, tripping down the driveway and crashing right into the car. She remembered leaving her it unlocked, so she wrenched it open and jumped inside. She immediately locked the doors in record speed. It took only a moment for her to get a grip on her debilitating panic. She frantically searched her pockets for the car keys. First the front, then the back. Ellora froze. A devastating hopelessness made her stomach drop when she realized that she left the keys in the house. She hung her head in defeat… BANG! BANG! BANG! The sudden violent pounding sent Ellora shooting out of her seat, frightened to death as he pulverized the glass window with his fists. He stopped his onslaught abruptly and pressed his face against the window. His disturbing eyes and malicious sneer held her captive. He lifted his hand presenting a set of keys and shook them. ‘NO!’
Title: Forever Marked
Author: Lady J
Genre: Suspense, Contemporary Romance
Series or Standalone: Series (Marked #1)
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
When I first started reading romance, and considering how old I am, we’re talking many, many moons ago now, I was always most captivated by the ones that didn’t read clean. The ones that weren’t “boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, chases and gets girl, the end”. I liked ones with suspense. The stories that got messy before everything evened out and happily ever after could be achieved.
Forever Marked by Lady J read a lot like that to me. It took me back in time to the romances I enjoyed most as a young girl and kept me planted and invested the entire way through.
I knew from reading the blurb that this wasn’t going to be an easy book. There were going to be instances in it that twisted me up, turned my stomach and made me wanna hunt someone down and hurt them, and sure enough, right from the first couple of page turns of my kindle I had that and more. I bonded with Ellora as she lived through one of the most traumatic experiences of her life. I felt her pain, lived through it with her and wanted her to get free of it (and the scars it left behind) so bad.
The memories were tough to get through. Not because they weren’t written well but because they were written a little too well. It broke my heart, seeing what she lived through. What she lost when her parents died and the holes that all of it left inside her, but most of all inside of her heart.
It was ugly and it was messy but this girl, this fighter she kept on going and at the first opportunity she ran back to where her parents came from and straight into the arms of one of THE BEST families ever, but definitely the best man ever.
Behr. *sighs* Now he was an expected yet unexpected treat. Its romance, so of course you’re expecting the hero of the story to be great. Not perfect, but on paper great and brought to life great. Behr was all of this and more. I’m still all swoony over him and it’s been days since I finished the book. This silent broody guy (the first time you meet him) has such an incredible soul, and loving and protective heart that it was hard as hell not to fall for him right away. (I stopped fighting it and fell just like Ellora did). As far as book boyfriends go, he’s tops.
When I’m reading, typically I bond to the two main characters, hero/heroine and the others seem to fall quietly into the background of the story. They fit but only because they’re usually there to piece the main characters together. This book wasn’t like that. I connected to every single person in that bar. Celebrated when they were happy, cried when they were sad, and by the end believed in them when they said they were family to Ellora. It was as if in running away from the danger, she’d run straight into the arms of the family she needed. It was great. Kudos to the author for making this book read like a family affair.
Now, a romance review wouldn’t be complete without touching on the couple themselves.
Behr and Ellora were different yet very much the same. Behr had his own demons (or rather an ex that was a demon (not literally)) and carried around a lot of emotional scars from that, just as Ellora carried the physical and emotional scars of what she had been through. It made me believe in them being together straight away. It just fit. I could see them being the healing balm that the other needed and sure enough, I was given that in spades throughout the story. In the raw emotional scenes where the truth about their lives before comes out, to the sweet moments, it all came together almost magically and I wanted their happy ending so bad.
Because this is a series this book is open ended. It’s not some massive cliff-hanger, but you can see that there’s more, along with the author announcing it at the end. So for anyone that may be picky about series books, you’ve been warned in that regard, but I did get a complete feeling from this (the last couple of pages aside).
One could say this is a HFN book because it’s a series and you won’t know how it plays out until it’s done, but as far as Behr and Ellora (and their family) are concerned, I came away with a HEA. I feel like these two, after everything they went through separately and together, will make it through what comes next.
But I will say that I hope the antagonist…that evil sadistic piece of crap that hurt Ellora gets what’s coming to him in the worst way possible. My hat is off to the author again in this regard because she gave me a bad guy that I LOVED to hate. Actually, she gave me two, but I was rather pleased with the way the second one was dealt with. Big smiles all around for that.
Basically, this book had everything I wanted in a Romantic Suspense and more and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys that genre of book and that style of writing. It’s also a must read for anyone who loves a swoony hero who only has eyes for the heroine (even when others try to get him to do otherwise).
My thanks to Lady J and everyone else involved in giving me the chance to read this before release. It was a pleasure and I can’t wait to see where you take Ellora and Behr next.