Liz Crow - Mutual Release
Can two dark souls ever make a light?
As president of her own distribution company, Julie Dawson has all she ever wanted -- money, power, and respect. But her carefully crafted façade conceals a torment of abuse and helplessness. After years remaining emotionally aloof, she is finally independent, but alone. Because she refuses to rely on anyone but herself ever again.
Evan Adams is no stranger to success, or personal demons. The horrific trauma that destroyed his twin sister, and tore his family apart, forced him to craft a new life from the ashes of the old. He's content enough, focusing ahead and not dwelling on his murky past. But something important is missing. He knows what that thing is but refuses to acknowledge it.
When a chance encounter brings these two strong-willed but damaged people together , what seems like a long, erotic journey through hell could lead them to a match made in heaven.
“’You have no idea what you’re missing.’ Damian’s voice stayed low, conversational. ‘I think you should let me show you.’” ---Mutual Release, Part I
Evan Adams is a classic golden boy, athletic, good looks and charming. Life is pretty normal for him & his twin sister, Olivia until an unexpected phone call changes the course of their lives forever…one riddled with pain, betrayal, guilt and self-loathing.
Evan & Olivia were always close, until Damian came into their lives. The son of Amanda’s college best friend came to live with the Adams family after his mother’s death, easily manipulating his way into the hearts of Evan’s family. Even with his entire family refusing to acknowledge or believe what was happening to their daughter, Evan knew there was something incredibly dark and evil about Damian. The problem was that Evan was fighting his own dark secret, his need to control, cause pain for pleasure...how can he out the one person who helped him realize what he truly was, a Dom.
“Stuffing down a flicker of guilt at her own craven manipulation she reminded herself she was the one who’d been manipulated for too long. It was her turn to have the f**king upper hand.” --Mutual Release, Part II
Julie Anderson Dawson, a beautiful bombshell who hides her hourglass figure under baggy clothes and golden tresses in tight ponytails. She likes to blend, be invisible, keep to the background, and with an acute sense of smell, she can’t stand to be close to people anyway. All her life, she has had “keep your knees together” lectures from her resentful mother, every day being reminded of how she ruined her figure and future by being born. Jealous of her daughter…I think so. Julie’s mother is a classic gold-digger and when she convinces the owner of the restaurant she works at to marry her, Julie hopes that her mother will finally be happy and the creepy stares from her step-father will cease. Julie now has options she never thought she would have; she has a car, lives in a big house, never has to worry about food, all the clothes she wants, even gets to go to a large University. She never thought she would be the one to pay the ultimate price, one higher than any girl should have to pay…with her innocence.
So, you have two broken pieces to a very complicated puzzle. A man with dark urges and a past filled with guilt and regret. A woman determined not to be a victim, to turn the tables in her favor after an ultimate betrayal. Can they find what they really need in each other; an outlet, a way to be whole, a mutual release from the shackles of their pasts?
Fast forward to present day:
“’So, enough of my personal true confessions. Here is the deal. I’m interested in you.’ She blushed at his grin. ‘Not you, you over eager a**h*le – your company, your brewery.’” –Julie Dawson, Mutual Release, Part III
Evan is persistent, domineering, and cocky, she hates him. Julie is cold, confident, and likes control, he wants her. She holds the key to his success, she also wants nothing to do with him…but yet, he brings calm to her mind that she cannot deny, maybe even needs. He changes her, and in turn she changes him. Together, they embark on a journey of lust, control, pain, pleasure, submission, trust, and ultimately, love. Even helps Julie to feel again, to allow her to be vulnerable, cherished, loved without conditions and how to forgive…but she’s not the only one learning.
“This is nuts. You can’t do this, not with him. Something about him will change you, make you different. And you have spent too many years crafting this strong persona out of the ashes of your shitty beginning. Don’t do it.” –Julie Dawson
In Julie, Evan met his match, his mate, his heart. He learned that being a Dom is in fact a two-way street. If she was to trust him, he had to trust her.
UGH!!! What a rollercoaster! I felt like this story pulled me through a series of emotions…most of which I did not like. I felt the fear, the pain, and the guilt. I couldn’t believe how much Evan and Julie mirrored each other. My heart broke for this couple as they struggled with their own demons all the while pasting on a strong, stone façade to those around them. Trying to be strong and in control all the time is exhausting. *sigh* I’m so drained after reading this; the extensive back stories, the change in point of view, the constant power struggle, wow, it’s a lot to absorb. With that being said, I enjoyed reading it. The dialog is witty, even laugh out loud funny at times, and there is a lot of depth to every character (even some I didn’t mention). There is an intimacy about this tale that kept me turning pages even though it confused me more times than I care to think about because I couldn’t keep up with whom was doing the narrating. It definitely kept me engaged, which I suppose is the point, right?
**** I give this book 4 very high strung stars. ****
Advance copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
Please note that this review was done by the amazing Vanessa Morse who mill be helping me out at whirlwindbooks for a little while.
Please take a look at her reviews on goodreads.