Breaking Him (Love is War #1) by R.K. Lilley
Audiobook Re-read Review. Erotic Romance on the dark side, Does Not Stand Alone.
Breaking Him was one of my favorite books of 2015. RK Lilley is a top favorite author of mine and I have yet to read a book of hers that I didn’t love. Breaking Him was no exception. I absolutely loved everything about it, but Scarlett, the heroine seemed almost too cut throat and mean at first. In the audiobook, she was softened a bit by the narrator, and I found myself liking her even more right from the start. I loved everything about the audiobook and I am so glad I did a re-read like this before I read Breaking Her so it was totally fresh in my mind.
I am going to post my original review of the actual book below with links, but I must add that this is one of those rare books that the audio makes it even better, so I highly recommend this either way!
5 stars for Audio
R.K. Lilley is on my short list of authors that I read no matter what. So I didn’t read the blurb for Breaking Him and went in with no preconceptions. And even though I wasn’t really able to read much due to surgery, I still finished in less than 2 days, and it would have been a one-sitting read had it not been for for physical reasons. I LOVED this book. I think RK just keeps getting better and better.
Breaking Him was like a combination of the best of all of RK’s books. It had the mystery of The Wild Side Series, the airplanes of Up in the Air, the romance of Tristan & Danika or Lana, and the hot sex of all of them. Yet it was also totally unique. It is a friends to lovers to enemies story. It’s a second, third and fourth chance love story. But it’s so much more.
Scarlett is tough as nails and hot as hell. She kicks ass and takes names. She wanted to be an actress, but at 28, she makes her real living as a flight attendant. She grew up having it rough. Really rough. She was a scrappy fighter, always defending her life. Luckily, she had one positive influence in her life. Gram. Gram wasn’t her grandma (hers was a total shit), she was Dante’s. Dante is sexy and suave and grew up very wealthy with the best of everything. But he was a fighter too. And he fought for Scarlett, he protected her. They were childhood friends and lovers, and seemed like they had everything together. But what the fuck happened? WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM?????? Love turned to hate.
Scarlett hates Dante now, but the sexual attraction, and maybe more, is still there. Scarlett knows Dante can’t resist her body. He never could. So when he shows up, after years, on one of her flights, Scarlett makes sure to show him what he lost.
Because this was war.”
“He was just how I remembered. Every gut-punching, heart-wrenching inch of him”
“When our eyes clashed, and everything, every horrible, wonderful, painful, ugly, beautiful, tortuous, ruinous, gory bit of us came back to me.”
Dante broke Scarlett. She was a shell of her former self. Her hatred and distrust of him are clear, but you can tell right away he doesn’t feel the same…and she might protest a little too much. But her desire for revenge is still at the forefront of her mind.
Told both in present and past tense, we begin with the fated flight where they meet again, but then flash back to them meeting in fourth grade. The present and past was woven skillfully and I never had a problem with the switching. We really got to know Scarlett through these chapters, and we got to know Dante as well since we see him as a young man, but this is more Scarlett’s story. Dante was her protector from childhood. There was such a strong connection between the couple, it’s hard to imagine what possibly could have happened to them. And you do wonder…. the entire book! You find bits and pieces, but there is still so much more I need!
What happens when two people of terrible pride fall for each other?
As much as I see the destruction this couple caused each other. And there are things they did that I was not happy with. I can’t help but root for them. They are meant to be together, and neither one will ever have anyone else come close to the passion they feel for each other.
There is only one heart in this universe that calls to mine, and it does call. Constantly, relentlessly, it sings out to me in a captivating, resonating voice.
Day after day, year after year, it calls to me.
But I won’t listen to it. It belongs to a liar.”
- RK wove mystery throughout the entire book, and left you desperate to know more.
- A kick-ass heroine who seemed really tough, but had a really soft side.
- Dante, holy sex-on-a-stick. He is protective, dominating, and there is no doubt he has a lot of feelings for Scarlett still.
- Bastian, Dante’s brother. Yum. I hope we see more of him.
- The flashbacks of their younger years. We are really able to see how Scarlett became how she is, and how Dante and Scarlett came to be.
- Gram. I loved her.
- The banter.
- The hate sex. Hate sex is HOT. But hate sex turned into more.
- The absolute positivity you feel that you know this couple was meant to be, and should be together, but there is something. Something big and sinister behind what happened to them. I can’t imagine what else could break them.
Dislikes (well not really):
- As much as I don’t like a cliffhanger, it worked in this book. But I’m still going crazy needing more. I wouldn’t wait for the next one to release to read Breaking Him. I’d rather have the cliffy and read it now.
Rating: 5 stars. 4.5 Heat
The Down and Dirty:
RK Lilley has done it again. She combined mystery, passion, sex, love, hatred, drama and angst together in an unputdownable story that has you craving more. Despite the damage this couple does to each other, you can’t help but root for them and hope this last quote comes true.
“All we are is proof that love can survive anything.”
His voice was so full of sweet nostalgia that I had to make light of it.
“If you cry while we fuck I’m putting it online,” I quipped.
He laughed and tried to turn my face toward his.
Going in for a kiss, I knew.
I hated his kisses.
Hated. Hated. Hated.
I wrenched my chin out of his hand and pressed my body back until my ass was flush to his crotch. He was hard as a rock, bulging through his slacks.
I rubbed against him, teasing him into action.
With a groan, he started kissing my neck again, both hands going to grip my breasts.
I circled my hips, working against him shamelessly. I knew what it did to him, knew he was a hair trigger the first time we made any contact after a long parting. I didn’t care. If I got him to embarrass himself before he’d even taken off his pants, all the better.
Humiliating him was a bonus, as far as I was concerned.
No such luck. He knew all my tricks.
He wrenched away suddenly, breaking contact. His hands went to my hips and he tried to turn me around.
“No,” I said firmly. “Like this. I want it just like this.”
The Bastard wasn’t having it. And he was much, much bigger than me, the fucker.
He picked me up like I weighed nothing and carried me straight to bed.
I let out an embarrassing little squeak as he tossed me on the mattress, then followed me down before I could scramble away.
Still fully clothed, he wedged himself between my naked thighs, pinning me.
Slowly, eyes watching me all the while, he cupped my face in both hands.
“I don’t think I have to tell you this. You already know it, but—I miss you. Even your bad attitude, I miss.” His voice was clear, vulnerable, and succinct.
Shut up, I wanted to snap at him. But it would reveal too much about what his words did to me.
“The feeling is not mutual, you fucking stalker,” I told him, voice fraudulently collected.
He just smiled and pressed his mouth to mine.
I turned my head away, gasping, “Don’t kiss me!”
He gripped my chin in his hard hand and turned my face back. His defiant gaze bored into mine as he melded our lips back together.
A feeling of raw, violent need quaked through me.
“Fuck you,” I snarled into his mouth.
“Yes. That, too,” he breathed back. “But first—kiss me, angel. Please.”
It was the please that did it. Dirty fighting bastard that he was, he knew how to use that word in the most devastating way—absolutely effective in its rarity.
With a moan, I gave in.
Kissing him ruined me. He knew it.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one out for blood here.
His lips were my own personal hell.
They were either his biggest lie, or his greatest betrayer. Every kiss he’d ever given me, when we were in love or in hate, told me how he cared. Told me how he longed. Craved. Pined. Mourned. Despaired. Told me he was as desperate for me as ever.
I hated him for it, and I couldn’t get enough, my hands driving into his hair, nails scoring against his scalp, tongue diving in to taste his liquor sweet breath, clashing with his as unwanted whimpers escaped my throat.
I let it go on for way too fucking long. I have no defense for myself there.
It was too good. Too sweet. Too bitter. Too pleasurable and too painful.
I lost myself so completely that at one point, I even let my hand pull at the chain around his neck, fingering the cursed object that it held, which was a complete slip-up. As soon as I realized I was doing it, I jerked my hand away.
Finally, it was my sex drive that put an end to that torture. I was throbbing from the inside out and addictive as it was, kissing him was not enough to physically satisfy me.
It was one of the few times in my life where I could say that my libido worked in my favor.
I started tearing at his shirt, wrenching at the front until buttons flew, shoving it off his shoulders, then pushing impatiently at his chest when it caught on his elbows.
He wouldn’t budge, still kissing me like I was the air he needed to breathe.
I’d almost forgotten. Dante always turned fucking into making love. Even when he was drunk. Even when it was rushed, hurried, hard, angry, or desperate. You name it, he turned it all into something more.
I didn’t want any of that.
I wasn’t here to make love.
I was here to make war.
R.K. Lilley lives in Texas with her husband and their two beautiful sons. She’s had a lot of interesting jobs, from being a first class flight attendant, to being a stablehand, but swears she never knew what hard work was until she had children. She’s been addicted to both reading and writing fiction since she can remember. She loves to travel, read, hike, paint, game, watch anime, and make the most of every single day. She is the author of the books In Flight, Mile High, Grounded, Mr. Beautiful, Bad Things, Rock Bottom, Lovely Trigger, Lana, Breathing Fire, The Wild Side, Iris, Dair, and The Other Man.