Even If It Hurts; Coastal Elite #1
(Standalone within a series)
Publication Date: July 29, 2022
Genre/Tropes: New Adult/Dark/Bully Romance
Author: Sam Mariano
Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars
Even If It Hurts is a morally corrupt, walking gray lines, villainous anti-hero book. This new adult, psychological, dark romance was a page-turning ride that I could not put down.
For anyone familiar with the movie Cruel Intentions, the beginning of this book definitely gave off some serious Cruel Intentions vibes, but it didn’t take long for Even If It Hurts to take on a flavor all of its own.
Dare is a true psycho. His lack of empathy, high intelligence and solitary focus made his character fascinating to read. I’m not sure what it is lately about reading villainous characters and placing them in romantic stories, but I LOVE IT!! The concept is brilliant and I love how on the edge it made me, as a reader, want to keep reading, but Dare seriously makes you stop and wonder what’s going on in his head, because he’s possessive AF and his notions of love are very real to him, but very outside of the norm of society.
Aubrey, once she honed in on Dare’s lack of a social compass, had to make a decision on if her love for him was worth her own moral weight. A good girl who wants to lives with her dark Prince, but is she willing to give up what society calls normal rules.
What a concept.
Dare is, I’ll say, in a relationship with another girl, although she is more of a sociopath, which is what gives this book the Cruel Intentions vibe. Anae gives Dare a task to make Aubrey fall in love with him, but that task involves a lot more than just that. Dare being the psycho he is, finds Aubrey fascinating. Like any serial killer I suppose, he becomes obsessed, but I’ll just leave the rest of his villainous traits for you to discover because Dare is a thrill to read and needs to be enjoyed.
Aubrey, if nothing else, I would have liked her to have a bit more backbone, but knowing Dare’s character, her nativity and sunshiny personality is what draws him in and keeps him interested. So, while personally I would have enjoyed for her to open her eyes to his dark and devilish ways, in the end they probably wouldn’t have worked if she wasn’t who she was.
Even If It Hurts is a mental thrill ride. I really never knew what Dare or Anae was going to do which made it exciting and page turning to read.
He could have been my hero.
He saved my life that night, a beautiful dark angel slicing through my fear and the water, dragging me from its deadly clutches.
He should have been my hero.
I thought maybe he was.
Villains aren’t supposed to win, and good should always conquer evil, but in the elite coastal town I live in, the only purpose a label has is letting you know what something—or someone—costs. Good, bad; it’s all relative, and it hardly matters. Baymont, California is a land of beautiful villains and happy-ever-afters that are just out of reach.
Especially for me.
Until Dare moves the world beneath my feet, and even though I’m afraid to trust it—to trust him—boy, am I tempted.
In more ways than one.
Being with Dare is scary, but being without him is impossible.
He makes it impossible.
Dare’s no hero, that much is clear, but maybe…
Maybe he’s mine.
Featured in the Filthy Elites anthology April 2022!
This story contains triggers and is intended only for a mature, adult audience. See the opening author’s note for more explicit triggers, but know this is a very dangerous relationship with a very dark hero.
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