My rating: 4 of 5 stars
❝He gives me things, but every gift is meant to torment. ❞ONLY PRETEND is not your typical romance. It’s dark-ish, but not terribly disturbing. Disclaimer: I read a lot of dark romance novels, so “dark and disturbing” are relative, but I definitely think it would be a great starter book for someone considering diving into the realm of the dark side of romance – it is totally delicious!
Celeste pretty much hates her life. Desperate to prove her ex-boyfriend wrong and show him she is not the boring, unmotivated person he sees when he looks at her, she bleaches her brown hair blonde and heads to Vegas.
When Celeste recklessly follows a stranger to bed, she wakes up in a foreign land surrounded by strangers and is forced into a life of sexual submission and held captive as she is prepared to be sold on the Black Market of human trafficking.
Leonide is beautiful and charming and totally dangerous. He has spent his life luring unsuspecting women to his bed only to “turn ‘em and burn ‘em” – turn them into what his buyers desire and burn them by selling them to (sometimes) evil and sadistic men.
When Leonide captured Celeste, he had no idea how she would change is life. . .
Celeste keeps her sanity in captivity by pretending her new life is nothing but a dream. Embracing Leonide’s unusual sexual proclivities leaves her conflicted and torn between what is right and what is very, very wrong.
❝Fuck—Celeste, I scolded myself, do not, for even a second, think of his presence as a gift. Nothing about him is a reward!
But without him, what did I have? No food, no water, nothing existed but me and my painful awareness of how little I could do. I was trapped whether he was next to me or miles away. As long as Leonide had me... it didn't matter where he was.❞
I was absolutely terrified that ONLY PRETEND would leave me hanging, but YAY! It didn’t! Please note that ONLY PRETEND contains elements that may be off-putting to some readers, such as, captivity, forced seduction, humiliation and some violence. If these are elements that you are not comfortable with, please proceed with caution, but if you can handle it, then go for it, it’s a great story that ends on a happy note – maybe she escapes or maybe she finds happiness in her new life. To discover what “happily ever after” means in this story, you’ll just have to read it to find out!