I Know Her Secret…
Cat is in so much trouble. She did something bad, and I saw.
I’ll keep her secret… for a price.
Poor, sweet, timid Cat should never have come to Kingmakers. It’s a place for monsters and killers. People like me.
She wandered into the lion’s den and now she’s mine.
Mine to play with. Mine to torment. Mine to break…
Series: Kingmakers #3
My Rating: ★★★★★
I have read quite a few books by Sophie Lark, and I have to say, in my humble opinion, this is possibly her best work yet. While I enjoyed the two previous couples in this series, Dean and Cat’s story was nothing I thought it would be. We head back to the Kingmakers Academy with much anticipation following the last book’s teaser of Dean and Cat’s story, fully prepared for the assholery and passionate hatred for Dean following that threat. But what we get in this slow-burn, slight bully romance, is a journey of the most unlikely couple as they navigate their difficult home lives, feelings of abandonment, self-loathing, self-discovery, growth and the kind of love neither of them ever expected.
We met Cat Romano in Book two, The Rebel as Zoe’s younger sister. Timid, shy, reclusive and almost mouse-like, born to a mother who died giving birth and a father who sees her and her sister as nothing more than chattel to be traded off in order to gain more power and money, Cat is used to keeping to herself and somewhat under her sister’s shadow. She is not as obviously beautiful as Zoe, but her love for her sister knows no bounds. So, when her sister’s life is put at risk, she makes a decision to make sure that not only is she safe, but that she gets to enjoy her new life with her new fiancé. What she ends up doing to secure this, not only brings into question her character but lands her in the sights of one of the most feared, cruellest, and dangerous men at the academy, Dean Yenin.
Dean has had a rough childhood. Abandoned by his mother and left to live with a father who not only seemed to resent him but had for all intents and purposes checked out of life leaving his son to fend for himself in very sense of the word. Plagued with feelings of insecurity, anger, frustration, loneliness and abandonment, Dean has fought to keep himself in check. His only goal is to seek respect and position of authority in the Bratva. So, when Cat walks in on him at one in his most vulnerable moments, he is angry at her for it and when he discovers her secret, decides to use it to leverage her into humiliation. What he did not account for though, is his feelings towards her changing and finding himself needing her in more ways than one.
I really enjoyed this book. I loved seeing Cat grow from that timid girl who depended on Zoe for everything. Seeing her embrace the new her and challenging herself to grown out of her comfort zone and toughen up enough to take on someone like Dean and bring him to his knees, not afraid to tell him to go fuck himself was amzing. I also loved that she somehow managed to still maintain her sweet innocence in a way that balanced out Dean’s rough edges. I loved seeing Dean open up to allow himself to be vulnerable to another person. After the loss and suffering he has endured, it took a lot to allow it. I really would have liked to see his relationship with his mother play out a bit more. I thought he forgave her too easily despite her reasons. I don’t know. I just felt like he should have made her work a lot more for him.
The story was beautiful written, and I especially loved the layout of the text. It was spaced out nicely instead of just huge chunks of long ass paragraphs that go on and on. The way she wrote it made it easy to read and did wonders for the flow of the story. I didn’t appreciate just how paragraph spacing can affect the readers experience of a story until I read this book. The story also nicely set up the plot for the next book and I really really hope that the spy is Hedeon. I really need his story and I need to know what that seemingly sweet librarian’s story is, and why she reacted that way to Snow’s wife.