Series: Hades Hangmen #3
Author: Tillie Cole
Age group: New Adult Genre: Dark Contemporary Romance
Release date: 11th August 2015
"For fractured souls are like magnets. Drawn to collide into an impossible bliss…"
Labeled a ‘Cursed’ woman of Eve from birth, Maddie has endured nothing but pain and repression at the hands of The Order’s most abusive elder, Moses. Now living with her sister in The Hangmen’s secluded compound, finally, Maddie, is free. Free from the suffocating faith she no longer believes in. Free from endless years of physical and mental torment.
At age twenty-one, the timid and shy Maddie is content to live within the confines of her new home—safe from the outside world, safe from harm and, strangely, protected by the Hangmen’s most volatile member; the heavily pierced and tattooed, Flame.
The man who ceaselessly watches over her with his midnight dark and searing eyes. The man who protects her with a breath-taking intensity. And the man who stirs something deep within her numbed heart.
But when circumstances conspire for Flame to need HER help, Maddie bravely risks it all for the broken man who has captivated her fragile soul.
The Hangmen’s most infamous member, Flame, is ruled by one thing—anger. Plagued by haunting demons from his past, an all-consuming rage, and isolated by an abhorrent hatred of being touched, Flame's days are filled with suffocating darkness, pierced only by a single ray of light—Maddie. The shy, beautiful woman he cannot purge from his thoughts. The woman he has an overwhelming need to possess…
... the only person who has ever been able to touch him.
Flame’s mission in life is to protect Maddie, to keep her safe. Until a trigger from his troubled past sends him spiraling into madness, trapping him in the deepest recesses of his disturbed mind.
His Hangmen brothers fear that Flame is beyond saving.
His only hope of salvation: Maddie and her healing light.
I sat bolt up right in the chair and stared at the dark line of the forest. My heart slammed against my ribcage when a figure emerged from the heavy foliage.
My breathing paused, fear taking hold, then a familiar pair of leather boots and trousers entered the moonlit lawn. Blades hung at his sides, and his torso was naked under the heavy leather cut.
My heart, that was already racing, seemed to beat at an impossible speed. And then Flame lifted his head, and it ceased to beat at all.
The frown that was on his face instantly blanked. His lips mumbling something under his breath, stilling mid-speech.
I clutched the blanket lying over my knees to my chest. I remained frozen, as did Flame. I had not expected him to come tonight, his friend had taken him back to his home. I could see from my window how exhausted he had been. I could see, even in the haze of moonlight, how tired he was still.
Flame’s hands clenched at his sides. His chest heaved with movement that was too quick, then he abruptly turned on his heel, and with a rigid back, he headed back into the forest.
My stomach sank as he turned to leave, and without conscious thought, I slammed my sketchpad shut, shuffled to the edge of the seat and called out, “Wait! Do not go!”
Flame stopped dead.
As did I.
Swallowing back my nerves, my shock at what I had just done, I said, “Please, Flame. Do not go… I… I am glad you are here.”
Flame’s fingers curled and uncurled at his side, then straightening his shoulders, he slowly turned. His large frame was rigid as he faced me once more. Then he just stood. Stood at the end of the forest, his attention fixed forward.
But I wanted him closer.
Still perched on the edge of my seat, I asked, “Would you like to come closer? I… I have been sitting out here alone as I could not sleep. It…” I took a deep breath, fighting my natural instinct to flee, and continued. “It would be nice to have some company.”
Flame remained still, his rigid body convincing me that he would not come any nearer. Then, to my surprise, he began walking, his powerful legs bringing him closer to where I sat.
In the still and silent night, I could hear him counting his steps one to eleven, then repeating it back to himself under his breath. My head tilted to the side as he approached, a swirl of anticipation and fear mixing in my stomach.
His skin on his arms looked newly cut, and I could not help but feel sad for him. For whatever had happened to make him need to harm himself in such a way. Grasping the blade in his hand, his fingers tightened on the handle. Like he needed the blade as a comfort.
As though he was nervous to be here with me now.
Inhaling a long breath, I asked quietly, “Would you like to sit?” I pointed at the chair to in front of mine. Flame looked at the chair through his long black lashes, and exhaling sharply through his nose, sat beside me. I smelled the oil and leather. I smelled the rich musk and spice scent that only belonged to Flame and warmth filled my bones.
He was sat beside me.
Flame was sitting right beside me.
Dropping my eyes to the frayed edges of the gray blanket wrapped around me, I played with the clustered strands of wool just for something to help with the nerves accosting my body.
But Flame was absolutely still. Absolutely silent.
Then I glanced to the side only to see him watching. As soon as our eyes met, he dropped his. A blush raced to fill my cheeks, and for some unknown reason, a whisper of a smile pulled on the corner of my mouth.
Lifting my head, I stared at the large moon, and found the courage to speak, “I did not think you would be coming to see me tonight.”
After several seconds of silence, I believed Flame would not respond. Until I caught him shift in his seat, and he said roughly, “I couldn’t stay away.”
My pulse raced at his response and I whispered, “Why?”
Flame’s shoulder shrugged, then focusing back on the blade in his hand, he said, “I couldn’t stop thinking about you. And I…” Flame trailed off.
“And what?” I pushed.
“I needed to be near you. I needed to know you were safe.”
**I received an ARC for an honest review.**
This is by far my most favorite book in the Hades Hangmen series. I didn't think that it would be possible to top Styx and Ky and their old ladies, but HOLY FLAMING HADES HANGMEN, I am in LOVE with Flame.
What a terribly broken couple Maddie and Flame make. I didn't think that Flame's story could be any worse than the horrors of Maddie's past, but I was so so wrong. Flame's story is so heart wrenching and so terribly horrific. I could not believe the things that he suffered in his childhood to make him into the person he is, but I loved that Maddie is the only one that could get through to him. To save him. To claim him. Especially when he spent most of his life feeling like he was wanted by no one and that everyone he touched left or was harmed by him. His story is just so much worse that I imagined.
Maddie's story is as expected but we also get to know so much more of her traumatic past. I love Maddie's sweet disposition even after everything that she suffered in her life. I like that she came to grips with what she believed her whole like was not real. I like that she openly admits things to Flame and that they both fit together so easily. I like that once she knows that he needs things to be said strait to the point, she is always honest with him and makes sure he knows what she if feeling. I really loved all of the interactions between Maddie and Flame.
Their love is definitely unique and it definitely shocked most of the group, but it felt so pure. I liked that after getting to know them both a little better, I could not see them without each other. Now in my mind there is no Flame without his Maddie and there is no Maddie without her Flame. These two people needed each other so they could both realize who they were meant to be.
There is some pretty crazy stuff happening with The Order in this book and I can not wait to see what else is coming from them. I was a bit shocked that these "Godly" people are so blinded by their faith that they believe the rambling left by a creeper of an old man. Now I wasn't shocked of the things taking place because of the first two book, but I am shocked that these people are so easily swayed by the newcomers and that Cain's brother Judah has easily accepted the teachings from the previous Prophet. I am really looking forward to more of what is going to happen with them and the Hades Hangmen. Although I have hated Cain for awhile I am now wondering how is story is going to play out.
Tillie Cole has a real knack for making both sides of this book so real and believable. Her writing style lets me really connect with all the characters in these books. I love that the MC aspect of this book is so real and it feels authentic. I like the grit of the men of the Hades Hangmen and I really love their women. The women in this series are such a contradiction, but at the same time it makes so much sense of them to be saved by the men of Hades Hangmen. It makes sense that they could not just go out into the world because they would be overwhelmed, but with the Hades Hangmen they are both exposed to the world and they are protected form it.
This is by far my most favorite MC series EVER. I love every word of every book even when they are hard to read. Even when they make me cringe and want to vomit, I am addicted to these books an these characters. I can not wait for more of this series. I have to know where things are going from here.
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