Published by Self-Published on March 22nd 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Purchase @ AMAZON or BN
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When he left for a twelve-month deployment, she knew it would feel like forever before they saw each other again. She didn’t realize how right she was.
When Lance Corporal Brecken Connolly gets taken as a POW, Camryn hopes for the best but steels herself for the worst. In the end, steel was what she needed to survive when he didn’t. She moves on the only way she knows how—gilding herself in more steel.
Years go by.
She builds a new life.
She leaves the old one behind.
Until one day, she sees the face of a ghost on the news. Brecken seems to have risen from the dead, but she knows she can’t perform the same miracle for herself. While Brecken was held in a torture camp for the past five years, she’s been trapped in her own kind of prison. One she can't be saved from.
The man she mourned comes back to join the living, but the girl he wanted to spend his life with isn’t the same woman he comes back for. Brecken isn’t the same person either. The past five years have changed them both. While he’s determined to put the pieces back together, she’s resolved to let hers rot where they shattered.
Broken or not, Brecken wants her back. He’ll do anything to achieve that. Even if it means going against the warden of Camryn’s personal prison—her husband.
Q &A Review by Liezel & Angie:
What was your favorite quote?
Liezel: I have so many! But the one that stood out the most was…
Our scars prove we’re strong. They testify to what we can endure. It’s not weakness carved into them – it’s strength.”“
I am one of those readers who loves to discover how the book title relates to the story and this quote not only does that but also defines them and their relationship.
“ I never asked to be the world’s hero. All I ever wanted was to be yours.”
…is a close second. I love this because after everything that Brecken experienced it was the love he had for Camryn that made him get through it.
Angie: I’m like Liezel. When I read a book that I’m in love with or emotionally attached to then I highlight every quote that means something to me or the book.
This quote to me not only sums up Camryn’s life but mine also.
“In the way, a person wouldn’t know light without the darkness, I wouldn’t know peace without the pain. I was a survivor. Of life. Of torture. Of abuse.”
What are your thoughts about the characters? Can you relate to them in any way?
Liezel: I appreciated Camryn’s character and can most definitely relate to her in the sense that I would do anything for my children. Same goes for Brecken, I loved his unwavering selflessness. He really was a hero. Thinking about it, they both were heroes.
Angie: There are times in life that when you read books you can actually see yourself fully in one of the characters. Sometimes there are bits and pieces that you can relate to but never the whole character. Camryn was me. I experienced everything she went through. Her pain. Her torture. Her love. Her weakness and her strength. I might have disagreed with something or someone she was doing but I understood why. She’s my hero.
Brecken came back broken in a way that I don’t think any of us could experience unless we were actually a POW. His strength throughout all that was unfathomable. His love for Camryn and her son was untouchable. I have so much admiration for him. The perfect book boyfriend.
What are your thoughts about Camryn and Brecken as a couple?
Liezel: Their relationship was fantastic from the very beginning. Their love was so pure so at first, I couldn’t comprehend how Camryn moved on so quickly but it made sense in the end. Despite all the issues they both had Nicole certainly proved that these two were it for each other.
Angie: I agree with Liezel. I was left questioning things but I knew Nicole was going somewhere so I put my trust in her. Their relationship is envious. They were perfect before he left. They weren’t perfect when he came back but to me, that made it more real and their love stronger. The obstacles they faced together just showed they were true soulmates.
What do you love most about Nicole William’s books?
Liezel: I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by her so far. What I love most is how she is able to take on something controversial… something that I would otherwise avoid and manipulate it into a remarkably beautiful story. This just goes to show just how great of a writer Nicole is.
Angie: I love all the emotions she can evoke from one paragraph or even just one sentence. Nicole has a way with words that can thaw the coldest heart. She proves herself time and time again that she can write light or dark flawlessly. There’s not one book that I don’t like by Nicole Williams.
Who would you recommend this book to?
Liezel: I would recommend it to new and old Nicole Williams fans alike. There are a few difficult situations in the story but believe me…. It is completely worth it in the end.
Angie: I’m recommending it to everyone that I come across. Like Liezel said there are some difficult situations but it is a truly amazing book. I know a lot of people will be talking about Tortured for months to come.
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“It’s been six years. Everything’s changed. I have. You have.” My eyes lifted. “Why? Why are you trying to win me back?”
He exhaled, his lips parting. “I’m going to win you back.”
When his hand slid around the bend of my waist, winding behind my back, I jerked. His touch was different tonight, hungry, determined. My head clouded, blocking out reason or letting it surface to the top, one or the other.
“I married him,” I whispered even as my hand found his chest.
“But you belong to me.”
My eyes closed as he bowed me against him. I wasn’t sure how two bodies that had been as broken as ours could be so strong when joined. “How do you know?”
“I can see it in your eyes. Every time you look at me.” His other hand lifted to my chin, tipping it until our eyes connected. His brow rose slowly, like I was proving his point right that very moment.
“That’s a confident statement.” My voice shook, but my body felt steady. Unwavering.
“It’s the truth.”
My chest was moving so hard, it brushed his with every breath. What was I doing? Where had I found myself? The man holding me had died only to be resurrected six years later. It was too late, but it wasn’t over.
No matter what, Brecken Connolly and I would never be over.
“Twenty-six days,” I said slowly. “That’s all I have to give you. That’s all I have to give. Four weeks. Once he’s back, you know the way it has to be.”
His face broke, but his hold didn’t budge. “It’s not enough.”
My fingers curled into his shirt, looking for some way to hold on to him. “I know.”
His other arm suddenly looped around me and he lifted me off the ground, his grip going around my backside when my legs tied around him. “But a fucking eternity wouldn’t be enough either, so it’ll just have to do.”
He carried me through the sand and up the stairs of the cabin, then he propped me against the wall so he could open the screen door. Something slipped out of my mouth when he flexed his hips into mine.
“Told you it wasn’t a morning issue,” he whispered in my ear, but I could hear the smile in his voice. “Just a Camryn one.”
He made the same motion with his hips, applying a little more friction this time, causing a louder sound to echo from my lungs.
Opening the screen door as silently as he could, he carried me inside.
“You can set me down, you know?” I whispered.
“I know,” he said, his arms tying tighter. Once all of the lights were off, the cabin closed up for the night, he padded down the hall.
“You know where you’re going?”
His head nodded beside mine. “I’ve always known.”
My hands went behind his neck. His skin was warm and familiar. “And where’s that?”
He exhaled against my skin as he closed the bedroom door. “Toward you.”
He set me down once he’d untied my legs from around his waist, and he took a few steps back. He stared at me for a moment then reached for the lamp on the dresser.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Turning on the lights.”
I watched him flip on another. “Why?”
“Because I want to see you. Because I want to watch your face as I move inside you. Because I want to see your skin flush when I make you come.” He flipped on one more light, then all of his attention turned to me. “Because I want to see everything.”
My heart took off as I imagined being intimate with him with every light in the room on. My body wasn’t the same one he’d left. It had carried a burden; it bore the scars of a shattered soul and a broken body. “I don’t want you to see me. Not like that. In the dark, you can imagine the way I was before.”
When I reached for the closest lamp to switch it off, he stopped me. “I don’t want to imagine.” His hand curled around mine, guiding it away from the lamp. “I want the real thing. I want the real you.”
“You’ve seen my body. You know what I look like beneath all of this.” I motioned at the fresh clothes hanging off of me, covering me from my wrists to my ankles to my neck.
“When I look at you, I see beauty and strength, and the one person in the world who gives me a reason to live and a reason to die.” He drew me to him, his face creased in lines of concentration. “That’s what I see when I look at you.”