I had managed to evade my reality long enough. Part of me could almost pretend it was just a horrible nightmare, more so as I sat in this strange darkened room with Styx. However, flashes of Bella, motionless, lying broken on the floor of that cell, stabbed relentlessly at my conscience, piercing emotional walls. I shook my head profusely, trying to rid my mind’s eye of those horrific scenes.
Severe punishments were common amongst my people, a necessity to prevent others from falling from the path of righteousness. But Bella was my sister, she could not love Gabriel, and that was her downfall, plain and simple. I would rather live in eternal damnation here on the outside than marry the man who sanctioned the relentless abuse of my true flesh and blood.
Awkwardly, Styx moved toward me. He gently ran his thumbs over my cheeks, wiping away the wetness. It took me a moment to realize I was crying. Emotions were forbidden in the commune, but I could not stop the tears. My chest tightened and I gripped his wrists, needing his support. Silent involuntary cries ripped from my chest and I let the pain take hold. I really cried for the first time in my life.
Styx moved beside me and an arm circled my shoulders, which made me jump. I glanced up at Styx’s rugged face: those hazel eyes, big soft lips, rough cheeks marked by a few small scars. His tongue licked at the silver ring through his bottom lip and a large set of dimples set on his cheeks. Those dark, soft delves made him seem less… severe, more human.
As I once more fixed my eyes on this big, silent man, so different from the boy I met, I crumbled. I gave in. This was everything I had been taught was wrong, but I could not help but cherish his touch. His strong arms encased me, warming me, comforting me, letting me feel safe. I held on tightly to his leather vest—he smelled of leather, soap, and smoke, and something else, something really… good. I had never ever been held like this before, never soothed. The only type of affection I had ever received was on those days. Even then, touching like this was strictly prohibited.
Styx guided my head to the crook of his neck and only then did I set my sobs free.
I cried for a long time before I gave in to exhaustion and drifted off to sleep, still unsure if I was being lured into a den of evil. But I felt completely and utterly safe in the strong arms of the only boy I had ever kissed…
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A quick look at the characters, Styxx and Salome, while they have been faced with extreme situations, they are realistic. You can put yourself in their shoes and really feel a connection with them. I was amazed at how well Tillie Cole delved into the depth of these and supporting characters and made me love and hate them.
I will honestly say, I hope there is more with some of the supporting characters. While the ending isn't a cliffhanger, there is an opening for more and I can't wait to read it. This is one of the best books I have read this year thanks to its uniqueness, depth, and realism. I highly recommend picking it up and jumping right in, you won't want to miss it.