Sea of Snakes
Author: Heidi Stark
Publication date: January 26th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Dark Romance, Reverse Harem, Romance
Zeke, Skyler, Dom and Rake—they grew up on this island and are in charge of protecting its various interests. They’re used to being in control of everything here. Including the surf. I’ve been kidnapped by a dangerous man, and am being used as collateral while my father comes up with the funds to pay off his debt (sadly not the worst thing he’s ever done although it’s up there), and if he doesn’t come up with the cash soon I’ll be auctioned off to the highest bidder. In the meantime, these four men are tasked with keeping me in their control and protecting me, and they take their role very seriously.
But they’re not the only people to be concerned about. I’m tough in my own way. I can tell that they want all of me, to take me over like they do everything else. But five can play this game, and I’m not good at losing.
**This is a Dark Reverse Harem/Why Choose Romance. 18+. Warning: this book includes graphic violence and sex scenes, and references of abuse/assault that some readers may experience as triggering.
I don’t respond. It seems too dangerous. What she’s saying is resonating with me too hard.
Abandonment and being unwanted, and in my case, second best. For her, a legacy of darkness casting a shadow over her entire existence.
In mine, feeling like I couldn’t measure up to expectations, couldn’t do justice to my legacy. God, my dad thought so much more of Zeke than me, and he wasn’t even his blood son.
He saw him as a leader. He just saw me as weak.
Her words bring a flashback to the last thing he ever said to me before he died, when he asked me why I couldn’t be more like my brother or even Zeke.
The words and actions of parents can be like knives that twist and turn inside you for the rest of your life, sometimes when you least expect it.
Just for a moment, I see the pain in her eyes, palpable and raw, as if she’s reliving those moments vividly in her mind.
A single tear threatens to burst from each of her eyes, but she blinks hard.
For just an instant, she looks vulnerable and like she might shatter into pieces, shards of her present and her past projecting themselves across the room. For just that moment, she looks lost.
But just as suddenly as that look had appeared, it is gone, and turns once again to rage.
“So fuck you and your judgements,” she screams, contempt on her face aimed squarely at me. “You’re just as bad as the people you look down on, who you criticize based on your own assumptions and prejudices. You think you’re so fucking badass with your stupid surfing.”
She spits out the word, and I feel a shiver pass through my body.
I’m angry, I’m irritated, and maybe a little turned on.
“Grow up, and fuck off out of my life,” she yells, projecting her voice so her words are not at all in question. “I never want to see you again! Let me out of here!”
As if to punctuate her sentence, she stands up, her wrists still tightly bound, and she storms out of the kitchen, through the living room and into the hallway, crashing into the half-open door with her shoulder.
It flies open so forcefully it cracks against the hallway wall and smashes back on its hinges on a furious rebound.
The other guys and I look at each other while we hear her stomp to the end of the hallway and into the room where we’ve been keeping her.
Jesus. Maybe I went too far. She’s putting herself back in captivity just to get away from me and my words.