A deadly game of hide and seek.

With blood still on her hands, Samantha Matthews is on the run, running from dark secrets and a man she prays to God will never find her. Running and hiding, just to stay alive. She had no choice but to run, to leave, to hide and forget about her life before. When Samantha believes she's gained enough distance from her past and her demons, she stops running, hoping to find her future in the heavily wooded area of the Adirondack Mountains, a place she never expected to encounter a man with secrets as dark and as sordid as hers.

Kade Grayson is hiding, not from the demons after him, but from himself and from the entire outside world, wishing every day he could have just died. Arrogant and domineering, he’s tormented and terrorized by his past, seeing nothing good for his future. With the ghosts of his past still haunting him, he has exiled himself to a life of solitude, only living for his words and through his stories.

Until her.

An undeniable attraction, turns into hate and then ultimately obsession, an obsession that grows into a powerful story of love and redemption.

Will the bond they have begun to build between them grow stronger than the tragedies that have scarred both of their lives? Or will they allow their demons to consume them?


Brutally Beautiful is raw, dark and potently sexy! It was such a pleasure to read that I'd do it all over and over again.

There is nothing pretty about this book. Not even the romance can be considered beautiful. It's all very raw, rough and rather deep - but I loved every second and when it was all done, I wanted more.

At the start of the book you don't really know what's taken place. There are hints or suggestive conversations that make you think one thing but you aren't really sure. Samantha and her best friend are on the 'run'. They are covered in blood, badly beaten but for the first time in a long time Samantha feels as if she can finally breathe. Well, at least for a while... until he catches up to them.

They stop on at a little town strip bar and need a drink. Little do they know that this is where they will end up staying for a while. So with new identities and goals to make the best of their situation - Samantha and Jennifer both get waitressing jobs at the strip club, a little home in the trailer park and day by day they try to make a new life for themselves.

Kade is the brother of the strip bar owner. Kade has had his own terrors in life. Demons that haunt him every second of every day and try as he might, he can't get past them. Until he meets Samantha. Even when he doesn't even know who she is - there's something about her that makes the fear in his mind shut off...

There's a deep connection between the two that both try to fight from the very first moment. But eventually, there's no way they can control the desires.

What I enjoyed about Brutally Beautiful is that once again Christine Zolendz astounded me. I've been a huge fan of her writing since the release of Fall from Grace and I'm still a huge, huge fan.

However... I wanted more out of this book. I wanted more romance. Christine Zolendz made a stand with the Mad World Series and I couldn't help my longing for the similar love connection I felt between Shane and Grace. But I guess it's a different tale. Different circumstances - but still.

I just couldn't get myself to connect with Kade and Sam. There was something kind of 'off-ish' about their relationship. It may have been that right from the start they at odds with one-another... it may be that the actual relationship part of their... well... relationship only picks up way, way into the book. Most of the book consists of them pretending the pull they feel for one another doesn't exist. And the ending wasn't one I was expecting nor was it one I'd have gone with. It somehow came across as if there just wasn't more the author could contribute so it felt as if it fazed out a bit at the end.

All-round a good read. Dark, seriously dark. I'm not talking emotionally dark here (although it's that too)... I'm talking mind-f*#k dark. The kind normal people just can not begin to understand or comprehend. Tragic is more the word I need to be associating with Brutally Beautiful.

And again, although this book made a huge impact on me while I read it... which I kind of did in one sitting, I'm not going to lie and tell you the end was perfect, because it just wasn't at all. I'm bummed it turned out the way it did, but still happy that I'd set aside time for this one :)

Rating: 4.5 Stars

RELEASE DATE: January 3rd, 2014
GENRE: Adult Romance (Dark & Suspenseful)

PUBLISHER: Christine Zolendz


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About Laurynne Gouws

Hi. I'm Laurynne (Pronounced 'Lauren') & I'm a 30(ish) year old Graphic & Web Designer from Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I spend majority of my time either reading, blogging, browsing Amazon or when the mood strikes, designing something. Welcome to my blog.
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