Title: Pretty When You Cry
Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year: Skye Warren 11/02/15
Length: 250 pages
Series: Stripped #3
I came from a place of dirt floors and holy scriptures. They told me the world outside was full of sin, and the first night I escape, I find out it’s true. Ivan saves me, but he does more than that. He takes me. He makes me his own girl.
My conditioning runs too deep. Ivan sees what I am.
That’s the thing about showing a mouse to a cat. He wants to play. And it’s terrifying, even for me. Because the only thing darker than my past is his.
Well, this was an interesting story to say the least. From all I knew about Candy, I didn’t expect her past to be what it was, and it really shaped this story quite nicely. I saw in other series the bond that she and Ivan have and it’s one for the record books, but to watch how it came to be, how they met and what that evolution looked like, well it’s something that really does seem quite compelling.
We start Candy’s story as she’s run away from home with the assistance of her mother – but her home wasn’t a normal place – not even talking about upper or lower class here. She was born into a religious commune of sorts, and she was taught that the more she sinned, the more she was punished, and as she grew older, punishments were hinted at and taken out sexually.
Candy’s mother didn’t want her to live the life that she had, she wanted more for her daughter, so she helped Candy escape and that’s how we end up in Tanglewood and The Grand. She finds herself surrounded by a group of men one night who want to do all sorts of nefarious things, and Ivan somehow crosses her path. He protects her from them, brings her to the club and makes the decision to take care of her. He calls her ‘little one’ and just wants to be her protecter.
Throughout this story we watch how he makes her into a woman that she’s not sure she wants to be. She left the commune because Leader Allen was ruling everything that she did although he wanted to do so much more to her. Ivan on the other hand while providing for her, he gives her a spark of something unknown, but doesn’t act on it. Leaves Candy questioning why she allows herself to be controlled by men all the time.
She tries to run away several times, only to have Ivan come back and get her, but we see how she enjoys the punishment that he gives, so sometimes you have to wonder if it’s all real escape or just foreplay.
In the last novella, we saw someone coming after Candy – someone that she assumes is from her past – who has discovered where she lives now and wants to bring her back or worse. Ivan spends the bulk of this story fighting how he feels about Candy personally, to doing everything in his power to protect her from whomever is after her and whomever is damaging his club.
We watch the roller coaster of emotions with these two – they play cat and mouse quite well. We watch how they are separated and how their paths take them to very different places – happiness on one side and misery on the other. We get a glimpse into what a future could look like with the right attention, but we also know that neither is able to compromise. Definitely one of those stories that keeps you moving really quickly through the book.
The ending though gives us hope, but then gives us uncertainty. We see where the series is going to take us when another one of the supporting cast becomes a main, and she runs away. So thankfully this is an old series, so I can get the next books to dive in now, and that’s what i’m going to do. Enjoy!!