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(The Loan Shark Duet #1)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,875 ratings  ·  342 reviews

I’m a loan shark. Breaking people runs in my blood. The Haynes’ were supposed to be a straightforward job. Go in and pull the trigger twice. One bullet for Charlie, one for his sister. But when I saw Valentina, I wanted her. Only, in our world those who owe us don’t get second chances. No way in hell will my mother let her live. So I devised a plan to k
ebook, 305 pages
Published October 10th 2017
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Average rating 4.19  · 
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 ·  1,875 ratings  ·  342 reviews

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Sophia Triad
Excellent book!

Can I just say that it is one of the best books that I have read this year?
Can I just also say that I loved the fact that Gabriel is ugly? Really ugly with a body and face full of scars. With an almost destroyed leg with a limp.
And Valentina finds him ugly:

“He moves with a limp, his right leg stiff. Gabriel is even uglier up close.”

But she does not care after a while. At all!
Even if Gabriel believes himself undeserving of love:

For now, I don’t care that I’m property. I d
Eve (Between The Bookends)
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing


descriptionA pretty good cover on this one. Good representation of the characters. It has good composition. Not a HUGE fav of the title work but I have seen worse.description

descriptionWell, color me blown away. I've never read anything by this author before and I went into this one totally blind. I really wasn't sure what to expect, to be honest. What I got was a fantastically well written and paced book with a plot that kept me turning the pages like a mad woman. I loved that it was set in South Africa. It gave the book a r
Natalie ✩★ The Biblioholic ★✩
My heart was wrecked right from the start. Valentina was surviving by the skin of her teeth. She was living in the worst part of town and was responsible for her big brother, who, after an accident, suffered from an intellectual disability. He was vulnerable whenever she went to school or to work and the neighbor she trusted to watch him while she was gone got her brother into trouble. Big trouble. He now owed 400,000 rand to the most notorious loan shark in town. She obviously didn’t have that ...more
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it

Firstly this is a cliffhanger but since both books are being released back to back it didn't present the usual wait which is the part I struggle with.

The book paints a desolate picture, it's set in Johannesburg in what has become known as drug valley, everyone with money moved leaving the area for the drug dealers, Mafia and gangs.
It's safe to say Valentina is struggling, after losing both her parents she looks after her brain damaged brother, Charlie. She's trying her best to give them a fu
Bex (Beckie Bookworm)
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This was a delight to read and once I started there was no stopping me, I was on a mission to finish this.
So the low-down on Dubious was that Valentina Haynes a young veterinary student manages to get on the wrong side of the Louw family courtesy of her car thief neighbour, who while watching her disabled brother Charlie lets him run up gambling debt's at a local club.
Sent in on a kill order Gabriel Louw wanting Valentina for himself offers her an out, come work for him for nine years to pay
Mindy Lou's Book Review
You know, I read some glowing reviews before reading this. I read where this was an unexpected read and yet I’m still kind of shocked with how much this story affected me.

Valentina just breaks my heart. The unfairness of everything she has had to endure and still comes out fighting. Most people would have broken long before. But the biggest surprise? Gabriel. The fact that this author took an evil man who does unspeakable things to people and made me care about him just astounds me. The obsessi
Literatures Movies
Feb 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: dnf

Do you know how many books I have read this week? 6. Do you know how many I have DNF-ed? 4.

At this point, I'm so fucking sick of it that I'm too fucking lazy to give a review.

It's always the same stuff. Underdeveloped characters and feelings that grow too fast .

This book started off good, really good , but then it flopped. Gabriel was supposed to be the big bad twisted wolf who takes whatever he wants without mercy. He sticks to that for about 50 pages, then gradually turn into a big teddy b
Olga therebelreader
The plot has tension, suspense and passion that can't be denied as the excellent story unfolds. It comes highly recommended.

I received an e-arc via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Nov 21, 2017 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this one...

It started deviously alluring - a loan shark/killer/bad man and an ugly SOB (literally) Gabriel Louw collects Valentina Haynes as a debt payment for nine year up front (cause of the debt her mentally challnged brother Charlie made in his establishment), instead of killing them both off
I saw her, I wanted her. I took her. Yeah, it's that simple.

and that's where the story kicks off...
Yeah, it's that simple...
She becomes his sex toy, literally
Madeline ❤️ Romance Bibliophile ❤️
♥♥ 5 Dubious Stars ♥♥

This gave me all of my recent cravings all rolled into one intense book. There's servitude to repay a debt, dubious consent/forced seduction, and mob/mafia influence. Set to release this October, it's definitely one to put on your tbr shelf. 

Valentina is a vet student who takes care of her brother after he suffered serious brain damage in a car accident. Set in Johannesburg, there's a lot of poverty and paying people off for protection. Val finds her brother gambling one nig
Dana aka ♥Belladonna♥
Set in a poor, crime-ridden neighborhood of South Africa, the beginning of this book is uniquely unvarnished, raw, and gritty. You won't find glamorized, model beautiful characters everywhere you look. Instead, they are scarred, troubled, insecure people on a collision course with disaster.

It's the setting and characters—the way the author doesn't pull punches and lets the heroine meet her fate a time or two without the hero magically catching her at the brink—that really had me falling in love
Sheharzad ⚘

brb i needa sort out my damn feels. wtf charmaine pauls why would you make me care so much 🔪💔💔

rtc when i'm revived from the dead!!!


omg i'm in an annoying streak where i'm craving all the dark romances 😭😭 can I please enjoy the 3 other fantasy novels on my CR??? it's like whenever i pick up anything that isn't dark, my mind's like wth is this?? bish you need to feed your dark side NOW

One night, while laying in bed scanning Instagram, I came across an ad for an author/book I've never heard of before. I don't know what exactly got my attention in that ad [it might have been the cover image actually] but off I went to Amazon to see if the book was available for sale, ended up one-clicking it then stayed up till almost 2am reading because I simply couldn't put it down!

That's the story of how I found and fell in love with Charmaine Pauls' Loan Shark Duet. I still can't put my fi
Chris  C - A Midlife Wife
A story of possession that's ends in a cliffy. Can't wait till part two!

When I read the blurb and synopsis for this book I was expecting a dark story. While this had plenty of issues with possession and other dark urges, the story itself did not read as depraved. In fact, I could almost see why Val ended up accepting her fate. Gabriel is over the moon for her...

The author did a great job conceiving this story and the writing flowed easily. It was tough to put down mainly be
Meg (
I received a copy via Net Galley for an honest review…
3.5 – I am so effed up Stars
I am wrecked… this book wrecked me

I have a love hate relationship with mafia and drug lord books, and this one was no exception.
The main character Valentina is a hardworking girl who is taking care of her brain-damaged brother juggling school and making ends meet. She is not someone who needs fancy things, just enough to get by. She is a very humble character considering all she is g
I would have given this a lot more stars...this story of a woman being in debt to the scary, scarred and ugly loan shark....
....even when he became putty in her hands and acted more like a puppy that the feared, mean guy he was within minutes of meeting her 🙄;
...even though it was ridiculous that the h was forced into being his maid for 9 years to pay a debt her brain-damaged brother unknowing incurred;
...even though it was meant to be a dark book but she never was in danger with antihero and h
Some of my GR friends had read and given rave reviews for this book. I’d been eyeing it a little distrustfully up until that point. Initially, when I first met Gabriel, I thought my friends had surely lost all their marbles. This guy is in this apartment to kill two people. And one of them is the heroine, Valentina. Well, okay, I knew he wasn’t going to outright kill her…the story would be over very quickly if that were the case.

He’s one tough and hard anti-hero. He is not a good guy. Until you
Kitty Thomas
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
WOW. Holy crap this book is amazing you guys. The sex is SCORCHING, the tension is great. This is an author who can REALLY sustain a narrative. So often there are books out there that start out great, but they sag in the middle and lose steam and then you just sort of don't care what happens to anybody after that. This is NOT that book. Holy CRAP. I love Gabriel so much. And wow... this is just... and the solution he comes up with to keep's diabolical but brilliant. I won't spoil it but ...more
Sharron E.
Picked this up because i received an arc for its follow up book and suffice to say i thank my lucky stars I got that arc. Because, hot damn.
Mg ♥ The Bookishmedialite
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing

5 "She's no longer my captive. I'm hers." Stars

Talk about messing with my head and heart...

I finished Dubious three nights ago. The next day, I got drunk... because of cliffhangers and shit. While reading Gabriel & Valentina's journey I found myself hooked, the author's writing, the characters, and the flow of the story made it utterly unputdownable. Once I started reading, there was no stopping me!

I'm a dark romance lover. There's something truly special about this genre that has the power to
5 Dubious Stars!

I’m not a made monster. I was born one.

Charmaine Pauls’ Dubious completely took me by surprise. It’s a blending of morally gray actions in murky situations with this diabolical eroticism that sweeps you right in. I need the conclusion to this...pronto!

Gabriel is a loan shark in an area where crime rules the day. He’s one of the top dogs and his assignment? Take out a woman and her brother who owe his family money. But one look at the woman in question has Gabriel defying his fami
Ashi- A hopeless romantic girl :D
Book-1= 4.5 stars
Book-2= 4 stars

First of all, Thnkyou Fei for rec me this book. I really enjoyed it...❤❤❤❤

Now on the review- not gonna do a detailed review because i doubt that my rational mind will agree on rating with my PMS mind . so no to that but might like to state those facts which i am sure both my rational and PMS mind would agree with-

1- The type of struggles and torture h was going through was too much..
( infact my lazy self was sure it was humanly immpossible)

2- The book sure hol
Kizzle Kay Books Reviews
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
ARC Provided for Honest Review

What the hell did I just read?!?!?!?! Holy 5 *s!

shock gif photo mon70.gif

What a crazy ride this book is!! I had to grin and bear the first 25%, it's written in a way where it confused the hell out of me. I was at the 5% I had to do some research to make sure this was the 1st book, they were referencing things that I had already happened as if it was in a previous book. Nope, this is the 1st book and its just the way it's written in the first few chapters.

At 30% it picked up steam and t
Dirty Dayna
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: series-to-finish
4.5 “you’re my property “ stars
Gabriel Louw is a marked, scarred and tortured Loan Shark who was sent to take out Valentina and her brother for not paying their debt. Instead Gabriel spares them and forces Valentina into slavery for 9 years to pay off her debt.
The story takes place in South Africa using the Rand currency which is about 75C American Dollars for every 1 Rand.
This story is both a back plot that is sexually based and one that is all character development. We hate the characters w
Mamacita Slacum
2.75 "Pissed Me the Fuck Off" Stars

Now to start off, I'll warn y'all. I've been Bitchy this week. Like really Bitchy.

The Best thing about this book is that I got to BR it w/ my Bestie! it started out horrible w/ (view spoiler) Now, That's my hard limit. We're talking chapter 1 folks. But, I had committed to a BR & it was @least gonna be a good time chatting. So I thought, give it a chance. Then it got good. Like, really good. Let's all say this next part t
Wow! I didn't know what to expect with this book where I've never read this author before. I was blown away! This book was dark, twisted, sexy, emotional, sweet, steamy, kickass charterers & a plot that kept me wanting more! It's been a long time since a book has kept me up ALL night long because I couldn't put it down! I was so invested in this book that I felt like I was right there inside the pages! Not only can't I wait to start the next book in this duet, I'm excited to read more from this ...more
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favourite, arcs
Steamy, Intense, Emotional...

These words are not enough to describe how amazing this story is, I devoured it and I fell in love with the plot and the characters from the first page.

I don't wanna spoil anything, so I'll stick with the things that made me keep reading without being able to take my eyes away from the book.

*Twists and secrets are two things that will definitely draw you deep and will surprise you many times!

*Steamy, hot scenes with "dirty" sexy dialogues that are going to wet m
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
In Dubious, Valentina Haynes is a lovely soul with a heart of gold and a backbone of steel. She has captivated the interest of local gangster Gabriel Louws, an evil violent predatory alpha who dominates the not-so-secret criminal underworld of Johannesburg, South Africa by showing no mercy to his victims.

I mean NO MERCY! The manner in which Valentina becomes indebted to the ruthless loan shark is so innocent and ludicrous that it only serves to illustrate his evil, arbitrary and powerful nature.
Jamie (TheRebelliousReader)
Arc provided in exchange for honest review from Netgalley

5 stars. This was super freaking addicting! Right from the very beginning I was drawn in and hooked on to the story and I was dreading come to the end. This could’ve easily been 2x longer than what it is and I would’ve been perfectly happy.

I knew this was going to be a dark read but this was brutal at times! It was intense and just an overall very heavy book which honestly, if I’m going to read adult romantic suspense novels, the darker th
Laura Lee
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dubious (The Loan Shark Duet, #1)
By: Charmaine Pauls
4 Stars

Well my goodness, what a start to a great duet! Popped my Charmaine Pauls cherry with this book. It’s one that had me reading non stop, wanting to see what would happen next. Now I patiently wait for book 2 so that I may get all the answers!!!

Valentina is struggling to survive in Berea a suburb of Johannesburg. Attending Vet school and working as a vet tech. She has taken on the responsibility of raising her brother who has suffered brai
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Banned on Amazon 3 35 Oct 14, 2017 08:59AM  

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Charmaine Pauls was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She obtained a degree in Communication at the University of Potchestroom, and followed a diverse career path in journalism, public relations, advertising, communication, and brand marketing. Her writing has always been an integral part of her professions.

After relocating to Chile with her French husband, she fulfilled her passion to write fu

Other books in the series

The Loan Shark Duet (2 books)
  • Consent (The Loan Shark Duet, #2)

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