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The Bleeding Hearts #1

Torment: Part One

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Torment Part One is a dark, taboo, age gap, MC, contemporary romance.

How did I get here?
Broken, bruised, and mentally shattered.

For most of my life, my older stepbrother, Shay, was my hero, my rock, and my best friend. The one I knew I could always rely on.

For many years, I accepted everyone and everything around me. But as I grew up, the veil was lifted, and I slowly came to understand how f*cked up it all really is. These men, who I considered uncles and close family friends, are members of the dominant MC, The Celtic Beasts. Shay is not only a proud member. He is the one they send in to do their dirty work. For some reason, this tough, muscled, terrifying guy, needs me to ground and comfort him.

But I have always had bigger plans. Bigger dreams. I don’t want to be trapped here, in this life that is dark, bloody and violent. I want to get out, escape… but Shay has other plans for me.

What do you do when your protector becomes the very root of your torment?

**Warning: This book is meant for mature readers, 18+.

Torment Part One is a dark romance and contains scenes and situations that may be upsetting for some readers. Includes several triggers and sensitive material such as: domestic abuse, profanity, gang violence, PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders, and sexual assault.

Please do not read if you are uncomfortable with any of the above. Thank you.

364 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 14, 2021

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About the author

Dylan Page

10 books791 followers
When Dylan was younger, she always had an aspiration to tell stories. But before she even knew how to write, she would draw them out. Her mother always encouraged her, and bought her piles of blank notebooks for her to draw out the stories she imagined in her head. Her dad encouraged her to use her words instead. Over the years, he pushed her into writing clubs and bought her notebooks so she could fill them with endless short stories.

Thanks to her parents and years of working alongside alpha a**holes at an Oil and Gas company, she’s now ready to tackle those alpha bastards her mind keeps conjuring up.

When Dylan isn’t busy writing, or spending time with her two boys, she likes to play guitar, piano, and paint. Mind you she’s not good at it, but she likes it nonetheless!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 844 reviews
Profile Image for  ⚔Irunía⚔ .
409 reviews2,662 followers
September 19, 2021
*debut awesomeness*

This book comes with a warning... and fairly so.
If a 23-year-old guy who spanks and then smoothly proceeds to bring his 16-year-old stepsister, who he has known and cared for since she was a 7 year-old kid, to orgasm doesn't sound a little disturbing, then I don't know what does. 👁️👁️

The corners of his mouth curled up in that rare, beautiful, familiar smile I liked so much, only this time, it felt a little ominous. “Last night... you understand why I did that to you?”
At the mention of the spanking, I blanched a little, shaking slightly as his hand shifted so that he was holding my chin in his fingers. “Yes,” I breathed, my voice lost.
“Because you were being smart with me.”
“You want me around, don’t you?”
I nodded, though it was stilted by his hold.
“Then be a good girl, and I will. I’ll be right here, and I’ll keep you safe.”

If unexpectedly I felt the urge to retell the whole story, I am quite positive my brief retelling would sound much more harrowing than the book.... as surprising as it may come across, the author managed not to cross a thin line between a la carte disturbing and outright creepy, although it started blurring the further into the story I was submerged.

I am forced to admit that this book is p̶r̶e̶t̶t̶y̶ helluva intense for a debut novel. And way too burning hot for me to feel comfortable about it. After all, let's not forget that the story features a psychopath grooming his little stepsister for future, ahem, use... because he can, he will and who is gonna stop him? 🤡

There are certain things that brought me joy:

1) the hero, besides having "psycho" neon sign hanging above his head, was obsessed with the heroine to the point that would send any normal girl run screaming. That being said, his protective and tender side, reserved only for his Mina 🥺, was endearing, and created a bizarre combination of sweet and spine-chilling relationship dynamics;

2) complex ambiguous characters;

3) the love interest #2 who is getting points for being caring, triggering my paranoid thoughts and nursing my suspicions...
4) holy crap and wtf moments that left me uncomfortable (two guys fighting about a little girl doesn't sound weird... at all);

6) rivetting "past/flashback" scenes.
The latter is actually the most unexpected point in favour. I often regard "past chapters" that feature characters' younger years as fillers and skim the mercilessly. Not here.

“Relax, Mina,” his voice is quiet as his warm breath floats over my skin like a heavy fog, “Just stay by my side at the party and do as I say and I won’t lose it. Got it?”
“Y-yes,” I stammer, my eyes wide open as I stare up at the ceiling, feeling like a cross between a prisoner and a cherished possession.
“Good girl.”

I love how the author is trying to manipulate readers into sympathising with her morally questionable characters. As usual, I'm so ready to be manipulated into liking creepy dudes🤡
Sweet baby Jesus.
Reading about how Mina's mom had actually been forced into living with Mina's future stepfather through clueless child's eyes is giving me goosebumps. 💀
Profile Image for TJ ☾.
690 reviews1,153 followers
April 6, 2021
me about shay:


this book made me feel so weird, i loved it. i can't think of how to wrangle this into a real review so I'll just leave my thoughts as play-by-plays (warning: spoilers below)




→ has Mina's mom never read an MC romance before? how has she been caught so unawares? this behavior is embarrassing


→ this book does a great job of walking the line between vaguely inappropriate and downright predatory. there's a real subtly to it. in all the flashback scenes, intellectually I know what's happening is weird, but my chimp brain is like 'aw so cute thooo <333 🤪' so in conclusion:


this girl is 9 years old, how does she have two 15 year olds fighting over her rn 🤦🏽‍♀️ the fact that Keenan in one breath gave her flowers to 'woo' her and then the next 'carried her on his hip with one hand under her bottom' bc she's a kid has me like bruh.....


→ okay I like how this story eases you in. like you don't really know who the bad guys are and who to trust, and while the heroine is being manipulated... so are we. and here I am, ready and willing 🤠


→ don't love the term of endearments 'sweetness' or 'cutie'

→ wow i feel bad about talking shit about Mina's mom earlier. if you isolate only her story and look at it separately from the rest of the book... it's pretty tragic

→ im gonna need mina to change keenan's contact name from 'Captain Stud Muffin'..... it's killing the vibe for me

→ shay is one sick motherfucker, a psychiatrists wet dream for sure, but fucc he hot doe 👅


shay when he's not around mina:


shay when he is around mina:


→ i actually liked the flashback scenes more because when Mina was young, she had an excuse to act immature and blind, but in the older scenes, girl u good? why u like this still? the main difference in 'tone' between the flashbacks and present day chapters is curse words and horniness

→ i feel like it's clear just by the way mina thinks about shay vs how she thinks about keenan that she's going to end up w keenan... and I simply:


→ i don't know why I find keenan's behavior creepier than shay's, because it's so comically not. i think it's because I expect immoral, creepy behavior from Shay and therefor on some level accept it more, but with keenan, i'm like....


*whispers* u sus sir... u should know better sir....


keenan's supposed to be the upstanding, 'white knight' one so I judge him more harshly/hold him to a higher standard. i guess i just don't trust his 'im the good guy' shtick

"You're the only good thing in my life, you know that?"

i'm kind of angry at Dylan Page for making me love such a toxic, abusive, divisive character like Shay but...


→ 1 chapters later:

“No one else gives a fuck about you…”
“I’m all you’ve got.”
“Dad has his own life. Once you’re eighteen, he won’t be bothered with you…”
“Every person you’ve loved is gone, except for me. You will always have me. Only me.”
"Your own mother wasn't even there, remember? She chose the bottle over you every time. Only I was there. I was the only one who wanted to be with you."


→ okay.... so team shay struggling a bit after that blatant emotional manipulation ill admit..... but we still chugging away out here.... he can bring this back around right....


→ ooooohhh, so this is why his club name is 'Manic'


fuck, this is unhealthy I-

→ keenan's looking pretty good right about now


→ god I feel bad for mina.... this brainwashing mixed with her people pleasing personality is gonna end with her dead or chained to a bed in shay's basement. she's in so deep in this abusive relationship sometimes I forget the full extent....

→ okay.................. I DRAW THE LINE HERE. damn im mad and impressed with dylan page for lulling me into shay's web and then forcing me to choose when I had to detach bc I couldn't morally justify it anymore, which ill admit, probably should've been 10 chapters ago. this book is so well done bc it lays out exactly how we got to this point of no return as well as all the stages of grooming

→ the more time we get with keenan the more I like him, root for him, etc

→ im pretty bummed mina can't be a ballerina anymore. i really liked that aspect of the story and i thought that dream fit her as a person

→ even tho ive denounced shay..... he's just so crazy and I have to say one more time:


no matter his faults, he's carrying this entire book on his shoulders

*finishes book*



so........ all in all.... *cringes a little* redemption arc for shay!


get this man a therapist and we're a-okay! team shay will come out strong and alive you heard it here first folks


no but jokes aside, I don't see any other ending for the next book other than shay dying bc if he's alive, and mina's alive, that girl has no fucking chance at any type of halfway decent life. I also think shay would rather be dead than without mina, so it would prob be better for everyone lol. it's clear she's gonna end up with keenan and she deserves that pure love after all the bullshit she's had to deal with, buttttttttt fuck I still hope shay shocks us all, turns this train around, and wins back his girl. or does the noble thing and lets her go bc he loves her, and then proceeds to get help. im soooo excited for the next book and kind of wish I'd waited to read this until it was out bc I feel a little desperate for it
Profile Image for Mareeva.
361 reviews5,099 followers
August 18, 2022
5 stars


Man oh man, I don't know how I manage to stray further from god every day.

This book was wrong on so many levels I can't even...

First of all, this is not a romance. It took me way too damn long to realise and now that I have, I am bathing in the afterglow of reading about all of these disgusting ass relationships.

Yes, Yes I know. This book is:
➥ completely taboo
➥ manipulative as all hell
➥ includes grooming of a young girl
➥ the "hero" (Shay) is obsessive to the point WHERE EVEN I was a little fucking scared of this dude.

But you know what else I know?
That I'm a clown and Shay was the best character in this book.

Now I know how most of ya'll romance driven brains work and what you're thinking right now: Pft, obsessive? I love obsessive heroes, why is she even complaining? Stop being a pussy Anna, obsessive heroes are the best


Mina (7) met Shay, the son of the man her mother was going to marry, when he was 13 years old. He was stuck in the middle of a violent fight, one he was winning, and at that Mina was mesmerised. When he approached her, she quickly realised that with her, he isn't just the savage teenager she witnessed earlier, but a boy with sad eyes and a beautiful smile. He was kind to her and seemed to care about her safety. They had formed an unbreakable bond - that day Shay had become her protector and the boy she will always look up to.

Sounds romantic right? Yea I thought so too.

Throughout the years, Mina saw glimpses of the darkness he was harbouring inside himself, and not just him, but also her step father, as well as the MC gang they both belonged to. However, she always turned a blind eye because at home, they were just her family.

Except behind the scenes, her mother saw them for what they were, and feared the danger she unwillingly signed up herself and Mina for. Ultimately, the strain of the life her daughter was ignorant to spiralled her into alcoholism & self-destruction.

“No one loves you more than I do.” He turned his head so that he could look into my eyes, his nose barely touching mine. “You know that, right?”

This seemingly sweet quote was the first time Shay gave me the creeps. They were the good kind of creeps.
The 'I'll murder anyone who gets in between us' creeps.
The 'if I can't have you then no one else can' creeps.
Except instead of killing her, he'll just kill everyone else who claims can have her.

Yes, those are the good kind of creeps in my eyes.

Now, because we read from POV of a child most of the time, we see things through a lens of an innocent mind. We find things out with Mina, and therefore we are manipulated with her as well. Through her eyes, Shay & James are the good guys, the men who loved her with everything they had. But as adults, we readers see that something is just not right... and that angst, it was torturing me in the best way possible.

If I had a step-brother since 8 years old, whom I idolised, considered family and loved as any girl would love their brother... I don't know how I would feel if he suddenly bent me over his knee, and started touching me in places no good step-brother ever should.

Actually I do know, I'd be horrified, traumatised, betrayed, scared shitless....

But as this 23 year old man spanks his 16 year old step sister I am suddenly the picture of ignorance.
That was still when I considered this book a romance btw.

But there was shift. At some point Shay started emotionally manipulating her, controlling every aspect of her life, blaming her for his psychotic behaviour, threatening murder if she so much as held another man's hand, exploding in violent outbursts. Eventually, he even physically assaulted her mother for trying to keep Mina away from him.

“Don’t,” he went on. “I need you. You’re the only good thing in my life. Please, don’t shut me out. Don’t deny me…” He clutched me harder, to the point where I almost couldn’t breathe. “Don’t leave me.”

Shay wanted Mina to need him, to please him, to live solely for him. He wouldn't let Mina pursue her dreams or experience life without him. He wanted to lock her up in a little box for his own keeping.

Shay is the man who will undoubtedly snuff out any light or innocence still left in Mina.

“I’m not meant for this life, Shay!” I sob.

“You are meant to be mine! I am not letting this go, Mina… you need to wake up and realize that I’m the only one for you. I’m all you will ever need.”

God and when I tell you it was so freaking mesmerising to read about this psychotic ass man with this poor innocent girl in his clutches. Most of the time it was written in such an emotional way, that you almost, ALMOST found it romantic.

With the death of her mom, I became so damn nervous. Mina was left to the wolves without her mother there. I'm pretty sure the mom was the only one who saw everything exactly for what it was. Life has really done that woman dirty and I couldn't help but tear up a time or two for her, especially at the end.

But don't worry, we have another love interest, Keenan. He is the man Mina has feelings for and -as cliche as that is- the knight in shining armour. Because of the progression of Shay's character I don't trust Keenan one bit. He was way too great to not be suspicious. The selfless biker who wants everything for her, like get out of this shithole & achieve her dreams of becoming a ballerina. Ummm???
I don't trust you sir.

ALL IN ALL, what I'll say for sure is that I have absolutely no clue where this series is going. No idea who she'll end up with or what the second book will be about. I'm speculating that she'll most likely end up with Keenan, because I honestly don't know how the author will ever redeem Shay. Plus Mina felt no romantic feelings towards him.

I do have one theory though which I'll hide in a spoiler.
Profile Image for shush.
840 reviews259 followers
January 21, 2022
3 1/2✨

”You don’t need me, you need a therapist!”

shay : a manipulative son of a bitch
me : u need help dude
shay : a controlling psychopath
me : leave the poor chick alone
mina : yelling at shay for beating the shit outta some poor kid just cuz he held her hand
me : hell yeah girl don’t take his bullshit
shay : puppy eyes
me : i’d like to hug him now. MINA FIX THIS

the quote above is this book in a nutshell

anyway, this started out sweet. but i came in w/ as dark of an expectation as possible. so i didn’t trust it at all, no way in hell is this book gonna be sweet. and it wasn’t (well i thought shays kinda sweet for me personally, if not a little scary. but Mina didn’t seem to think so, so wtv). few of my thoughts :

’When I glanced around, I noticed how the other kids were watching us warily, eyeing Shay with apprehension, like they were afraid of him. Huh, weird… he was being really nice to me.’

yeah that one scene where Shay punched Dana? that’s the only way a H should handle any mean bullying cunts who hurt their girl. i laughed my fucking ass off

⍟ sᴏ ɪ'ᴅ ᴊᴜsᴛ ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴛᴏ ǫᴜᴏᴛᴇ ʜᴏᴡ sʜᴀʏ ᴍᴀɴɪᴘᴜʟᴀᴛᴇᴅ ᴍɪɴᴀ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡʜᴏʟᴇ ʙᴏᴏᴋ ⍟

”No one else gives a fuck about you…”

“I’m all you’ve got.”

“Dad has his own life. Once you’re eighteen, he won’t be bothered with you…”

“Every person you’ve loved is gone, except for me. You will always have me. Only me.”

“I’m the only one who has been there for you…”

“Your own mother wasn’t even there, remember? She chose the bottle over you every time. Only I was there. I was the only one who wanted to be with you.”

“Mina,” he gasped, “don’t ever shut me out again…”
Yeah, like I was going to let that happen anytime soon. Not after seeing this.
“Don’t,” he went on. “I need you. You’re the only good thing in my life. Please, don’t shut me out. Don’t deny me…” He clutched me harder, to the point where I almost couldn’t breathe. “Don’t leave me.”

“You don’t want to upset me, right, Mina?” I stare back at him, my heart beating hard against my chest as his words sink in. “You don’t want to cause problems, right? You don’t want to be the reason I lose control or be the one to cause the monster in my mind to destroy all that’s left of my sanity?”

“You don’t want to cause problems for dad and I, or the club?”
I shake my head this time.
“You don’t want to be the reason I have another breakdown again?”
I shake my head a little harder this time. Abso-fucking-lutely NOT!
A cruel smirk paints itself onto his otherwise handsome face, and he gives my chin a little shake. “So, here’s the answer to all of that, Sweetness.”
“What answer?” I slur.
“Kiss me back,” he demanded

⍟ ᴀɴᴅ ʜᴏᴡ sʜᴇ ᴘʟᴀʏᴇᴅ ᴀʟᴏɴɢ ⍟

1. ’Okay, keep him calm. Keep him happy. You don’t want him upset with you, you fool. If you don’t have Shay, who else do you have?’

2. I was almost always on edge around Shay, trying to think of ways to keep him calm and mellow. I learned that one of those things was cuddling up and having me stroke his untidy, dark locks. So I obliged as often as I could. Or at least, as often as he was around.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
I hated how perceptive he could be. He was always so aware of me, if I was off in any way. When I was younger, it was great because I could lean on him. But now, I was just afraid of him diving into darkness if I mentioned anything that could possibly set him off. I knew he loved me in his way; that our bond was close. Despite him telling me that we were not siblings, I loved him like an older brother. But as the years were passing, I could feel a shift, one that I was not comfortable with, but I didn’t know how to gain control. Not when I was so afraid of upsetting him.

3. “This is what I need now, Mina. This is what you need to do if you want those three things I once asked you. If you want to be happy, if you don’t want to cause any problems, if you don’t want to push me to the edge,” His words send a chill through my veins and I actually start shivering. “Then you’ll do this. You’ll be with me like this… do you understand?” When I don’t speak, he gives me another hard shake. “Mina!” he snarls. “Do you want me to lose it? Do you want to be the reason I fucking tear this house apart?”

i have limits on how dark my romance to be. but honestly, shay isn’t one of them (he got worse in book 2 so im talkin bout him in here)

couldn’t care less bout Mina or his knight in shining armor :

”Gotta say, Sunshine, I’m a little jealous of your brother, right now…”
“Of Shay?” I furrowed my brow in confusion as he pressed me into him. I turned my head so that my nose and my mouth were free from his coat and were touching the smooth skin on his neck instead.
“I am,” he laughed lightly, but it sounded like it was forced. “For the first time ever, I think.”
“Why?” I couldn’t mistake the ache in his voice.
“I’m jealous, because he is so damned lucky to have someone like you in his life. You’re a little ray of light, Mina. A ray of light in all of our dark, shitty lives...”

keenan’s fine

essentially, this was a page-turner. i’ve got nothing i didn’t like but just didn’t love it. still, this was a fun way to pass time

btw my fav scene from the whole book is still the spanking scene
Profile Image for Jessica ❥Chatterbooks Book Blog❥.
774 reviews2,631 followers
December 28, 2021
Holy shit!

This is a debut?

Dylan Page came out the gate swinging, y'all!!

I can't remember the last time a debut had me this fucked up! My head and my heart are all over the place. Sure, I want to beat the shit out of most everyone in this book, but I'm absolutely obsessed with this story!

I want to hug the heroine, Mina, and never let her go. This poor girl got the shit end of the stick! She's constantly manipulated from a young age and forced into an unhealthy, toxic relationship where she acts as a security blanket for her psychotic stepbrother, Shay. She isn't allowed to have any kind of life of her own. Shay and his father are more concerned about Mina doing what serves their best interests than they are about what's best for her. To top it all off, her mother can't save her from any of it, because she's being forced to live a life she doesn't want as well.

Speaking of Mina's mom, I know some people judge her pretty harshly, but for me, doing that felt like judging a victim of domestic violence and placing the blame on them for being abused. Don't get me wrong, I wish she would have kept trying to escape and stayed away from the alcohol, but realistically, those men probably weren't going to let her get away from them alive.

Back to Mina! Some of her reactions to different things Shay and her stepfather did throughout the book frustrated me, but considering they messed with her head from the moment they stepped foot in her life, I gave her a little more grace than I normally would have otherwise. I love that the author allowed us to view everything that happened throughout Mina's life through her eyes at whatever age she was at those points in time. It was a clever way to help readers understand Mina in a more profound way, and in my opinion, she couldn't have made a better choice in that regard.

When I first started reading this book, I was rooting for Shay. I have to admit it. He really had me for a while there. I know a lot of people love him regardless of him being a piece of shit the majority of the time. I'm just not one of them, but despite that, his relationship with Mina and his crazy ass behavior kept me glued the pages. The book wouldn't have been the same without him.

I recognize that a lot of Shay's behavior was brought on by his upbringing. In some ways, he is a victim himself. He was molded into the violent, unhinged man he became from the time he was just a child. Aside from that, he had serious psychological issues and needed help that his father never provided him. Instead, he used Mina like a bandaid. I'm not ignoring any of that. I did feel for him in some ways for sure. That being said, there is a limit to how much empathy I can feel for someone that does the kind of heartless, horrific shit Shay does.

I can't conclude this review without mentioning my boy, Keenan. I fucking adore him! He is the only person in Mina's life that consistently shows up for her in the ways that count. He's always watching out for her, and he takes time out of his life every single week to help her try to achieve her dreams. Keenan does everything he does for Mina to make sure she's safe, feels like she has someone in her corner, and so she can get out of the hell she lives in and create a better life for herself one day. His motivations are pure and selfless, and it endeared him to me in a big way.

In conclusion, Torment: Part 1 is a 5 star read for me! I inhaled this shit from beginning to end. I couldn't get enough of the characters, and the storytelling is brilliant. If you enjoy stories that play with your emotions and tear apart your insides, I highly recommend you give this duet a try!

Angst whores and toxic romance fans, this one's for you!
Profile Image for Arini.
772 reviews1,622 followers
December 16, 2022
2.5 stars

not as sordid and twisted as i thought i was gonna get. not that grooming and child porn are things to sneeze at. but ive seriously mentally prepared myself for something worse and more disturbing than this.

regardless, i found this rather bland. not a fan of the narrative style in which the story was told (flashback chapters, looongg paragraphs, little dialogues). it didnt make me care, and the romance left me feeling cold.

hero was obsessive, manipulative. heroine was confused by the change in how he treated her, but i dont think she was ever fully manipulated either. i think she could do more to get herself out of the situation if she wanted to.

that said, while i believed the hero was crazily in love with the heroine in his own sick ways, i didnt believe the same about the heroines feelings. she loved him and cared about him, but i dont think she wanted to be with him.

so whats the point?? the romance was too one sided. wasnt i supposed to root for them to be together despite the wrong-ness of their relationship?? she had more chemistry with the other guy. was i reading this all wrong??

maybe i was reading this wrong. the hero wasnt actually in love - just obsessed and fixated with the heroine. but then, why call this a romance?? it could just be a Lolita-esque type of thriller. im so confused.
Profile Image for Drethi Anis.
Author 11 books646 followers
January 10, 2021
THIS REVIEW IS HELLA LONG. The longest I've ever written. That's how much I <3 Shay & Mina!

The plot:
This story shifts between the past & the present. I'm giving you a plot summary for the past only.

Shay (age 13) & Mina (age 7) are introduced to each other at a picnic. Their respective parents James & Emily, intend to marry. Emily (Mina's mom) is unaware of the dangers of James' Biker group. By the time she finds out she is stuck in the lifestyle, inadvertently dragging her daughter along.

Mina is too young to understand the dangers and is enthralled by the biker lifestyle. Shay's life, however, has been marred with violence as a result of being a "pre-member" of the biker group. Still, Mina loves her new stepbrother and worships the ground he walks on. In turn, Shay finds solace from his violent life through her unconditional love. She becomes his little ray of sunshine.

One night, after Mina sustains injuries, she asks Shay to sleep in her bed. Mina is 7 and doesn't find it inappropriate. Shay is 13 and has reservations. He obliges due to his own guilt over her condition. Shay realizes that sleeping w/Mina chases away the violent nightmares of his gang life. Even though Shay knows it's inappropriate, he continues to share a bed with Mina behind their parents' back for years on end.

Disclaimer: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING of sexual nature happens between the kids. Nor did I feel Shay seeking anything more than a good nights sleep by basking in the warmth Mina provided and his parents denied. However, what might have started as an innocent cry for help from a 13-yr-old boy soon changes how Shay perceives Mina.

Shay starts to expect Mina at his beck & call. As Mina creeps towards adulthood, she resents Shay clinging on to her like a security blanket whenever he tethers at the edge of sanity due to his violent lifestyle. Shay's codependency and fear of losing Mina becomes irrational. He restricts her from going out with friends, dating, attending college (vetoing Mina's own mother's authority).

All the while, Shay does whatever & whoever he wants. His excuse for his poor behavior is basically, it's better to "sleep around" than succumbing to his urges for the only person he truly wants (MEN! Invoke BS meter here pls). He'd rather wait for Mina before professing his feelings and claiming her. And now that Mina is almost an adult, there is nothing else holding Shay back. Dun! Dun! Dun!

The Review:
It's been so long since I've been this affected by a book. I put a stop to my own writing schedule because I couldn't put this book down.

The book is wrong on so many levels. It'll make you uncomfortable at times. There are moments when you will cringe. If you are anything like me, your thought process will morphe like so:

"Awww. He's so sweet & protective."
"Hmm... that was a little weird & uncomfortable."
"I don't know how I feel about what he just did. Is it okay for him to do that?"
"Yeah... it is definitely not okay for him to do that."
"Holy shit girl, RUN! He cray-cray."

I think a good book should keep you engaged and leave you feeling conflicted about the characters. That's exactly how I feel right now. I LOVE books that can make me double guess my sanity. And oh boy did I double guess my sanity. I rooted for Mina & Shay. I liked Mina's other love interest but what can I say, I'm a sucker for the crazies. And Shay is absolutely crazy/obsessive.

Don't get me wrong. There were also times when I absolutely HATED Shay. These were my top:
- When Mina was 7, Shay made her feel guilty to manipulate her into keeping their secret
- When Shay was 19, he beat up a 13 yr old kid half to death for holding Mina's hand.
- When Mina was 16, Shay emotionally abused her by whispering things like, no one else will love you, you have no one other than me, etc. The insecure bf who makes you feel like shit to keep you under wrap.
-When Mina turned 17, he forced her to drink alcohol even though drinking triggered her.

So, you’ll both LOVE and HATE Shay. Alpha. Check. Dominant. Check. Manipulative. Double Check.

As for Mina, she isn't one of those h's who overlooks Shay's shortcomings. She seeks an emotional connection. Her standards include wanting to love someone who wants the best for her.
Imagine that? A heroine who actually cares about how the guy treats her?

We have all read the following plot: she sees his 8 pack abs and 8 inch dick. And that's it, game over! She thinks he's super hot so her body betrays her as she forgets all the bad things he did. WTH!!

That's not love. I always think, what did he do (other than being hot or rich) to make her fall in love? If the H's actions towards an h cannot be justified if he was ugly, fat, & poor, then that's just a shallow connection. As a result, I quite often find h's reasons for falling in love to be surface deep.

THIS IS WHY TORMENT DIFFERS. Mina stays her course throughout. She wants to live her life away from the biker gang violence, possibly with a guy who wants the best for her.

It's been so long since an h who is sweet w/out being c***whipped. Heroines are now classified as either sassy/takes no shit or doormat/dick-whipped. Why can't there be a middle? It's OKAY for an h to be just A NORMAL GIRL, with normal traits, wants & wishes. I can't believe how difficult it is to find this exact balance, but you found it, Dylan. It's like you custom wrote a book just for me :)

The Author:
Last, but not least, Dylan Page. The fact that this is her first book says it all. This author hit it out of the park, and that's putting it mildly.

As mentioned, I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN. The book is well-paced as well as engaging. But the biggest accolade for this first-time author is her character development.

Character development makes a book. When I'm 75% through, I should be able to understand why a character does XYZ, what they like/dislike, their behavior patterns. Otherwise, I can't draw a connection between the main MCs. We have all been victims of one-dimensional characters: the jealous/crazy OW, the cheating OM, the evil stepmother, the predictable "basic" characters that make you want to gag. THANK YOU Dylan for assuming that your readers are intelligent to dissect/interpret on our own to understand that people are GOOD and BAD.

To sum up, you got me to care about these characters, you got me to care about the story. Now all I want to know is what happens next.

Can Mina get away from the gang violence & debauchery to live her life? Can Shay control his inner demons to be a man worthy of Mina's affections? We will find out in Book 2. Waiting impatiently!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Shile (Hazard's Version) on-hiatus.
1,092 reviews795 followers
June 17, 2021
4.35 stars

“No one loves you more than I do.” He turned his head so that he could look into my eyes, his nose barely touching mine. “You know that, right?”

Run Mina! Ruuuuuunn!!!


First of all, I wouldn’t call this a dark romance! This is Dark! Pure darkness, mind fuck! And of Course this is a debut and the author doesn’t have like a gazillion books waiting for me to read. GAAAAHH! The gods of great dark books are against me.


GAAAAHHH!!!! I feel abused by Shay and everyone else in this book. The author should be paying for my therapy sessions. I need them.


The authors note was reaaallyy good.

This is the story of Mina. We meet Mina when she is 7 years old and her mother is soon to be married to a biker, James, who has a 13-year-old son, Shay. You know where this is going, right?


I was not prepared for Shay! Damn! what a manipulative, overprotective, obsessive, abusive little fucker. Shay manipulated Mina into believing that he is all Mina needs. His father is no better, because I believe he knows his son is a psycho but he doesn’t lift a finger to help him. He benefits from Shay’s outbursts, the club business needs someone like Shay.

“Don’t ever leave me, Mina.”


Book 1 starts when Mina is 7 years and ends when she is 17 years. What a gruesome 10 years. The writing is so good that it is hard to believe that this is Dylan Page’s debut. Even the flashbacks didn’t bother me. I was glued by this train wreck from page one.

Mina! Omg she is so innocent and doesn’t understand that she is in deep shit. I felt abused on behalf of Mina. Mina grew up in an environment no child should ever grow up in. She was surrounded by a bunch of creeps. Reading from the POV of a child is not good at all, it reminded me of The Lovely Bones.

They were pretty, wore a lot of makeup and tiny revealing dresses, but walked with a confidence that I couldn’t help but admire. They looked older than they were, and acted like it, too. I’d seen them with Shay’s friends and saw how they interacted with them… flirting, it was called. I had even seen them kissing some of the boys, like Cody and Aron. Yuck, I thought. Why any of those girls would willingly kiss one of those boys was beyond me.

Gaaahh! I am rooting for Mina. She deserves some other good life.

Shay! What a character. The author decided to go all out. He started out as someone I wanted to hug, but by the end of the book after being emotionally abused by him, I hate him, I freaking hate him or not. He is so convinced he is doing the right thing. I really wanted to be in his head. I wanted to know what he was thinking. GAAHHH! I am not forgetting him anytime soon. Part 2 better give me some answers.

“You want to be happy, right?”
I nod subtly, restricted by his grip.
“You don’t want to cause problems for dad and I, or the club?”
I shake my head this time.
“You don’t want to be the reason I have another breakdown again?”

Mina’s mother! Gosh! I want to be mad at her, but I can’t she did what she thought was best for her and her daughter, she didn’t know what she was getting into.

I love how Mina was written, she is no damsel and she is not perfect. She is just Mina, trying her hardest to survive day by day.

That spanking scene though!! OMG! Morals out the window. That was some freaking hot, taboo, forbidden, illegal shit.


Hmmm Keenan! Let's just say he creeps me out, there is definitely something wrong with him.

Profile Image for Birjis.
435 reviews314 followers
January 31, 2021
Torment was my anticipated, expected psychological read adding taboo-ness which had me so much invested in the story. It's a step-brother and step-sister madness. A step-brother who pushes all boundaries unexpected and 100% obesessed and possessive of his step-sister.

Mina Westberg and Shay O’Hare were only 7-years and 13-years when they thought they found the missing pieces of their life. They simply fit and fill the empty spaces. A strong bond which exceeded protection and more interfering of life. The story gives us flashbacks as Mina and Shay grew up. Mina's mum married into a dysfunctional family, Mina unaware was happy to have a step-father and step-brother. Shay's father runs an MC club. Shay as a child was moody, broody and psychotic. His unhindged moods were frequent for which he was named "Maniac". The MC's lifestyle was hidden from Mina as she grew until unpredictable situations approaches her.

Mina's mum tries to protect Mina from the family she married. Shay, his father and the club members are never dangerous to Mina, infact they love and protect her but their attitude towards Mina's mother was different. Mina has a secret admirer who is also a MC member of a different club and a rival of Shay. I'm waiting for this secret to come out and Shay's reaction to it. Every characters has flaws which was wonderfully done. Shay is everything wrong. I find Mina gets manipulated by Shay and his fathers endearments and gets forgiven for anything done wrong. The beginning of sexual attraction of Mina towards Shay is slowly developing, she is discovering her fondness for Shay differently for which she feels guilty but cannot resist.

The story still has gaps and the details vivid. Some portion of the book I found myself losing interest but it wasn't bad that I would skim-read it. This book is taboo-filled, complicated and dark. I'm eager for the next book to be out and spare myself from the cliffhanger trauma.
Profile Image for JAN.
1,138 reviews755 followers
February 27, 2021
First things first, where the hell is the sequel???

Holy crap, talk about abuse, manipulation and how twisted a person can be! Shay, you sick motherfucker, get some help!

Despite being frustrated with Mina most of the time, I'm rooting furiously for her because I can see how trapped she is, caged by an obsessive love and suffocating sick protectiveness.

I have to say, there was some telling at the beginning that distracted me. I kept going back to see if what I was reading was really necessary, or if there was another way. However, at some point, that stopped bothering me. I don't know if I got used to it or if the perspective of the story changed as Mina has grown.

Despite that, I couldn't put this down!

Now, you evil author, hurry up.

Profile Image for Rose.
281 reviews34 followers
May 25, 2022
"I hope one day, you’ll forgive me, Sweetness. I never wanted to hurt you. I just… I-I wanted us to be forever…”💔

I'm honestly speechless. This book was amazing to read, from page 1 until the end. I couldn't put it down and had to read book 2 right after to know what happened. So this review covers both books.

This is the story of anti-hero Shay, who falls in love with his step sister, Mina. He was a monster, dominating, possessive, manipulative, controlling, and selfish in his love over Mina. Nothing redeemable about his character, except that he cared for her and was willing to commit the most heinous of crimes to be with her.

" It’s dark and twisted!....He’s broken you down and put you together again in a way that suits him, but it’s not who you really are!”

The book was so uncomfortable to read at times, knowing how possessive he was of her, when she was only a child. So many moments between them when she was only a child, was crossing the line... I truly wish that the author didn't give them a big age gap like this, because i would have been able understand Shay a little better.

"Mina, you are all I have that is good. The darkness in my head, it’s killing me. I’m falling into it and I don’t know how to make it stop."

Shay was mentally abusing Mina. Because in a way, his twisted mind understood love in a totally different way. He was so manipulative, that he controlled every aspect of her life. His mind games and twisted ideas in what love is, was disturbing yet addicting to read throughout the story... but somehow I didn't like his abrupt ending. It was so devastating somehow. When he finally did the one selfless act, it ended.

"I had all and then most of you
Some and now none of you
Take me back to the night we met I don't know what I'm supposed to do
Haunted by the ghost of you
Oh, take me back to the night we met..."💔

I wish the author would have made him change, extended the story a bit, for him to suffer for his crimes...to redeem his character more in the end. ....But, the author's note explained her thoughts, and how she felt about Shay's mental illness, and how far off he was gone, to be able to redeem himself and change for the better. It was a sad and realistic way to view his life.

"I’ve always been selfish with you. I broke you. I never wanted this. And now, I’m going to let you go..to keep you safe."

I loved how multidimensional all the characters were. How sad her mother's life and death was. How James was selfish, a monster, and still has human qualities. How Mina saw the world through her child eyes, and how her perception of the world changed, the moment she grew up and realized that her brother doesn't see her the way she sees him. I also loved Keenan, and wish there was more to his character. But I felt he was more a friend than a lover to her.

"how I felt with Keenan… there’s no comparison. With Keenan, I know he is selfless with me. I know he wants me to succeed and get out of this...being with Shay...he doesn’t want what’s best for me. He wants me to be what he needs.”

I would highly recommend this series, if you love dark, angst, and twisted characters.

Rating 4.5 dark and twisted stars 🌟
Profile Image for Ms reads a lot.
403 reviews
June 9, 2022
This book ends in a cliffhanger so you have to read book 2 to find out what happens in the series. Having read book 2, I wish I hadn’t wasted my time with this series. These books are not romance novels. So if you’re reading this expecting a dark romance novel where h and H end up together (which was what I was expecting), then you’ll be sorely disappointed.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Nelly.
246 reviews1 follower
June 21, 2021
That's it, I'm over with this book.

This was another book about obsessive, stalking semi-bullying that didn't quite hit the mark. Although some authors master this trope beautifully, this one squandered the opportunity to create something memorable.

The chapters after the first one intrigued me so I continued to read, but I didn't find anything interesting after that. Because the writing was substandard soon after, the plot was virtually non-existent and what little story there was wasn't thrilling.

My interest in this book was not as piqued as I had hoped. Even worse, I disliked a lot of the world building, as well as the random information that did not seem to fit into the story. It was a bit boring to be honest. I did not connect to the story, plot or characters the way I expected, so I am marking it as a DNF. I tried my very best to complete it, I really did. A couple of chapters into the book, I was like, "Nope.".

The first thing I disliked about the book is that it was written in the point of view of a seven year old. That did nothing to advance the plot. It was then that my eyes rolled so much that I thought they were coming out of their sockets.

There is nothing remotely interesting or likable about the story, the characters, or its plot. The hero Shay was self-centered, controlling, and it's hard to believe the heroine was able to accept his manipulative tendencies as love.

Shay's obsession added yet another shock value to an uninteresting story with annoying characters. There were also some clunky and rudimentary sentences, as well as odd word choices that slowed down reading.

Mina's inner dialogue was difficult to follow as it sounded unnatural. Many of her thoughts were cliches and just not very interesting.

There were a lot of things that I disliked about both the main characters and the side characters. Also, I loathe the forced tropey bully romance between these two.

In light of how disappointed I was with this novel, I am now back in a reading slump.

Although this book had the potential to be amazing, it failed to live up to expectations.
Profile Image for ʟᴇxɪᴇ.
102 reviews187 followers
March 9, 2021
•Minor Spoilers• (not really)

This book was SO BAD!
Oh my god I don't even know where to start!
First off every single character got on my last nerve they genuinely all sucked! The mom was a joke, the step dad was a woman beater by day and a useless ass by night who literally could not control his son 99% of the time, Mina was a literal stupid bitch and omfg don't get me started on Shay! ( I will literally ramble on and on, he infuriated me beyond belief like he's a damn fictional character but Istg I'll THROW HANDS!) >:(

Second, now I'm all for a messed up book, I was excited for the age gap, manipulation and abuse but this was soooooo boring like the chapters were stupid long and filled with useless info and it took forever for some thing relevant to happen! The character developmet was terrible, the obsessiveness was so repetitive, (in the worst way) the PET NAMES "Sweetness" from the 13 yr old step brother to the 7yr old girl and the step dad calling her "baby girl" *GAG* it was so terrible.
OH and the MF dad and son fucking in the same room together like in what world is that normal?! The whole biker gang bs grew so old so fast and the story had no real closing!

Overall Mina's life is ruined and she constantly lives in fear because the mom was a desperate dumb bitch who married a horrible horrible man and his whack ass son!
I'm so upset with this book I almost DNF but I pushed through it thinking something could save the story (nothing did) I could go on forever on why I hated this but I'll stop. There was about two good scenes that's what gave it one star. Some people will enjoy the book and I really hope they do but this was not it for me.
Profile Image for Carla Bulian.
1,265 reviews239 followers
February 22, 2021
4,5. My heart is still racing for this book!
What I just finish read?
It’s worth the reading!
Profile Image for M.
745 reviews814 followers
January 25, 2022

“ You’re a little ray of light, Mina. A ray of light in all of our dark, shitty lives...”

guys idk i'm a mess tbh. i thought sleeping on it would help me decide but i'm stuck. I LOVE this book i thought i was gonna lower my rating because the back and forth flashbacks irritated me but you know what mira shut the fuck up, respectfully.

anyway spoilers ahead, ya babies leave.

dylan page needs an award because i was rooting for shay THIS WHOLE time but out of nowhere keenan legit made my heart <3 i'm never like this, i always root for one guy. i'm so lost and confused and god idk.

i LOVE shay and now i'm kinda 100% sure she won't end up with him. it may end with him dying and mina will get her HEA or mina is gonna die and shay is gonna sit there and cry bc his baby girl is dead.

OR maybe she pretends to die and has HEA while listen i have so many thoughts i know i'm right SOMEWHERE.

guys a day later and i'm still:

tbh shay's manipulation in this book was so fluffy compared to book 2 (yes i started it already), i found it funny at times.

“Mina, I need you. I need your help… I-I…” He sounded like he was choking. “I can feel-feel the dark cloud in my mind. It’s-it’s growing. It’s drowning me! I need you!”

PLEASE i couldn't. I WAS LAUGHING bitch really went cry cry cry cry cry manipulate cry cry cry cry cry manipulate. i love him istg. i don't usually like whinny guys but shay just delivered on another LEVEL.

“Mina, you are all I have that is good. The darkness in my head, it’s killing me. I’m falling into it and I don’t know how to make it stop. All I know is that when you’re with me, I feel better. That dark cloud in my mind goes away. I need to know I still have you. If I don’t… if you don’t… I…”

“Mina,” he snapped, “other guys… they’ll hurt you. They’ll use you up and throw you away like you’re garbage! They’ll never love you, or cherish you. They won’t appreciate what you are… how perfect you are. Not like I do.”

“No, Shay. It’s not that. I just don’t see you like I see-”
His head snaps up, his eyes wide and furious, and I can feel the change in him. The shaking stops. His body becomes stone as he fixes me with a malicious glare. “What did you just say?”
Oh. My. Fucking. God… No! “I-I…”

“Who is he?” He seizes my face tight and gives me a small shake. “Who? Who the fuck is he?”

how i imagined shay for 89% of the book:

how i imagined james 100% of this book:

shay with mina:

anyways, i love this book lemme go fucking fuck up my life a lil more.
Profile Image for Llakshmi.
359 reviews241 followers
June 4, 2021
DNF for now

I think you should be in a certain mood for this book and I’m pretty sure I’m miles away from that mood. This was a ‘it’s me not the book’ kind of situation.

I went into this completely blind and I gotta be honest I didn’t know who I rooting for more, Shay or Keenan.

I’ll probably pick this up another time. The storyline got a little too boring for me and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Shay kind of reminded me of Massimo with the whole “baby-girl” thing going on. But a hotter, less cringe version of him that didn’t make me want to bleach my eyes and hears
Profile Image for Fiverrr.
407 reviews163 followers
April 24, 2021
Now I understand the tittle:”the bleeding hearts”. They are really bleeding . I have no words to describe how fucked up everyone is. If I could describe Shay in four words, would be manipulative, possessive, intelligent and a psychopath.

“Last night... you understand why I did that to you?”
At the mention of the spanking, I blanched a little, shaking slightly as his hand shifted so that he was holding my chin in his fingers. “Yes,” I breathed, my voice lost.
“Because you were being smart with me.”

Reading this book was like drinking ten liters of toxins. This book will fuck up your mind .

I need to read the next part💀💀💀💀💀
Profile Image for Precious ✨.
471 reviews68 followers
August 10, 2021
I’ve got heart palpitations.. this book is stressful and not conducive to my college assignments. Looking at myself in the mirror, like “who are you?” 😭

I’m immediately on my way to the next one and trust no one. Not even my ship. 😫 I’m so worked up I don’t even wanna hope there is some HEA.

36 hours later: I am here to give me a sloppy review of my feelings.
I will start by saying what you have probably already read in other reviews... this is not a happy love story. The blurb was accurate and in no way will you not be uncomfortable at some point. However, you will still find yourself sinking further into the fantastic writing of this author.

This story is about Mina and the obsessive love she finds herself in. This part of the duet flips back and forth between the past and present day. Not really a fan of the back and forth but it works and shows how things from our childhood, the hidden and subtle things we grow up with show up in us in later in our lives.

Now I knew she was going to be young but when the first sentence was
Present Day Mina: Sixteen Years Old June
Me -> description

Like 16 going on 17 is present-day?! Kill me now please.

back to the story, we are flopping back and forth between Mina just surviving an home attack that killed her mother and to her first initial meeting with Shay (the ML) and his father (her step-father) James, and subsequently the MC life. The MC trope doesn't really hit for me but it is a perfect setting for this toxicity. The first time 6/7-year-old Mina meets Shay is when James brings her and her mother, Emily, to his MC annual BBQ and 13-year-old Shay is literally in a rager of a fistfight with the other boys while the parents watch

Poor Emily is starting to figure out that this "club" of his is not of an innocent kind and while James goes off to "set her straight" (again poor woman) he leaves Mina with Shay to watch over her and for them it's love at first sight. The normal good kind big bro/little sis.

Now the alternating chapters move over the years and the past does gradually meet up with the present by the time we get to the end of the book and to the event of the assault. So it's again important and imperative that you read because this is how you can piece together how she finds herself in the situation she is in. She is literally manipulated through her childhood into becoming his crutch and obsession.

“Mina, I need you. I need your help... I-I..." He sounded like he was choking. "I can feel-feel the dark cloud in my mind. It's-it's drowning me! I need you!”

Now as it gets closer to her being a teenager I am over here looking for all the signs to tell me who did the horrible thing

and also I am totally screwed up in my mind cause I am looking at everyone like "ya'll all mad sus."
- except Gavin. :)
This is why I put this on my suspense shelf cause I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop at all times.

However, through these flashbacks, we do get pieces of Keenan our second male lead. Granted I would not sell you on this by saying it is a love triangle, but Keenan does make a great comparison to what should be and is the more appropriate and healthy way a relationship of this age gap can be like. The age gap isn't big it is just shortly after the time of consent for Mina, who let us be real is still a child in the ways that matter. He provides great contrast from Shay and the way Shay interacts and controls Mina.

but as far as this book is concern... in short it look like this:

“Whatever happens, don’t let anyone steal your light. Understand?” Keenan leaned forward and kissed the tip of my nose and flashed me his trademark, confident crooked smile.

I Keenan stan even if he is only in the book less than 30%.



while in the present she is fully immersed in all things Shay and let me tell you, it was the beginning of the end. phew..

Well here's my messy thoughts cause I am scared I am going to overshare and spoil or spoil book two. Which I am now about to do a review of- hopefully, tonight lol

TL;DR: I felt super bad for Mina's mom Emily -insert moment of silence here-
Shay needs therapy (and so do I because I was sympathizing a little too much)
Mina, girl, you should've run
Everyone is awful in their own way and low-key an accomplice in my eyes
I still want you to read this story.
Profile Image for The Romantic Rush Blog.
1,670 reviews814 followers
January 18, 2021
What a spectacular and original debut! Torment is unexpected, emotionally intense, psychologically riveting, and captivatingly dark. With every passing I was more intrigued, more emotionally invested, thoroughly consumed. This is not like any MC story you’ve read, and I could not put it down.

I don’t want to say much about this plot, other than you should check your expectations at the door. This story made me twitchy. Mina’s story is more than complicated- a young woman who came of age surrounded by depravity and secrets. She’s a character that is all light, a light that heals and soothes the dark men around her. But growing up in that world takes its toll on her heart and mind- and when you grow up in a world that isn’t usual, a world full of intense and complicated relationships, it skews your understanding of those you love. What is psychologically and emotionally healthy and what isn’t? My mind changed about 100 times in terms of what I wanted to be true, and in the end, my jaw was on the ground.

Well, that is what Torment explores- and with Dylan does it beautifully. Like Mina, we’re sucked into this life- and as we explore her life is the more distance past, the very recent, and the present, we’re sucked into her psyche as WE try to make meaning of the relationships that she has with those around her- and we try to figure out what is right and what is not, why we have the weird feelings that we do, and just what is going on.It’s dark and twisted in places, titillating in others, and at time heartbreaking and disturbing. A total mind-f- and in the end, you’ll be jolted, battered, confused, and completely shaken.

I’ve read nothing like this in the MC genre- this is a fresh and inspired spin on the subgenre. This is a writer with a point of view- one that unsettles you, but one that captivates. The story, the characters, the twist and turns are so artfully done.Dylan has such a deliciously meta and immersive writing style.Our narrative is told in parallels- extended flashbacks and present day. In fact, the majority of the story takes place in the past. An interesting narrative choice-and I know some readers don’t love the flashback approach- but trust it here. They are extended, incredibly detailed vignettes into how the life of a young girl was irrevocably changed, but instead of big moments, Dylan chooses to give us small but transformative ones- ones that are permanently stamped on the heart and soul of our heroine. I’ll admit, at first I felt they were too immersive, but I started to get enough clues and then started to have a more intense emotional reaction, and then I realized the brilliance of the approach. We’re understanding the world as Mina does- trying to make meaning of the same small but substantial moments that mark a gradual descent into a dangerous and unhealthy place...but a descent that happened so subtlety that we, like Mina, are wondering how we misinterpreted or excused all the subtle clues. It is intellectually intriguing, but also emotionally unsettling, because Dylan is so cleverly showing us how the juxtaposition of love and toxicity. And that? Woah, that sticks with you.

I’m still thinking about this book days later, and in my book, that’s the hallmark of powerful storytelling. I don’t know what I really think or feel, other than I can’t wait for book 2.

Trigger warning: taboo, violence, other disturbing elements
Profile Image for Lori [semi-hiatus].
276 reviews164 followers
June 5, 2021
Review for complete duet

Update after some deliberation.
I actually agree with the way Dylan ended the book, and it's the only way she could have done so to redeem Shay. So I am very happy with that.
That being said, this book needs a solid warning upfront that there is no traditional HEA, maybe not even a HEA at all depending on your perception.
As such it shouldn't be labeled a romance, rather just a love story.
If you want to know how it ends, check the spoiler tag at your own discretion. But I believe this is something a reader should know to make a decision whether to read this or not, and when, since it can be triggering.

*Still no rating because I'm torn. 4* for the story, 1* for romance, so there's that.

Profile Image for Pinky.
508 reviews354 followers
August 11, 2021
Trigger Warnings:

I feel so conflicted right now, I don’t know how to feel. I read this book in one sitting, I couldn’t stop even when it was 3AM in the morning, I just wanted to know what happened next. This book felt like it crossed all the lines. I knew this book had flashbacks but the grooming though, there were just some major pedo-vibes with the characters in this. I pushed past it but then some stuff happened and I was like I dunno if I ship them anymore. I felt like I had to take a little longer to get used to the writing style, it had too many exclamation marks, but it was well written still, even if Mina came off as childish and immature. Then again I read The Unwanted Wife and it had a lotta exclamation marks. Honestly, I just wanna continue reading but I wanna write this so I remember what happened. If you’re curious and are thinking of reading this, just know that this book does have disturbing content, just check the trigger warnings I have up (it does have spoilers though), it is a romance between two step-siblings. This is a dark romance and the book does come with a warning but I shall warn you once again, stay away from this if any of that stuff does bother you or trigger you in any way because this book doesn’t sugarcoat things.

When Mina was 7, her mother married a guy who seemed very different from her father. James had a buncha tattoos, was clearly intimidating, and had a son named Shay. Shay was 13, constantly in fistfights, and was the clear definition for trouble. But Mina didn’t expect to feel so protected and loved by these men. Especially Shay, he’s constantly protecting her and there for her when she needs him and it seems as though he needs her too. Fast forward to the present day, Mina is 16, wakes up, and forgot what happened. All she remembers is screaming, loss and darkness.

Now for spoilers

I’ll be off, stay safe folks.
Profile Image for Naksed.
2,987 reviews
April 18, 2021
Feels like an elaborate fanfic inspired by Madeline Sheehan’s Undeniable. Good writing but OH GOD the contents were SO disturbing. I can’t call this a romance or even a dark romance because it feels more like a super realistic, super cringey portrayal of a predator groooming his prey since she was very young. I don’t know what is more chilling, his actions or the fact that EVERYONE around who witnessed the grooming (even her own mother) did NOTHING to extricate her from the situation. They were all complicit. The high rating is because the story engrossed me and I want to read the sequel in order for the protagonist to succeed in saving herself from the hands of her abuser and this monster to die a very slow, very excruciating death via a thousand paper cuts :(
Profile Image for Gina .
365 reviews55 followers
May 24, 2022

Update to give this 5 💫 like wtf was I thinking it’s crazy the amount of times I come back to this book and still think about it.

If you want a side to pick good guy bad boy there really isn’t one

IMO both Kennan and shay are having a interest in Mina at a early age for her. And just because it’s not sexual didn’t mean it wasn’t going to be .. and they both knew that

So when you really think about it Kennan isn’t that good

my heart broke for mina’s mother and if anyone treated my mother that way for years wouldn’t just get away with it like it be good if Mina wanted to kill James

Ultimately this was just on the oKay reads for me not bad but not really that great either

OW/scenes she walks in on the club having sex sees shay with one of them

Kennan is still a mystery but there’s no scenes with him
Profile Image for Amz.
107 reviews14 followers
July 13, 2021
The ages are making me uncomfy, but I’m still having fun with this toxic mess 🤯😌
Profile Image for Vellini.
107 reviews31 followers
February 6, 2021
What can I say about this book other than it's the best MC romance I've read so far. It's in the same level as Undeniable (Even better IMO), and I think it's this author's first book... waw, just waw! I can't wait for the second installement, and for all what this author will write in the future.
Profile Image for Valentina.
1,002 reviews252 followers
January 18, 2021
Heart-wrenching emotion

4.5 stars

A very moving story with a depth of feeling, it recounts the coming of age of Mina, altruistic, mature, and light-hearted, within the MC lifestyle and her dysfunctional family. Her main relations include broody older stepbrother Shay, riding name “Manic”; his enemy, her friend Kennan; her mother and stepfather Jake.

Torment Part One teaser

The plot line covers Mina's formative years from age 7 to 17 in episodes of present and past culminating into an explosive cliffhanger tying the two periods together.

I loved the characters in this book -- Mina, empathetic, self-sacrificing subject of emotional blackmail, and the light to darkness of her family: Shay, Jake, and even her mother. Shay, moody, possessive, often unhinged, was so realistically depicted I could feel his presence, empathize that his upbringing and lifestyle flamed the darkness of his character. Giving her first comforting daisy, Mina was the light and salve to Shay's tenebrous clouds and his unpredictable demons. I experienced Mina's turmoil in being not only his but also her family's personal support system, burdensome and unfair for a child. I also relished Shay's broodiness, his bad boy demeanor and aggression -- alpha male all the way. Mina’s secret friend / confidant of several years and budding love interest, Kennan was the foil to Shay. By all appearances thoughtful, definitely alpha, and seemingly a voice of reason, Kennan was also embroiled in the MC lifestyle, a rival on the right side of the law of questionable dealings. While Mina was portrayed as almost perfect, every character was flawed, broken in some way, which made the book relatable. I found myself identifying with the characters, not agreeing with their choices, but understanding their circumstances. I had a personal interest in Shay as the disturbed, bad boy antihero. Yes to bad boys, the broodier the better.

Blossoming sexual tension, Mina’s unawareness to discovery of attraction and her awakening were intriguing to experience because they were at the same time conflicting to her and taboo. Taboo themes added that forbidden fruit element that carried trepidation to the storyline as to what might happen. Generally, though, this was a romance tending toward clean with only a couple of episodes of steam along with some question of consent.

A lengthier drama, so settle in for a slow burn that grabs at the emotions. For this story, I would have liked multiple points of view even if knowing mainly the heroine's line of thinking / feeling added to the probable intended confusion and thrill. I also found the constant switch from present to past, past to present distracting and would have wished for less of that technique, as just when I was following, I was pulled back into Mina's past having to retain and carry forward the events of the present.

Excellent visualization imprinted in my mind -- from the growl and rumble of motorcycles to the spray of rebounded water against my skin, sunshine on my face, the clack of leather and sure-footed steps of boots, flourishing black ink of tattoos, and love's first kiss all underscored with harmonious music. This was a remarkable, original story. I was moved. Daisies in hand, I eagerly anticipate part two.
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