Tick, tick, tock.
That’s all I have now.
A small room, a photograph, and time.
They want me to trust them and confess my sins.
They told me they wouldn’t judge me—they lied.
I thought we could convince the world that this wasn’t a crime.
We were wrong.
Time doesn’t stand still.
The clock keeps ticking, the world is unconvinced, and now…
Now he is gone.
After reading the blurb for this book I had absolutely no idea what I was in for. I couldn’t even discern what the book was about. At all. I had no freaking idea. The synopsis is ridiculously vague. I’d conjured up all sorts of ideas: Maybe the heroine was kidnapped, locked up in some strange, dank, dark room. Maybe she’s a criminal. Could it be a forbidden romance? Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner.
Veiled Innocence is one of those forbidden student/teacher type books. Usually I HATE them. Loathe might even be a better word. This time around I’m happy to report that I find myself using a different four letter word. It starts with L and ends with ove.
Right off the bat you need to know that the book is told from two different time periods – before and after they’ve been “caught.” Before, Addison is a popular, slightly slutty, senior. She’s outgoing, driven, and determined to get what she wants. What she wants is a 32 year old history teacher named Grayson McKendrick. Right from the start their relationship just seems impossible. When has a love affair between a teacher and student even turned out well? It’s a disaster waiting to happen. Grayson tries to fight off Addison’s advances, tries to keep little Grayson in his pants, but the little guy has a mind of his own and apparently, so does his heart.
That was when she did the unexpected.
She placed her palm over my heart and tapped – one, two, three. One, two, three – before whispering, “You’re going to save me.”
It’s blatantly obvious that things take a pretty bad turn. The “after” portions are told from the confines of what basically equates to a psychiatric treatment facility. That kept me on my toes most of the book; the idea of some catastrophic event occurring, something so utterly horrific that it would land her in a place like that. As it turns out, Addison has already lived through enough horror to land her quite comfortably with in the confines of a padded cell… Let’s just say that her parents suck – a lot.
The clock and time in general play a very large role in the story. There is almost always some sort of ticking or time watching going on. It will all make sense. I promise. Just be aware that it’s a running theme throughout the novel. “Tick, tick, tock” stems from some pretty tough subject matter.
Not only does the book switch between points in time but points of view as well. It had the potential to cause a what-the-hell-is-going-on-and-who-the-hell-is-even-talking type reaction; somehow Ella Frank pulls the whole damn thing off. This is my first book of hers, but if this is any indication of her work, I will most definitely be reading more!
The ONLY thing that I had issue with was the ending. Unrealistic is an extremely large understatement. The whole thing was so far-fetched – sweet but far-fetched. I expected a little more closure. The story seemed to wrap up into this slightly sloppy little bow; somewhat incompletely and not at all securely fashioned.
I don’t want to ruin the story by saying any more. The main thing you need to know is that you NEED to read this book. It’s one of my favorites so far this year. The sex is hot, the characters are on point, and the storyline is completely captivating. This. Is. A. Must. Read. If you don’t already have it on your TBR list add it. Now.
I’d waited until he got out of the truck before approaching. I didn’t want his escape to be as easy as driving away. Standing in the small stone alcove of the gate, I knew it would be best to wait until he stepped away from the lit area. That way, any cars driving by wouldn’t be able to see us.
I wanted no excuses, no reason for him to worry, but I could see my silence had caused just as much concern as my presence would have. He turned to me, and I finally took a moment to really look at him the way I wanted to.
His hair was still pulled back but several pieces had now escaped and been pushed behind his ears. The darker stubble lining his square jaw made my fingers tingle with the need to touch.
“Oh, thank God,” he whispered, sounding relieved.
I thought he would move away from me once he knew I was safe. Instead, he reached out and squeezed my shoulder.
“I thought something had happened to you.”
I don’t think he realized that he was slowly massaging me.
“Jesus, don’t do that again. Okay?”
Taking another step closer, I agreed quietly. “Okay.”
He licked his lips and removed his hands, and I saw in his eyes the minute he decided it was time for some distance.
“What are you doing out here?” he asked. His casual black sports jacket shifted with the breeze, and all of a sudden I couldn’t remember why I was there. All I knew was that I wanted to touch him.
His voice had the ability to make all of the noise inside my head cease.
Blinking up at him, I finally answered, “Yes?”
“What are you doing out here?”
Moving in so my jacket brushed the front of his, I finally reached to touch him, but he grabbed my wrist, holding it away.
“No,” he told me, and his voice was so stern I probably should have heeded the warning…but I didn’t.
His head bent down, and when his face was a hairsbreadth from my own, he repeated, “No. Tell me why you’re here.”
His breath was warm as it ghosted over my lips, and I couldn’t help but part my own, hoping by some miracle I could taste him on my tongue.
“Why are you here? That’s a better question, don’t you think?”
“I know better than this.”
I reached up needing to touch him, but he took that hand too, holding them both prisoner. Being held in place with nowhere to go elicited a hunger in me that I didn’t yet understand. “Know better than what?”
“Than to be here.”
“Then go,” I offered.
That was all it took. He spun me around, backed me up against the truck, and had my arms pinned by my head so fast I lost my breath. Leaning in beside me until his mouth was by my ear, he rasped in an unsteady voice, “I can’t.”
I turned my head to face him and saw all of his turmoil, and finally, the full impact of his desire. “Then don’t.”
“You’re going to be the death of me.”
Life is full of ironies, because with him, I’d never felt more alive.
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