Book Review : Black Sheep (Dark Desires #2) by Zara Cox
In a family of cold-hearted black sheep,
I, Axel Rutherford, am the blackest.
My father has hated me since the day I was born. The feeling was mutual. In the shady underworld that was my legacy, Cleo McCarthy became my light. She was beautiful, passionate, and my whole world. So naturally my father had to destroy us. First he sent me away. Next he claimed Cleo as his own. But now I’ve returned, and nothing will stop me from taking back everything that is rightfully mine.
He was the love of my life – when my life was still my own.
We were young enough to believe we would last forever, Axel and I. But neither of us realized how cruel life – and our families – could be. Now I’m trapped in a gilded cage : desired by Axel, who must never know the full truth, and controlled by his father, who would sooner see me dead than free. And I wouldn’t even care, except that it’s no longer only my life at stake.
This book is part of the Dark Desires series. “Black Sheep” is the second installation to the series, you can check out my review of the first book here
A Sneak Peek Into The Story :
Since he was sixteen years old, Axel had known that he would forever love Cleo McCarthy. She was his everything. From her sexy voice, her blue eyes to her killer curves that made him wants to kill every single man that laid their eyes on her, he knew he was doomed.
“ I was ready to die the first time I looked into her eyes. As long as I died in her arms.”
She said he was her Romeo, and he believed her. Oh, did he believed her. He loved, worshiped, and obsessed about her. There was no time in a day where he didn’t thinking about her. Little did he know, all she was doing was act. All these time that they spent together; laughing, kissing, fucking, was all a means to an end.
“The irony was that I was the only fool in the piece.
I may have accepted my role as Romeo, but her name wasn’t Juliet.”
Little Ms. McCarthy was able to twist and turn him so skillfully in her little hands that he finally cracked. His father had been pressing him to join the military recently, and he had outrightly rejected because he didn’t want to leave Cleo’s side. But then Cleo came to him, she pleaded with him so that he go. She spent 3 days convincing him how good joining the army would be for his future, and he reluctantly agreed. For her. These days, almost everything he did was for her, he never once doubted the depth of his feelings for her. And he stupidly thought that Cleo felt the same for him.
Being in the army for 2 years, he thought about Cleo often. And after two years of separation from Cleo, he had almost hit his breaking point. He wanted out, he wanted to go back home and see her, be with her. That was when a mail was sent to him, inside containing a video. And what he saw next, changed his life forever. Instead of leaving, he decided to stay and train. He trained to be the deadliest soldier alive. His whole perspective changed. Since that day on, revenge is what keeps him going. He is certain that he will get his revenge. What he still doesn’t understand is why. Why did Cleo did it? What couldn’t he gave her that his father can?
“So now I watch her. She watches me.
Strangers. Enemies. Our hate sparks between us like forked lightning. Bitter, twisted. Alive.”
On a Tuesday night, Cleo is here again, in Axel’s notorious night club, wanting to talk to him. She has been coming here almost everyday in the past two weeks. Yet, all Axel does is lock her away in the VIP section while drilling holes into her with the way he stares at her. And Cleo does the same, she returns his venomous stare with a glare of her own. She wouldn’t have even come close to this club if not for Finnan Rutherford, Axel’s father.
These days, when so much is on the line, she cannot afford to fail. Yet, with each and everyday that Axel sends her back without accepting her request to talk, she knows she is failing and Finnan doesn’t take failure well. Finnan believes she is still Axel’s achilles’ hill, that she still means something to Axel. Now staring at him from her VIP area across from where he is, she knows Finnan is wrong. If the way he glares at her is any indication, all he feels for her now is hatred.
There was a time when Axel would have paved a path of pure silk for her if she had wished to walk barefoot across the world. A time when her every wish was his command. And now all that was left between them was loathing. Hatred piled on top of hatred. Cleo once thought that Axel truly loved her, of course, with now naive she was back then, she would have believed every single word that came from Axel’s mouth. Because he was the love of her life, and he wouldn’t do anything to ever hurt her. Or at least that was what she believed. And she was wrong.
Now, her life is no longer her own. She is following orders, and doing what she is told to do to keep people around her safe and alive. The only thing that sustains her now is revenge. It is what keeps her breathing and helps her place one foot in front of the other. And it is what she lives for now.
After reading my first Zara Cox book, Beautiful Liar, I am excited to start reading this one as I really enjoyed the Beautiful Liar. But after I finished this book, I don’t know, I just find it kind of meh.
Axel Rutherford is the epitome of sexy and successful. With over 37 clubs all over the world and with a net worth of billions of dollars, you can imagine girls throw themselves at him at every chances they get. And he uses that to his advantage. When he feels like it, he has sex like there is no tomorrow, with almost any girls that he wants.
Being that now he is financially stable, he is also directing his power and wealth into destroying his father, and alongside him, Cleo. Thinking about her still makes him hurt, but he is forcing himself to get over it. His end goal is to destroy the Rutherford Empire, and as of late, it seems like he is succeeding with Cleo in his club, sent to negotiate with him on his father’s behalf.
For one, I must say, Axel’s character is very well written. Since the first time I read about him in Beautiful Liar, I already know he will have one hell of a story to him, and I wasn’t wrong. He is a very strong character with flaws of his own, but I think all of it is presented and written very beautifully in this book.
The problem that I am having, is with the heroine, Cleo McCarthy. I wanted to like her, I really did. The start of their story is very promising, with her also having her own secrets to hide and the people she cared about that she wanted to protect. But as the story continues and I read more, I realize that I wasn’t able to connect with her at all, while I had no problem connecting with Axel’s character. With Axel, it seems like it is made clear what his motives are and why he does what he did, but with her, I don’t know, she says she is planning for revenge, but there are no indication whatsoever that she is doing anything to achieve that goal.
There is almost nothing about her that wants to root for her as a character, other than the fact that Axel still can’t get over her. Moreover, I get that this book has a high level of angst, but sometimes, I feel like she says the most hurtful things towards him out of nowhere at all.
“You thrived in the army, hell, you positively excelled. I may not know much, but I know they don’t hand out medals on a whim. You may not have wanted to go, but in the end, was it all so bad?”
His ragged hiss stops my breath. The knowledge that I’ve touched a nerve, perhaps one so raw it’s a live grenade, smashes through me a second too late.
I am a big believer that every single character in the book should add something to the story, either good or bad. But Cleo, she doesn’t seem like she is doing anything other than being pushed around by powerful men throughout the book. For all the saying about how tough and strong-willed she is, she seems pretty weak to me.
She doesn’t do anything for herself, she doesn’t stand up for herself. All she does is breathe and be alive and somehow expects someone to do all the work for her. I think my biggest pet peeve when it comes to reading a book is when it has the “damsel in distress” type of characters. What I mean by that is those type of characters who just sits there and be pretty and won’t think for themselves. I like the characters I read to have fire and determination in them, and with the heroine in this book, none of that happened. She is just a damsel-in-distress who likes staying distressed and refuses to do anything about it.
Would I Recommend ?
Other than that, I enjoyed the writing a lot. It is written in dual POV, so you can understand better what the hero and the heroine is thinking. And with Ms. Cox and her writing style, you already know you’re in for a treat. She has a way of writing that is able to build the world around you so vividly it makes you feel like you’re the one experiencing the whole thing. Sadly, in “Black Sheep” it feels like the good writing is wasted because I wasn’t able to feel anything other than annoyance with the heroine throughout the book.
As much as I dislike the heroine, I have to commend Ms. Cox for her ability to paint Axel’s character so vividly. It is as if, he comes to life through the her writing. I really admire the way she is able to write so beautifully and yet it seems so effortless at the same time. I truly believe that this book has the potential of being a bomb-ass book had she created a heroine who knows what she wants, stick to it and do whatever she can to try to achieve it, rather than one who just goes with the flow.
“She’s the purest drug, the highest high.
Nothing I’ve had in my doomed life comes close to what I’m experiencing with her.”