Book Review : I Know What Love Is (I Know… #1) By Whitney Bianca
This is not a love story.
A chance encounter in a dark bar changed my life forever. I’ll never forget the events of that night and the days that followed. I’ll never be the same. He tried to break me, but now I’m stronger than ever.
I want him to pay. I want him to suffer. I want to be just as much of a monster as he is.
But maybe, deep down… I want him just as much as he wants me. Maybe we deserve each other. Maybe he knows me better than I know myself.
But I know what love is, and this is not it.
Warning: This dark erotic tale contains violence, explicit sexuality, and adult situations. The content may be considered objectionable, so please read at your own discretion.
A Sneak Peek Into The Story :
The night that changed my life forever was nothing special.
It was a typical Friday night in Texas. The music was loud and the booze was flowing. I didn’t see him at first. I was standing by the bar, my white tank top riding up the curve of my waist and my jean skirt riding low on my hips. I felt sexy, carefree. After a long work week, I just wanted to kick back, drink a few whiskey-and-Cokes, and get laid. I remember that, after all these years. I was definitely looking for a man to take home.
For a long time, I would think back on what I was wearing, like it made a lick of difference. I was dressed to get laid, quite honestly. Short skirt. Tight top. Black bra. Maybe I was asking for it. Maybe I was a bad girl with loose morals and dirty desires. Lots of people are under the illusion that good girls don’t get raped. Bad girls, though, are asking for trouble and deserve whatever they get. But hell no, I wasn’t asking for trouble, I swear. No one would ask for what happened to me. Silly me, I was looking to get lucky. What I got instead was a one way ticket to the dark side.
“His face hovered above mine, his damn beautiful face.
I hated how dreadfully handsome he was. Too bad he was a fucking psycho.”
It had nothing to do with my clothes.
He told me later, his voice rough in my ear, that it was my hair. Long and dark, I used to wear it down my back in a loose braid. He said he saw himself wrapping my braid around his big hand and pulling. Yanking me down. He always wanted me down—on my knees, on my stomach. Down. Beneath him.
And after awhile, he forced me to pretend to enjoy it. The sad thing is, eventually, I no longer had to pretend.
I did enjoy it.
That little tidbit? I’ve kept it to myself, all these years. Only he and I know how I come against his hard cock when he thrusts it into me, over and over.
I adapted to my environment.
“Elliot, the man I hated with all of my heart, kissed me like he loved me with all of his.”
If I was half as well-adjusted as I pretend to be, I might actually find something of worth in rehashing all this old bullshit. I wish I could be one of those women who uses her story to help others. I wish I could be one of those women who does tours of high schools and colleges to let other women know that they’re not alone. Rape is not something you asked for. Rape is not who you are.
Alas, I’m not well-adjusted. I’m just good at faking it.
She told me her name was Daisy, but that was a fucking lie. I didn’t find out until much later that her real name was Joan, like that rock chick Joan Jett. She and her namesake had a lot in common, actually. Sexy dark hair, an I-don’t-take-no-shit kind of attitude, and sneering lips. Sneering lips that looked fucking great stretched around my cock, once I forced all the fight out of her. I enjoyed that part—forcing her—a little too much, I admit.
Oh, fuck. That first night. My dick still gets hard when I think about it.
“I didn’t know where my madness began when it came to her.
I didn’t know when it ended.”
She was all tits and ass and long hair, and my eyes were on her the minute she walked into the bar. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen her there, in fact. A few weeks before, she’d come in with a few other girls, but she stood out like a beacon amongst all the rest.
Fuck, to this day, I don’t know why she chose me, but she did. It sounds real dumb, but her body called to me. The way she laughed and talked with her hair and hands flying. The way she posed for smiling pictures with the other chicks at her table. My eyes followed her everywhere she went. The way she moved was seared in my brain, and all I could think about was her. Holding her down. Tangling my hand in those silky strands of long, black hair. Sucking on her tits. Clamping my hands on her hips and fucking her, hard.
Ever since then, I’d been waiting.
Waiting to get her alone.
3 Words to Sum Up This Book :
INTENSE, PAGE-TURNER, RIVETING
If you have been following me either on this blog –– or Goodreads –– then you know that I have mentioned here and there that I have been having troubles with finishing books. It started out as fun and games in where I thought that since last year I have read around 100-150 books, that I have gotten snobbish and way more critical with the books I read, which leads to all the DNFs.
However, as time went on, this small and inconsequential problem seems to slowly snowballed to the point where I couldn’t read a few pages before I got bored and decided to put it down. It gotten so bad to the point where I worry about the continuity of this blog since 50% of it is about book reviews and just me babbling about books in general.
So you can understand my excitement when I found this book, picked it up without much of a thought and even less of an expectation, only to find out that I could not stop turning the pages and was sitting on the edge of my seat throughout the book. I was so immersed in the stories and characters that I wished my 2 and a half hour daily train commute could be longer just so I could have more time to read. I mean, you would have thought that I lost it at this point, and to be honest, reading characters as crazy as Joan and Elliot surely doesn’t help my case.
Let me just start off with the fact that both our lead female and male characters are coocoo. Be it for each other or because of one another. Out of all the dark romance novels that I have read thus far, and mind you, I have had my fair share of them, this one is by far one of the crazier ones character development wise.
Joan, our main female character, was kidnapped from a bar after she was raped. From then on, ensues a series of more rapes, beatings, attempted escape, failed attempted escape, and yet more beatings and even more non-consensual sex and one more attempted escape which leads to her freedom.
Or did it really?
Because what happened to Joan after she escaped from said abhorrent rapist Elliot, was the fact that she could not stop looking over her shoulder. At first it was from fear; when is he going to come for her? When will she finally run out of time? How badly is he going to punish her when he gets his hands on her?
“The worst monsters are the ones that don’t look like monsters,
because they fool you into complacency with their beauty.”
But then, gradually this waves of fear became woes of yearning. Why isn’t he coming for her? How many other females has he raped since Joan? Or was that it for him? That easily he had moved on from Joan and forgotten every single thing he did to her?
“Pain was black and white.
What he was doing to me existed in a gray area, and I hated the way he was making me feel.”
She couldn’t forget. No matter how hard she tried, there was a lingering desire to seek him out. Even knowing how dangerous it might be if she did happen to find him. Her life now was safe. Mundane and boring but safe. And Joan knew well that she shouldn’t play with fire, or that’s what she kept telling herself.
I might be wrong about a lot of things, but when I say this man has officially lost all his marbles when it comes to Joan, trust me, he’s quite literally insane when it comes to her.
There is nothing he wouldn’t do to get to her. Even if it means to murder in cold blood, to torture, to steal and lie. He would do absolutely anything for Joan. And when he said he loved her, I believed him. In his own warped logic, he does love her. In his own way, Elliot loves Joan with all that he’s capable of.
And he shows his love for her by wanting to completely invade her life, intertwine his and Joan’s life so much so that neither of them know where one’s start and where the other’s end.
Joan and Elliot.
Putting the names together almost made us sound like two normal people, in a normal relationship. Joan and Elliot live down the block. Joan and Elliot are coming over tonight for dinner. Joan and Elliot are going to fuck later.
It had a nice ring to it.
When it comes to reading, other than the plot, character development is definitely one of the most important things to pay attention to as well –– at least to me.
Joan, who started out as a sweet –– albeit a little dare-devil like –– girl next door, slowly changed into someone who is more authoritative. She used to be timid like a scaredy cat, but as time goes on and also as she slowly gets crazier and crazier, this girl seems to slowly start to understand how much she means to Elliot. Instead of running away from it however, she decided to embrace all that insanity and turned it into something that benefits her.
Elliot on the other hand, has gotten “softer” and more “gentle” as the story progresses. At first, when things didn’t go his way, he would literally beat it into submission. Yes, that includes Joan as well. However, as we go deeper and deeper into the story, there has been times where he had wanted to hit her, yet he had shown some restraint in it.
“I slapped her, hard, in punishment. I heard her gasp of pain, and it sent a shiver of lust through me. If I could hear that sound for the rest of my life, I could die a happy.”
I mean, I get that it’s not a big character development, but at least that’s something. Hey, baby steps, right?
HOW TWISTED ?
If you are interested about giving this book a try, you need to get into it knowing that this book contains rape, non-consensual sex, beating, blood, choking, you know all the nine yards.
“He had me, completely and totally. I was his captive, his sex doll, his slave.”
How dark does it get? To be honest, for me, I would give it an 7 out of 10. The first quarter was hard to read, but as the book goes on, and as you realize that their feelings –– be it lust or hatred or love –– is pretty much more or less mutual, it becomes easier to digest.
IS IT LOVE ?
This is not your normal romance novel. I mean, you should know that by now if you’re reading this deep into the review. Isn’t not our traditional girl meets boy type of relationship. Honestly, I’m not even sure if I can call this Stockholm syndrome.
“Her. Her. Her. Everything always comes down to Joan.
That’s why I’m in the shit I’m in now, because I can’t give up that fucking girl.”
All that I can say is that there is something between Joan and Elliot. Sure, Elliot might declare it as love. And of course, Joan can deny it all she wants, but at the end of the day they were attracted to one another. They keep trying to find their way back into each other even when it would have been so much simpler to cut loose and let go and continue to live their own lives like none of this ever happened.
But alas, that’s not the case.
“You were put on this earth for me,” he said roughly in my ear.
“You belonged to me the moment you were born.”
So some might call this love –– as fucked up as it is, some might call this a mental problem, some may call this an obsession or maybe they are simply 2 horrible people who deserves each other. I don’t know. But this is their story, and as a reader, my job is not to judge whether or not what they call “love” is false or correct.
My job as a reader is to sit, relax and enjoy the story. And thus far, I have been loving this rollercoaster of a ride.
The Verdict :
One of the reasons why I like to read some crazy-twisted-fucked-up book every once in a while is so that I don’t get comfortable in the books that I read. I like to challenge myself to go outside of my comfort zone every now and then. And it’s interesting to see how your perception of something or someone changes when you know their back story.
Because had you just told me : A guy raped a girl and now they are together.
The first thing that would have popped into my mind would have been : damn, people in the world are crazy these days.
It is books like these that challenges me to think abut other possibilities. Possibilities that may seem impossible. And to sometimes accept things as they are, as weird and as illogical as that may seem.
Would I recommend this book?
For sure. If you are someone who are down for an interesting read and are not afraid to walk down a path less traveled and maybe even ended up rooting for the bad guy, this one might be for you.
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