Betrayal and loss have changed Emily Riddle in ways she never thought possible. With a death wish guiding her every move, she's willing to compromise her morals, ethics, and instincts to bring to justice the men who've broken her heart... even if that means living a life underground, being someone she's not, and pretending to respect the very men she's positioning herself to take down.
As soon as she teams up with the district attorney, Tope Bryson, and agrees to be a member of his covert operation, she returns to the commune and convinces the patriarchal leaders she is the most qualified person to take on roles traditionally assigned to men. Desperate and without options, Owen, the commune's leader and Emily's father, agrees to a temporary change.
Emily takes full advantage of the opportunity and quickly proves to him, much to her brothers' dismay, that he can't live without having her in those critical roles and that she may be the best candidate for his next in command.
She and Tope quickly realize that the men of the commune consider a woman who threatens the good ol' boy system that's been in place for decades public enemy number one. Determined to protect Emily from her brothers, Tope plants an undercover officer and charismatic law student, Noah Babineaux, in the commune. Neither Tope nor Emily is prepared for the attention Noah pays her.
With a nothing-else-matters attitude, Emily focuses on her underground mission and pushes down her hate, anger, grief, and... blossoming feelings until they threaten to explode from the inside and tear her apart. It's a race against the clock to get the evidence necessary—and ultimately, the retaliation Emily craves—before a life of submissive brutality, or sibling jealousy, kills her.
Jennifer D's Review:
I have to start by saying I truly feel this is one of the best written series that most people of never heard of!! The author does an amazing job bring these characters to life and pulling at every emotion in me. It’s not your typical romance novel but at the core of it, a true love story is what you will find. This is the 2nd book in a series and if you haven’t read Gravebound, you really need to read it! Stop reading this review because I don’t want to spoil this first book for you! You will not be disappointed. This is told in multiple POV that I so love because we get a sense of the story at every angle.
The story revolves a family in a commune that might as well be in the 1800’s instead of the 21st century. Women have no rights. They are good for one thing, making babies. They are no allowed to look at men besides their husbands in the eye. They are not allowed to talk back to any man. In the commune you are either a wife or a whore, there are no in-betweens. The consequences for breaking those rules? A good beating and no complaining about it. Its acceptable to have black eyes and bruises if you’re a women. That just means you disrespected a man.
We start right were Gravebround left off. Emily has just lost the love of her life and has a new appreciation for Romeo and Juliet. She contemplates if her love is gone, why should she be allowed to go on. With Tope at her side, they have a mutual understanding of each other’s pain. They both loss the person they loved. With that they grow a friendship that hints at more. Emily does not feel right about this. She just lost the her true love but she feels so at ease with Tope. Tope has always loved Emily from the moment he saw her picture but also struggles with what is right.
With all Tope more determined to bring down the commune leaders for illegal activities, he decides to bring in an FBI agent that is anything but a regular agent. Noah has long hair, arms full of tattoos, and is drop dead gorgeous! He quickly charms Emily and works his way undercover in the commune. With that many things happen that I so never saw coming! He is able to gain the trust of the commune leaders and get in the inner circle. He is now able to access all he needs to bring them down. But also with Noah come more secrets and moments that keep you turning your pages.
I simply devoured this book in one sitting and loved every second of it. It’s not your typical contemporary romance but it’s full of suspense and heartbreak that will keep you up all night until you have finished! Even though on Goodreads there was not a book 3 listed in the series I sincerely hope that the author has a third book in store as I truly felt there was not a complete ending to the book. I was left with a feeling of is that it?? It can’t be the end! I was so invested in the characters and want some much more from them! This book along with the series gets 5 HUGE stars from me!
Grave Bound (Secrets#1)
Emily Riddle has lived her entire life inside a patriarchal commune led by her father. There are many rules, but the most important one, 'keep it in the commune', is the most difficult for her to follow... especially since the only people willing to champion her cause live on the outside.
When Emily learns her father has promised her to Lorenzo, a perverted man who has plans for her that extend well beyond marriage and kids, she rebels. Regardless of the consequences, she refuses to marry someone who'd rather beat her than caress her.
A day of hooky that starts out as a tiny act of defiance - sneaking out of the commune for a swim - turns into a day filled with hope. After spending time with Levi, a man camping near the lake, she finds what true romance looks like and catches a glimpse into a future that's filled with love and admiration rather than hate and submission.
That tiny peek is enough to change the course of Emily's existence and makes it nearly impossible for her to go back to the commune and pretend she'll ever be able to tolerate the life chosen for her instead of the life she longs for. One that includes Levi.
Fighting to escape the commune, its leaders, and her fiancé proves to be more dangerous than Emily expected. The secrets she knows, as the leader's daughter, will either follow her to the grave or send her - and Levi - there.
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Jennifer D's Review:
I was provided an ARC of this book for an honest review and to be honest I did intrigue me at bit but I had no real expectations going into it that I would love it. I cannot say enough about this book about what a great story it is! It had me at the edge of seat the entire time and left me pissed off! It is the first book in a series but I don’t feel like I was left with a major cliffhanger. I am looking forward to see what’s next in this series!
The story is about Emily Riddel, the sweet and innocent women that father runs a commune that might as well be running in the late 1800’s. They believe that women have their place and it’s to cater to the men, do their cooking, cleaning, and take care of what other needs they may have, if you know what I mean. They are not allowed to date or marry who they like. They are promised to whatever man sees fit by the commune leader who just happens to be Emily’s father Owen. The men always leave for the summer on “business” so Emily takes advantage of this time to have some fun down at the lake with her girlfriends. That’s when she meets that man of her dreams that will change her forever. It was love at first sight for Emily and Levi Bryson. He was lost and looking for his cousin, Tope the local district attorney, when he stubbles across the beautiful Emily. They have an instant connection and spend the next two days together. In that short amount of time they fall deeply in love and decide they need to do what they can to be together. Sounds great, right??? But standing in their way is the man who Emily is promised to Lorenzo. She has feels nothing but hate for him and would rather die than to marry him. Emily has one ally at the commune, her Aunt Tess. When it comes to the women of the commune, she is the leader and keeps them all in line little does anyone know Aunt Tess has been working with Tope for years to bring down the Owen and the others so the women can be free.
Not only is does this book follow the love story of Emily and Levi but it shows the heartbreaking life of the women at the commune and what they must endure day in and day out. They do know any other life so to them getting beatings and being told who to marry is normal. I could not imagine living a life like this. These women have no freedom to make their own choices, it like the womens revolution never happened.
When Emily suddenly falls ill and is hospitalized, the men are forced to come back and that’s when all hell seems to break loose. I was on the edge of my seat and could not turn those pages on my kindle fast enough! I am a firm believer of doing a review without giving out the secrets of the book. From this point on I could not put it down! This book is a definite must read and I will be looking forward to the second book, Under-Ground.
The author of Warrior, Secret, and Still Standing series—currently available—and Moral Dilemma and Underwater series—to be released in 2013/2014.
She lives in Texas with her husband, their nineteen-year-old daughter, and nine-year-old son. Besides being blessed with a supportive family, she counts her career as an administrator and registered nurse in not-for-profit hospitals among her most fulfilling accomplishments.