Thank you for the advanced copy of THE BAD ONES by Stylo Fantome. All opinions are my own.
Love isn’t always bright and shiny.
Sometimes, it’s dirty and wrong, buried six feet deep in a secret place where only wild things dare to go. Hidden behind a big black curtain that covers things no one should ever see.
Sometimes it happens between two people who should never be allowed to come together. One who is a match, and the other who just happens to be gasoline.
One strike is all it takes to burn the whole world down, and that’s exactly what they plan on doing.
Even if it kills them.
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Calling The Bad Ones a ‘dark romance’ is an understatement and doesn’t even scratch the surface of this twisted tale. That doesn’t mean I didn’t love it, though. What does that say about me?
I read this in one sitting, until 4 am mind you, because I was so engrossed in the story and had to find out what happens. My eyes were flying across my Kindle, my heart was racing, and I couldn’t sleep after I finished. Whew, that was a wild ride and a very late night.
The Bad Ones is the brilliantly written, delightfully devious, and frighteningly psychotic story of Constantine and Dulcie–kind of “American Psycho” meets “Kalifornia” if you will.
What I do know is that it may make you question both your sanity and the author’s as you read it. However, the writing is so good, you can’t help but be drawn into their evil web.
Dulcie and Constantine are from completely different backgrounds, but the monster that lives inside of them recognizes it in each other. While Constantine knows exactly what he is, Dulcie is just realizing what makes her different from ‘normal’ people.
After a horrific event in the woods, they discover just how similar they are and their fate is sealed. No one is safe with these two working in tandem. It was frightening to me to see that I wanted them to ride off into the sunset together, leaving their town burning at their feet (again, I am questioning my sanity).
This is my first book by Stylo Fantome. Her writing in The Bad Ones is truly genius and the layers of the story are finely crafted. I can say with certainty that I will be reading anything she writes from here on out.
Con finally unlocked the doors and she hefted herself into the massive vehicle. They sat in silence for a while, their breath fogging up the glass. Then he opened his mouth.
“Did he touch you?”
Dulcie knew he wasn’t asking about the homeless man.
“Not in any way that counts,” she replied, turning to look at him. His hands had moved to grip the steering wheel.
“So he has touched you.”
“Jared was just an experiment, I wanted to see if -”
“You let him f*cking touch you.”
“You f*cking left me!” she was suddenly screaming. He didn’t even flinch, just gripped the steering wheel harder. “You f*cking left me in this f*cking town, without a g-ddamn goodbye! Without a g-ddamn word! God, you have no idea what it’s been like. That f*cking camera, all those drawings. And there’s all these people, and talking, and feeling this way, and all the blackness, and I don’t even know what’s wrong with me, and nothing. You come back, and it’s like nothing to you. Oh hey, Dulcie. Where’s your sketchbook, Dulcie. Come to a party, Dulcie. Let me just f*ck this chick in the woods, Dulcie. So you know what? Yeah, he f*cking touched me. I let him f*cking touch me. And I hated every minute of it, and I would pretend it was you, and I would hate you, and I would hate myself, and I just let it happen.”
Con lunged across the seat, and absurdly, her first thought was “wow, he’s really fast” before his fingers wrapped around her throat. She wasn’t fazed, though, and she pushed right back, slapping him across the face. This only caused him to clench both hands around her neck and he yanked her forward, dragging her to him so their faces were only inches apart.
“Stupid little Dulcie,” he whispered, his breath hot against her lips. She held onto his wrists and glared at him, but didn’t try to pull away. His fingers got tighter. “So scared of the big bad wolf.”
“I’m not … scared of you,” she managed to gasp out, but then his grip grew so tight he completely cut off her oxygen.
“Of course you aren’t scared of me. I’m not the wolf. You are.”
So that’s what was hiding behind the curtain. I wish you’d told me sooner, Con. We could’ve reveled in our darkness together.
It felt like a weight was lifted off her back. She’d been pretending for so long, and she hadn’t even realized it. Had conditioned herself to do it. It was easier to believe Con was the darkness, and she was simply drawn to it. Basking in his wake. But it was all a lie – she was every bit as dark as him. They were the same animal. She’d just been better at deceiving herself. And now they’d evolved into something else, into a new, higher being.
Her lungs were throbbing, screaming for oxygen. She could feel her pulse pounding behind her face. Her mouth was open, but she couldn’t make a sound. Black spots danced in front of her eyes, yet still they stared at each other. Recognizing each other, maybe for the first time ever.
Maybe for the last time.
What a way to die, looking into the face of this beautiful boy. What a gift.
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