Release Blitz (Book Review, Excerpt & Giveaway): The Bad Ones by Stylo Fantome

The Bad Ones RDB

Title: The Bad Ones
Author: Stylo Fântome @StyloFantome
Rating: Rachel @RachelAnn901
Genre: Dark romance
Length: 254 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Happy Release Day to Stylo Fantome and her new book THE BAD ONES! Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card too – good luck! #ConnedIntoBeingBad

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The Bad Ones ebook cover

Synopsis

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.

Warning: this book contains graphic sex, extremely brutal violence, bad language, and people repeatedly and knowingly breaking the law.

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“Do you really think it’s that easy? That you can just walk away, little girl? Oh no. We’re in too deep, now. You can’t leave me anymore than I can leave you. So I hope you’re ready to buckle up, cause it’s gonna be a bumpy fucking ride.”

On the surface, Dulcie and Constantine could not be more different. He was the All-American golden boy of their small town. The son of the mayor and the star quarterback of the football team. Every girl wanted him and every guy wanted to be him. Dulcie was the girl from the wrong side of the tracks so to speak. She was trailer park trash with a junkie for a mother and brother. She was the quiet girl in high school who did her best to go unnoticed by everyone, content to live in her own world and draw in her art book. But Constantine sees her. From the moment he gets a look at her artwork he recognizes his perfect match in Dulcie, damaged souls who do their best to hide their true nature from everyone. Two bad people who are a match made in hell. Even though she doesn’t know it, someone finally sees Dulcie for she really is, and he watches her. Waiting for her. Biding his time until she finally sees him.

“He wanted to grab her by the arm and drag her out of the building. Take her into the woods and tear her apart. Become one with her, consume her. Find out what was wrong with him, and see if maybe she could cure him. Or even better –maybe find out she was the same.”

One fateful night, a shared act of violence near abandoned train tracks brings them together and seals their destiny in blood. Evil recognizes its counterpart in another. This wasn’t the story of little red riding hood getting caught by the big bad wolf in the middle of the woods. There were two wolves in the woods that night.

“Do not paint me out to be the monster in this story. Your claws are just as bloody as mine.”

I can honestly say that I’ve never encountered a couple quite like Dulcie and Constantine. They are undoubtedly sociopaths, but I’ve read plenty of dark stories with way more violence and people who are way crazier. The twist here though that makes it different is they know they’re crazy sociopaths. They live for the violence and the blood. They don’t just enjoy the darkness. They revel in it, and the only time they feel truly alive is through the mayhem they cause together. If they could, Dulcie would pour the gas while Constantine struck the match and together they would watch the whole world burn and then probably fuck each other on the ashes.

“Are we crazy?” she pressed.
“Yes.”
“I thought crazy people didn’t know they were crazy.”
“We’re evolved.”

I’d hesitate to call this a romance but on some level it kind of is. They are two completely dysfunctional people who somehow manage to function together. They would never be able to survive without the other, but the whole time there is a sense of foreboding about their relationship. There isn’t anything gentle in the way they love each other. As violent as they are towards others, they are just as violent with each other. Their love is unhealthy and borders on obsession. The heat between them sizzles and pulsates on every page. They’re people who bleed literally and figuratively for each other. The whole time I was asking myself, two sociopaths this twisted would never be able to survive this kind of all-consuming obsession right? They are dark and destructive and their crazy is like a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off.

“We’re going to kill each other, aren’t we?” she whispered.
“Baby …” he sighed, his eyes fluttering shut as he moved to rest his forehead against her. “What a beautiful thing to say.”

The Bad Ones will not be a story for everyone. Like I said, I’ve read stories that were way more violent and fucked up than this one, but I usually find that in those stories the characters are given a reason for their bad behavior…bad childhood, abuse, etc. That isn’t the case with Dulcie or Constantine. He had a charmed life and even though hers wasn’t the greatest, you get the feeling Dulcie was destined to be a sociopath anyway. The author doesn’t give them a sob story to excuse or explain away their bad behavior. They are unapologetic and remorseless in their depravity. They aren’t particularly likable nor redeemable and because of this I think some people will be turned off by them. However, this is precisely why I loved it. I always say that I don’t need characters to be likable. I just need them to be interesting, and although The Bad Ones felt thin on plot, Dulcie and Constantine’s relationship was fascinating and Stylo’s writing was impeccable as always. She always manages to cut the extraneous crap that usually clogs up other books, and in The Bad Ones she managed compress the story so it mainly focused on Dulcie and Constantine. She managed to write a creepy and chaotic story about two monsters who find each other in the dark, and somehow make it feel like a love story, a fucked up depraved love story, but a love story none the less. I want to applaud her for writing two unlikable people and not giving them any excuses for it because these people were born to be bad. Not everyone will connect to them, but I ate up every word and I encourage anyone who likes dark reads to take this headfirst plunge into the pure chaos that is Dulcie Travers and Constantine Masters.

“You’re not the bad guy in this story,” he whispered.
“I know. I know that’s not what you were saying.”
“And neither am I,” he continued.
“I know.”
“We are,” he said, finally looking right at her. “Both of us. We’re the bad ones. Together.”

– Rachel

*An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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Excerpt

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 fucking touch you.”

You fucking left me!” she was suddenly screaming. He didn’t even flinch, just gripped the steering wheel harder. “You fucking left me in this fucking town, without a goddamn goodbye! Without a goddamn word! God, you have no idea what it’s been like. That fucking 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 fuck this chick in the woods, Dulcie. So you know what? Yeah, he fucking touched me. I let him fucking 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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AboutTheAuthor

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Crazy woman living in an undisclosed location in Alaska (where the need for a creative mind is a necessity!), I have been writing since …, forever? Yeah, that sounds about right. I have been told that I remind people of Lucille Ball – I also see shades of Jennifer Saunders, and Denis Leary. So basically, I laugh a lot, I’m clumsy a lot, and I say the F-word A LOT.

I like dogs more than I like most people, and I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t drink. No, I do not live in an igloo, and no, the sun does not set for six months out of the year, there’s your Alaska lesson for the day. I have mermaid hair – both a curse and a blessing – and most of the time I talk so fast, even I can’t understand me.

Yeah. I think that about sums me up.

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Giveaway

Stylo Fantome’s THE BAD ONES Release Day Blitz

 

 

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