I am a big fan of bully romance. It feeds my humiliation kink and I’m okay with non-con in this context where I’m not okay with it in pretty much anything else (I *need* that consent, particularly in kink books). However, I struggle with the trope when it comes to high school because of the age of the characters, and if they’re written more maturely, it breaks my willing suspension of disbelief.
Lords of Pain hit ALL the right notes for me. It’s set in college instead of high school. The characters are convincingly older/more mature/more advanced in their bullying. The three guys are just privileged/complicated/screwed up enough that I could understand why they bullied. The premise (girl seeks out her former bullies to protect her against an even bigger villain) is somewhat strained, but I was willing to go along with it. The heroine is annoyingly naive at the beginning, but her trusting nature becomes pivotal to the plot, so stick with it.
The book is really well written – super emotional. These are both new to me authors but they did not disappoint at all. Very cleanly edited, too.
I did NOT expect the book to go so dark. And it does. Serious emotional warfare. And when the girl begins to strike back, the guys better look out.
Can’t wait for the next book. Highly recommended.
Lords of Pain is on Amazon and free to read in Kindle Unlimited here.