One year ago…
My family is gone. My parents. My twin sister. All of them murdered by the man who has stalked me for years. He nearly killed me, too. But I got away and he’s still out there, searching for me. He won’t find me. At least, I hope not. Thanks to WITSEC, I’ve been given a new life with a new identity.
My uncle, my only living relative, has helped me glue myself back together and given me the tools I’ll need to survive. I’m not fixed and my grief is heavy, but I’m at a point where I can put one foot in front of the other to try to move on.
I know my future will be hard and lonely. I must stay strong and focus on the good. I’m getting a second chance at life. I am safe. My new home is beautiful. The four brothers who live next door are even more so. Little do I know that Colt, Creed, Keelan, and Knox will soon become my everything. It’s as if my lonely heart screamed out for someone good to find me. Four answered back.
I read this book in 2 and a half hours. Was only going to read a couple of chapters before going to bed. Went to bed at 00:15am when I finished the book…
So, background on this book. It’s a reverse harem (1 women, 4 men). It’s the first book in a series of 4. It covers unsavoury topics that may be triggering to some, for example, violence, murder, assault, etc.
In my exploration of reverse harem books, I’ve talked a lot about plot versus smut. Plot is always important to me. A good plot can do wonders for the characters. The characters support the plot. It’s a never-ending circle of elements that complement each other.
I have found with these reverse harem books that getting a good plot is a lucky dip. Sometimes there is no plot, you’re just reading erotic porn. Sometimes there is a plot, but the characters are underdeveloped. Sometimes the characters don’t fit the plot, or the plot doesn’t fit the characters. There are some spicy books I haven’t even bothered to review because reading them was so abysmal.
This book has both well thought out characters and a sturdy plot. I had hoped since the series is called the “WITSEC” series that it would have a good plotline and I wasn’t wrong. The MC is called Shiloh and understandably carries A LOT of trauma. She has PTSD and is still healing through her ordeal, but she is also strong, fierce, vulnerable, courageous, sweet, and innocent.
Something I particularly liked about this book was that the characters took their time. There was not a lot of smut in this book and while that might have annoyed me in a different book and different setting, it made perfect sense to play it out that way with these characters. I think for Shiloh’s character to flourish, things need to be slowed down.
The bonds between Colt and Creed formed quickly. Their presence seemed to be a necessity to allow Shiloh to reconnect with life. Her bonds with Keelan were slower but no less rewarding to watch. Her bonds with Knox were the slowest to form. His character is more difficult but when he lets his guard down around her, the consequences are beneficial to both parties.
There was one character whose presence confused me and that was of Shiloh’s uncle. It confused me, as having read the book, I know what Shiloh has been through and how damaged she is as a character. While I’m sure there is reasoning behind her uncle’s actions, I felt like he should have either stuck around with Shiloh or the author should have made Shiloh emancipated and removed him altogether. (If you read the book, you’ll understand my thoughts on this).
The ending of the book was interesting, but it also left me a little disappointed. Again, this is something that I think needs to be read to be understood completely. But, in a nutshell, instead of creating something new and interesting, we find Shiloh in a similar situation as what happened in her past. It seemed unrealistic to me that she would garner that attention twice in her life.
With Shiloh’s character, or in fact, any character that carries trauma. It’s a fine balance between getting it right and getting it wrong. When writing about trauma I can always tell if the author has experienced trauma themselves or has no experience and is trying to recreate something. The way Shiloh reacts perfectly matched someone who had already had a year of healing but was still struggling. That was captured perfectly as Shiloh was able to return to normal life but still be triggered while finding her was around.
Understanding trauma, whether in a fictional book or in real life is different for everyone. I’m someone who finds the human brain fascinating, and when something like this is captured correctly it makes me smile.
Looking ahead to the rest of the series, I can see the climatic point of the past trauma coming to a head, probably in the 3rd or 4th book. I am interested to see in Shiloh’s uncle comes back into the picture or if he stays a character ‘from afar’. The bonds between Colt, Creed, Keelan, and Knox as brothers is already strong but watching them incorporate another person, a female, will be interesting, as will watching Shiloh open up and learn to trust again.
I don’t know how well the WITSEC part will hold up. You can probably guess what things are revealed to the brothers in this book. Definitely something that can thrive in a book but would be deadly in real life.
I give this book: ✨✨✨✨