Eric Courtland is hungry for revenge—at any cost—against the cold, unfeeling father who never loved him, and who drove his mother to an early grave. Tossed headfirst into the shark-tank world of big business, Eric soon learns it’s eat or be eaten, and has no choice but to throw in his lot with ruthless titan of industry Branford Crane.
Still reeling from his mother’s death—and the guilt of not being able to save her—Eric plunges into a dark spiral of self-destruction, rejecting his longtime partner Nick’s love and support in favor of the harsh tutelage Bran offers him, in and out of the bedroom.
But one night, when Bran finally pushes Eric beyond any reasonable limit, Eric realizes how far he’s fallen—and how desperately he needs Nick to help pull him back from the edge.
The path to a HEA is never easy as evidenced by the turmoil between Eric and Nick after his mother's death turns Eric's world upside down and has him looking for revenge. This second book in the Courtland Chronicles picks up a few months after the previous installment and immediately has Eric pulling away from the one man to accept him fully to forge his vengeful pact with fellow businessman, Bran. Even though Nick wants to support him, Eric wants to wallow in solitude. Because things haven't turned out like he thinks they should have, Eric thinks he deserves to be punished. And oh the punishments he endures at the hands of Bran!
Bran and Eric are toxic together. Their sexual interactions are graphic and degrading and Eric both loathes these moments and craves them. Bran uses him on every level as a means to an end and Eric's self-loathing allows it. I felt such sympathy for Eric throughout the story. No matter how much he hurt Nick (and made me angry at him), he hurt himself more. It's not until virtually the end of the story that Eric climbs out of his downward spiral and for the time being he and Nick have again acheived a HEA.
Cat Grant has written another gutwrenching story and shown Eric at both his best and worst moments. Though we don't see much of Nick in the physical sense, his goodness and unquestionable loyalty permeates this story. Through most of the story there's a sense of sadness and pain that the reader knows won't end well for Eric if he continues on his vengeful path. Nick's reappearance at the end is like a sunrise. The unrelenting pain fades away as he and Eric reconnect. This series continues to keep me enthralled and these glimpses into their lives is like being on an emotional rollercoaster. With its fully fleshed-out characters and heartwrenching situations I've become fully immersed in the outcome of Nick and Eric's lives and look forward to the next installment in this well-written and satisfying series.
My rating for this is a B.
*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.