I’ve spent the last eight years focused on one thing, and one thing only. Revenge.
I’ve kept people at a distance. Didn’t let anyone under my skin.
I had my rules and they worked well.
Until they didn’t.
Four men worked their way in without me even noticing.
I thought I was shattered.
Broken beyond repair.
I thought there was nothing left to break.
I thought I could do this on my own.
I was wrong.
Four men showed me just how much further I had to fall.
I can’t abandon all that I’ve fought for.
I can’t give up my revenge.
I can’t let the sins against me go unpunished.
I couldn’t choose them.
Four men showed me just how ruined I was.
A vital missing piece of who I am.
A heartless coward, running scared.
A violent storm that vanished as quickly as she crashed into my life.
A ray of hope that was snatched away.
A pretty broken little thing.
One woman who ties the rest of us together.
I’m not the only thing shattered anymore. Everything is.
And this time, I don’t know how to fit the pieces back together.
Deadly Chaos is the second book in the contemporary new adult series, Steel Roses. If you have not read Shattered Chaos, please put this one down and go pick that one up. This story will not make sense without having read the first one. It is a reverse harem, meaning the female protagonist has three or more love interests and will not be forced to choose.
This book contains content that may be triggering for some, including violence, assault, sexual abuse, mentions of the abuse of children and/or minors, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts and tendencies.
Before you start, if you haven’t read the first book in this series, STOP, go back and read it first. I also recommend you read the note and warnings in the blurb for the book.
In recent months I’ve found myself reading these dark reverse harem series and really enjoying them.
At the end of Shattered Chaos Scar left. More than that she removed any way for the guys to find her. As this book opens Scar is following her own agenda, revenge. She’s also releasing information on those she has terminated allowing the world to see the evil they had been. Unfortunately, she’s now hitting a low, one she’s having trouble climbing out of.
She’s still there when she meets Declan, a doctor who seriously gets her and wants to be her friend. He’s the one that helps her up and out of her loneliness, guilt, and despair.
This is just one of many favorite scenes.
“How long have you been here?” I ask him but he’s still studying me. I can hear how different my voice sounds, I don’t even know how to describe it though. Just wrong. Not strong and sure like I normally am. Faded, like hearing it through a bad connection.
“A few minutes.” He gets up, my eyes follow him as he walks into the kitchen. “You didn’t show up and weren’t answering your phone. I thought you might still be asleep.” He comes back with a bottle of water and a blanket. He hands me the water before draping the blanket over me and tucking it in on the sides. I watch him and feel my brows go up in question.
“What are you doing?”
He laughs. “Being your friend.” He settles back in next to me before reaching into his pocket and pulling out his keys, he starts to pull one off and I recognize it as my own. “I wasn’t intending to use this, but I started to get worried when you didn’t answer.” He starts to hand the key back to me, but I shake my head.
“You can just keep it,” I say. He looks at me surprised but I shrug or try to. I’m not sure how it actually comes out. I gave him the key early this morning when he had to leave for work. It’s not the first time he’s had to leave straight from here to go to work. The nightmares aren’t quite as bad when he stays the night. Sometimes it’s strange how fast we fell into our own little routine. Sometimes I don’t feel like I deserve the comfort and relief I feel when he’s by my side. But if Declan wants to be my friend, teach me how to accept comfort and open up, I think it’s okay for me to be selfish and want him to soothe my demons. Is that what friendship is?
I’m still working it all out, much to his amusement. I struggle to be totally honest when I’m feeling anything. I have a hard time naming all the emotions coursing through my bloodstream. I don’t know how to put into words everything that happened with the guys and just how badly I fucked up. Declan is patient though. He stays silent as I work through everything running through my mind and can figure out how to put it into words. He offers comfort without expectation and doesn’t push me.
Mostly I tell him stories about the guys. He knows I miss them, he asks some questions but always just accepts whatever I’m willing to tell him. In a lot of ways, he reminds me of Noah. I think it might be why I fell into such an easy acceptance of our friendship, even if I’m not as open as he wants me to be. He slowly drags truth after truth out of me. Splinters my resolve and breaks through my walls as the pain and hurt is too overwhelming for me to contain by myself.
Every time I feel like I’m starting to drown, he is there, ready and willing to pull me back up to the surface and help me float. He’s harder than Noah though. Where Noah was shy, Declan is reserved, more like Luca in that regard. He has a quiet confidence that carries through a room without him ever speaking a word. But he soothes me in a way similar to how Noah did. Not quite the same, Noah made me feel a calm, a sense of peace, a comfort. Declan comforts me, but he helps me take back the control of the rampant emotions slowly destroying me from the inside out.
I give him a small smile. “We both know, you’re probably going to end up sleeping over again.” He smiles back at me, and I can see the twinkle in his eye that means he thinks I’m making progress in this friendship. I shrug again but this time the gesture feels a bit more natural. I think the pills might be slowly fading out of my system. “Easier for you to have a key than me having to get up and lock up after you.”
“Aww, you’re finally getting this friendship thing,” he teases me.
I laugh. “I don’t know how many friends actually have keys to each other’s places.”
It’s his turn to shrug as he chuckles. “Nah, you’re right. But best friends? They always get spare keys.”
I laugh as I hit him in the chest. He can be such a confident shit. I eye him up and down. “Are you hungry?” We were supposed to meet for lunch after all. He spreads himself out over the couch, making himself comfortable.
“I already ordered pizza,” he answers after he finally settles in next to me. I groan in appreciation as I realize just how fucking starving I am. He puts on a movie and I drift off as he gently strokes my hair in a gesture I now associate with him.
I wake up to the smell of cheesy goodness and can’t stop the groan from escaping my lips. Declan chuckles and places a plate on my lap as soon as I move myself into a sitting position. We are quiet as I devour my pizza. I eat three slices, barely stopping for a breath. Between the small nap and the food now sitting in my belly, I feel more like myself and the last of the fog has cleared from my brain. I’ll have to remember to be more careful about what I take from now on. Being that out of it could be life threatening for me, especially with no one here to watch my back.
I drink more water as I assess Declan. “You know,” I start and wait for him to meet my eyes before continuing, “I’m pretty sure friendship is supposed to go both ways.” There’s a lot more that I haven’t told him, but I’ve given him more than I’ve ever given anyone else in such a short period of time. I know quite a bit about his background, but he actually hasn’t told me about it.
“What do you mean?” he asks, but I can see that he knows exactly what I’m asking by the look in his eyes.
I narrow my eyes at him. “You always preach about how I need to let the words out, but what about you? You never talk about yourself except to bitch about your coworkers.”
He sighs, running his fingers through his hair. “Okay, pretty girl. I guess you have a point.” He gets up and cleans up our plates and wipes down the counters before putting the leftover pizza away. It’s something I’ve noticed about him in the last few weeks. He can’t stand clutter or messes. He never leaves dishes in the sink, constantly tidies up when he’s here. I think it’s all subconscious too. I don’t think he actually knows he does it.
He comes back to the couch and settles my feet in his lap as he kicks up his feet on the coffee table and throws the blanket back over us. I wiggle as I settle in and he starts rubbing my feet as he begins to talk. I relax as his deep voice soothes me and I finally get to know more about him.
“I moved to St Graves immediately after I finished up my residency. I grew up in Belridge Heights.” My eyebrows draw up as I recognize the name. It’s a city nestled up in the hills not all that far from St Graves. Far enough to maintain distance but close enough to drive back whenever you needed. It’s one of the wealthiest and most affluent cities in the country. “I had no desire to return there once I had escaped. So, I settled here.”
I know there must be a story about why he doesn’t want to return home, but he never pushes me and I’m not one to pry anyways. Who says we have to share every facet of our pasts to be close? A city like Belridge Heights is steeped in secrets. Where there is money and power, there is corruption. I’m relieved to know he was able to get away, even if the marks of the elite are still clear in his presence.
“Since moving here, I haven’t fully gotten close to anyone.” He hits me with that little look of his and I smirk.
“So, it was really just you desperate for a best friend, not me.”
He chuckles but stops rubbing my feet to tickle them instead. I squeal out my protests as I try to rocket away from him. He has my foot in a firm grip that doesn’t allow me to escape. After making me laugh so hard, I’m actually wheezing. He finally has mercy as he releases my foot and admits, “I told you that I wanted a friend too that first night.”
I smile at the memory and sit up so I can lean against his shoulder. “You did,” I sigh and hesitate before pushing myself out of my comfort zone. “I’m glad you’re my friend, Declan,” I whisper. I feel him nod before he kisses the top of my head.
Bee, Samantha. Deadly Chaos (Steel Roses Book 2) (Kindle Locations 311-365). Kindle Edition.
In the meantime, the guys aren’t doing well at all, they can’t find her, have no leads and it’s driving them crazy. That’s when Noah shows up looking for her. He’s surprised at the state he finds them in, but also feels a camaraderie with them. It’s with his help they start tracking her yet find no location.
Declan becomes an anchor for Scar, even as her guides her towards reconciling with the guys.
When it gets to the point Scar is about ready, something happens with Kade at the bar she and Declan hang at. This is a turning point.
I really can’t say more, you have to read this book to understand all the emotions that flood through the pages.
There’s laughter, tears, revelations and a whole lot of sizzle in this book.
The emotional turmoil of the characters somehow offsets the craziness of our times for me. I’m already doing a re-read of Damaged & Deadly in preparation for the release of Vicious Chaos.
5 Contented Purrs for Samantha!
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Born and raised in California, Samantha Bee lives for coffee, cheesecake, and chaos. She seems to attract psychos and can be needy and dramatic. However, those things get channeled to her muse in order to create dark and sexy worlds.