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*favorite* BOOK REVIEW: Vanquish (Deliver, #2) by Pam Godwin

Title: Vanquish
Series: (Deliver, #2) But can be read as a standalone—although I'd recommend reading the books in order to achieve the most mind-blowing experience.
Author: Pam Godwin
Genre: Dark Romance
Cliffhanger: No
HEA: Yes

Her life is like a prison cell.

A self-made, to-hell-with-the-free-world existence that locks from the inside.

Stop judging. Her agoraphobia doesn’t define her. It simply keeps her safe.

He belongs in a prison cell.

The 6x8, make-me-your-bitch variety that locks from the outside.

But he’s free. To hunt. To take. To break.
And he just found a sexy new toy.

Capturing her is the easy part. Her fucked-up mind, however, makes him question everything he does next.

But he’s a determined bastard. If all goes his way, this will hurt like hell.

Vanquish is book two in Pam Godwin’s Deliver series. Each book can be read as a standalone, but they're best read in order...because lemme tell you: all at once, it's one hellofa hearbreaking, heartmeanding experience.

While Deliver told the story of Mistress/slave lovers, Josh and Liv, Vanquish tells the story of Van—a Master—and his unknowingly, soon-to-be slave, Amber.

And if you've read Deliver, you know that Van isn't a Hero. If anything, he's a villain in the worst way. And with his book, Vanquish, you relinquish control over your mind and crawl into his beautiful, terrible kind of crazy. You experience life through his eyes; you hear his lewd thoughts and read, with bated breath, his oh-so naughty actions.

"His scarred beauty radiated seduction and danger, a deadly combination."

That being said, if you have a pristine moral code, you shouldn't read this book—because Van's moral compass had been smashed long, long ago; the pointer from North to South a line of twisted metal, glass-facing shattered and broken beyond repair. For Van, right and wrong intertwine, disappear into shades of gray inside the shadows, the matter of his dark mind.

"He could whip her against a tree, fuck her beneath the moon, or tie her down on the porch and mar her flesh with the cuts of his teeth. It didn't matter, because wherever he took her, no matter how brutal or dark the destruction, there would always be warmth. Because he would be with her."
But no matter the horrors Van caused—both during this book and in his dark past, even before Deliver—throughout Vanquish, I understood him, sympathized for and with him. Even though he was fucked up forty-four times more than normal, underneath it all he was just a scared, abused boy who vowed to never need, to never want, to never love again—and he tried to do that by taking control, by using his fists and his c*ck to cause anyone and everyone pain. 

Besides her, Amber ...

... But that's only after he decides he to feed his "appetite for blood, come, and tears" with her—and she feeds him so much more than that, right down to his aching soul. So yes, this book is raw, it's gritty, it's emotional...but it's also, unassumingly healing.
"What was she? Broken like him but better, brighter, an unexpected discovery, like the gems in her shattered crowns."
Amber describes herself as "a miserable thing...a victim of her own destruction." And she is; suffering a debilitating case of both OCD and agoraphobia, Amber shuts herself off from the world, only existing smothered between black and white, confined within the number four, and between the walls of her self-imposed cage. 

And I loved it, loved her. Because she was just as fucked-up forty-forty times more than normal, and like Van, she was strong in her own right. She was also so, so vulnerable and so, very beautiful; a wicked incitement for Van's carnal desires and a temptation for his hidden tenderness. Amber and Van were an unlikely pair, but their damaged minds and unhealthy habits worked together to become something beautiful, something lovely. 

"Don't fucking forget how dark he can be. But his darkness had showed her the moon for the first time in two years."
But just like any beauty, pain precedes it. Amber and Van's road to healing and redemption wasn't an easy one; it wasn't prettily-packaged with a neat, little pink bow. It was hard, it was fast, it was shocking, all-consuming and messy in its consequences. It messed with my mind and kicked at my heart, but I loved every bite of that pain because, in the end, it all turned to pleasure.

"What are you fighting? Fear?" His mouth touched her ear, his timbre a silken noose around her neck. "Fear is an imposture, little girl. It doesn't bruise or thrust or bite." His grip tightened. "Fear is not your Master."

And overall, even though she jerked me out of my comfort zone, forced me to face the light and darkness in life and the redemption, the forgiveness, in between all the different shades of love and hate, once again Pam Godwin delivered a well-balanced dark romance—another for the favorite's shelf! Because even though Vanquish had its dark, disturbing moments, throughout the book I'd find myself smiling, giggling, smirking, and—I'll be honest!—fanning my heated cheeks at all the sexy, dangerous Master that was Van.

"He'd managed to dodge the majority of her rabid bites, but she'd sunk her canines into his arm twice before he'd securely tied her to the branch. She'd burrowed beneath his skin in more ways than one, and he couldn't help but treasure the imprints she'd left on him."
But as I mentioned—like DeliverVanquish isn't for the faint of heart; there's violence, there's raw, breath-stealing sex (literally), there's pain and heartache, there's force and dominance, but then there's also love and hate and abuse and everything in between. 

And if you're anything like me (perhaps with a strong heart, crooked moral compass, and a thirst for the troublesome crazies) I strongly recommend reading Vanquish. Just make sure to bring your big-girl panties; you'll need them.