Happy Hump Day, Bookworms!!
I’m so happy the day for my stop in the Conscience tour has finally arrived! My week started kind of hectic. I mean, I thought it was Friday already when I woke up! But thinking of Jack and Caroline will definitely brighten my day!!
An escape plan foiled….
A determined woman….
One last tiny sliver of hope….
Jack will find me.
The Fed wants answers. And Caroline is determined not to provide them. They pull out all the stops, testing her sanity, testing her strength, testing her humanity.
Jack will find me.
Subject to cruel and merciless treatment at the hands of a government she once trusted, Caroline clings to her sole lifeline, her only chance at maintaining her tenuous hold on reality: her memories of her husband, Jack, her children, Marguerite and Sophie, and the friends who mean the world to her.
Jack will find me.
But what happens when hope starts to fade? How long until her interrogators cross over into the unspeakable sadism she fears ? How long before she finally breaks apart?
Part Two of a Six Part Saga. Conscience (approximately 115,000 words) is not a standalone and must be read after the first book in the Bellator Saga, Dissident. All books in the series end in a cliffhanger. For readers 18+. This book contains adult situations including graphic violence, explicit (consensual) sex and light BDSM, psychological and physical trauma, and an oftentimes raw, dark, and gritty plot.
MY RATING: 5 – Can I give a million – stars
I’ve read Conscience twice already and I can say this book kept me on the edge of my seat from the beginning to the end, not once but, twice! Even already knowing what would happen, the second time I read it I was still as eager as the first time!
The first time, I was up until almost 3 am reading it and I just couldn’t believe it!! Cecilia London has got to be my BEST FIND of 2015! Writing a series like the Bellator Saga must not be easy at all! The story is a web of deception, love, intrigue and everything a good book should have! I had (twice) the biggest book hangover in the history of book hangovers and even right now and words fail me.
THIS BOOK! It’s completely amazing! Jack and Caroline’s story, started in Dissident, continued (and still does) to amaze me. Their love is so real and the story is so RAW! Conscience is a story so GRITTY, unebelievably impossible to forget that will keep you alert for days. The story will pop into your head and you will remember it at random times and it will just make you want to read it all again, no matter how hard it may be at times!
As I said before, Dissident is my TOP book of the year and it’s ahead of Conscience just because it’s the first book, it was with it I fell in love with the characters and Cecilia’s story and writing! Both of them are in my TOP books of the year (I have quite a few favorites, but this year there are some that made the top)! Conscience is a book that GRIPS you in a way that it’s even hard to describe. The characters are perfectly constructed and they never fail to amaze us, either they are the good guys or the bad guys. There is a consistency in this sequel that makes it even more real. It doesn’t dodge from the first book, it justs adds to the enjoyment.
I loved to see how both Jack and Caroline grew up. Not only as individuals, but also as a couple. And differently from Dissident, this book has as many scenes in the present/future (the present in the book is about 5 years into our present or so) as it has in the past. The story in Dissident was mainly told in flashbacks from the past. In Conscience we have a LOT going on in the present and even though I dreaded the moments the present would arrive, I also couldn’t get enough of it. Don’t get me wrong, Conscience was hard to read at sometimes, not because it was bad, but because the writing was so good, it got TOO real. I mean, it’s the most tense book I’ve ever read in my life. And I’m known for loving my angst and tension. I don’t back down easily, and Conscience didn’t make me back down, but it made me suffer at certain points. I suffered every minute with every character. And that, to me, is a sign of a good book.
This book has a darkness to it without being a dark book. It’s not a “dark romance” at all, it’s not a mind f***k. But the story has a concept that is quite evil. I mean, a dictator taking over the Land of the Free? That in itself is dark enough to think about. And the craziest thing is that it’s not only believeable in the story, but it’s something that if we think about, could actually happen the way Cecilia described it.
America is not the same anymore. The people are not the same anymore. But our favorite characters? They don’t back down from this kind of challenge. I mean, Caroline is FIERCE. I’m in awe of her and her strenght. And Jack is Jack. Swoon-worthy, Knight in shining armor, loving (and kinky) Jack! Cecilia managed to make me love an older hero. Jack is a Silver Fox, he’s 50, although he doesn’t look or feel like it. But it’s great to find a character that is mature enough to know what he wants and get it without sounding like a p***sy doing it. Caroline is no teenager also and that’s part of the allure of these two. They have had lives before they’ve met and that made them ready to meet each other when they did. I also love how they never abandoned their ideals, and it’s great to see that two people with such different backgrounds and such different political views can love each other and support each other as much as those two!
The side characters are just as amazing. I mean, in this book the main characters, as in the hero and the heroine, are not the only ones that make the story, as in so many books we read. The side characters not only have helped making them into who they are now, but they also help to make the story. They are not there to fill gaps and to distract us. No, no. They are as important to the story as Jack and Caroline. I can say even the bad, evil ones are kind of important (I mean, I hate it, but it’s the truth LOL).
And despite it being the most tense book I’ve ever read, I wouldn’t trade reading it for anything!!!! A story of this level, that mixes contemporary romance, erotica, intrigue, a bit of a political thriller, and one of the most swoon-worthy heroes I’ve ever read? It’s not something I would pass. Ever! Imagine the movie “V for Vengeance” mixed with a poweful love story, a web of intrigue around the USA that could actually happen (and now I’m singing Muse’s Uprising in my head!!)?? Imagined that? That’s just the tip of the iceberg that is the Bellator Saga! There’s SO MUCH in this story!
I could talk about it for days and days and still have a lot to talk about it. It’s truly a “saga” kind of story! And I can’t wait to unravel more layers of this story. In Conscience we have plenty of Jack (not enough for myself, though, there’s never enough Jack and Caroline in this story), I still want to see what he’s been up to these days. And I get CHILLS just thinking of what can come next. I’m so anxious and happy to have more to read!
These Cecilia London books are the kind that, even though, the story isn’t over with these books, you won’t mind waiting for the next ones. I mean, of course you want them NOW, but from these two books we kind of already know a lot that has happened, because it gives flashbacks into the past. And even though we want more, they don’t leave us hanging, it’s hard to explain.
I said that when I read Dissident, the prologue made me want to cry and made the hairs on my arms stood up! Well, my reaction to Conscience was pretty much like that. The difference is that it was even more intense and through most of the book! And I LOVED it!!!!
I have a feeling, and this is speculation on my part, that the next books will progressively be told more from the present, although there will be flashbacks into their past. I know Caroline, Jack and their friends and family still have a long way to go. But this is a journey you won’t mind waiting, specially because it’s so well-written. Cecilia has such an attention to details, but without making the story boring or pedantic. Even though the descriptions and the story are detailed, it’s not one of those stories that have an air entitlement to it. It’s a story that is smart, it deals with politics, but in a way that is simple for us to get, specially because the love story is so powerful and enjoyable, so you just want to know more about the characters.
Conscience is a POWERHOUSE of a book! But the most powerful thing about this story though, isn’t what Caroline and her friends and loved ones have to deal with (I mean, poor Caroline has had to deal with more than half the characters I’ve read in my life had), nor the love story between her and Jack, or how incredibly FIERCE she is! The most powerful thing here has to do with Cecilia’s writing and how REAL the story feels.. The characters and the story are so ALIVE, it’s like they are breathing through each page. And that is just AMAZING. No words can describe the feeling of reading a book of this kind!!
Here are two excerpts of Conscience:
They’d start out nice and then devolve if they didn’t get what they wanted. She knew better than to think that they’d abide by the policies and procedures that were in place when she was working for the DOJ. Not if they weren’t Mirandizing prisoners. It was an entirely new ballgame. And she wasn’t going to play.
Howard frowned at her. “We’ve seen the classified information you obtained.”
Stay focused. Give them basic identifying information. Talk about the furthest topic from what they want to hear.
“My legal name is Caroline Joan Gerard,” she said quietly.
His eyes narrowed. “What?”
“I was born at Highland Park Hospital in Highland Park, Illinois on September 4.”
The two agents exchanged glances.
“Who were you working with?” Bradbury asked.
More people than you think, asshole. “I graduated from St. Mary School in Buffalo Grove, Illinois.”
Bradbury glared at her. “How did you get on a government server?”
Very subtle. They thought she’d turned into a hacker in order to obtain classified information. Interesting. Were they bluffing, or did they know?
“I am an alumnus of Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois,” she said.
“Who were you working with?”
Time to have a little fun. “Adlai Stevenson was the governor of Illinois from 1949 to 1953,” Caroline said blankly.
“Excuse me?” Howard laid some papers out on the table in front of her. He was getting angry. “Where did you get these?”
She knew better than to look at the documents. She stared down at a different part of the table. “He ran for president twice on the Democratic ticket.”
Bradbury reached across the table, pulling her chin up so she was facing him. “Tell us what you know.” He turned to Howard. “This bitch is messing with us.”
Of course she was. She’d written her senior thesis on Adlai Stevenson. She could carry on for hours if she had to. She’d barely covered enough for a lame Wikipedia entry.
“He unofficially ran again in 1960 but was defeated by JFK,” Caroline said.
Bradbury punched her in the nose and tears sprang to her eyes.
“Move on,” he told Howard. “She’s fucking around.”
“Where are your children?” Howard asked.
An interesting segue. They weren’t going to play nice. At all. They probably thought they could somehow trick her into talking if they threatened her family. Caroline closed her eyes, trying to remain focused. She would never betray the ones she loved. Howard and Bradbury would figure that out quickly if they were worth their salt.
“Adlai Stevenson is widely regarded as leading the resurgence of the Democratic Party in the 1950s,” she said.
Bradbury punched her again and the blood started to flow. Fantastic. He plopped down on the table next to her, presumably to seem more intimidating.
“Where’s Senator Sullivan?” he asked. “We know she has your children.”
Caroline’s nose was bleeding profusely. She tried to wipe at it with the back of her hand and spat out some blood. “Stevenson served as ambassador to the United Nations before his death in 1965.”
Bradbury pulled her up from the chair by her hair, dragging her across the room. “Stop talking about fucking Adlai Stevenson,” he growled, shoving her up against the wall.
His threat came across as comical, for reasons she couldn’t quite understand. She again failed to hold her tongue. “Why would I want to fuck Adlai Stevenson? He’s dead. That’s gross.”
Caroline knew that laughing at her own joke would mean she’d get an even bigger ass kicking but she didn’t care. They weren’t going to start being gentle with her. Howard was sitting back in his chair quietly observing their entire exchange. Bradbury shoved her up against the wall again.
“Do you think this is funny?” he asked.
Another giggle escaped her lips. “Kinda.”
He reared back and punched her in the jaw. Her head thumped back against the concrete. She saw stars.
“Do you still want to laugh?” He kneed her in the stomach and she doubled over and fell to the floor. “Make another bullshit comment. Try it.”
She’d proven her point. He’d unfortunately done the same. “I’m finished,” she gasped.
He knelt down near her head, drawing his gun. How the hell had she missed that they were armed? Was everyone in this place packing heat?
“Where’s Governor McIntyre?” he asked. “And if you say one more fucking word about fucking Adlai Stevenson you’re getting a bullet to the brain.”
Caroline decided to test that theory. “Who’s Adlai Stevenson?” she said automatically.
Bradbury stood up and kicked Caroline in the side of the head. “If you don’t want to talk, it’s your funeral,” he said, right before she blacked out.
They were walking down the empty hall to the ballroom when Jack spun her up against the wall. “When we get back to our room I’m going to fuck you so hard you’re going to feel me with every move you make tomorrow,” he whispered into her hair.
She laughed lightly. “Perverted old man. Saying something like that right before I’m going to give a speech.”
“Just giving you something to think about,” he said. “If I wasn’t concerned about hidden cameras in the elevators I’d stop between floors and fuck you there too.”
“I’d do it if I didn’t think it would give those damn pundits and misogynistic male bloggers something else to leer over. And it may not be very gubernatorial,” she said. “I’m trying to be more of a lady. It doesn’t seem very ladylike to let you rip off my panties and have your way with me inside an elevator car.”
Jack laughed. “Says you.”
He pressed his hands against her backside, rubbing his palms against the soft material of her dress. Caroline knew what kind of mood he was in.
“Naughty girls get spanked,” he said in a low voice.
She smiled seductively and tugged on his tie. “Don’t make promises you won’t keep.”
“You know I’m good for it,” he breathed, squeezing her ass.
He wasn’t lying. He always followed through on what he promised in bed, as long as they both consented to it. If he was true to his word, Caroline would have a very uncomfortable flight back to Philadelphia the next day. But it would be worth it. She got excited thinking about what the rest of the evening might bring.
She brought her lips close to his. “If the public only knew, Mr. McIntyre. The dirty, nasty things you do to your wife when you know for certain that no one else is around.”
“They’re almost always at Mrs. McIntyre’s request,” Jack said, kissing her softly. “Even if they’re borderline illegal in some states. I live to make her happy.”
“I know you do,” Caroline whispered.
She wrapped one of her legs around him subtly so that no one else could see. One of her more effective tricks. She pressed up against his hip and kissed him, feeling him start to get hard.
“You’re not playing fair,” Jack said against her mouth.
“That’s what you get for distracting me,” she said silkily. “Now you’ve got something to focus on for the rest of the night. I’m going to be very, very bad. Be ready.”
He reluctantly slid his hands off her ass. “I’m always ready.”
Caroline heard voices nearby and practically jumped away from him. “I’ll see you in the ballroom, Jack,” she said in a loud singsong voice. She turned around and winked at him before striding down the hall, leaving him with a dazed grin on his face.
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She once was important. Now she’s considered dangerous.
In a new America where almost no one can be trusted, Caroline lies unconscious in a government hospital as others decide her fate. She is a political dissident, wanted for questioning by a brutal regime that has come to power in a shockingly easy way. As she recovers from her injuries, all she has are her memories. And once she wakes up, they may not matter anymore.
Dissident is a blend of romantic suspense, contemporary romance, political thriller, and speculative fiction. Told mostly in flashback, it details the budding romantic relationship between our heroine, Caroline, and Jack, the silver fox playboy who tries to win her heart.
Part One of a Six Part Series. Each part is a full length novel between 60,000-120,000 words and ends in a cliffhanger. For readers 18+. This saga contains adult situations, including non-gratuitous violence, explicit (consensual) sex, psychological and physical trauma, and an oftentimes dark and gritty plot (particularly in part two).
Cecilia is my pen name. I may or may not live in San Antonio, Texas. I’ve been known to apply quotes from ‘The Simpsons’ to everyday life. I live for baseball season.
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