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Summary

I’ll do whatever it takes to get her back. She was mine, and it was everything. That month with her was as near to perfect as I’ve ever had in my whole f--ed up life. But then, I lost it all, and I still don’t know why. Though, I suspect it had something to do with that rat bastard Bryce Gentry.

One thing I do know: I’m not letting go of Callie Cruise without a fight. And it’s time for Gentry to finally pay for his many sins.

This book is a dark romance, the conclusion to the duet begun in Cut so Deep.

©2019 Stasia Black (P)2020 Stasia Black

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Wow

I don’t think I left the edge of my chair the whole book. This was certainly one that will keep you engaged and Desperate for more

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Mixed feelings

I've have mixed feelings about this book, that while is well written and has a good storyline, I just struggled to like the main character of Callie, or her sister. Jackson on the other hand is great. The emotive storyline/Callies backstory should have elicited some emotions from me, but didn't apart from when we get Jackson's story.
She just seemed to keep stumbling into the same disastrous mistakes while continuing to proclaim her strength and unwillingness to be manipulated that I started to find really tiresom. The book was also filled with much more explicit scenes that although don't offend me, I felt were a bit to numerous. However others will probably disagree with this.
The narration was good, with lots of expression, unfortunately my main issues with it isn't something that would be fair to hold against the book, because while I did find the voice of female character annoying, the narrator had soon a good job of portraying it. It was properly this that didn't help my dislike for the female characters. I just have a issue finding a narrator I enjoy listening to, as someone not from the US, the accents can sometimes be difficult to click with.

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  • Sara
  • 02-05-20

Horrible pathetic women

Never learns her lesson or changes her detructive patterns of behavior, they are on a frustrating loop and i began this book even though i was horrified by the first book bc i wanted- was hopeful she might start to turn herself around. But no. She doesn't. Returned. Nothing wrong with the narrators, just horrible main character.

1 person found this helpful

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  • noladel
  • 23-07-21

Better Than the First Book

This was better than the first book, but the woman still was an air head. I would have liked to have seen a much more mature female character. Scott Rider is a far better narrator than Lucy Laurel.

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  • B. Roscoe
  • 19-03-21

Former Beauty Queen Is A Pawn In A Game Between..

A Former Beauty Queen Hopes To Put Her Crown Behind And Be Appreciated For Her Brain, But Instead Finds Herself A Pawn In A Deviously Dark Game Without Rules! Callie’s Story Will Have You On The Edge Of Your Seat As She Gets Caught Up Between Two Old Rivals And Doesn’t Know Who She Can Trust.


Trigger warning: includes sensitive issues such as non-consent.

From Cut So Deep, book one:

Calliope Cruise, twenty-two, once had big dreams. She is the rather unhappy victim of her good looks, however, along with some youthful mistakes. Her beauty and figure have the unfortunate consequence of men ogling her. Men and women alike either presume the worst in her or accuse her of trading on her looks. Her own parents don’t even give her the benefit of the doubt. She had done the beauty pageant circuit when she was younger, which only resulted in alienating her older sister. For years Shannon has judged her, but Callie can say little in her own defense. She hails from a small town and began pursing her dream of a career in robotics at her local community college. Catching a lucky break, she was accepted as a transfer student at Stanford, where she now has just a semester left to finish her robotics degree. But she gave up that dream when Charlie came along. Her two and a half year old boy is the joy of her life, but his arrival was unplanned, putting all her dreams on indefinite hold.

David Kinnock, forty-two, has suddenly decided he wants custody of Charlie despite never wanting to be his father. His wife Regina, in her late thirties, happens to have a nice trust fund and seems to have taken an interest in Charlie. If Callie cannot afford a good attorney, she might lose custody of Charlie altogether. As devoted as she is to her son, lawyers are quite talented at taking out of context, exaggerating, misrepresenting, misconstruing, and outright lying. And a good lawyer could tear Callie apart in court. A custody hearing is approaching. If she wants to win she needs to hire a good attorney, but that might just be wishful thinking.

Today Callie just hopes to make the rent. She lives with her sister Shannon, on whom she depends to help care for little Charlie, in the Bay Area just south of San Jose. With her legal bills stacking, rent, and student loan repayments, she needs to put her waitressing behind and earn a decent income. Some creative resume writing skills land her an interview for the personal assistant position of Gentry Technologies’ CEO – Bryce Gentry himself. Gentry Tech is a Fortune 500 company. They work primarily with government contracts – military applications of drones and robotics. The idea of working for the man who, along with Jackson Vale, is famed for developing a real-time reaction simulation algorithm while studying at MIT has her thrilled. Roughly thirty-one and a bachelor, Bryce’s incredible good looks are breath-taking and his gaze is magnetic, but her initial good impression doesn’t last long. Bryce Gentry is just like all the other men that have seen her as an object. And maybe worse. But with the custody hearing approaching, Callie has no choice but to accept the job no matter the unorthodox job requirements.

Jackson Vale, thirty-two, is the CEO of CubeThink. He is disciplined and controlled, and better with code than with people. They are a big player in commercial drones and have become a household name. He is most well-known for his accomplishment with ridiculousrobots.com – when he was only seventeen. Raised in the foster system, he had a hard time until he was taken in by his foster dad at age eleven. Mr. Kent had given him direction to channel his trouble-making tendencies, introducing him to robotics. But when his dad died during Jackson’s sophomore year in college, he fell into bad habits and spiraled out of control.

Bryce and Jackson have a history together. They met at MIT when Bryce was a freshman and Jackson a sophomore, and they did more than just create algorithms. They seemed to get into a bit of trouble together. They had a falling out, though, each going their separate way. Even in business, they manage to avoid one another for the most part, with Bryce focused on military applications and Jackson on the commercial side. It is known that Bryce’s ex-fiancée had been seen on Jackson’s arm, so one might easily deduce some tension lingers between the two. When Bryce arranges a very private lunch meeting with Jackson and orders Callie to attend without underwear, all sorts of questions logically arise.

Callie’s story is a deep, dark dive into a twisted game without rules. She has to battle her past and make peace with her sister while trying to make a good enough living to be able to afford to fight for custody of Charlie in court. The deck is stacked against her and she has nobody on which to rely. She soon finds herself torn between two men, neither of whom she can trust. This story starts out rather shocking, but be forewarned: it gets worse. Pushed in all directions, Callie is tested. She has a choice to make, and consequences she must learn to live with either way. Although the story concludes in book two, Break So Soft, it ends in a good place as the story transitions.

In this book:

At the close of Cut So Deep, Callie struggled to find herself after her resignation at Gentry Tech and its aftermath. Along with the loss of custody, Callie had lost her grounding. Though she couldn’t face Jackson, she agreed to accept his job offer so long as he respected her wishes and they never crossed paths. Her new job at CubeThink and the work she did to rebuild her confidence helped her move forward eventually. With baby steps. With a new lawyer and a plan, she hopes to regain custody of Charlie. And while Shannon had blamed Callie for everything, they eventually seemed to find a truce.

As this book opens, two months have passed. Callie left Gentry Tech and began work at CubeThink about three months ago. It has also been about three months since Charlie was taken away. She now has supervised visits with him once per week. She worries because he doesn’t seem to be well-adjusted to living with David and Regina. Her lawyer tells her to keep hanging tight for the results of the drug test and a new hearing. Separately from that, she is forcing herself out of her comfort zone to prove that she cannot be defeated. At work she made friends, and she often joins them after hours. But once or twice a week for the last few weeks she takes things further. She transforms herself, creating a new persona. It is easier to push herself that way, to act things out when playing a character.

Siren Callie, the vixen, prowls the clubs looking for action. She is a far cry from the relatively inexperienced Callie of just a few months ago. But she chooses who and where, and finds safety in public places. With enough effort, she can screw away those awful memories and reclaim her life.

Jackson Vale is a patient man, or at least he is trying to be. Calliope is the only woman that ever really saw him, and his world opened up when she came into his life. She didn’t care about his money or his fame. She didn’t want anything from him but his company. He wishes he knew what happened but has to respect Callie’s wishes and not press. Knowing Bryce, it was bad. He has given Callie a wide berth, but her actions have become reckless and out of character. It has to stop. There are better, safer ways to accomplish what she needs. Even if she doesn’t want him anymore, he can no longer sit back and watch a train wreck.

This is now Callie and Jackson’s story, as Jackson gets his own point of view here and there. Jackson is also a victim of Bryce, and can sympathize with what Callie is experiencing. He participates in BDSM, something he hinted at previously. As Master Sin he worked through some of his own past issues. Though not a sadist, the power exchange gives him the control he craves. He thinks it might help Callie get past whatever happened, and accordingly introduces her to his club. The lengths he will go for her are rather remarkable. But Callie isn’t ready to open up, and as long as she keeps secrets from Jackson there is only so much he can do to protect her.

Here Callie is decidedly different from the somewhat naïve and innocent Callie of book one. She is spiraling, and all Jackson can do is try to be there to catch her. It is hard to watch her push him away and refuse help. Book one became increasingly dark; this book reverses course as Jackson steps in to support Callie through her crisis in every way he can. He is generous, forgiving, and loving. They finally get to know one another on a more personal level while Callie works through her past and issues with Charlie’s custody. But Bryce Gentry has not forgotten the pair, and he has plans of his own. Callie faces another choice – an impossible choice – with unthinkable consequences. The couple eventually earns a happy ending.

There is plenty of angst throughout the story. There are steamy moments as well as dangerous ones. Great chemistry eventually develops again between Callie and Jackson, but it takes patience. Callie is too much in her own world of pain for much of the book to really sense and give in to their connection. The plot seems to overpower the relationship and it doesn’t feel quite as personal as one might hope.

A few issues merit mention. First, Callie’s age doesn’t seem to match up with how far she is in school. At twenty-two now, she would have been pregnant at nineteen, sometime during her second semester at Stanford. So she would have transferred when she was about eighteen, and presumably started full time at her community college at sixteen. It is possible but a very tight timeline and unusual, and there is no reference to that here. Next, Bryce Gentry’s company name is inconsistent in book one. Bryce Information Technologies is referenced twice earlier in the book, but two latter references to the company name it Gentry Technologies. The abbreviated name used throughout the book, however, is Gentry Tech. Here it is referred to as Gentry Tech.

The former beauty queen hopes to put her crown behind and be appreciated for her brain, but instead finds herself a pawn in a deviously dark game without rules. Callie’s story will have you on the edge of your seat as she gets caught up between two old rivals and faces an impossible choice. This story is well-written and plot-driven. It is complex, layered with mystery. Thoughtful and intelligent details give an authentically tech vibe. The characters are carefully crafted and unique. The story is written in first person in Callie’s POV, with several chapters in Jackson’s POV. I rate this book four stars.

I received an advance copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review.

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  • Chad Ferguson
  • 12-12-20

Horrible foul language

I would be embarrassed to recommend this book to anyone. I don’t know anybody that would not be offended.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-06-20

Looking for redemption? Don't hold your breath.

If you haven't already read the reviews for the first book, you should. Dumb decisions defining a life? This girl has it in spades. But as bad as that first book was, in terms of brutality, I found myself almost equally as disgusted with the second. And that's not to say that there really is a comparison to what happens to Callie in the first book to what happens later, but... I don't know. You might expect someone to spiral for a while until they reach a period of peaceful healing. Not in this book. Her behavior was absolutely disgusting. The things she took exception to as a woman, being demeaned and assaulted, she turns around and does to the men she encounters. And I'm not talking about the BDSM scenes, either. I almost gave up on finishing this out of disgust with the lead character, many times. In fact, EVERY character, I think, except for Jackson, was a complete waste of creative DNA in my opinion. It wasn't until the last 45 minutes of the story before I felt like not flushing my kindle down the toilet. Ugh. I think I need to go read a guaranteed HEA or something to lose this bad taste...

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  • Fredrica Rowland
  • 16-06-20

Dark twisted love story #2

Wow!! This is the BDSM guidebook!! Soo dark and this book is dark. Jackson lost callie in the 1st book, in this book Jackson trys to get Callie back by introducing her to bdsm and being her sub. This book has alot of filler, that I skipped through and could be chapters shorter. overall a meh book.

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  • L. Medina
  • 03-05-20

vo-lump-tupus?

the story is certainly dark burlt interesting. low scores for the narrator on this and the first book because she HILARIOUSLY mispronounced multiple words. Not uncommon words mispronounced so badly its really distracting.

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  • Cheryl B
  • 29-02-20

Wildly entertaining story!!!

Break So Soft an Audiobook by Stasia Black took a while for me to get into….but, it was worth the effort!!! The story follows Callie and Jackson. She’s dealing with lots of trauma and is trying to regain custody of her son. He knows that something must be going on with her…but, he isn’t exactly sure what. He hires her at his drone company to help them get past a problem with the drone. There are parts of the story that were tough to read…mostly because it was not something I could believe….also because Callie was REALLY irritating at first….it took awhile for her to change. But, if you have patience, it’s a great story!!!!

The narrations by Lacy Laurel and Scott Rider were absolutely PHENOMENAL!!!!! I’ve read LOTS of Stasia Black’s work and am a HUGE fan!!! But, this was the first Audiobook of hers that I’ve listened to…the narrators were PERFECT!!!!

Great story!!!

I voluntarily received an Advance Copy of this Audiobook for an honest review.

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  • IceWanda
  • 19-02-20

It's killing me to finish this book...

I just finished chapter 8.... and I want to shake the crap out of her. She continues to make self-destructive decisions. I'm getting frustrated. The internal babble continues. Imagine listening to someone who lacks logic. I'm trying very hard to like this book but am having a hard time. If I continue... I will update my review.

The narration is awesome. Impressed by both.

I get this story is dark. I get that bad things keep happening to her. But when the main character is shown to be dense, it becomes frustrating to read on. I keep yelling "save yourself" but she doesn't. She's supposed to be so intelligent yet she lacks common sense. Frustrating to listen to.

__________________________ I did finish the book. Yes, the book gets better. Blah!

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  • Bethany Duquette
  • 16-02-20

Break So Soft

This cannot be the ending to Jackson and Callie's story! Book 1 left me feeling devastating and book 2 had me on edge wanting to strangle Callie for not just spitting it all out. Overall great story and the narration was amazing. Seriously... Scott Rider needs to narrate more books! His voice is hot!