A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at Romancing Rakes for the Love of Romance
SCANDALIZE ME is the second full-length book in the Fifth Avenue series, where each story takes place in a continuing timeline of how those who lost their friend Sarah Michaels to suicide ten years earlier are now working together to avenge her death by bringing down the man who caused it. You could try to read this book as a standalone, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Hunter had once loved Sarah, once intended to marry her, but they had split up just before she’d jumped off the roof of a NYC skyscraper on Christmas Eve. Now it’s ten years later, and Hunter is doing his best imitation of a man punishing himself for a death he couldn’t prevent. Zoe was a victim of the same man who had pushed Sarah to suicide, but she has managed to survive by focusing on her plan for revenge. Hunter will be the perfect tool for her retribution, but what will they do when their shared need to settle the score conflicts with their growing need for each other?
I was quite impressed by AVENGE ME, the first book in this series by Maisey Yates, and am happy to say that Caitlin Crews has continued that perfect mix of romance and suspense in SCANDALIZE ME. As terrible as it was to find out what had happened to Sarah, it was even more so when Zoe became the face of all the victims still alive and suffering from what had been done to them by a man still beloved by the public. But Hunter has been a victim in his own way as well, and it’s only when Zoe makes him an accessory to her devious plans that he, too, can begin to find some peace from his past and take positive steps toward a happier future for them both, if only she’ll have him.
The ability of these two characters to find love in the middle of all the sadness and horror is remarkable, and the way Caitlin Crews balances romance with tragedy is pitch perfect. SCANDALIZE ME shows how choosing to live in the face of such monstrosity is still better than the alternative, and how that decision can lead you to a love more powerful than evil. It’s heartbreaking and uplifting all at the same time, and sets up what should be a fantastic conclusion of the overall story in EXPOSE ME, the final book in the Fifth Avenue series.
“Be my equal, the woman who knows that if she’s damaged, then Jesus Christ, so am I. Be worth feeling all of this crap, Zoe.” He could taste the ferocity on his own lips, copper like blood. “I want you, not whatever this is, that you can hide behind when it gets tough. You’re not a martyr and I’m not a hero. Let’s be who we are.”