Pam Godwin. Knotted (Trails of Sin #1). Createspace, 2018. ISBN 978-1717291349 307 pp. $13.99
In this “dark romance,” childhood sweethearts Jake and Conor make a plan to sneak away to a remote corner of their families’ shared ranch to (finally!) lose their virginity but are thwarted when they are set upon by cowboy rapist gangster types who knock out the dude, and then ass-rape the heroine for a long enough period of time that it’s the first thing Jake sees when he comes to…
Her brother Lorne murders one of the perpetrators and GOES TO JAIL, her abusive dad sells his share of the ranch and drags her away, and Conor spends a lonely and miserable existence for a few years (with the exception of a hot-anonymous-sex-in-a-barn dalliance) and eventually returns to the boyfriend, who decided that making her relive her trauma is the only way to get through it and over it.
Disturbing on many levels, from the sexualization of the rape scene to the concept of wanting a first sexual experience to involve bondage, this genre defying read likely has an audience, but the unbelievable situation, voice of the male characters, and sex made this an unenjoyable read for me. I will say the characterization of Conor’s trauma–the tattoos, defiance, and porn–were realistic.