GUEST REVIEW: Beautiful Addictions by Season Vining
Published on January 28th, 2014 Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Josie Banks is a girl without a past. After being found unconscious with no memory, she was shuffled in and out of foster homes where she suffered years of abuse. An experience that left her broken, damaged, and clinging to drugs and meaningless hook-ups to numb her pain.
When Josie disappeared years ago, she took a piece of Tristan with her. She’s the girl he thought he lost forever—the one he’s never been able to forget. Now a twist of fate has brought them back together, and he never wants to let her out of his inked arms again. But Tristan is haunted by a dark past of his own. On the run from ruthless criminals that shattered Josie’s world years ago, reentering her life puts them both in danger.
As Josie and Tristan’s lives become tangled once again, they find themselves unwilling and unable to escape the relentless pull that draws them together. But will the past leave their love in ruins—or bind them together for a lifetime?
Beautiful Addictions by Season Vining
Publication date January 28th, 2014
I would like to thank both St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this eARC. Although I received this book for free, in no way did that influence my review.
Twenty-two year old Josie Banks leads a rough life by most anyone’s standards. She does whatever drugs she gets her hands on, sleeps with total strangers for drugs, a place to sleep, or simply as a distraction from her messed up life. She doesn’t remember life being anything other than hard. Her life consists of her tagging around the city, drugs, sex, and bringing food to her friend Gavin, who then distributes it to the homeless kids in the area.
The only time that pattern is interrupted is when her former social worker, Monica, stops by her place. Monica is always trying to get Josie to clean up her act, take better care of herself, hell just to take care of herself period. One day at a local bar Josie happens to look up and she sees him, the tattooed bartender that draws her interest like a moth to a flame. There is something about him she simply can’t resist – she can’t explain the attraction, but she can’t deny it either. Soon she knows his work schedule and is at the bar for each of his shifts.
What happens next startles Josie to no end. The sexy, tattooed bartender calls her McKenzi Delaune, a name she hasn’t heard for about eight years. When he tells her that he knows her, staring at her as if she should know him she cuts him off, telling him McKenzi is dead, she’s Josie now. Eventually he convinces her to meet him for coffee after his shift. Over coffee she tells him in a completely detached voice that she doesn’t know him, explaining that she and her dad had moved to NYC from Louisiana, and shortly after that her father went missing, his body found a few days later. She woke up in a hospital two days later, surround by FBI agents and with no memories. The doctors said she had retrograde dissociative amnesia, which as Tristan knew meant that she had no memory of anything prior to waking up in the hospital, but is able to form memories of everything since then. Then she tells him they changed her name to Josie Banks, moved her to San Diego and put her in the witness protection program.
Tristan is stunned. The two slowly spend more time together, as he very slowly wins Josie’s trust and begins to break through her walls. Josie has never really trusted anyone before. The closest she’s come is her neighbor Alex, a big, tough Hispanic guy who seems to have made it his job to watch out for her, Gavin, a homeless woman that Josie is friendly with and gives bags of food to for Gavin to share with the street kids, and finally Monica, her former case worker who just won’t quit trying to somehow help her.
While Josie and Tristan are falling in love, across the country things are being put into motion. Bad things. Dangerous things. For word has gotten back to the man responsible for the death of McKenzi’s father that she is still alive, which equals a loose end. And he really, really doesn’t like loose ends. Particularly right now. He already has had one man on her contract, but once he gets some fresh news he calls in a second man, pitting the two against each other. The second call sets a dangerous chain of events into action, events that could spell not only McKenzi’s death, but possibly Tristan’s, Alex’s, and Monika’s too. Which hit man will find Josie Banks first? If she does get caught can she keep Tristan and the others safe? Will she be able to convince the man after her that she really doesn’t know anything, that her life began when she woke up in that hospital bed?
This is a very well constructed story. Although she doesn’t seem it, Josie is a strong character given all she has endured. She’s tough, independent, and still willing to try to learn to trust. The twists and turns in this tale could make you nauseous they happen so quickly and with such frequency. Yet they never reveal too much, nor do they give away the explosive ending. Definitely an entertaining read in which the characters’ development and the arc of the story are deftly blended to create a wonderful unity. Without a doubt I will be scouring the shelves for more works by Season Vining.