Even salvation can be delivered through the love of the damned…
Beauty can be a curse.
Faith can be a cage.
Only love can set you free.
A few long weeks after being reluctantly ripped from the comforting embrace of her sacred prophet’s religious commune—the only life she has ever known—a terrified Delilah is thrust into a world enveloped by evil and swimming in sin.
Steadfastly devout in her faith, and retaining the deep belief that her soul is innately tarnished as a branded ‘Cursed woman of Eve’, Delilah is determined to find her way home to her people in The Order and away from the corrupt and damned outlaw motorcycle club—The Hades Hangmen—who hold her at their secluded compound for her protection—a 'protection' she strongly resents.
Delilah yearns to return home, convinced that only amongst her own people, and under the holy guidance of the Lord’s revealed prophet, can her Satan-spawned soul be truly saved. Conditioned her entire life to believe she is a witch... a life-long temptress… the devil’s whore... Delilah increasingly resents her beautiful face, her shapely body and her sensuous effect on men. But when a man of the motorcycle club—a deeply sinful yet stunningly beautiful man—is charged with her care, Delilah begins to see that this dangerous and moralless sinner from the 'outside' may offer her something she did not know could truly exist: unconditional love.
Kyler ‘Ky’ Willis loves his life: a daily abundance of brotherhood, liquor, the freedom of the open-road and—best of all—his pick of hot women. Raised a biker brat and now VP of the most notorious MC in the States, Ky has no shortage of club sluts warming his bed; a situation he takes full advantage of… until a certain blonde enters his life… a gorgeous pilgrim-blonde he can’t get out of his head… a pilgrim-blonde he and his club recently-rescued from some backward religious cult… and a pilgrim-blonde he’s been ordered to keep the hell away from and his whorish hands off.
When yet another in a lengthy line of drunken blunders forces Ky to reluctantly take charge of the pilgrim-blonde’s care, he realizes that there could be more to this woman than just supermodel looks and a stacked set of tits. He begins to see that she could be the woman who could do the impossible—tame his wild ways and capture his reluctant heart.
But the unyielding bonds of Lilah’s past are strong, her ‘people’ determined and, with a new Prophet in charge and hell bent on revenge, they are mightily reluctant to let her go...
Review by Amanda
This is book number 2 in Tillie Cole's Hades Hangmen Series and in it she tells the story of Ky and Lilah.
We meet Lilah in book 1 albeit very briefly when she is rescued from the New Zion commune. In this story, we see Lilah living at the Hades Hangmen compound, although living might be an overestimation of the word. She and Maddie stay secluded in Styx's old apartment.
At this point, Lilah is the only one who leaves the apartment, but this is for very brief moments, when she goes down to the river to "cleanse" herself. Lilah is still very much consumed with her faith, she believes that the Order will still find her and take her back so that she may resume her penance and finally be saved. It has been drummed into Lilah from the age of 6 that she is "cursed" this is a result of her incredible beauty - blonde and blue eyed. She is removed from her family and placed with 3 other girls also deemed as cursed, and quickly they forge a bond of sisterhood. They are kept separate from the rest of the Order as they are deemed as jezebel's that will sway men from their religious path. What they endure under the Elders (considered as schooling for the cursed) is what nightmares are made of. The girls are tortured, raped all in the name of God and all in the name of saving their souls.
Upon being rescued by the Hades Hangmen, and taken to their compound, Lilah immediately notices Ky. She finds him beautiful, but also recognises that he is a whore. His behaviour when it comes to women is despicable and he has no faith. He condemns the leaders of the Order to her and labels them pedophiles. He doesn't understand her unwillingness to let go of the faith that he finds so damaging to her.
After an incident one night at the Hades Hangmen compound leaves Lilah devastated, Styx steps in and forces Ky to be Lilah's protector and champion. Initially, irritated and more than a little freaked out by what he considers Lilah's psychosis (which is in fact her talking in tongues to God), Ky does his duty but no more. After a while, Lilah starts to feel a bit more comfortable around him and he manages to persuade Lilah to get in his truck and explore the city with him. He encourages her to do little things each day, to "grab life by the balls" and show it who is boss. I loved getting to see this softer side of Ky. Trust me there are very few moments when we see Ky as gentle and timid, he is full of self confidence, and with the face of an angel, there is not much he shies away from or doesn't voice his opinion about.
"Bitches cream like fuck over this face and body. It's because I'm hot sweet cheeks. Happens all the time." - Ky, Hearts Recaptured by Tillie Cole
"I mean hell, bitch, I got the long hair and bears and women worship at my feet. Maybe I'm the fuckin' second coming" - Ky, Hearts Recaptured by Tillie Cole
"Looking at you through that window every night, as miserable as shit and glaring at us like we're demons, even makes me wanna slit my wrists. And I'll tell you now, I'm too fuckin' pretty to die!" - Ky, Hearts Recaptured by Tillie Cole
Lilah learns to trust Ky and a foundation of friendship is formed. Although, Ky does want Lilah more than anything in the entire world, he realises that she is broken and fractured - and that her unwillingness to let go of her faith means that for now, the best that he can do for her is to be her friend.
A club run sends Ky out of town for a few days, at this point, Lilah soon realises that the feelings she has for Ky, are definitely more than that of a friend. She oscillates between wanting to be maintain her faith and wanting to explore her feelings for Ky.
Things develop between the 2 and Ky finally admits to Lilah how he feels, unfortunately, he chooses to use words that trigger her to believe once again that she has bewitched him with her beauty and she believes that she needs to repent.
What transpires next is the stuff that nightmares are made of. It is dark, gritty, detailed and heart breaking.
I am giving Hearts Recaptured 5 stars. This is definitely Tillie Cole's best work to date (in my opinion). The book is enthralling from the very first line and draws you in and sucks you up. I really felt at times as if I had been transported to the Order and was watching the scenes play out. I loved the fact that although this book tackles such serious subject matter, there are still parts that make you laugh out loud and fall in love. This is a dark read and not for someone that is looking for something fun and light hearted, the things that Tillie Cole writes about in this book will certainly leave a mark on not only your heart but also your soul. This is definitely one of my top reads for the year.
On a side note, I just have to say that Tillie Cole is one of those rare authors that seems to be able to write just about anything. Her first novels were downright hilarious and had me laughing like a hyena. Her Sweet Home Series centres around college aged kids - the books are sweet, sensitive, heart breaking and amazing. Then she has the Hades Hangmen Series, which is so freaking dark but also so amazingly written, you become sucked in. I have come to the conclusion that Tillie Cole has crazy voodoo magic, because every single book she writes, no matter what series or genre or what the topic is exceeds EVERY expectation I have of her.
Meet Tillie Cole
Amazon & USA Today Best Selling Author, Tillie Cole, is a Northern girl through and through. She originates from a place called Teesside on that little but awesomely sunny (okay I exaggerate) Isle called Great Britain. She was brought up surrounded by her English rose mother -- a farmer's daughter, her crazy Scottish father, a savagely sarcastic sister and a multitude of rescue animals and horses.
Being a scary blend of Scottish and English, Tillie embraces both cultures; her English heritage through her love of HP sauce and freshly made Yorkshire Puddings, and her Scottish which is mostly demonstrated by her frighteningly foul-mouthed episodes of pure rage and her much loved dirty jokes.
Having been born and raised as a Teesside Smoggie, Tillie, at age nineteen, moved forty miles north to the 'Toon', Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, where she attended Newcastle University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in Religious Studies. She returned two years later to complete a Post-Graduate Certificate in Teaching High School Social Studies. Tillie, regards Newcastle to be a home from home and enjoyed the Newcastle Geordie way of life for seven 'proper mint' and 'lush' years.
One summers day, after finishing reading her thousandth book on her much loved and treasured Kindle, Tillie turned to her husband and declared, "D'you know, I have a great idea for a story. I could write a book." Several months later, after repeating the same tired line at the close of another completed story, she was scolded by her husband to shut up talking about writing a novel and "just bloody do it!" For the first time in eleven years, Tillie actually took his advice (he is still trying to get over the shock) and immediately set off on a crazy journey, delving deep into her fertile imagination.
Tillie, ever since, has written from the heart. She combines her passion for anything camp and glittery with her love of humour and dark brooding men (most often muscled and tattooed – they’re her weakness!). She also has a serious side (believe it or not!) and loves to immerse herself in the complex study of World Religions, History and Cultural Studies and creates fantasy stories that enable her to thread serious issues and topics into her writing -- yep, there's more to this girl than profanity and sparkles!
After six years of teaching high school Social Studies and following her Professional Rugby Player husband around Europe, they have finally given up their nomadic way of life and settled in Calgary, Alberta where Tillie spends most of her days (and many a late night) lost in a writing euphoria or pursuing a dazzling career as a barrel-racing, tasselled-chap wearing, Stetson-sporting cowgirl... Ye-haw!