November 17, 2015

Release Blitz/Book Review: Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

at 11/17/2015 04:14:00 PM


I was told that dreams were our heart’s desires. My nightmares, however, became my obsession.

His name is Michael Crist.

My boyfriend’s older brother is like that scary movie that you peek through your hand to watch. He is handsome, strong, and completely terrifying. The star of his college’s basketball team and now gone pro, he’s more concerned with the dirt on his shoe than me.

But I noticed him.

I saw him. I heard him. The things that he did, and the deeds that he hid…For years, I bit my nails, unable to look away.

Now, I’ve graduated high school and moved on to college, but I haven’t stopped watching Michael. He’s bad, and the dirt I’ve seen isn’t content to stay in my head anymore.

Because he’s finally noticed me.


Her name is Erika Fane, but everyone calls her Rika.

My brother’s girlfriend grew up hanging around my house and is always at our dinner table. She looks down when I enter a room and stills when I am close. I can always feel the fear rolling off of her, and while I haven’t had her body, I know that I have her mind. That’s all I really want anyway.

Until my brother leaves for the military, and I find Rika alone at college.

In my city.


The opportunity is too good to be true as well as the timing. Because you see, three years ago she put a few of my high school friends in prison, and now they’re out.

We’ve waited. We’ve been patient. And now every last one of her nightmares will come true.

***Corrupt is a stand-alone dark romance with no Cliffy

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I turned and stalked off, taking a left down the hallway toward the elevator. The doors opened as soon as I pushed the button, and I stepped inside, trying to calm my racing heart.
They still intimidated me.
And excited me. And challenged me. And knotted me up.
I’d kind of wanted to go to a party but not with them.
The doors started closing, but just then a hand shot into the elevator, and I jumped, seeing the doors re-open. I sucked in a breath, staring wide-eyed as Michael reached in, grabbed my shirt by the collar with one hand, and pulled me out.
“Michael!” I shouted.
I stumbled into him, and before I knew what was happening, he grabbed my wrists and locked them behind my back, walking into me and forcing me backward, back down the hall toward the kitchen.
“Let me go!” I demanded, my lips brushing the tip of his chin.
“I don’t know, guys,” he teased over my head, “she still seems pretty fucking easy to push around. What do you think?”
Laughter greeted me as he forced me back into the living area.
Every muscle in my body was on fire, and the tips of my toes kept getting caught under his sneakers.
I twisted my body, trying to break his hold. “What the hell are you doing?”
I pushed against his chest and jerked my body to the left, tearing out of his hold with every muscle I could muster.
I stumbled, losing my balance, and fell backward, crashing to the floor. Pain shot through my ass, running down my legs as the fall knocked the wind out me. 
Shooting my hands behind me, I pushed myself up and bent my knees, looking up at him as he advanced.
He stalked over and then stopped, towering over me.  I immediately moved my hands and feet, crawling backward, away from him.
But then I felt something at my back, and I halted. I twisted my head, seeing a dark pant leg, and I didn’t know if it was Damon, Will, or Kai, but it didn’t matter. I was closed in.
Oh, no. I slowly raised my eyes, seeing Michael’s lips tilt in a devious smile. I stopped breathing, seeing him lower his body to the floor, planting his knees between my bent legs, and his hands at my sides. 
My neck arched back as his face hovered over mine, but I tried to keep myself up as much as possible, no matter how close his body got.
“I thought you were one of us,” his whispered, his breath caressing my lips. “I thought you could play.”
I stilled, staring into his eyes.
You’re one of us now. Will had said that to me on that night so long ago.
Michael’s amber eyes searched mine and then dropped to my mouth, his breathing growing heavy as he stared at me like he was about to take a bite.
I wanted to cry. What the hell was going on?
Three years ago was nearly the happiest night of my life, and it quickly became the worst. And ever since then, Michael not only acted as if I didn’t exist, but also, at times, as if he wished I didn’t.
Now the guys were free, and they were all back together again. What did I have to do with any of this? What did he want with me?
“I don’t know this game,” I told him, barely audible.
He stared into my eyes, thinning his own as if studying me. “All you need to know,” he finally answered, “is that you can’t tap out.”

I am a fan of Penelope’s Fall Away series and I was happy to receive an eARC in exchange for an honest review. I was a little hesitant because the blurb gives off dark vibes and visions of violent bouts of sex involving more than just the regular two people. I started this book at around 11pm and finished it all the way through until 5am; I had to get out of bed to get ready for work. I wasn’t that I didn’t want to sleep, I did, but the suspense of the plot and dominant chemistry between Rika and Michael was hypnotic. This book was a new venture for Ms. Douglas. For those of you who have ready the Fallen Away series, the main characters all start at high school age and steadily progressed to mid-20s and 30s.
Corrupt follows the same idea with present day characters in their 20s with flashbacks to high school. I really enjoyed this book. It hit all of the right notes. The mystery of why Michael is the way he is and how Rika plays a part in a revenge fantasy he has planned, keeps the story going. If my lack of sleep has proven anything, I just had to know what is his motivations were. Why does he see Rika as prey and what was the catalyst for the action that sends three of his best friends to jail. The switching of narrative between Rika and Michael and their past selves was nicely done. We learn about Rika’s character and where her roots come from. She’s from a town where everybody is from influential families and the “Four Horsemen” ruled to social scene. The boys consisted of Michael, Kai, Will and Damon. The boys were popular, charismatic, attractive and deliciously scandalous. Every guy wanted to be a part of their group and girls wanted to get f*cked by them. After an incident that happened when Rika was sixteen, three of the horsemen were carted off to jail when video footage of their criminal acts was blasted all over social media.
Years later, Rika is attending college on her own in Meridian City. After a break up with her longtime boyfriend Trevor (who also happens to be Michael’s younger brother), Rika is ready to stretch her wings and be independent. Unfortunately for her, she happens to land in Michael’s crosshairs. He and his friends from high school are out to make her pay for causing their jail sentences. Slowly they isolate her from the things she loves the most, but Rika isn't a scared little girl and she fights back. 
Overall, it was a good read, but I felt like there could have been details flushed out at the end of the book. The blurb says that it's a cliffy, but I wanted to know if the guys end up with HEAs too; even if they are a little psychotic.

4 stars!

About Penelope Douglas

Penelope Douglas is a writer in Las Vegas. Born in Dubuque, Iowa, she is the oldest of five children. Penelope attended the University of Northern Iowa, earning a Bachelor's degree in Public Administration, because her father told her to "just get the degree!" She then earned a Masters of Science in Education at Loyola University in New Orleans, because she hated Public Administration. One night, she got tipsy and told the bouncer at the bar where she worked that his son was hot, and three years later they were married. To the son, not the bouncer. They have spawn, but just one. A daughter named Aydan. Penelope loves sweets, The Originals, and she shops at Target almost daily.



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