4.5 DARK & CRUDE STARS! ★★★★☆
“I'm the heir of torment, Amber. I'm the slippery footprints in your carpet. The creaking floor that steals air from your lungs. The hand that holds the gun. I'm the inescapable curse that caught you when you opened your door.”
After reading Deliver, I just couldn't wait to jump into Van’s story. I just know this was right up my alley because I love me some messed-up alpha male heroes! He was a complete enigma in the first book and now that an entire book is dedicated to his story, being excited would be a complete understatement for me :D
Vanquish picks up after the events in Deliver, where Van Quiso escaped death after taking a shot from Liv. Now that Liv & Josh are starting a new life, Van is still the same ole’ Van. He lurks in the shadows and stalks on them by camping out at the next-door house every night; he can’t seem to let go of Liv but most of all, he yearns to meet their daughter, Livina whom Liv has visitation rights to. During one of his stalking trips, he inadvertently stumbled across Amber who is actually the house owner of his little hideout spot.
Amber Rosenfeld, an ex-beauty pageant queen is far from perfect. She suffers from agoraphobia and have multiple issues ranging from OCD to self-esteem ones. Even making trips from her door to her mailbox outside proves to be an impossible feat for her. Her previous marriage has completely shattered her self-confidence and the thought of herself being seen in public would send her into a panic attack.
Once Van first spotted Amber, he was completely intrigued by her oddities and that stirs up a desire in him which he hadn’t felt for a woman in a while. He wants her. And what Van wants, Van catches.
I must say that I truly enjoyed this so much more than I did with Deliver. Pam Godwin has a way of writing unique dark, gritty stories with well-written damaged characters. Even with some disturbing scenes written in, I didn't find them revolting at all and instead I was completely captivated.
Okay excuse me while I gush about my dear Van now in this part of my review.
Van is a pretty intense, complex character to begin with. He’s one of those dark, deadly and dangerous anti-heroes that I completely loved. He’s definitely no saint with all that he’s done in the past and even with his creepy doll fetishes or his brutal ways, I was still completely enamoured by his character.
"His scarred beauty radiated seduction and danger, a deadly combination."Beneath that tough and terrifying exterior, we got to see a vulnerable side of him. We get to see a man who is not seemingly heartless and aches to be loved. Everything that he’d ever done has been masked with his best intentions at heart; you can’t even hate this man if you want to. He may be all sorts of fucked up but he’s trying so damn hard to be the father he aims to be for his daughter.
His character definitely shined throughout this book and literally had my feels all over the place. I appreciated that Pam did a fantastic job in executing the transition of Van’s character without completely butchering his initial dark & intense side. Even when he cared a lot for Amber, it was still obvious that his intensity and brutishness still remained. And with more light being shed on his past and allowing us to have glimpses of the damaged little boy he once was, my God, did it make me love Van even more.
Also, there was this one powerful scene that I absolutely loved which completely tugged at my heartstrings:
It took me a while to warm up to Amber’s character at the beginning but as the story progressed, I could slowly start to appreciate the struggles she’s been dealing with. She really had some strong moments which I loved. But taking her character as an entirety in this story, I wasn't completely sold. I almost felt like her issues here were simply served as a reason for Van to try to fix her & eventually form a bond with her. I just wasn't fully convinced that there was a proper solid connection between these two, given that Van & Liv shared a stronger one due to their history together. However, I did start feeling more invested in both Van & Amber’s relationship towards the 2nd half of the book & finally found myself rooting for them.
"I will always love you, I will always want you, and I will never ever be disappointed in you. - Van"Overall, Pam has delivered yet another exceptional story with Vanquish. A heart-achingly story of two damaged souls who found love and acceptance in one another. Despite the dark and gritty storyline, there was a good dosage of wit and humour that balanced out the entire story. Added in with some angst and hot, steamy scenes, I can easily say this was no doubt a highly enjoyable read for me.
Would highly recommend everyone to read this if you're into dark romance (and so that we can all gush about Van together!) ♥♥♥
**Huge thanks to my ever awesome bestie, Penelope for picking this for our BR! Best choice made yet! :D**