ARC Review: Dubious by Charmaine Pauls

Dubious
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Loan Shark Duet #1
Release - October 12, 2017
Genre - Dark Mafia Romance
Dual POV - 1st person
Heat - 4.5 out of 5
Length - 314 pages

I’m a loan shark. Breaking people runs in my blood. The Haynes’s were supposed to be a straightforward job. Go in and pull the trigger twice. One bullet for Charles, one for his sister. But when I saw Valentina, I wanted her. Only, in our world, those who owe us don’t get second chances. No way in hell will my mother let her live. So I devised a plan to keep her.

It’s depraved.
It’s immoral.
It’s dubious.

It’s perfect.
Just like her.

DUBIOUS is the first book in the LOAN SHARK DUET and ends on a cliffhanger. CONSENT, the second and final book, is available for pre-order and will be released on 14 November. This is a dark romance with themes of forced seduction and explicit sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

Find your copy of Dubious here:
Goodreads | Amazon

MY REVIEW

My heart was wrecked right from the start. Valentina was surviving by the skin of her teeth. She was living in the worst part of town and was responsible for her big brother, who, after an accident, suffered from an intellectual disability. He was vulnerable whenever she went to school or to work and the neighbor she trusted to watch him while she was gone got her brother into trouble. Big trouble. He now owed 400,000 rand to the most notorious loan shark in town. She obviously didn’t have that kind of money but there was nothing she could do. She couldn’t run anywhere where he wouldn’t find her. And she couldn’t pay.




The loan shark, Gabriel, came to get the money, knowing they wouldn’t have it. He was supposed to kill Val and her brother, but something about her made him second-guess his quest. When Val offered her ‘service’ to pay the debt in exchange for a promise for her brother’s safety, against his nature, Gabriel conceded.




Out of this first encounter grew one of the most painfully beautiful love stories I’ve read in a while. Val signed up for 9 years of servitude, meaning she’ll serve Gabriel in any way he wants. At first she’s fearful but comes to realize her importance to him… and his to her. It’s a subtle change but when it happens it has an extreme effect and not just on this couple. Everyone surrounding them is effected and not everyone is happy about it. So Val has to contend with Gabriel’s brutality, his mother’s truly evil soul, his daughter’s attitude, trying to continue keeping her brother happy and healthy, and the utter darkness that is her new life.

It was easy to love both main characters. In their own ways they were both fierce, loyal and determined. Their strength of character was what shined throughout each scene and made this story have such an impact on me. Charmaine Pauls can WRITE!! Her characters were thoroughly developed, the plot was full of twists and turns, and the side characters were entertaining even in their wickedness.

I have to tell you that the sex scenes were LIT!! The connection between Gabriel and Val was FELT!!




As unattractive as Gabriel was ‘supposed’ to be, not once did I find him that way. Despite the descriptions to the contrary, I couldn’t find an instance where I didn’t think he was sexy.




This was one heck of an exciting read and I cannot wait to dive into Consent. If you’re a fan of the dark and depraved, enjoy a suspenseful read, and gravitate towards the anti-hero and his equally fabulous heroine, then you don’t want to miss out on this duet!

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