Blood to Dust by L.J. Shen // Review + Excerpt

April 10, 2021

Blood to Dust by L.J. Shen review image

I used to be a sister, a daughter, a girlfriend and a friend. A poet, a dreamer and an honor student. But now... now I'm alone, left to fend for myself, with no one to look out for me.

Blood to Dust by L.J. Shen book cover

Blood to Dust by L.J. Shen

Release - July 17, 2016
Genre - Dark Romance
Dual POV - 1st person
Heat Level - 4 out of 5/several scenes
Format/Source - Kindle Amazon purchase
Length - 266 pages
Publisher - Indie

His name is Beat, and I should hate him.

Bound, blindfolded and bruised, I'm tied in his basement, waiting for the men who stripped me from clothes and humanity to collect his debt to them. Me.

His name is Nate and I should hate him, but I don't.

I'm not supposed to know his real name, even worse, I'm not supposed to care. He is nothing to me but means to an end. The plan is simple: break free, collect the pieces of my broken soul, kill the bastards and run away.

His name is Nathaniel Thomas Vela, and I've never seen his face, though I hear that it's beautiful.

Behind the rugged and handsome exterior, there's a quiet murderer, a killer who thinks guns are for pussies and ends people with his bare hands.

His name doesn't matter, neither does his face, but what does matter is my heart. And right now, sadly, it's his.

Blood to Dust is a standalone, full-length novel. It contains graphic violence and adult situations some may find offensive.

Find your copy of Blood to Dust on Amazon
FREE to read with Kindle Unlimited

I love her like a slave, I kneel in front of her like a subject, I crawl back to her at night like a drunk and I worship her like a believer.

While it wasn't as dark as I thought it was going to be, considering the blurb, Blood to Dust was full of the off-the-wall craziness I've come to look for in my dark reads. Prescott was a puzzle that I still haven't been able to solve. She was a woman burdened by pain, betrayal and secrets. The life of horrors that she had to live was not for the feint of heart. Good thing this girl was a survivor.

Broken people do things better; we learned how to make it in life without the missing parts other people have. Because when you're in the dark, you appreciate everything that shines. - Nate

Nate had never had it easy. He suffered through childhood, finally freed himself only to be tried and judged as a criminal. Never really fitting anywhere, this too-pretty-for-his-own-good man carved his own path. When his boss tasked him with holding onto Prescott, keeping her prisoner until his son could 'fetch' her, Nate planned to do just that. Only Prescott had other plans. And when he heard her story, when he found out why she was such a hot commodity, he realized how truly alike they were. His heart, that organ of his that knows the difference between right and wrong, switched sides.

Prescott Burlington-Smyth is everything I want to be. A storm smoving out of a shit situation at the speed of light, not looking back to spare a glance at the casualties of her actions.

And then it was utter chaos. Granted, what Prescott and Nate did defied imagination. None of it was realistic, but it was still tons of fun to read. She got her own brand of justice and through blood and more pain, these two kindred spirits found their own happily ever after.

“You don’t get a say in this shit,” Ink announces with borrowed authority. I can hear the uncertainty leaking from him. He’s what I call an easy job. If it were just him watching over me, I would have been dancing in Iowan cornfields far away from here by now, Sebastian and Godfrey’s heads tucked in that Nike bag.

“You make me uncomfortable.” I yank my arm away.

“What, and the other guy makes you warm and fuzzy?” He sounds genuinely offended.

Beat inches closer behind me, and I feel the heat of his body drifting into mine. He’s close. Hot-jock-leaning-against-your-locker close. It’s going to be hard to bypass someone his size.

“You think I’m nice?” His breath moves through the plastic of his mask, tickling my ear. I shudder down to my toes. His mouth smells like peach. How bad can a guy who smells like a peach be?

“Nice-r.” I clear my throat, my eyes still trained on Ink in front of me. Ink shakes his head, indicating that I’m dead wrong. The air becomes chilly. Why hadn’t I noticed it’s so chilly?

Because it’s not. It’s August in California, and I’m cold because I’m frightened.

“Let’s test your theory. I’m going to touch you now. Move without permission, and I’m breaking your arm.”

My busted lower lip splits open again as I scowl at his threat. He definitely looks like a guy who makes good on his threats.

“Okay.” I lick my blood, my voice tender.

Beat kicks my legs open and brings my arms up, patting me down dryly, like airport security. His rough fingers stroke the curves of my shoulders as he moves down from my skull to my outer breasts, circling them lazily. Down to my stomach…lower to my tensed inner thighs, pushing the fabric of my mini dress away to make room for his warm paws.

Every muscle in my body is ready to plow forward, to run away, to try and hurt him; the memory of every experience I’ve had that started this way demands for me to take action. But this…it doesn’t feel like a violation. The sour taste of bile has yet to explode in my mouth.

His hands move down my legs, stroking my ankles…then he stops.

“Got something inside?” He squats down, hooking one of his thumbs into my ankle boot. His masked face is eye level with my pelvis, and warmth spreads along my bones like hot wax.

“No,” I lie. There’s still a slight chance he won’t check.

But he checks.

Beat jerks my boot out and a Swiss army knife falls with a clank on the concrete pavement. I let out a sigh and drop my head. Shit.

Happy thoughts.

Frozen yoghurt with Preston down the local mall.

Curling up on the egg-swing with a Mia Sheridan book.

Water lilies blooming over the artificial pond in the Burlington-Smyth’s garden.

A genuine smile from a stranger.

Beat stands up slowly, his gleeful mask zeroing on my face. It all looks like a scene from a horror movie.

And I’m the victim.

L.J. Shen is a USA Today, Washington Post and Amazon #1 best-selling author of contemporary, New Adult and YA romance. Her books have been sold to twenty different countries.

She lives in California with her husband, son, cat and eccentric fashion choices, and enjoys good wine, bad reality TV shows and catching sun rays with her lazy cat.

Find all of her details on her website:


  1. I'm surprised it wasn't as dark as you were expecting by that blurb, too. Especially since it was off the wall crazy.

    1. Me too! But thankfully it was crazy so it made up for the missing darkness :D


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