Kay Elle has carried over a story from the latest Black Light Roulette in Branded. We first met Ava and Master Finnegan back in February, where, among other things, Ava ended up getting fisted. Now, we get the rest of the story. (and yes, I hear Paul Harvey’s voice in my head when I say that. And yes, I know I just totally dated myself, so what, I’m old.)
I don’t normally give content warnings, but I will on this one. There is a lot of talk about cutting and self-harm. If this is something that you have had issues with, please take that under consideration. Read safely and responsibly.
At the end of their night at Black Light East, Finn takes Ava back to his hotel. His plan is for them to spend several hours together, talking, eating, getting to know each other, before he had to fly back out to Montana and back to his ranch. Well, that’s not precisely what happened. Well, they got to know each other much better, Biblically, at least. Bow chicka, bow wow. Finn tells Ava that he really wants her to come to his ranch with him, but he’ll be back in 2 weeks to get her, if she wants to come with him. He wants to make sure that she’s spent plenty of time thinking her decision over.
Fast forward a few weeks, and Ava is now in Montana, learning how to be a rancher. Finn’s ranch is huge, 80k acres, 20k head of cattle, all kind of things going on. She promised him that she would stay within sight of the house, keep her phone with her, and stay out of the pastures unless she has someone with her. Right now, she’s sitting in her favorite spot, where she should be enjoying the beautiful scenery, but her brain is busy. You see, Ava had a very… difficult childhood. Now, she has her father in her brain all the time, and when she is scared, worried, stressed, things seem to be going wrong, so on and so forth, she hears his voice saying horrible things. The only thing that has made her survive that is that she cuts. She promised Finn that she would try to not cut, but right now the voices are so, so, so, so loud that she just jumps on her horse and takes off.
Meanwhile, Finn is trying to run his mega huge ranch and be Ava’s significant other and be her Dom, and try to make his life work the way that he wants it to. It’s his busy season too, all the cows are calfing, which means he needs to be on top of things. Then he calls Ava to see if she got his message about dinner and an early bedtime. When she doesn’t answer, he starts to worry. When she still doesn’t answer, he has to go figure out where she is, and well, things don’t go well.
OK, I like Ava. I’ve been Ava. I am a recovering cutter, and I can really relate to her when she wants to cut and the fight to not do it. I think that Ava does really well at fighting things off as long as she does. She has a lovely heart and she really cares a lot about Finn, the ranch, the horses, and the cows. She wants to be better. There’s one scene, with a baby cow, that I’m just so impressed with her strength and fierceness. It shows that she’s not weak, even if her brain tells her that she is. Here’s the thing about mental illness, it lies. It wiggles into your brain and finds the cracks and lies to you. Lies. LIES. But the lies sound so convincing. It’s hard to beat them.
I like Finn. He’s a really stand up guy. He wants to do the best by all the people in his life and he wants to make sure that all the animals on his ranch are cared for. He does really well with Ava and trying to figure out what he can do to help her. I really like that he realises that he can’t handle everything on his own and that he needs to do some things differently.
I want to give Kay major props for handling the self-harm issues in this book the way that she does. She doesn’t glamorise it or make it look cool. It’s not an easy line to walk, and she did it so well.
UGH on Thomas. Kill him by fire. I thought that he might’ve had inside help from someone else, but I guess not.
Lulu is super cute.
OK, that’s all for this one! Go read it! Happy reading!