TITLE: THE ANGEL
AUTHOR: TIFFANY REISZ
Details: no. 2 Original Sinners: The Red Years
"No safe word can protect the heart
Infamous erotica author and accomplished dominatrix Nora Sutherlin is doing something utterly out of character: hiding. While her longtime lover, Søren—whose fetishes, if exposed, would be his ruin—is under scrutiny pending a major promotion, Nora's lying low and away from temptation in the lap of luxury.
Her host, the wealthy and uninhibited Griffin Fiske, is thrilled to have Nora stay at his country estate, especially once he meets her traveling companion. Young, inexperienced and angelically beautiful, Michael has become Nora's protégé, and this summer with Griffin is going to be his training, where the hazing never ends.
But while her flesh is willing, Nora's mind is wandering. To thoughts of Søren, her master, under investigation by a journalist with an ax to grind. And to another man from Nora's past, whose hold on her is less bruising, but whose secrets are no less painful. It's a summer that will prove the old adage: love hurts."
This re-review was supposed to be more or less the same as the one I did for my re-read of “The Siren”; lots of quotes and some thoughts of mine. It’s not quite working out that way though. I’ve got nowhere near as many quotes written down this time. Not because there are less quotable sentences - if anything there may have been more - but because I couldn’t make myself put the book down for long enough to copy them (and I refuse to write in books). It might have been different if I had read my e-version of this book, where I could have happily highlighted away, but I picked up the paperback and well, here I am, with only a few quotes.
Before I say anything else let me say that Tiffany Reisz’ words and story once again captivated me and blew me away. The minute I open one of her books her world captures me to such a degree that it stays with me even after I put the book down.
And there is so much going on in this book. It starts with somebody stealing Nora’s file from Kingsley’s office and although that is not really referred to again, it is a fact that lingers in the background, foreshadowing danger to come. There is Søren being shortlisted for promotion to Bishop, something that would destroy the life he has built for himself and those around him. Suzanne, the journalist investigating Søren, convinced he has to be a child-molester, is a fascinating character on all levels. In any other book she’d be a hero and the reader would be rooting for her to get to the truth. In this book she’s almost the villain and the reader finds themselves worrying that she might just get to the truth. And, she breaks stereotypes in a different way as well:
Why did he always have to make sex about something more than sex?” - Suzanne about Patrick
Nora struggling with her duelling feelings is both fascinating and heartbreaking. Torn between Søren, the man she has loved since she was a teenager, the man who gives her everything she needs and Wesley, the much younger man who is everything she isn’t, wants everything she’s sure she couldn’t live with, the man she can’t stop yearning for, Nora personifies the following quotes:
“Life and death are less life-and-death than love is” Nora to Mick, and:
“Love is an open wound that you hope never heals.”
When Søren sent Nora away with the following order
“Make your peace with Wesley this summer while you’re away from me. Make your peace and do not return to me until you do.”
he had no way of knowing that it might turn out to be an order too far…for both of them. Sometimes the impossible is the only thing to do:
“Even if against my will is what I want?” Nora to Søren
And then there is Griffin and Michael. My God, could I be more in love with those two? I adore and just can’t get enough of them. Griffin is the ultimate playboy who refuses to take life or anything else seriously:
“For Griffin, S&M was a game that he played to get laid as often as humanly possible.”
Until he meets the one person who can make him change his ways, only to discover Mick is off limits, unless he finds the courage to do the one thing that really scares him. It’s beautiful.
And Mick, the Angel, breaks my heart, makes me want to adopt him, take care of him, keep him safe. The pain he’s encountered in his short life… And then he meets Griffin and starts feeling things he’d never even imagined although he is convinced that he is everything Griffin would never want. All of that leads up to the sentences that never fail to make me smile with tears in my eyes:
“I want to own you, Griffin whispered into Michael’s ear. Michael smiled, and for the first time in his life he knew exactly what to say and how to say it. You already do.”
Goodness knows that being a teenager is hard enough at the best of times. Being a teenager who doesn’t fit the common mould is near impossible. I can’t read Mick’s story without thinking about a particular song. A song that was written by a 15 year old girl and expresses the darkness she felt at the time with powerful words accompanied by simple and fitting guitar chords. The song is called “Russian Roulette” and the now 19 years old singer-songwriter’s name is Tara Kennedy. I don’t include this song because the lyrics tell a story similar to this book, although there are a few lines that could have come straight from Tiffany’ Reisz’ characters:
“What’s life without the pain?”
“I want to disinfect my soul”
No, the reason I have linked this song to this review is because it captures that teenage angst with exquisite accuracy.
I do hope you enjoy the song and agree that it goes well with this book. Either way, let me know what you think.
Further reading: Tiffany Reisz’ website
Further Listening: Tara Kennedy’s channel on YouTube