Reviewed by Xanthe
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
Shameful Scars is book three in the Scars series and focuses on Hayley and Gabriel.
Gabriel is still acclimating to living on earth, not really comfortable around or interacting with humans but they try, especially when it comes to their brother Lucifer and the family that he’s now a part of. They struggle the most with Hayley, who still hasn’t forgiven them for hurting people several years before. Hayley is fighting her way through life, a recovering addict working through college and an intern with CPS. She is angry at a lot and can’t understand how everyone has moved on from what Gabriel did. Her hatred for them is made worse once they start to feel attraction towards them. She doesn’t really know how to process it all.
Both Hayley and Gabriel have experienced trauma in their past and neither are comfortable with the situation that they find themselves in. Their relationship is full of tension for a large part of the book and it’s not until Gabriel is shown how Hayley truly allows herself to feel peace through dominance and submission that sparks really fly but Gabriel also has questions about themselves. This is actually one of the best stories I’ve read that includes discussion on the asexual spectrum and how you can try to identify your sexuality but recognising the fluidity of it at the same time. Acceptance and chemistry bring the MC’s together and once they reach a certain point, there’s no going back for them and they just click, physically and emotionally as they recognise each other’s fears and wants. Hate and distrust slowly give way to lust and understanding.
Alongside Hayley and Gabriel’s antagonistic relationship is the mystery of a child that goes missing in a local children’s home. It becomes dangerous once their foe reveals themselves to be from the darkness of the Abyss and what they truly want, Gabriel. This plot point really adds an intensity to the story as it brings up a lot of painful memories for Gabriel and, through flashbacks, we are shown how they’ve been hurt in the past and actually have quite a bit in common with Hayley. I enjoyed how the story developed as you’re kept guessing as to what they will do to get what they want and the drama is drawn out over days at a time which really keeps everyone on edge.
Both MC’s characters really grow as we go through the story. It’s interesting to read their interactions, especially at first as Gabriel will say exactly how they feel and what they think, not knowing the many layers of human interactions. With Hayley, we get to see how much she struggles at times but it’s through the love and support of her friends and family that she survives. Characters from the previous books return, bringing the feeling of family and acceptance that I think Hayley and Gabriel are in great need of. They really show how much they worry and care for them both when their safety is brought into question.
I am enjoying this story overall. It’s an interesting take on the angels and demons stories we’ve had before and there’s variety in the characters that we meet. I was really drawn to Gabriel in this one as they take a deeper look at who they are, what they feel emotionally and physically for others. It makes them more human to the reader, I think.
Scars is a series that I would recommend reading in order purely because of the connections between the characters and storylines that link up throughout the books.