Creed (Unfinished Hero, #2) - Kristen Ashley Holy freaking hell.

I was worried about this book. The reviews were up and down and I fretted whether or not I would like Sylvie. So I worried and fretted and freaked until it was finally released for the Nook yesterday. I downloaded it and started reading...


(some minor spoilers so read my entire review at your own risk!)

No joke. Sylvie is tough, she's can crack heads, she curses, smokes and drinks; but all that tough hides a soft and sweet inside that she's been hiding for 16 years. Creed coming back in her life allows parts of her she has hidden for so long to show themselves. First only glimpses and then, slowly but surely, Creed's Sylvie is back, tougher and with experiences no one would ever wish on another human being, but she's back. And so is Creed.

I cried in this book. I cried A LOT. This is odd because I do not cry. Ever. Sure I get teary eyed at a movie or something sweet happening. But I do not ever exhaust myself by sobbing my eyes out so much that I had to put the book aside so I could sleep. This is what happened while reading Creed. The story of Creed and Sylvie and the horror, and I mean HORROR, these two went through was raw and unflinching. The details were enough so you know what happened, but not drown you in the terrifying details that could give someone nightmares. My heart ached during the flashbacks (which Kristen Ashley incorporates beautifully by the way) and the nightmares Sylvie had after finding out the truth.

One thing to note. This book is classified as erotica. From what I've read (and compared to Sierra Cartwright or Cherise Sinclair), this would be, for me, on the light side, in terms of the sex acts. However, this does not mean this book is not intense. It is beyond emotionally intense as you learn about what these two went through and how they heal, and some of this includes intense sexual acts. Because of Sylvie's experiences she doesn't like to give up control during sex. And she has good reason for this. However, she finds she is able to trust Creed completely and he is able to help her work through some of her issues with regards to sex, including anal sex.

Many people have complained about this sex act being included, saying they couldn't handle it and/or didn't like it because it's something they'd never do or it just grossed them out. I look at this from the perspective of the characters though and what they needed. So whether it grossed me out or not, the question (for me) is "is this something necessary for the characters to move forward?" I don't interpret it from my feelings, but rather from theirs.

So when I look at the characters and WHY Sylvie and Creed did this, it makes perfect sense. The man who violated her for 6 years had pieces of her, and Creed was working on replacing those bad pieces with good. And until she was able to replace those horrific experiences with amazing ones with Creed, that man would always have a presence in the bedroom and in her life. In my eyes, it makes perfect sense that the two engaged in anal sex. And also that Creed tied her up with the scarves. It got her over that fear and replaced some of the bad memories with better ones. She could start seeing being tied up as something hot, something her and Creed shared. Not something that douche bag did to her. At least, that's how I see it. And, though it's not full of domination/submission, there are hints of it. She wants to be in control of her life, and has been for so long, but with Creed she is able to let her grip loosen and give herself completely to him, to submit to his commands in the bedroom. This, in my view, and given the hell the two had gone through over the 16 years, is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read.

So, all in all, 10 million freaking stars.