Four years ago I lost my virginity on live, streaming television.
Too bad I wasn’t awake for it.
The video went viral. Of course it would. A Senator’s daughter on camera? Wouldn’t you click “share”? Besides, that’s what three of the four guys in the video did.
They shared me.
But that fourth guy? The nondescript one in the background in the upper left corner of the screen, just sitting on the couch? The only one who did nothing?
Not one single thing.
That was my boyfriend, Drew.
And that was the last time I saw him.
Until today, when my father—now on a path to the White House—hired him as head of security for my new team as I return home after four years of “recovering” in an undisclosed location that involved white lab coats, needles, pills and damage control.
You see, the other three guys never went to jail. Never had charges pressed.
Never faced consequences.
A Harmless Little Game is the first in this political thriller/romantic suspense trilogy by USA Today bestselling author Meli Raine.
In the video I’m wearing three scarves. One around my waist as a bright, electric blue belt that cuts neatly through my white, A-line dress.
One around my pony tail, a vibrant purple that was supposed to be the “in” color that season. Maybe even the next season. I think I was trying to be ahead of the trends. I don’t really remember why I picked it.
Can’t we just say I liked it? Isn’t that enough?
And, finally, one around my neck, a red scarf the color of pinched skin and flushed fever. The color of arousal.
The color of pain.
When I got dressed that morning I didn’t know. Couldn’t know.
I had no idea three fashion accessories would be used to tie me up so a group of “friends” could assault me. It was as impossible as thinking that my morning coffee mug would be used to bash in my skull, or that my purse would be used to choke me. That just doesn’t happen. Shouldn’t happen.
Boring objects in our lives should not be used to hurt us.
But those scarves burned. They bound me. They held me in place.
They gagged me.
Those objects of beauty became instruments of torture.
I don’t blame the scarves. They’re just pieces of cloth.
The men who used them are the ones I hold responsible.
And the man who did nothing to stop what happened was the worst of all.
Here’s some basic arithmetic:
What do you think hurt me the most? The scarves? The hot, swollen, unlubricated flesh that violated me like I was just a fold of meat to jack off into? The wrenched shoulders and torn ACL from being trussed and tied up like something in a bad porno? The broken cheekbone from being raped from behind so hard my face smashed into the coffee table leg more times than the ER doctor could document?
Or knowing that my boyfriend—my best friend—just sat there on the couch and watched?
Reviewer’s note: Yes, this ends on a cliffhanger. Stop complaining and read it anyway.
Drew is the threshold between imprisonment and freedom. I may hate him. I may cry into my pillow every night wondering why he let them destroy me four years ago. I may still burn with the heat of a thousand suns for him. But I’ll be damned if I won’t use him to get home.
This is one of those books that draws you in completely through the synopsis. I’ve not read anything quite like this, dealing with the aftermath of a brutal gang rape, intertwined with conspiracy and political intrigue, alongside a dash of romance. Everything you could ever want, plot-wise, is here – a strong female lead who is learning to trust herself and come to terms with what happened to her, and a slowly unfolding storyline which become more interesting every turn of the page.
You scrape yourself, over and over, against all the hard edges of life so that you become so sharp that people can be wounded by the wrong touch.
A part of me was a little incredulous of Lindsay’s feelings towards Drew, and their immediate chemistry following the situation they have found themselves in – her begrudging willingness to forgive his involvement from the beginning seemed somewhat forced, and I’d have like this relationship to have flourished a little later within the series.
I also can’t deal with a vagina being referred to as a ‘V’ multiple times in an erotic scene. Pussy or cunt, please.
But aside from these minor issues, this is probably one of the most intriguing series I’ve delved into this year.
Free. I feel free. Not one hundred percent free, but when you’re trapped, any amount of freedom feels expansive.
I can’t wait to continue this trilogy after that particular ending, with the next book from Drew’s perspective. I wonder which way this will go, but I’m really looking forward to watching Lindsay’s badass healing journey of revenge.