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Does It Hurt? by H.D. Carlton

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Who am I?

I’ve forgotten the answer to that question long ago. Ever since I ran from that house, so desperate to escape, I left with only the clothes on my back and socks on my feet. After that day, I’ve only ever walked in stolen shoes.

Could I be a girl who is searching for the meaning of life in faceless men? They were all so forgettable. Until he came along. He took me under a waterfall and made me forget my name, and in return, I took his instead.

Enzo Vitale.

An enigmatic man that will only ever love the deep sea. Or rather the predators that inhabit it. Turns out, he’s not so different than the monsters he feeds. He lured me onto his boat like a fish in the ocean, seeking vengeance for my crime. Had I realized his intentions, and that a massive storm would leave us shipwrecked, I would’ve ran.

Now, I’m a girl who’s seeking refuge in a decrepit lighthouse with a man who loathes me almost as much as he craves me. He wants to hurt me, but the old caretaker of the abandoned island may have intentions far more sinister.

It’s no longer a question of who I am, but rather, will I survive?

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Bravo! This novel is unlike any I’ve ever read. What do you get when you have an alpha shark researcher, a quirky fugitive identity thief, a creepy one-legged lighthouse keeper, and a mysterious poltergeist? You get a brilliant combination of romantic suspense, mystery, and horror.

Sawyer is a fugitive from the U.S. hiding out in Australia. She’s been on the run for 6 years and lives as an identity thief to survive but her next victim isn’t taking it lying down. He’s out for revenge, but it backfires as they are shipwrecked on an island with a dangerous lighthouse keeper who has a terrible secret.

Enzo swims with sharks and is a bit of a predator himself as he tracks down Sawyer who took his identity and broke his trust. He will not let her forget her mistake and punishes her in questionable and disturbing ways. Enzo’s past as an abandoned child has made him an angry and cautious man when it comes to matters of the heart and Sawyer has wheedled her way in whether he likes it or not. The sex is sizzling hot between these two and apparently, Enzo awakens things in Sawyer that she did not know about. Wow! Sawyer’s past is heartbreaking and she is a badass survivor despite her deceitful ways to make ends meet. Her quirkiness is what endeared me to her which is a relief to Enzo’s broodiness. 

What I loved about this book is not only are we dealing with Enzo and Sawyer’s volatile relationship but the author ups the ante by placing them on an island with a madman who is hiding something very sinister and unforgivable. Well done!  Enzo and Sawyer eventually forgive each other and work together to get the hell off the ghostly island in one piece, but not before the incredible suspense and horror had me anxiously cheering for their safety and sanity.

I highly recommend this action-packed, sexy, and fantastic crazy train of a dark romance that had this reader finishing it in one all-night sitting.  If you enjoy phenomenal character development and non-stop plot twists, read this book. Also, I advise you to check the trigger warnings at the beginning of the book. 

Thank you to Ms. Carlton for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.


I’ve put off leaving the country for so long, convinced I’d be caught, and that’s precisely what might happen.

Heart racing, I head directly to the gift shop, purchase a zip-up hoodie, along with sweats and a ball cap, then find a bathroom to change in, all the while checking over my shoulder.

Even the restroom is crowded, so I keep my head down and quickly duck into a stall. Hands shaking, I wind my hair into a low bun, shove the hat over the top, and then slip on the jacket, flipping the hood over my head to cover the rest of my hair. Lastly, I pull the sweats on over my shorts, already sweating from the layers and adrenaline.

Then, I wash my hands and rush to the ticket counter, out of breath and practically panting in the agent’s face. She looks up at me, startled by my sudden presence.

“May I hel—”

“I need a ticket to the next flight out,” I interrupt, nearly tripping over my words. She blinks at me, then focuses on her computer screen, clicking around with her mouse and tapping a few keys.

 “A flight to Indone—”

“Not that one,” I cut in again. “A different one.”

She shoots me a glare. I’m pissing her off, but I’m sure a big glass of red wine will soothe her woes, whereas I will definitely be meeting my maker if I’m caught.

“A flight to Australia is departing in forty minutes.”

“Sold,” I say, slapping a wad of cash and my ID on the counter. Giving me an unimpressed look, she processes the ticket and counts through the money. Albeit very fucking slowly.

“You’re $ 8.09 short,” she clips.

I’m not usually a snappy person with customer service. They deal with enough shit. That being said, if I get caught over $ 8.09, I’m pointing directly at her and screaming she did it before bolting.

Muttering beneath my breath, I fish out a ten-dollar bill from my pocket and slap it on the counter.

Giving me the evil eye, she takes the bill and continues.

 I’m constantly checking over my shoulder, but thankfully, the airport is crowded, and I don’t see any angry faces wearing a uniform and a gun headed my way yet.

“Do you have any luggage?”

“No, just my carry-on,” I reply.

After a few more minutes, she finally slides the ticket to me, along with my change and ID.

“Gate 102. Terminal B.”

I snatch them from the counter, clip out a quick thank you, and take off toward the shuttle, my duffel bag slapping against my legs.

My heart is beating nearly out of my damn mouth by the time I make it through TSA, off the shuttle that takes me to the terminal, and ultimately reach the gate. It took fucking forever, and they’ve already called my name over the speaker. I’m panicking that I won’t make it, and they’re literally about to close the door when I finally arrive at the gate.

“Wait!” I shout.

The employee sees me coming, and I swear to God, he deserves a blowjob for kindly stepping aside and allowing me through. Even as I run down the hallway to get to the plane, I’m checking over my shoulder.

My heart refuses to return to its designated area until the plane takes off.

Even then, I’m waiting for air traffic control to stop the plane and tell them a fugitive is on board.


Does It Hurt?

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H.D. CarltonH.D. Carlton is an International Bestselling Author. She lives in Ohio with her partner, two dogs, and cat. When she’s not bathing in the tears of her readers, she’s watching paranormal shows and wishing she was a mermaid. Her favorite characters are of the morally gray variety and believes that everyone should check their sanity at the door before diving into her stories.

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